A superb second-half display from Kilworth - during which they outscored their opponents by 0-13 to 0-4 - comfortably advanced Shane Tobin’s charges to the third round of the Cork PIHC.
Trailing by 0-8 to 0-7 after a most mundane opening half an hour of hurling, very few of those in attendance at Páirc Uí Rinn would have envisaged the extent to which Kilworth would completely own the second-half of this first-round fixture.
Indeed, there was no indication early upon the change of ends that Kilworth were poised to wrestle control of proceedings with an iron fist as the first four points of the second period were evenly shared, a brace from Chris O’Leary, having been switched from half-back to half-forward during the interval, arriving either side of white flags from Kilworth’s Noel McNamara and Liam Whelan.
From there to the finish, though, it was virtually one-way traffic as the men from Innishannon managed only two points during the closing 21 minutes of action.
There was no such paucity of scores down the other end as Kilworth found the target from all angles and distances. Indeed, each one of their 20 points arrived from play, a most impressive stat.
Two-in-a-row from Whelan in and around the 40 minute mark nudged Kilworth in front for the first time. O’Leary tied matters with his third free, but they’d not score again for 17 minutes, a period during which the winners reeled off seven without reply. McNamara, Will Condon, Eoin Carey, and Whelan all swelled their personal tallies to move Shane Tobin’s side out of sight of a lethargic Valley Rovers outfit that offered little or no resistance at the back in the final quarter.
“We went in at half-time and we were only a point down after playing very poor. We knew there was more in us. We showed that in the second-half,” said Tobin.
“The second-half was good, but we’ve been going well in the [Division 2] league, having won four of our five games. We know league form doesn’t always necessarily translate into championship form, but we just needed to get a performance.
"We’re up in premier intermediate since 2013 and have only won one first-round game since 2013. It is a big monkey off our back and important to go directly into the third round, as opposed to the second round.
"It will be like starting another season again now, but we’ve learned from last year.”
Valley Rovers, who registered only two points from play in the entire second period, were the better side in the opening half, but were let down by a number of poor wides.
John Cottrell, the lively Colm Butler, and Eoin O’Reilly had them three clear inside five minutes and it was an advantage which they would hold on three different occasions in the first-half. This was their very position two minutes before the break, but their lead was quickly eaten into as Whelan and Condon threw over points in swift succession to leave just the minimum between the sides at the interval.
The tide turned, quite significantly so, thereafter.
Scorers for Kilworth: L Whelan, W Condon (0-5 each); E Carey (0-4); N McNamara (0-3); J Sheehan (0-2); N Byrne (0-1).
Scorers for Valley Rovers: C O’Leary (0-4, 0-3 frees); E O'Reilly (0-3); E Delaney, C Butler, J Cottrell, R Butler, A Kenneally (0-1 each).
K Walsh; M McNamara, K Lane, M O’Connor; N Byrne, D Twomey, A O’Hara; B Tobin, L Whelan; T Twomey, P Moakley, E Carey; N McNamara, J Sheehan, W Condon.
Subs: E McGrath for Twomey (36).
W Burke; S O’Leary, D Lynch, C Desmond; C O’Leary, W Hurley, E Delaney; C Butler, S O’Regan; D Looney, N O’Donovan, J Cottrell; P Hurley, E O’Reilly, R Butler.
Subs: A Sheehan for Desmond, A Kenneally for Looney (both half-time); A Lyons for R Butler (43 mins); K Canty for Cottrell (51).
Referee: S Stokes (Tullylease).
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