In the end it, was their performance in the third quarter that laid the foundation for Watergrasshill’s victory over Inniscarra in the first round of the Cork PIHC in Páirc Uí Rinn tonight. The game was tied at the change of ends, as it had been on four other occasions in the opening period.
However, on the re-start the east Cork side outscored their rivals by 0-7 to 0-2, with wing-forward Shane O’Regan slotting over four frees while Anthony Cronin, Dylan McCarthy and Padraig O’Leary were also on target.
Darragh Hughes and Shane O’Mahony managed to stop the rot for Inniscarra but ultimately the margin opened at this stage was to be a game winning one.
It was a win that they deserved. O’Regan was un-erring from placed balls all evening and scored 0-9 across the hour while he was ably assisted by his namesake, Shane O’Regan Óg, who scored three points, including a beautiful effort from a side-line. Their backs were also excellent throughout, limiting the Inniscarra forwards to only three points from play with Kevin O’Neill and Aaron Ricken particularly effective.
Inniscarra did had the better of the opening exchanges with Owen McCarthy looking particularly sharp and he had the game’s first score in the second minute. They found themselves behind moments later, however, when Watergrashill’s Padraig O’Leary pilfered possession from Inniscarra’s John O’Keeffe before finishing to the net from a tight angle.
The mid-Cork men were playing the crisper hurling though, and they used the ball well while also putting ferocious pressure on their opponents. Four Padraig Holland frees settled them after the goal but points from Eoin Barry and Shane O’Regan had the sides level for the third time after twenty minutes.
And it was very much a case of tit for tat after that until the break. Seán O’Donoghue, Holland and David O’Keeffe found the target for Inniscarra with Shane O’Regans, old and Óg, sharing four between them to edge the ‘Hill in front again before Holland again put the sides level for the fifth time on the stroke of half-time, 0-9 to 1-6.
Then came the Hill’s third quarter tour-de-force that completely knocked the wind out of Inniscarra’s sails. To maintain their advantage, it was essential that they keep a clean sheet and despite the best efforts of Inniscarra, they never really looked like finding the major they needed.
Colm Casey did force a smart save from ‘keeper Darragh O’Callaghan and O’Callaghan was also equal to a decent free hit by Padraig Holland. But Inniscarra probably went searching for goals a bit early when points might have increased the pressure on the Watergrasshill rear-guard.
But the Hill never really looked in danger of surrendering their advantage. Points from Sean O’Donoghue and Holland did bring the margin briefly back to four points, but Shane O’Regan cancelled them out with two more frees before O’Regan Óg finished off proceedings with a sweet score to secure his side’s passage into the fourth-round draw.
Watergrasshill scorers: S O’Regan 0-9 (0-8 frees), P O’Leary 1-1, S O’Regan Óg 0-3 (0-1 s/l), E Barry, A Cronin and D McCarthy 0-1 each.
Inniscarra scorers: P Holland 0-7 (all frees), S O’Donoghue 0-2, O McCarthy, D O’Keeffe, D Hughes and S O’Mahony 0-1 each.
Watergrasshill: D O’Callaghan, K O’Keeffe, A Ricken, P Cronin, K O’Neill, G O’Kelly Lynch, B Fenton, A Cronin, P O’Regan, E Barry, W Connolly, S O’Regan, P O’Leary, D McCarthy, S O’Regan Óg. Subs: J McCarthy for Barry (53 mins).
Inniscarra: J O’Keeffe, J O’Callaghan, B O’Mahony, J Buckley, C O’Leary, S O’Donoghue, L Buckley, L Ryan, D Hughes, D O’Keeffe, C Buckley, P Holland, O McCarthy, S O’Mahony, M O’Connell. Subs: C Lombard for J Buckley (40 mins), C Casey for C Buckley (43 mins), C Bennett for Hughes (47 mins), for C Buckley O’Callaghan (58 mins, inj).
Referee: Cathal Egan (Glen Rovers).