The game was from pretty being riddled with stoppages and injuries throughout but the playing of only two minutes injury time at the end of the first half and no injury time at all on full-time definitely suited us.
Ronan Crowley levelled the scores at a point a piece on the fourth minute after Michael Cahalane had been fouled and Michael in turn drew us level again from play after fine defensive work by James Walsh and Philip Crowley who was magnificent throughout.
Soon-after Castlelyons regained the lead and from there till the break dominated our forwards and held sway also in the middle of the field.
We were unable to find any sort of rhythm and were it for stout defending by James Walsh, James O’Donovan, Philip Crowley and especially Eoin O’Donovan we would have been in far more trouble.
However, in the midst of our turmoil on the 11th minute we were gifted a goal by Mark Sugrue after our opponents completely failed to deal with a nothing type line ball.
That goal, completely against the run of play, cushioned us and in the end was the all decisive score of this very average game of hurling.
Cha Dullea was introduced on the 16th minute to replace the injured James Walsh and the former was not lacking for effort from there till the end.
Castlelyons, bossed the rest of the half, drew level on the 20th minute only to see that lead wiped out by a Ronan Crowley pointed free (1-3 to 0-5) after Mark Sugrue had been trampled upon by not one but three Castlelyons defenders on the 25th minute. The break came much earlier than anticipated as I had counted at least 5 ½ minutes injury time than the two that was allowed.
We opened smarter after the re-start with the wind on our backs and Darren Crowley shot over a hard earned point on the 3rd minute after both sides had early wide balls. Michael Cahalane made amends for an earlier miss when he pointed after reacting fastest to a line ball to leave us 1-5 to 0-5 ahead but in truth we were in trouble in many departments of the pitch and the withdrawal of Niall O’Rourke didn’t help matters as up to that point he had competed best for any 50/50 ball in the forward division.
Castlelyons, had two pointed frees and could have been ahead on the 11th minute was it not for a fine low-down save by James McSweeney.
On the 17th minute Alan Johnson and Ronan Crowley sent over fine points to ensure another goal lead and we needed that cushion as from there till the end it was practically all one way traffic towards the Bandon goalmouth and combinations of last ditch defending, good goal-keeping and some horrendous wides by Castlelyons ensured that we emerged victors by a single point after Jason McCarthy justified his mentors faith with a fine point on the 25th minute.
Finally, the referee blew up dead on time when again at least three minutes injury time was more than justified but Bandon were not complaining.
Bandon just about deserved this victory as they had more hurling and scored more from play than their opponents but that does not always transfer itself into a victory especially as the Caherlag field is far too short and is very exposed to high winds by its location.
In previous years, it is no exaggeration to say that Bandon would have lost this type of match but there is a maturity about this team now that enabled them to see out this victory.
However, it is also a reminder that nothing is definite in sport and that it takes gargantuan efforts to win county titles and teams can’t be taken for granted.
A huge amount of work and effort is now required before our quarter-final showdown with Carraigaline on the third weekend of August.
Team: J McSweeney, P Crowley, J O’Donovan (Capt.), J Burke, E O’Donovan, D Lucey, J Walsh, J Harrington, D Crowley, N O’Rourke, M Sugrue (1-0), J Hickey, M Cahalane 0-2, A Johnson 0-1, R Crowley 0-3 (2f’s), Subs: C Dullea, J McCarthy 0-1, & P Murphy.
The Junior A Hurlers suffered a heavy defeat in Round 4 of their championship encounter again St Oliver Plunketts at Newcestown last Sunday evening losing out on a score of 0-9 to 2-19.
The main fixture this coming week is Bandon v Midleton in Round 2 of the Premier One Minor Hurling Championship at C.I.T. on this Thursday 2nd August with a 07.30 p.m. throw-in.