The Heath 0-14
By Alan Hartnett
ROBBIE Dowling’s left -footed effort deep in second-half injury time ensured that these two sides will have to do battle all over again, in a bid to save their senior status for another year.
Graiguecullen or The Heath would not have been high on punters’ lists of relegation favourites at the start of the championship but two defeats for both of them in the opening rounds has left them in this predicament.
The Barrowsiders dominated the opening quarter of the game, outscoring their opponents by three points to none. Luke Hand, Aaron Forbes and Ambrose Doran got their names on the scoresheet as Graiguecullen laid down an early marker.
The Heath had the first of many goal chances in this one but Colin Nestor hit the wrong side of the net before talisman Chris Bergin reeled off three frees to level matters, as we headed into the final five minutes of the first half.
Graiguecullen got back on top with a brace from Aaron Forbes but The Heath kept within a point thanks to Evin Keane. Ambrose Doran put two between them again as The Heath ended the half with two more goal opportunities.
Shane Carroll was denied from point-blank range by Patrick Scully with JP Nerney pointing the resulting 45. Less than a minute later, the excellent Scully was at it again to thwart Evin Keane, which left the half time score reading 0-6 to 0-5 in Graiguecullen’s favour.
Just as they did in the first half, Graiguecullen resumed proceedings the better and went two clear thanks to Ambrose Doran and Aaron Forbes.
The Heath then squandered their fourth goal chance. Evin Keane did well to flick the ball in to Brian Ging, who was clear on goal but fired wide when he had Eoin Delaney waiting at the back post for what would have been a simple tap in.
Nevertheless, they kept plugging away and points via Robbie Dowling and Bergin tied the game once more as we headed into the final ten minutes of normal time.
Ambrose Doran thought he had won it for Graiguecullen from a free and when Patrick Scully pulled off his third save from point-blank range in the final minute to stop Denis Booth, it looked as though the Barrowsiders would be safe for another year.
But in the third minute of added time, Chris Bergin’s long range free was gathered by Scully on the 13 metre line but he was quickly surrounded by The Heath forwards and overcarried the ball. Chris Bergin pointed the resulting free and we headed for extra time on a scoreline of 0-9 apiece.
Aaron Forbes and Lee Timmons kicked Graiguecullen two points ahead in the early part of first half extra time but again The Heath came back to level via Bergin and Keane.
Graiguecullen had their only goal chance with the final kick of the first half of extra time, when Aaron Forbes unleashed a rasper but Joe Walsh somehow managed to flick it onto the post to leave the score at 0-11 each.
The Heath took the lead for the very first time in the 71st minute but Graiguecullen soon levelled via substitute Patrick Murphy, before Ambrose Doran put them ahead with two minutes to go from a free. But this pulsating affair would not result in a winner, as Robbie Dowling’s left-footed effort from the tightest of angles means that we will have to do it all over again.
THE HEATH: Joe Walsh; Aidan Bergin, Colin Neston, Mark Dowling; Tony Connolly, Denis Booth, Gary Smith; Robbie Dowling (0-2), Seamus Mulhare; Shane Carroll, Chris Bergin (0-8, 6f), Brian Ging; Eoin Delaney, Evin Keane (0-2), JP Nerney (0-1f). Subs: Jimmy Nerney for Carroll (37m), Alan Whelan for Delaney (50m), Cathal Whelan for JP Nerney (55m), Shane Carroll for Ging (68m)
GRAIGUECULLEN: Patrick Scully; Liam Kearney, Trevor Collins, Ross Alcock; Bobby Doyle, Mark Timmons, Brian Byrne; Michael Hand, Danny O’Reilly; Shane O’Neill, James Doogue, Ian Fleming; Ambrose Doran (0-5, 3f), Aaron Forbes (0-5), Luke Hand (0-1). Subs: Patrick Murphy (0-1) for Timmons (32m, inj), Danny Alsybury for Doogue (37m), Lee Timmons (0-1) for Fleming (57m), Wayne Humphries for Kearney (59m), Shane Farrell for Alcock (72m, inj)
Referee: John Flynn (The Rock)