THE scoreline did scant justice to Bride Rovers’efforts in this Cork SHC tie in Riverstown on Saturday night as Erin’s Own had to battle like trojans before advancing to round four.
They produced an extraordinary finish that yielded 1-5 in the final 15 minutes and as a result six points (the same margin they lost to Na Piarsaigh eight days earlier) was a harsh beating for Bride Rovers.
They have one more chance in this championship and, after leading for most of the hour, they were left shattered.
Changes were made to the starting line-ups on both sides from their previous rounds. Most notable for Erin’s Own was the presence of Peter Kelly and Kieran Murphy, while Michael and Shane Kearney started for Bride Rovers, and there were a few positional switches also.
Straight from the off Erin’s Own realised they were going to get nothing easy when Kieran Collins tore through their defence and, despite being hooked, flashed a ground shot low to the right corner of Shay Bowen’s net after just 20 seconds.
Erin’s Own were still reeling when the influential Barry Johnson increased the advantage, driving a free straight over from inside his own 65. Eventually, Erin’s Own began to get a foothold, mainly through points from corner-forward Eoin Murphy, and they also benefited from the crafty stickwork of Shane Murphy on the 40. However, the Rovers were hurling well with scores aplenty — a typical move involving Brian and Barry Murphy resulted in a Colm O’Keeffe point that pushed them three points clear.
Johnson’s ability to convert from almost any angle ensured the Rathcormac side remained in control. Add in an amazing point from Michael Collins and they were comfortable coming up to the break, 1-8 to 0-6. Crucially though, Mark O’Connor hit two valuable points while Eoin Murphy shot another inspirational flag from over his shoulder to leave Erin’s Own just two adrift at the interval.
Pádraig Murphy came into the fray, acting as a third midfielder for Bride Rovers and along with Brendan Walsh’s supremacy at full-back they remained on top. But, Erin’s Own closed the gap thanks to points from Shane and Eoin Murphy before Mark O’Connor landed a huge point from distance to level the game level for the first time.
Erin’s Own were grafting hard but the task became harder because of their inconsistency in front of the posts. Johnson, who had untypically missed an easy free, executed a brilliant point to regain the lead once more, 1-11 to 0-13 on 50 minutes.
The contest was now on a knife edge. Pat Fitzgerald and Kelly were rock solid as Eoin Murphy went in search of goals for Erin’s Own with points a better option. Even so, the scores started to come. And in a blistering five-minute spell they completely rocked Rovers, firing a string of excellent points from Maurice Carroll, Eoin Murphy, Mark O’Connor, wing-back Stephen Cronin and impressive sub Mark Collins.
In injury time Erin’s Own incredibly led 0-18 to 1-11. Johnson then made it a three-point game, but Shane Murphy came to the rescue and his late goal – after being put through by Collins – meant no way back for Rovers.
Scorers for Erin’s Own: E Murphy 0-6 (2f); S Murphy 1-2; M O’Connor 0-5; M Carroll 0-2, A Power, S Cronin and M Collins 0-1 each.
Scorers for Bride Rovers: B Johnson 0-8 (6f); K Collins 1-0; C O’Keeffe 0-2; M Collins and J O’Driscoll (1f) 0-1 each.
ERIN’S OWN: S Bowen; P Fenton, P Fitzgerald, C O’Connor; S Cronin, P Kelly, B Clifford; K Murphy, A Bowen; J Sheehan, S Murphy, M O’Connor; A Power, M Carroll, E Murphy.
Subs: B McHugh for C O’Connor (41), M Collins for A Power (56).
BRIDE ROVERS: D Fitzgerald; A Collins, B Walsh, S Kearney; Brian Murphy, Barry Murphy, L Forde; J Pratt, B Johnson; M Collins, M Kearney, K Collins; C O’Keeffe, S Ryan, J O’Driscoll.
Subs: P Murphy for J O’Driscoll (ht), J Mannix for K Collins (53), D Burke for C O’Keeffe (54).
Referee: C Lane (Banteer).