Bandon stand tall to foil battling Valley

BANDON had to withstand a tremendous second-half fight-back by Valley Rovers before winning this keenly contested Evening Echo IHC quarter-final at Newcestown yesterday.

The west Cork side looked likely winners after turning over nine points in front at the break, 1-8 to 0-2, but were grateful to corner back James O’Donovan who made a magnificent save from Richard Butler in injury time to deny Rovers what would have been a winning goal.

The wind was clearly a factor and Bandon made maximum use of it in the opening half. Four points in the opening six minutes gave them an early lead and it might have been more but Gavin O’Riordan’s well struck 20-metre free was deflected over for a point.

Rovers struggled to make any impression against a teak tough Bandon defence in which Joe Burke and Brian Hurley were outstanding. It took them 17 minutes to open their account with a Richard Butler point, but Donagh Lucey punished every indiscretion by the Rovers defence with some superb free-taking.

With county minor Darren Crowley at left corner forward giving his marker a roasting, Bandon were full value for their 0-8 to 0-2 lead after 27 minutes.

The pressure on the Rovers defence was relentless and they finally cracked. A long delivery by Joe Burke was brought down superbly by his namesake Donncha and he streaked away from his marker before billowing the Rovers net for a goal that helped his side to what looked to be a comfortable 1-8 to 0-2 half-time lead.

Eamon Collins, who took over free-taking duties from Richard Butler, began the Valley fight-back with two points. Kevin Canty, now at full-forward, added two more and by the end of the third quarter the deficit was down to five.

It was Bandon’s turn to struggle and with Canty finally showing his class, they cut the deficit to two as Canty (2) and Collins found the target. Darren O’Donoghue eased the pressure on Bandon with a crucial point, but back came Rovers and Collins pointed a free.

Valley pounded the Bandon defence but the west Cork side hung on and avenged last year’s defeat thanks to corner back O’Donovan’s superb save from Butler.

Scorers for Bandon: D Lucey 0-7 (0-6 frees); D Burke 1-0; D O’Donoghue 0-2; D Crowley, G O’Riordan (free), E O’Donovan 0-1 each.

Valley Rovers: K Canty 0-6; E Collins 0-5 (0-4 frees); R Butler (free), R O’Donovan 0-1 each.

BANDON: E Duggan; J O’Donovan, J Burke, B Hurley; C Dullea, T Bambury, G O’Riordan; N O’Rourke, D Lucey; D O’Donoghue, J Hickey, J O’Regan; E O’Donovan, D Burke, D Crowley.

Subs: K Hurley for Bambury; R Payne for Dullea.

VALLEY ROVERS: W Burke; J Hurley, C O’Riordan, S Manning; D Lynch, J Burke, M O’Brien; B Lehane, C O’Donovan; R Butler, E Manning, R O’Donovan; K Canty, T Burke, E Collins.

Substitute: J O’Donovan for J Hurley.

Referee: J Kearney (Na Piarsaigh).

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