O'Connell earns last-gasp Rathnure draw
Despite the scoring exploits of Cormac Foley, Buffers Alley had to settle for a share of the points in this hard-fought 60 minutes with Rathnure in their Top Oil Intermediate hurling championship Group B game in Camolin on Saturday.
Buffers Alley 1-12 Rathnure 0-15
While Foley was his side's scorer-in-chief, finishing with a personal tally of 1-9, it was still not sufficient for them to take both points, as Rathnure salvaged a draw when a Jamie O'Connell 80-metre free in additional time found its way over the bar with the last puck of the game.
The opening 30 minutes developed into a shoot-out between Foley and O'Connell as they continued to trade points, but Foley's 20th-minute goal gave his side a one-point (1-4 to 0-6) interval lead.
Foley and O'Connell traded early second-half points, before a Rory Higgins 39th-minute point had the sides level (1-5 to 0-8). When Foley shot over three further points, this time all from play, the Alley had moved three points clear, but with O'Connell and Nigel Higgins finding the target for Rathnure, the Alley were left clinging to a 1-12 to 0-14 lead after a John Moran point edged them back in front just on full-time.
Then came O'Connell's remarkable last-second effort which gave Rathnure a point that they deserved.
And as it happened, the draw was warmly welcomed by both sides as it was enough to ensure they will be contesting the championship quarter-finals later in the year.
Fethard are also through from this group after their weekend draw with Geraldine O'Hanrahans, as all three teams are on five points already.
The last place will be a three-way battle between Liam Mellows, St. Patrick's and Geraldine O'Hanrahans.
Buffers Alley: Oliver O'Leary; Conor Kenny, Alan Doyle, Eoin Whelan; Michael Sinnott, Thomas Dempsey, Colm Og Doran; Domhnall McArdle, Robert O'Leary (0-1); Páuric Roche, Darragh Butler, Ciarán Murphy (0-1); Cormac Foley (1-9, 0-5 frees, 0-1 '65), John Moran (0-1), Paul Doran. Sub. - Eddie O'Connor for Butler.
Rathnure: Liam Barron; Denis Maher, Shane Barron, Brendan Flynn; Matty Creane, Teddy O'Connor, Dermot Reddy; Anthony Westnott, James Tobin; Rory Higgins (0-1), Fran Murphy, Stephen Furlong (0-1); Patrick Flynn, Nigel Higgins (0-2), Jamie O'Connell (0-11, 10 frees). Subs. - Seánie Redmond for P. Flynn, Syl Barron for Westnott.
Referee: Derek Murphy (St. Martin's).