Having hammered North Mon CBS in their opening group game, Cashel were expected to provide the champions with a searching test. But while their commitment and determination were never in question they just didn’t have the all hurling skills of a side intent on retaining their crown.
De La Salle’s impregnable half back line of Stephen Daniels, man-of-the-match Philip Mahony, and Noel Connors provided the platform for victory, ably supported by full-back Barry Coughlan.
Against such a resolute defence the Cashel were dependant on the freetaking of corner-forward Kenneth Horgan who accounted for all but two points of his side’s total.
The writing was on the wall for Cashel after the second minute when Brian O’Sullivan capitalised on a defensive mix up with a goal which gave the Waterford side would never surrender. Gary Bambrick quickly tacked on a point and nine minutes had elapsed before midfielder Shane Morrissey replied for the losers. Horgan pointed three frees in as many minutes to leave them just one adrift but that was as close as they would come.
Dominic Smith’s superb goal in the 21st minute and two super points by Stephen Power enabled De La Salle to lead 2-4 to 0-6 at the break.
Power pointed three rapid fire frees — one of them from 90 metres — within five minutes of the restart as De La Salle assumed complete control in virtually every sector, and could have had several more goals but for the talented David Butler, while the butt of an upright denied Dominic Smith.
De La Salle’s dominance was so complete in that second half that they could afford the luxury of substituting three of their best players, Power, Smith and Bambrick, and the clear message to emanate from Kilsheelan is that the champions and their Harty Cup crown will not be easily parted.
De La Salle: B. O’Sullivan (1-3); S. Power (0-5); D. Smith (1- 1); P. McCarthy (0-2); G. Bambrick, N. Connors, P. Mahony (0-1) each. Cashel: K. Horgan (0-8); S. Morrissey, P. Heffernan (0-1) each.
S. O’Keeffe; O. Keevers, B. Coughlan, R. Cunningham; S. Daniels, Philip Mahony, N. Connors; E. Barrett, I. Power; G. Bambrick, N. Clifford, S. Power; P. McCarthy, B. O’Sullivan, D. Smith.
P Mahony for Power; J. Dillon for Bambrick; K. Fitzgerald for Smith; D. Purcell for Barrett.
D. Butler; D. Ryan, T. Butler, B. Shanahan; L. Meehan, L. Burke, S. O’Connor; S. Morrissey, F. McCullagh; B. Moloney, S. Leahy, B. Quinn; P. Heffernan, A. Moloney, K. Horgan.
J. Grogan for Quinn; M. Sadler for A. Moloney; D. White for B. Moloney; W. Flynn for Heffernan.
S Roche, (Tipperary).