A man-of-the-match display by Eoghan Murphy helped Erin’s Own to a comfortable eight-point victory over fellow East Cork side Killeagh in a lacklustre county SHC fourth round tie at Midleton on Saturday night.
Switched out to centre forward to try and curb the influence of Brendan Barry, who was totally dominant for Killeagh at centre back, Murphy succeeded in making Barry almost totally ineffective in the second-half. In the process, the Erin’s Own man contributed five of his eight points in that second moiety and had a hand in four more.
Two more who can take a chunk of credit for the win are the Murphy brothers in defence, Shane and Killian, who hardly put a foot wrong all night.
For team coach PJ Murphy, father of Eoghan, it was a satisfactory result.
"Considering we lost the services of our two midfielders in the first-half, I was particularly pleased with the way we played in that period," he said.
Killeagh will point to their failure to get anything from three penalties, and a shot that came back off the crossbar, but team manager Noel O’Connor wasn’t offering any excuses.
"Certainly we didn’t enjoy any luck around their goal, and had we scored one of the penalties, it might have turned out differently, but look, they overran us in the second-half, played some excellent hurling and we were unable to match them", he said.
Erin’s Own struck early to lead by two points to nil after just a minute and an 11-week gap since their last outing suggested the long lay-off wasn’t going to be a factor.
On the other hand this was Killeagh’s third outing and they showed the benefit of that. They won their first penalty in the fifth minute but ‘keeper Bernard Rochford’s effort blocked out for a 65 by his opposite number Shay Bowen which was pointed by Joe Deane.
With Brendan Barry playing out of his skin at centre back and Michael Byrne, who opted out of the county senior scene a couple of years ago, sparkling at centre forward, Killeagh took the game to their more fancied opponents. Only the thickness of the Erin’s Own crossbar denied Mark Landers a goal.
All the pressure was on the Erin’s Own defence and it finally paid off when Andy Walsh grabbed a lengthy clearance from Brian Collins before giving Shay Bowen no chance from close range and it was no more than his side deserved.
A knee injury to Sean Kelly which forced him off, and a hamstring injury to his midfielder partner Kieran Murphy forced Erin’s Own into a couple of switches which proved key for them.
Murphy went to full-forward and his brother Eoghan came out to centre-forward where he proceeded to curtail the dominance of Brendan Barry, and a half time deficit of a single point – 1-5 to 0-7 – after playing against the wind, was more than manageable.
However Erin’s Own didn’t have matters all their own way and Killeagh were thrown a life line five minutes into the second-half when they won their second penalty but it was the same result as the first — the three-man Erin’s Own wall saving Kieran Lane’s effort.
By the 40th minute the sides were deadlocked at 1-7 to 0-10, but Erin’s Owns more skilful hurling was clearly evident and in a five minute spell, Eoghan Murphy showed his class with four points to edge his side 0-16 to 1-9 clear by the three-quarter stage.
Killeagh needed a goal to stave off defeat and were given a chance with a third penalty but once again they failed, this time Mark Landers’ effort being blocked and when he drove the rebound wide, it clearly wasn’t going to be their day.
Scorers for Erin’s Own: E Murphy 0-8 (4fs), K Murphy, M Murphy 0-3 each, A Bowen, C Coakley 0-2 each, M Collins, J Sheehan, C O’Callaghan 0-1 each.
Scorers for Killeagh: J Deane 0-7 (4fs, 3 65s), A Walsh 1-1; M Byrne 0-2.
ERIN’S OWN: S Bowen; Killian Murphy, S Murphy, P Fitzgerald; S Cronin, P Kelly, B Clifford; S Kelly, Kieran Murphy; M Collins, J Sheehan, M O’Carroll; C Coakley, E Murphy, A Bowen.
Subs: M Murphy for S Kelly (20); E O’Callaghan for Sheehan (40).
KILLEAGH: B Rochford; C Fogarty, C Fogarty, S Murphy; B Collins, B Barry, K Lane; D Cahill, P O’Neill; M Landers, M Byrne, J Budds; J O’Connor, A Walsh, J Deane.
Subs: S Long for O’Connor (35); P McGrath for Cahill (35).
Referee: J Sexton (Ballyhea).