Devastating first-half sees Sarsfields put away Kanturk in SHC round 1 game

Sarsfields Darren Kenneally wins the ball from Kanturk's Sean Carey and James Fitzpatrick during the Cork SHC round 1 at Mallow last night Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Kanturk 2-24 - 0-11 Sarsfields

This Cork senior hurling championship round 1 game didn’t survive to half-time as a contest, with a vastly experienced Sarsfields side putting away Kanturk with a devastating first-half scoring burst.

Mallow GAA grounds can rarely have seen such an efficient display, with the east Cork side hitting the ground running, and dominating the proceedings from start to finish.

Kanturk defended the scoreboard end but Sars opened with early points from Cork star Daniel Kearney and Eoin O’Sullivan (65) before Luke Hackett soloed through to net cleverly: 1-2 to 0-0 on five minutes.

Sars were on top in the middle of the field, with Paul Leopold and William Kearney hitting plenty of good ball to their forwards. Jack O’Connor had a brace in a minute to push Sars 1-4 to 0-0 ahead before Liam O’Keeffe (free) hit Kanturk’s opener on ten minutes.

Lorcan McLoughlin started to get on more ball and Daniel O’Connell added Kanturk’s second, but they also hit some poor wides and with Liam Healy, William Kearney and Aaron Myers pointing from range, they pushed Sars 1-7 to 0-2 ahead on the quarter-hour.

Sars’ work rate was paying dividends as they put the Kanturk backs under pressure - loose clearances gave Healy and Conor O’Sullivan pointscoring opportunities they accepted, with Myers and Eoin O’Sullivan chipping in as well.

Ian Walsh finally stopped the rot for Kanturk, but it was 1-11 to 0-3 and seven minutes still to half-time.

Aidan Walsh and Eoin O’Sullivan swapped points before Sars accelerated away with four on the trot, Daniel Kearney’s long range effort to close the half the pick of the bunch - 1-16 to 0-4 at halftime.

The sides swapped points on the resumption, Darren Kenneally for Kanturk and a long range Conor O’Sullivan free before Ian and Ryan Walsh pushed Kanturk to 0-7.

Eoin O’Sullivan pointed a Sars free and then Kanturk hit three consecutive wides before Lorcan McLoughlin pointed - 1-18 to 0-8 turning into the final quarter.

Either side of McLoughlin’s point, however, Kanturk hit three wides, but credit has to go to their opponents for the pressure they exerted, forcing the north Cork side into hurried shots and wrong options.

Sars cruised through to the final whistle, picking off points at their ease before they got the second goal which underlined their superiority - Luke Hackett was on hand to first-time a rebound home close range for his second green flag of the game with four minutes left.

It was a performance that delivered a warning to other sides with designs on the Cork county senior title - Sars may have been on the road for quite a few years, but their efficiency and teamwork last night suggested a team keen to make it back to the big show in the autumn.

On this display they might be a side to give recent kingpins Imokilly a fair challenge if they make it to the sharp end of the championship.

Scorers for Kanturk: D. Kenneally, D. O’Connell, I. Walsh (0-2 each); A. Walsh, D. O’Donoghue, L. O’Keeffe (free), L. McLoughlin, R. Walsh (0-1 each).

Scorers for Sarsfields: E. O’Sullivan (2 65s, 4 frees)(0-9); L. Hackett (2-1); J. O’Connor (0-4); D. Kearney (0-3); C. O’Sullivan, (1 free), L. Healy, A. Myers (0-2 each); W. Kearney (0-1).

KANTURK: A. Nash, L. O’Neill, L. Cashman, J. McLoughlin, A. O’Keeffe, L. McLoughlin (c), D. Browne, J. Browne, D. O’Connell, D. Kenneally, A. Walsh, R. Walsh, I. Walsh, J. Fitzpatrick, L. O’Keeffe.

Subs: D. O’Donoghue for O’Keeffe (60)

SARSFIELDS: A. Kennedy, D. Kenneally, C. Leahy, C. O’Sullivan, K. Crowley, P. Leopold, D. English, W. Kearney, T. Og O Murchu (c), E. O’Sullivan, A. Myers, D. Kearney, J. O’Connor, L. Healy, L. Hackett.

Referee: D. Copps (Ballyhea).

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