Brilliant Harten Secures Ballymachugh a replay
July 17, 2014
Cootehill and Ballymachugh will have to do it all over again.
Cootehill Celtic 2-15
A last gasp penalty from Ballymachugh's Stephen Harten took his tally for the evening to 2-7 and more importantly the Senior Hurling Championship final to a replay.
Despite the Hugh's going into the game as favourites to add to the title they lost won in 2011, it was Cootehill who led for the majority of the game as they opened up a nine point lead in the second half.
The Celts lost to their co-finalists by 11 points just a week ago in the round robin series but showed their intent second time around by forging a healthy 2-10 to 1-6 interval lead.
However, the Celts failed to push on and seal the deal thereafter and despite the fact that they ended the game with 12 men, Ballymachugh will feel that they deserved another bite of the cherry.
Cootehill were ropey and showing their inexperience in the early minutes of the match, going 1-1 behind inside 90 seconds with the aforementioned Harten scoring a rather fortunate goal.
To their credit, the youthful Cootehill side didn't panic and they rebounded to drive their way into a 0-5 to 1-1 lead with eight minutes on the clock thanks, in part, to a brace of frees from Fiachra Hughes.
In a robust affair, referee John Emo (Butlersbridge) had cause to dismiss three Ballymachugh players over the hour, the first of whom, Killian Smith, was red-carded in the 14th minute after an off-the-ball incident with Cootehill midfielder Caoimhin Carney.
Cootehill seemed to get a lift from Smith's dismissal and with the introduction of sub. Gabriel McQuillan as sweeper at the back, the Celts looked well positioned to take a firm grip on the match.
Indeed, things looked just dandy for the Hoops when Fiachra Hughes and Aidan Fitzpatrick bagged a goal apiece inside 90 seconds at the end of the first quarter to help hoist their side to a seven point interval lead.
A great save by Ballymachugh 'keeper Brendan Sweeney seconds after the restart denied Cootehill a third major but at the other end Kevin Reilly made no mistake (41) in finding the Cootehill net.
Ballymachugh proceeded to pile on the pressure and a 44th minute goal by Anthony Baxter suddenly had the sides level, 2-11 to 3-8, with 16 minutes left to play.
Baxter and co. then received another setback though when midfielder Kevin Reilly was given (52) a second yellow card.
At this stage it looked there would only be one winner as John Carney and Aidan Fitzpatrick pointed for Cootehill to make it a three point game with six minutes remaining in the match.
Ballymachugh continued to shoot themselves in the foot and Diarmuid O'Reilly received his marching orders with four minutes left to play.
However, Harten stepped up to the fore once again as he smashed a penalty to the top corner of the Celt's net in injury time.
Alex Hamilton; Killian Brady, Gary Kiernan, Joe Fitzgerald; Aaron Cosgrove, Niall Duffy, James McKitterick; Caoimhin Carney (0-4), Josh Crowe (0-2); Dermie Connolly, Lonan McKenna (0-1), Fiachra Hughes (1-4, four frees); Emmet Magee, Aidan Fitzpatrick (1-1), John Carney (0-3).
Subs; Gabriel McQuillan for J McKitterick (inj); Ryan Rogers for E Magee; Odhran Reilly for K Brady.
Brendan Sweeney; John Halton, Paddy Baxter, Eddie Heslin; Brendan Devine, Killian Smith, Diarmaid O'Reilly; Kevin Reilly (1-0), Steven Harten (2-6, 5f); Alan Donohoe (0-1), Eugene Hill, Noel Denneny; Conor Harten, Anthony Baxter (1-1), Patrick Bannon.
Subs; Alan Hawe for E Heslin; Padraig Sheridan (0-1) for P Bannon.
Ref; John Emo (Butlersbridge)
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