'A Game we'll never forget' Saturday October 10th 1998

'A Game we'll never forget'   Saturday October 10th 1998

Down the years Bride Rovers teams played in some fantastic games, some were won and many were lost. Of all the games I remember I think the 1998 County Junior hurling semi-final was surely one of the best. A hard earned victory that day in Pairc Ui Rinn truly changed the history of our club. Five minutes into the second half when we trailed by eight points a first ever appearance in a County Junior Hurling Final looked a remote possibility.

Just two weeks previously in Cobh we had won our fifth East Cork Junior Title after a gap of 29 years with a 2  13 to 2  6 victory over Dungourney. Meanwhile Ballinascarthy had retained their Carbery Divisional title with a win over Bandon. In the County quarter-final Ballinascarthy drew with Avondhu champions Dromina before winning the replay. They were after two good games before travelling to Pairc Ui Rinn to meet us in the semi-final. We had previously won East Cork titles in 1930, 1932, 1968 and 1969 but had never won a game in the 'County'. In the week before the game Ballinascarthy had tried to get the game switched but with team coach Fr Seanie Barry due to travel back to Africa we were anxious to get the match played as soon as possible. Despite playing against the strong breeze we got a mighty start with points from Jerome O Driscoll, Terry Broderick and Padraig Murphy - all scored in the first three minutes. Colman Murphy opened the Bal account after six minutes  They got the next five points to lead by three. Sean Ryan got one back for us before Murphy had a brace of white flags to put Ballinascarthy ahead by double scores -eight points to four. Worse was to follow when Ballinascarthy scored a goal in the 24th minute. We were in serious trouble and three wides from good chances before the break didn't augur well for our chances. It was a dejected team that trooped into the Pairc Ui Rinn dressingroom trailing by 1 8 to 0 4. Having had a great start we had scored just a single point in the last twenty six minutes of the first half. Ballinascarthy had the aid of the wind but the wind never won a game for anybody, they had simply out-hurled us. The lads took to the field in the second half really fired up and determined to give everything for the green, white and gold. It was the Carbery men however who started the better. A further white flag from a free put them a whopping eight points ahead  1 9 to  0 4. 'When hot grew that fight those hearts grew more eager'  is a line from our Club Anthem 'Bride Rovers Abu', well if ever that famous Rovers spirit and heart was displayed it was that afternoon in Pairc Ui Rinn. With nothing to lose the team just cut loose. Points from Batt McHugh, Jerome, Mike Hogan and James Murphy halved the deficit and the cheer  'C'mon the Rovers' grew louder and louder. A smashing goal from Jerome followed and now we were hurling like inspired men. Bal had two points from frees to go three ahead again with ten minutes to go. We levelled but went behind again as the lead changed hands. The excitement was at fever pitch as Colman Murphy put Ballinascarthy ahead, 1 13 to 1  12. Padraig Murphy levelled for us as we entered the last minute. Barry Murphy gathered and cleared the Ballinascarthy goalies long puck out and delivered to Batt Mc Hugh who sent the sliotar sailing between the posts. We were ahead 1 14 to 1  13. There was still time and Ballinascarthy got two sideline cuts but both were cleared. The final whistle went amidst scenes of `joy and almost disbelief. We had battled back from an almost impossible position to win, oh what a game and what a team performance.