Minihane’s extra-time goal seals win for Castlehaven

After a whole lot of unnecessary drama, substitute Robbie Minihane’s goal seven minutes into the first period of extra-time was the difference.
Minihane’s extra-time goal seals win for Castlehaven

EXTRA-TIME REQUIRED: Sean Collins of Cratloe is tackled by Rory Maguire of Castlehaven at Páirc Uí Chaoimh in Cork. Picture: Tom Beary/Sportsfile

Munster Club SFC quarter-final

Castlehaven 1-12 Cratloe 0-11 (AET) 

Castlehaven eventually got there. Their Munster club journey will have a second Sunday out.

This first Sunday sojourn onto the provincial stage wasn’t at all enjoyable. For them or for the crowd of 1,582. There was no end of patience required - from them and everyone else.

After a whole lot of unnecessary drama, substitute Robbie Minihane’s goal seven minutes into the first period of extra-time was the difference.

The goal, set up by the excellent Jack Cahalane, sent the West Cork crew 1-9 to 0-9 clear. It was the first time more than a point had separated the sides.

Cathal McInerney frees either side of the quick turnaround reduced the deficit to the minimum. Cratloe, however, were unable to tie up this Munster quarter-final for a 10th time.

Back-to-back Brian Hurley points, bringing his tally to 0-7, and a Jamie O’Driscoll fisted effort left the winners with four to spare at the end of 90 minutes.

Second-half injury-time left you scratching your head. After not a single score between the 41st and 58th minute, three points were kicked in just over a minute and a half of end-to-end, frantic injury-time fare.

It was as if both sides were content to sleepwalk for the first hour and then consume a gallon of coffee that fuelled a manic, almost schizophrenic four minutes of additional time.

With a thumping effort from 45 metres out, it was Brian Hurley that broke a 17-minute deadlock on 58 minutes to edge the Haven ahead. He had kicked a similarly important score from a similar distance at much the same time against Nemo Rangers.

Here, though, the Haven were unable to drive on.

Corner-back David Collins levelled for Cratloe two minutes into injury-time. It was their first score in 21 minutes.

Mark Collins, less than 45 seconds later, had the Haven back in front. Again, they were unable to hold on or hold out. Another Cratloe defender, Enda Boyce, landed a mesmeric kick from out the field to force extra-time.

After almost 20 minutes of rudderless second-half nothingness, the finish and the finishing were top-drawer. Extreme caution was shunted off centre stage. In its stead came fearless invention and fearless shooting.

Normal and slow order was restored in extra-time. The Haven won’t mind. Recent journeys haven’t been pretty, but each destination is eventually arrived at. Waterford champions Rathgormack, away, are next.

The first-half was a near perfect replica of the Haven-Nemo Cork final. Even the 0-4 apiece scoreline was identical.

There was no risk. No menace. It was beyond meandrous and beyond mundane.

Everyone defended in numbers, everyone stuck to their watch-post as if their lives depended on it, and then everyone crept forward when the inevitable turnover arrived. Rinse and repeat. It made for one long half hour of inaction.

The Haven’s first half shooting efficiency, the same as it had been at this venue two weeks ago, was not up to scratch.

Six first half wides were again registered. Added to that was a Sean Browne effort off the post, Brian Hurley, Damien and Conor Cahalane all had kicks drop short, while the sole goal chance of the opening period fell to them but was eventually cleared.

Enda Boyce’s 14th-minute point to put Cratloe 0-2 to 0-1 in front represented just their second kick at the opposition posts. Castlehaven, by contrast, had already taken aim six times. Their problem was the radar.

The lively Jack Cahalane quickly restored parity. Rory Maguire then produced a score we saw many times from him in red this season.

An eight-minute scoreless spell ensued, almost as long as the nine-minute flagless spell in the opening quarter.

A Conal O’Hanlon Cratloe mark tied proceedings for a third time on 25 minutes. Conor Ryan kicked the visitors back in front in the subsequent action after a Mark Collins handpass to Ronan Walsh didn’t stick.

A Cahalane family play - the ball worked from Damien to Conor to Jack - meant interval stalemate.

There was far more road than scores left to run in this one. Two hours after throw-in, Castlehaven eventually punched their semi-final ticket.

Scorers for Castlehaven: B Hurley (0-7, 0-3 frees); R Minihane (1-0); J Cahalane (0-2); M Collins, R Maguire, J O’Driscoll (0-1 each).

Scorers for Cratloe: C McInerney (0-4, 0-4 frees); C O’Hanlon (0-1 mark), E Boyce (0-2 each); D Collins, D Ryan, C Ryan (0-1 each).

Castlehaven: Darragh Cahalane; J O’Regan, R Walsh, T O’Mahony; Damien Cahalane, M Collins, R Maguire; C Cahalane, C Maguire; J O’Neill, B Hurley, A Whelton; S Browne, M Hurley, J Cahalane.

Subs: C O’Driscoll for Browne (42); R Minihane for Whelton (45); C O’Sullivan for O’Neill (47); J O’Driscoll for O’Regan (57); J O’Regan for J O’Driscoll (60); J O’Driscoll for C Maguire (79); M Maguire for B Hurley, D Whelton for O’Mahony (both 80).

Cratloe: P Chaplin; L Markham, K Harnett, D Collins; E Boyce, M Brennan, R McNamara; D Ryan, C Ryan; S Neville, S Collins, C O’Hanlon; R Considine, C McInerney, P Collins.

Subs: J McInerney for Considine, O Murphy for McNamara (both 52); T Rooney for O’Hanlon (55); C O’Hanlon for P Collins (76).

Referee: J Hayes (Limerick).

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