The winners produced an awesome display of hurling, and even allowing for the weakness of the opposition, there is isn’t a team in the county who would have lived with Na Piarsaigh at the weekend, particularly in the first half when they raced into an unassailable 3-12 to 1-4 lead.
Using the vastness of the playing area, Piarsaigh ran the Glen ragged with pace and precision and there was never a hint of an upset after James Egan raced through unchallenged before drilling the ball to the net after six minutes.
On a night when every player on the winning side was magnificent, it would be hard to pick a man of the match, but the performances of county U21 player Pádraig Gould, county minor Shane Duggan, Robert Healy, Ronan McGregor and Egan are worthy of special mention.
The pace of Gould and Duggan was breathtaking as they raced past their markers as if they weren’t there, and both scores some magnificent points to cap a wonderful night.
Healy never put a foot wrong at wing back, while McGregor and Egan, who won an All-Ireland minor medal with Cork 12 years ago, ruled the roost at midfield.
Throw in the power and strength of Mark Prendergast, John Gardiner and the O hAilpín brothers, Seán Óg and Aisake, who contributed two brilliant goals and this Piarsaigh side must be firm favourites for this year’s title.
The Glen can have no excuses for this humbling defeat, and things aren’t going to get any easier for them as they must now beat Bride Rovers who failed to the ‘Barrs by a point in the earlier game, in round two to stay in the championship.
On a night when they were forced to play second fiddle in almost every position on the field, only Graham Callanan and Páidí O’Brien can look back on this game with any degree of satisfaction.
While some of the hurling and scores were top quality there was an uglier side to the game. Tempers frayed on several occasions and a very lenient referee saw fit to issue a total of seven yellow cards when a number of reds were merited.
However his patience finally ran out late in the game when Glen full back David Cunningham earned a straight red for a reckless swing of the hurley on Colin Lynch who had to be substituted with a head wound.
The game began with Na Piarsaigh storming into a three-points to nil lead after just two minutes. Glen hit back with a goal by Conor Dorris and the crowd settled in expecting a cracking local derby.
Unfortunately it never materialised. Once James Egan broke through for a Piarsaigh goal, it knocked the stuffing out of the Glen and they were powerless to stop their opponents who proceeded to hand out a hurling lesson.
The points flowed with ease before Colin Lynch got in behind the Glen defence for his side’s second goal and when Aisake O hAilpín broke through to billow the Glen net, helping his side to a 3-12 to 1-4 half-time lead, this game was done and dusted.
Glen rang the changes at the break introducing three substitutes, but to no avail as this superbly-drilled Na Piarsaigh side continued to hold the aces all over the field.
While the scores didn’t come with the same regularity as they did in the first half, Piarsaigh continued to pick off a couple of points here and there before Conor Dorris grabbed Glen’s second goal but it was only a token score.
Piarsaigh’s fourth goal came after some great work by Seán O hAilpín who picked out his younger brother with an inch-perfect pass and Aisake drilled the sliothar straight and true to complete an great night for his side.
Scorers for Na Piarsaigh: A. O hAilpín 2-0; J. Gardiner 0-6 (0-5 frees); J. Egan, C. Lynch 1-1 each; P. Gould 0-4; S. Duggan 0-2; C. Joyce 0-1.
Scorers for Glen Rovers: C. Dorris 2-0; P. Horgan 0-3 (0-2 frees); A. Dunlea, D. Brosnan 0-1 each.
NA PIARSAIGH: A. Keating; D. Mannix, M. Prendergast, A. Brady; R. Healy, S. O hAilpín, R. McGregor; J. Egan, P. O’Rourke; P. Gould, J. Gardiner, S. Glasgow; C. Lynch, A. O hAilpín, S. Duggan.
Subs: C. Joyce for Gould (42); T. O hAilpín for Duggan (55); E. Moynihan for Lynch (58).
GLEN ROVERS: C. Hickey; G. Looney, D. Cunningham, B. Murphy; B. Moylan, P. O’Brien, G. Moylan; D. Cronin, G. Callanan; S. Kennefick, A. Dunlea, D. Brosnan; C. Dorris, D. Goggin, P. Horgan.
Subs: R. Whitty for Kennefick (ht); E. Cronin for Brosnan (ht); D. O’Callaghan for Looney (ht).
Referee: J. O’Connell (Lisgoold)