Cloughduv edge home in thriller

A CRACKING Evening Echo Cork Junior A Hurling semi-final in Páirc Uí Rinn, with Cloughduv having two points to spare over Castlemartyr.

If there was a more entertaining 30 minutes of hurling than last night’s first half played anywhere this year we’re unaware of it; this was a marvellous advertisement for the junior grade.

Cloughduv stormed out to an early lead, with four points in the first three minutes from Darragh Ring, Tom O’Mahony, Brian Ahern and Con Dunne.

However, Castlemartyr settled themselves, with Brian Lawton coming into the game at midfield and helping drive on his forward section. In all there were ten points scored in a superb first ten minutes, with Cloughduv having the advantage at that point, six points to four.

In the twelfth minute came the crucial score. Cloughduv’s Darragh Ring made the most of defensive indecision in the Castlemartyr defence, bearing down on goal before putting the ball across for an emphatic goal, first-timed by Tom O’Mahony.

It was a vital goal for Cloughduv, as their dominance, based on hard-working half-forwards, began to ebb in the face of Castlemartyr determination.

The prime example of that was late call-up Mark Bowens at full-forward, where he caused chaos under the dropping ball. Significantly, however, Castlemartyr never had a clear sight of goal, and the teams retired at half-time, 1-8 to 0-8.

Cloughduv began the second half in the same vein, with three cracking points from Donal Corkery (two) and Andrew Cronin. The game didn’t sparkle after the break to the same extent as it had in the first half, but one extraordinary fact was Cloughduv’s inability to score after the 35^th minute, leaving Castlemartyr working hard to reel them in.

Though the evergreen Jimmy Smiddy (two) and Eddie Clifford helped cut the deficit to two, Castlemartyr passed up plenty of point-scoring opportunities in the closing stages as they searched for a match-winning goal.

Cloughduv kept them at bay, however, and they now advance to face Meelin in the decider.

Scorers for Castlemartyr: J. Smiddy 0-5(0-2 fs, 0-1 65); B. Lawton, E. Clifford 0-2 each; B. Lawton, A. Bowens, M. Bowens 0-1 each.

Scorers for Cloughduv: T. O’Mahony 1-1; D. Ring (0-2 fs), C. Dunne, D. Corkery (0-1 65) 0-2 each; A. Cronin, B. Ahern, P. Dunlea, D. Murphy 0-1 each.

CASTLEMARTYR: D. Fleming, Brian O Tuama, R. O’Donovan, Barra O Tuama, D. O’Keeffe, B. Smiddy, A. Bowens, P. Horgan (c), B. Lawton, J. Smiddy, E. O’Keeffe, S. Hennessy, B. Lawton, M. Bowens, E. Clifford.

Subs: C. Bowens for Horgan, 40.

CLOUGHDUV: C. Ryan, T. McCarthy, P. O’Sullivan, L. Buckley, A. Cronin, A. Ahern, J. McCarthy, D. Corkery, D. O’Leary, B. Ahern, T. O’Mahony, P. Dunlea, C. Dunne, D. Murphy, D. Ring.

Subs: J. Lucey for A. Ahern 42; G. Ahern for Corkery, 50; D. O’Sullivan for J. McCarthy and P. Creedon for Murphy, 59.

Referee: K. Healy (Ballymartle).

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