Butler and Young point way for Valley

VALLEY ROVERS’ march to this year’s county IHC title continued at Banteer last night where they had three points to spare over Dromina in a hard-fought contest.

The Innishannon side looked winners from early on, hurling with great pace and skill, but unfortunately some of the gloss was taken off their win by an off-the-ball incident which left Dromina corner back Dave Buckley bleeding profusely from a head wound.

After consultation with his linesman referee Richie Murphy gave Eamonn Collins a straight red card which could rule him out of the rest of the championship.

It was the only unsavoury incident in a keenly-contested match, and the result sees the Rovers into the semi-finals awaiting the winners of tonight’s Ballymartle/Milford clash.

The Valleys had the advantage of the strong wind in the opening half but struggled to find the target — hitting three wides in a row — before James Young scored in the fifth minute.

Dromina were also wasteful and they missed a glorious chance of a goal after Valley ‘keeper Terence Cronin saved superbly from Andrew O’Shaughnessy’s 35-metre free but Gerard Healy completely failed to hit the rebound.

It was a huge let-off from which they took full advantage. Hurling with supreme confidence, they hit four points in a row as their half back line of Chris O’Donovan, Davie Lynch and Jeremy Hurley reigned supreme.

Dromina were struggling in most sectors, but three frees from Andrew O’Shaughnessy ensured they weren’t completely swamped and, for all their advantage, the Valleys could only manage to lead by 0-7 to 0-3 after 20 minutes.

However as the half wore on Dromina began to exert a lot of pressure on the Rovers defence as Liam Hayes and James O’Shaughnessy got on top at full and centre back respectively, and with Andrew O’Shaughnessy continuing to find the target from frees and play, the Rovers half-time lead of 0-8 to 0-5 didn’t look to be enough.

Sensing the danger Valleys stepped up a couple of gears on the changeover and stormed into a 0-13 to 0-7 lead as the Dromina challenge began to wilt. David Lynch and Jeremy Hurley continued to dictate matters for Rovers in defence, and their forwards thrived on the plentiful supply of ball to edge their side further ahead at 0-16 to 0-7 by the three-quarter stage.

If Dromina were to have any chance of staying in the title race they needed a goal and after they moved full back Liam Hayes to full forward, they got just that when Pat Hayes touched home O’Shaughnessy’s long range free.

That gave the North Cork side hope and they were back in business when O’Shaughnessy added his seventh point. From a position of almost invincibility the Rovers were now struggling to contain a rampant Dromina and it got worse for them when Eamon Collins was straight red carded for that off-the-ball incident.

When played resumed four minutes later O’Shaughnessy got another point to leave just three between the sides with plenty of time left, but a resolute Valley defence held firm for a deserved victory.

Scorers: Valley Rovers: R. Butler 0-4 (0-3 frees); J. Young 0-3; E. Collins, K. Canty, R. O’Donovan, 0-2 each; E. O’Sullivan, J. Hurley, J. O’Donovan 0-1 each. Dromina: A. O’Shaughnessy 0-8 (0-5 frees, 0-2 65s); P. Hayes 1-0; P. Gould, K. Hayes 0-1 each.

VALLEY ROVERS: T. Cronin; R. Lehane, K. O’Riordan, S. Manning; C. O’Donovan, D. Lynch, J. Hurley; B. Lehane, E. Manning; R. Butler, E. O’Sullivan, R. O’Donovan; K. Canty, J. Young, E. Collins. Sub. J. O’Donovan for B. Lehane.

DROMINA: G. Buckley; D. O’Shaughnessy, L. Hayes, D. Buckley; J. Deeley, J. O’Shaughnessy, R. Morrissey; D. Morrissey, P. Gould; J. Finn, A. O’Shaughnessy, G. Healy; P. Hayes, R. Crowley, K. Hayes. Subs. D. O’Carroll for Finn; M. Buckley for Crowley; D. Aherne for Healy.

Referee: R. Murphy (Lyre).

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