Bride survive determined fightback by Delanys

BRIDE ROVERS survived a tremendous second-half fightback by Delanys at sun-drenched Caherlag last night to advance to round three of the Evening Echo Cork Co senior hurling championship.

More importantly the win guarantees them senior status for 2007 as Delanys now face into a relegation dogfight against the losers of the Na Piarsaigh/Sarsfields clash.

With so much at stage the hurling was never going to be pretty but the competitive nature of the game kept the fair sized crowd well entertained.

Bride Rovers were almost totally dependent on Jerome O’Driscoll for scores. He amassed eight points, with Richie Cahill chipping with three and Sean Ryan getting their goal.

Barry Egan rolled back the years to produce a man of the match display for Delanys, and he was ably assisted by his brother James, Paul Finnegan and Mark McElhinney.

Rovers made the early running playing into the blinding sun and led 0-3 to 0-0 after seven minutes, Jerome O’Driscoll scoring two of those points from placed balls.

Indeed it was O’Driscoll’s accuracy from placed balls which kept his side in front from start to finish.

Both teams were guilty of some dreadful finishing and they amassed 16 wides between them in the opening half, nine for the city side. It took Delanys until the 10th minute to open their account when Barry Egan landed the first of his five points.

The hurling was very scrappy in the intense heat and scores were at a premium. By the end of the first quarter the Rovers were marginally in front at 0-4 to 0-2.

The tally for both sides had crept to six apiece by the 20th minute and it was only the excellent free taking of Jerome O’Driscoll which had the Rathcormac side 0-6 to 0-2 in front after 25 minutes of dull, uninspiring hurling.

There was no improvement in the standard of play to the break as O’Driscoll edged his side further ahead with a brace of points from close in frees, and a splendid effort by Padraig Murphy, but Delanys, inspired by the Egans, finished the half well, both of them scoring a point and the Rovers interval lead of 0-8 to 0-4 was manageable.

The Rovers did Barry Egan the compliment of moving their inter-county man Brian Murphy back on him for the second-half but the former Cork player continued to play a key role for the city side and with three points in a row Delanys battling qualities began to finally surface.

Clearly rattled by the intensity of the Delanys’ challenge, the Rovers lead was down to two points after James Egan landed a beauty from midfield and only a puck of a ball separated the sides by the end of the third quarter.

The goal was always going to be the crucial score in a game as tight as this and the Rovers got their chance when Sean Ryan won a penalty but Jerome O’Driscoll’s effort was well saved by Delanys ‘keeper Vincent O’Brien, and it lifted his side’s challenge still further.

Barry Egan drove a long free deep into the Rovers defence and only the thickness of their crossbar denied Eoin Cullinane a goal as he flicked the sliothar on.

It was a massive let off for the Rovers and they finally breached the tough Delanys defence in the 60th minute when Sean Ryan touched home Terry Broderick’s sideline cut.

However, there was still time to save the game and Delanys persistence was rewarded when Mark McElhinney goaled to leave just three points between the sides as the game went into added time, but time finally ran out on the city side and it was a much relieved Bride Rovers at the final whistle.

Scorers: Bride Rovers: J. O’Driscoll 0-8 (0-5 free, 0-1 65); S. Ryan 1-0; R. Cahill 0-3; P. Murphy, B. Johnson (free) 0-1 each. Delanys: B. Egan 0-5 (0-4 frees); M. McElhinney 1-2; J. Egan 0-3.

BRIDE ROVERS: B. Hazelwood; A. Collins, B. Walsh, J. Murphy; P. O’Driscoll, P. Walsh, Barry Murphy; P. Murphy, Brian Murphy; D. Ryan, B. Johnson, R. Cahill; T. Broderick, J. O’Driscoll, S. Ryan.

Subs: M. Hogan for Johnson; M. Collins for Hogan.

DELANYS: V. O’Brien; R. Foley, K. O’Sullivan, R. O’Mahony; C. Foley, P. Finnegan, T. Kiely; J. Egan, M. O’Driscoll; K. Foley, M. McElhinney, E. Cullinane; G. Quinlan, G. Healy, B. Egan.

Sub: G. Spriggs for Quinlan.

Referee: D. Kirwan (Eire Og).

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