No payback for Cloyne as Rockies retain league title

Blackrock 2-16 Cloyne 1-8

And at blustery Páirc Uí Chaoimh yesterday the Cloyne men fancied their chances of getting a little bit of payback in the shape of the Conroy Cup 2003 senior league title. However, Blackrock, too, were looking for their own bit of compensation for losing their title to Newtownshandrum and in the end it was the City side who again proved the masters.

Quite simply, as the scoreline illustrates, Blackrock were twice a better side. No Alan Cummins, no Alan Browne, no Noel Keane, the spine of the team. But they still had talent in abundance to see off Cloyne, with Paul Tierney a jewel around the centre of the park, scoring four terrific points in the process.

Ably abetted by Adrian Coughlan at midfield, and with Steve O'Keeffe also outstanding at centre-back, the Rockies hit a purple patch six minutes into the second-half with the sides level for the sixth time at 0-8 apiece. Playing with real fire in the tough condition, they saw off Cloyne with a brace of goals from David Cashman and some outstanding long rang points for which the East Corkmen had no answer.

Strangely they go into action again on Wednesday night under light at Páirc Uí Rinn in the 2002 semi-final against Erin's Own and the Caherlag outfit may well need one of their favourite sons to unlock a Rockies defence that also had Wayne Sherlock and Aidan Ryan in sublime form.

A good competitive opening half, despite the heavy gong and Cloyne were first to strike with a terrific point from Colm O'Sullivan. Coughlan levelled matters with a free in the eighth minute and had he and Tierney taken their chances they would have been ahead despite playing against the strong breeze.

Both Victor Cusack and Diarmuid O'Sullivan saw yellow in the opening 15 minutes as the game got competitive as points from Barry Hennebry and another Coughlan free gave the holders from 2001 a 0-3 to 0-1 lead after the opening 15 minutes.

Maurice Cahill got Cloyne back into the game with a '65 in the 18th minute and its seemed to lift his side as points from a Diarmuid O'Sullivan free and a couple from play from Conor Cusack shot them two clear. But Blackrock were up for the battle and point from Tierney, Hennebry and another Coughlan free had the sides level at the break at 0-6 apiece.

Coughlan and Tierney for Blackrock, Ian Quinlan and Aidan O'Brien for Cloyne hit the target after the restart but it was Blackrock, with Tierney and Coughlan now beginning to buzz, who took control and hit Cloyne hard, the East Corkmen failing to score again until Victor Cusack's late free which went all the way to the net.

Another brace of frees from Coughlan started the rot, and with Tierney and Cashman rowing in Blackrock led 0-12 to 0-8 entering the final quarter. And there was no let-up with Coughlan showing his magic from the centre of the park scoring two fine points and setting Cashman up for his first goal, all inside 60 glorious seconds in the 47th minute.

It was all over for Cloyne now, with Cashman getting his second goal late in he game after a disappointing Brian O'Keeffe had shot weakly. Early days yet but coach Timmy Murphy could afford a wry smile before they go into action again on Wednesday.

Scorers for Blackrock: A. Coughlan 0-9 (0-6 frees, 0-1’ '65), D. Cashman 2-1, P. Tierney 0-4, B. Hennebry 0-2.

Cloyne: V. Cusack 1-0 (free), I. Quinlan (frees), C. Cusack 0-2 each, C. O'Sullivan, M. Cahill ('65), D. O'Sullivan (free), A. O'Brien 0-1 each.

BLACKROCK: T. Barry; W. Sherlock, J. Browne, S. Murphy; A. Ryan, S. O'Keeffe, F. Ryan; P. Tierney, A. Coughlan; B. Hennebry, L. Meaney, D. Gosnell; B. O'Keeffe, J. Young, D. Cashman. Subs: I. Walsh for Meaney, R. Curtin for Browne.

CLOYNE: D. Og Cusack; D. Motherway, K. Cronin, E. O'Sullivan; L. O'Driscoll, M. Cahill, D. O'Sullivan; I. McCarthy, M. Naughton; A. O'Brien, C. O'Sullivan, I. Quinlan; V. Cusack, C. Cusack, D. Ring. Subs: B. Fleming for McCarthy, P. O'Sullivan for Quinlan, C. Lomasney for Naughton.

Referee: D. Kirwan (Eire Og).

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