Nicks turn on the power as Ross rue missed chances

CONFIDENT football from St Nicholas in the second of the Evening Echo Cork SFC opening round games in Bandon on Saturday, as wasteful Carbery Rangers were blown away and left facing a tricky battle against the losers of the Na Piarsaigh and O’Donovan Rossa clash to stay alive.

Some terrific defensive play by Donal Óg O’Donovan, Niall Horgan and Shane Kennefick; non-stop running by Robert Brosnan and Paul O’Brien at midfield; and strong aggressive play from Graham Callinan, John Kearney and David Brosnan up front had the Ross men all at sea.

No wonder the Blackpool bench was beaming in the darkness that fell quickly on Charlie Hurley Park. Selector Dave Cunningham summed it up. “We beat them in the first-half and let them back into it. But we destroyed them in the second-half, the lads were just terrific tonight.”

Hard to argue with that, but Carbery will look to 14 wides over the hour as a big excuse, an area they certainly need to improve upon.

John Hayes might have put them ahead in the very first minute, but Nicks looked sharp and hungry. After John Kearney tied things up, Gavin Moylan fired home a fourth minute goal, after Robert Brosnan’s free came back off an upright.

Seamus Hayes for Carbery and Kearney then exchanged points, but, for a while, it was the Ross men who began to look livelier with Michéal O’Sullivan and Kevin McMahon bustling forward from midfield. Unfortunately, the shooting from the two big men left lot to be desired as Nick’s took to advantage to lead 1-2 to 0-3 after the opening quarter.

Seamus Hayes did bring the margin down to the minimum in the 19th minute, but the Carbery men were then hit by a double Brosnan blow as first David fired in Nick’s second goal in the 20th minute, followed by a point from brother Robert to power the Blackpool side five points clear.

There was no fluke about it either, just nice methodical play, with Brosnan and Paul O’Brien now doing the business at midfield. But they did let Carbery back into the contest as a fine 27th minute goal from Maurice Moore, initiated by Declan Hayes, got his side going again and it was level pegging at the break, 2-3 to 1-6.

Nick’s outscored Carbery three points to one in the third quarter, but the Ross side really shot themselves in the foot with some appalling misses. Having fired eight wides in the first-half, Seamus Hayes and McMahon added to their growing tally as a stubborn and well organised Nick’s side led 2-6 to 1-7 entering the final quarter.

Then Nicks showed their mettle. Callinan stretched their lead and, despite shipping a heavy knock, inspirational captain Paul O’Brien followed with a goal and two points and the city side were cock-a-hoop.

To a man, they proceeded to outplay wasteful Rangers, but they did take their eye off the ball in the closing five minutes as points from John Hayes and Moore and a 60th minute Seamus Hayes goal put a more flattering look on the scoreboard.

Scorers for St Nicks: P. O’Brien 1-2, J. Kearney 0-5 (frees), G. Moylan and D. Brosnan 1-0 each, R. Brosnan 0-2 (0-1 free), G. Callinan 0-1.

Carbery Rangers: S. Hayes 1-2, M. Moore 1-1, J. Hayes 0-5 (0-1 free), J. Murphy (free) 0-1.

ST. NICKS: P. Cuthbert; K. Spain, D. Og O’Donovan, S. Kennefick; L. Leahy, N. Horgan, S. O’Donoghue; P. O’Brien, R. Brosnan; G. Callinan, D. Busteed, N. Harte; J. Kearney, D. Brosnan, G. Moylan.

Sub: D .Goggin for D. Brosnan.

CARBERY RANGERS: M. Moloney; E. Favier, S. Hayes, E. Murphy; P. Whyte, M. Mennis, J. Murphy; M. O’Sullivan, K. McMahon; B. Shanahan, D. Hayes, J. McCarthy; J. Hayes, S. Hayes, N. Moore.

Subs: A. Roche for E. Murphy (ht), N. Hayes for McCarthy (48 min).

Referee: P. Downey (Inniscarra).

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