A scintillating two-goal blast from Michael O’Mahony and Brian Corry in the space of a minute, midway through the first half, powered Ballymartle to the front and although Courcey’s tried gamely, Ballymartle never looked like losing their stranglehold.
Ballymartle snatched the lead with three points without reply from Rory Dwyer, Barry Dwyer and Brian Corry in the opening five minutes before Courcey’s found their second wind.
The sides were level at four points apiece after a bright start before Ballymartle, playing with the aid of a strong wind, put daylight between them with O’Mahony and Corry’s two strikes at the end of the first quarter.
Courcey’s did manage to get one back when centre forward John Murphy pounced to score a fine goal in the 20th minute but with goalkeeper Declan McCarthy, full back Keith Coleman, wing back Noel Sheehan, skilful midfielder Rory Dwyer, and centre forward Brian Corry impressing, Ballymartle were always in control.
A third goal from Ger Cummins in the 26th minute propelled Ballymartle to an interval lead of 3-6 to 1-6 and left Courcey’s with a mountain to climb.
With Rory Dwyer in midfield, Ballymartle increased their lead to seven points at the end of the third quarter and when Corry scored their fourth goal in the 46th minute it looked all over.
Courcey’s were unlucky when corner-forward Cian Lordan’s drive from close-range wassaved by goalkeeper Declan McCarthy.
To their credit, Courcey’s staged a courageous late comeback. Points from John Murphy and Niall Murphy cut the deficit and although Brian Corry, with Ballymartle’s last score, left 10-points between them, Courcey’s fought to the end and a goal from Lordan at the end of normal time put a more respectable look on the scoreboard.
Ballymartle. B. Corry 2-2; G. Cummins 1-5 (0-3 from frees; 0-1 from 65); M. O’Mahony 1-0; P. Coughlan 0-2; R. Dwyer 0-2 (0-1 from free); B. Dwyer and B. Coleman 0-1 each. Courcey Rovers. C. Lordan 1-1; J. Murphy 1-1; V. Hurley 0-4 (0-3 from frees); N. Murphy 0-2; D. Murphy, B. Hayes, S. Hayes, M. O’Donovan and T. Collins 0-1 each.
D. McCarthy; G. Coleman, K. Coleman, S. O’Connell; D. Dwyer, P. Dwyer, N. Sheehan; D. Edmonds, R. Dwyer; B. Dwyer, B. Corry, M. O’Mahony; P. Coughlan, G. Cummins, B. Coleman. Substitute. S. Coleman for Coughlan.
A. Hegarty; A. Collins, D. Murphy, J. O’Regan; B. Hayes, T. Lordan, K. Moloney; N. Murphy, D. Hayes; J. Murphy, V. Hurley, S. Hayes; T. Collins, M. O’Donovan, C. Lordan. Substitute. D. Twomey for Collins.
D. O’Leary (Cloughduv).