Awesome Kanturk stay fully focused

Kanturk 2-22 Éire Óg 1-12
Thirteen months ago, Kanturk faced Kilworth in the IHC final and enjoyed a brilliant start.

Inside 10 minutes, they led 1-4 to 0-0 but by the end they had fallen three points behind, so it’s unlikely that few were getting carried away at the way they hared out of the traps yesterday against Éire Óg.

With fewer than eight minutes elapsed, they had an unanswered 1-5 — primarily inspired by Lorcán McLoughlin — on the board, but there was little let-up as they sought to right the wrongs of last year.

Though their Ovens opponents had given themselves a fighting chance as they trailed by 1-12 to 0-7 at half-time, Kanturk stayed focused and were pulling away again by the end, ready to sample the premier intermediate grade in 2014.

They might yet be doing so on two fronts — they are still in the IFC, with a clash against Glanmire coming up on Wednesday night — but they should savour the sheer majesty of their performance.

McLoughlin was on a different level, contributing 11 points from midfield and displaying excellent passing accuracy, regularly pinging the ball into team-mates’ hands.

Aidan Walsh was one of the primary beneficiaries of this, scoring 1-1, his 42nd-minute goal finally quenching any lingering Éire Óg hopes, while Alan O’Keeffe at full-forward also helped himself to a goal and a point.

O’Keeffe’s green flag, after he beat keeper Paul Ryan to a McLoughlin delivery, capped a wonderful start by Kanturk.

They had four points in seven minutes — and but for blocks by Éire Óg defenders John Kelleher and Fionn O’Rourke, the damage would’ve been greater.

Despite having started at full-forward, Éire Óg relocated Ciarán Sheehan to a deeper berth very early, and his day was one of frustration. The Muskerry side opted to drop John Dineen back as a sweeper midway through the first half. This did help stem the flow but also meant Shane Walsh was free at the other end to scoop up loose ball and snuff out opportunities.

Despite that, Kevin Hallissey’s efforts helped Éire Óg to build their tally, though John McLoughlin at centre-back was stymieing his Cork football colleague Sheehan.

In the midst of all of this, McLoughlin was masterful, creating and scoring. It was his vision which allowed Walsh a 26th-minute chance but he fluffed his kicked goal attempt, however, the midfielder took advantage of Walsh’s reverse handpass to get the final score of the half and leave eight points in it at half-time.

Hallissey shone as Éire Óg remained competitive at the start of the second half and Kanturk showed slight nerves with some sloppy wides.

The key moment came 12 minutes in, though. McLoughlin’s ball from the left was destined for Walsh’s paw the moment it left his hurley and the Cork footballer used his pace to drive on and finish well.

With a 2-15 to 0-10 lead, Kanturk were able to enjoy themselves and subs Liam O’Keeffe, Brendan Mullane and Donncha Kenneally all got on the scoresheet, as did Anthony Nash with a free from his own half.

There was some cheer for Éire Óg and Hallissey late on as he rifled a free to Nash’s top corner. It was only consolation, however, and Kanturk rounded things off when Walsh’s no-look pass found full-back Donagh Duane on the left. It was no surprise when he split to posts.

Scorers for Kanturk: L McLoughlin 0-11 (three frees, two 65s), A O’Keeffe (one free), A Walsh 1-1 each, L O’Keeffe (one free) 0-2, D Duane, A Nash (free), M Healy, D Kenneally, B Mullane, C Burke, J Brown 0-1 each.

Scorers for Éire Óg: K Hallissey 1-8 (1-5 frees), J Dineen 0-2, D Gouldin, C Murphy 0-1 each.

KANTURK: A Nash; S Walsh, D Duane, E O’Connor; D O’Connor, J McLoughlin, L O’Neill; D Brown, L McLoughlin; J Brown, M Healy, A Walsh; A O’Keeffe, W Murphy, M O’Riordan.

Subs: L O’Keeffe for Healy, C Burke for Murphy (both 43), D Kenneally for O’Riordan (46), K Smith for D Brown, B Mullane for O’Keeffe (both 52).

ÉIRE ÓG: P Ryan; É Lowney, T O’Leary, J Kelleher; F O’Rourke, A O’Mahony, D Herlihy; C O’Mahony, P McDonagh; D O’Connor, L Murphy, D Goulding; K Hallissey, C Sheehan, J Dineen.

Subs: M O’Shea for C O’Mahony (26), C Murphy for L Murphy (33), S McCarthy for Kelleher (41).

Referee: David Daly (Brian Dillons).

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