It's a long, long time since Blackrock suffered such a trouncing and whether it can be put down to a bad day at the office, only time will tell. Certainly competing without the injured Fergal Ryan did not help their cause, but the way Cloyne clicked into gear in this often bad-tempered contest augurs well. They were a team with a plan and meaning business as they commenced their bid to atone for last season's final defeat by Na Piarsaigh in fine style.
Two Blackrock players, Joe Young and Wayne Sherlock, were sent off in the second-half for second yellow offences and really Diarmuid O'Sullivan can count himself lucky not to have seen red for a first-half incident which saw referee John Sexton book four players.
But, despite all that, Cloyne played some splendid hurling in front of before a huge crowd on a super hurling park . And Cloyne selector Tomás O'Brien could not hide his delight. "The lads were super tonight. We practised hard, went out with a game plan and stuck to it. We built up a healthy half-time lead but we told the lads not to let up. I suppose Conor Cusack's goal just after the restart finished them off but we played sweet hurling tonight. Now we move on."
And sweet it was for a flat-footed Rockies side never squared up to Cloyne's eager beavers, despite getting off to a good start when playing against the strong wind. They raced into a 0-3 to 0-1 lead after seven minutes through points from Liam Meaney, Paul Tierney and an Adrian Coughlan free, with Diarmuid O'Sullivan replying with a peach of a sideline point. And he only narrowly missed another.
But that was as good as it got for the Rockies as Cloyne proceeded to play some sparking hurling. Victor and Conor Cusack and young Paudie O'Sullivan ran the city defence ragged as they raced into a 1-5 to 0-3 lead after the opening quarter.
O'Sullivan got the goal in the 10th minute and it was a good outing for the youngster for he also showed real composure and sharpness from frees, scoring eight overall.
There was no stopping Cloyne. Cillian Cronin was powerful at full-back, Maurice Cahill and Diarmuid O'Sullivan ruled the half back-line and, with Donal O'Sullivan and John Cotter full of energy around midfield, Blackrock just couldn't get into the match. Phil Cahill soon stretched their lead and it took wonder save from Frank Barry to deny the same player after that ugly melee that saw two players from each side booked.
Maurice Cahill also showed his accuracy with two more pointed 65s and late in the half Blackrock were lucky again when Conor Cusack minus his hurley only managed to kick a point with the goal at his mercy as Cloyne led 1-11 to 0-3 at the break.
Blackrock needed things to happen quickly in the second-half, but it was Cloyne who struck the telling blow just a minute in when Conor Cusack took Diarmuid O'Sullivan's delivery and fired home a goal that finished off the city side. There was no way back now and although Coughlan converted a free their first score for over 30 minutes it was only a token effort.
With Paudie O'Sullivan unerring from frees, Cloyne just sauntered along, the buzz well and truly gone from this contest, though they did get a little reminder they were in a game in the 40th minute when Meaney kicked home a goal following Coughlan's long delivery.
Cloyne led 2-16 to 1-4 entering the final quarter of a tame second-half.
It got even worse for a frustrated Rockies in the final quarter when Young, booked in that first-half melee, and Sherlock got their marching orders. But few teams would have matched Cloyne on the night as Phil Cahill, Victor Cusack, O'Sullivan's sublime free-taking and Ian Quinlan all added to Blackrock's misery and the former kingpins now face another searching test against to stay in the championship
Scorers for Cloyne: P. O'Sullivan 1-8 (0-8 frees), C. Cusack 1-1, M. Cahill (all 65s), P. Cahill 0-3 each, D. O'Sullivan (0-1 sideline, 0-1 frees), V. Cusack, J. Cotter 0-2 each, I. Quinlan 0-1.
Blackrock: L. Meaney 1-1, A. Coughlan 0-3 (0-2 free), P. Tierney 0-1.
CLOYNE:D. Óg Cusack; E. O'Sullivan, K. Cronin, D. Motherway; Diarmuid O'Sullivan, M. Cahill, M. Naughton; Donal O'Sullivan, J. Cotter; C. O'Sullivan, V. Cusack, I. Quinlan; P. O'Sullivan, P. Cahill, C. Cusack.
Sub: D. Ring for E. O'Sullivan.
BLACKROCK:F. Barry; W. Sherlock, S. Barry, J. Browne; C. Murphy, A. Cummins, D. Gosnell; A. Coughlan, P. Tierney; B. Hennebrey, L. Meaney, J. Young; B. O'Keeffe, A. Browne, S. Coakley.
Subs: T. J. Coughlan for S. Barry. C. O'Reilly for Coakley.
Referee: J. Sexton (Ballyhea).