One-man demolition act routs Ballyhea

By Michael Ellard Cloyne 5-14 Ballyhea 0-12 BIG, rangy full-forward Conor Cusack grabbed the headlines by scoring four goals and making the fifth, as Cloyne trounced Ballyhea in this permanent tsb Cork SHC first round replay at Kilworth on Saturday.

Everything Cusack touched turned to gold as Cloyne, after being level on four occasions early on, opened the floodgates with a power-packed second-half performance which an outclassed Ballyhea side had no answer to.

With Neil Ronan, who scored nine of their 12 points, seven from frees, quickly finding his scoring rhythm Ballyhea, with the aid of a stiff wind, gave as good as they got in the opening sequences. But once Cusack, younger brother of Cork goalkeeper Donal Óg, opened his burly shoulders and became a one-man demolition act, Cloyne skated out of sight.

They were level at four points apiece when Cusack struck for his first goal in the 20th minute after cleanly catching a high lob from Brian Motherway and letting fly from close-range.

This was to prove to be only a temporary setback for Ballyhea, however, and with Ronan unerring in his free-taking, the north Cork babes stormed back to lead 0-10 to 1-6 at half-time.

But when Cusack struck home his second goal, a mere 30 seconds after the resumption, the world caved in around Ballyhea and a now rampant Cloyne took complete control, with centre-back Maurice Cahill, midfield player Ian Quinlan and wing-forward Mike Naughton emerging as dominant figures.

With their full line of defence in total disarray Ballyhea managed to score only two points in the second-half, one from a free by Ronan and the other, a smashing score from corner- forward Maurice O’Sullivan.

The mercurial Cusack set-up Colm O’Sullivan for Cloyne’s third goal in the 34th minute and in the twinkling of an eye this contest turned into a rout. It was 3-11 to 0-12 when

Cusack hit his fourth goal in the 48th minute, after being supplied by Philip Cahill, and it was odds-on at this stage that untold damage would be done every time the ball came within range of the Cloyne striker-in-chief.

Cusack brought the curtain down on his goal-scoring display when he kicked home his fourth goal and Cloyne’s fifth in the 54th minute.

Ballyhea never knew what hit them and they will have nightmare memories of Conor Cusack for many a long day to come.

Ballyhea almost snatched a consolation goal near the end but goalkeeper and team captain Donal Óg Cusack turned a cracking drive from Neil

Ronan around the post for a 65.

Scorers for Cloyne: C Cusack 4-1; C O’Sullivan 1-1; I. Quinlan 0-5 (0-4 from frees); M Naughton 0-3; B Motherway, V Cusack, L O’Driscoll and M Cahill (free) 0-1 each.

Ballyhea: N Ronan 0-9 (0-7 from frees);

M O’Sullivan 0-2; J O’Sullivan 0-1.

CLOYNE: D Óg Cusack; E O’Sullivan, K Cronin, Donal O’Sullivan; L O’Driscoll, M Cahill, Diarmuid O’Sullivan; I Quinlan, P Cahill; B Motherway, C O’Sullivan, M Naughton; I McCarthy,

C Cusack, V Cusack. Subs: D Motherway for Donal O’Sullivan; J Cotter for C O’Sullivan.

BALLYHEA: D O’Donoghue; E Morrissey, R Ronan, O O’Sullivan; S Curtin, B Coleman,

A O’Connor; I Curtin, I Ronan; J O’Sullivan,

N Ronan, B Condon; M O’Sullivan, T Shanahan, D Ronan. Sub: J O’Riordan for R Ronan.

Referee: W Horgan.

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