Youghal stave off brave ’Hill challenge

YOUGHAL survived a tremendous Watergrasshill second-half rally before securing a place in the next round of the Cork Premier IHC at Ballynoe last night.

Youghal stave off brave ’Hill challenge

The Seasiders looked to be cruising after leading by nine points at the break but the Hill refused to roll over and it took a brilliant save by ‘keeper Eoin Coleman from a Sean O’Callaghan effort a minute from time to deny them extra-time.

And the outcome could have been a lot different had Watergrasshill not been so wasteful. Over the hour they hit 12 wides and must now beat Valley Rovers to avoid the relegation play-off.

Wind assisted Youghal had two points on the board inside the opening three minutes, but the Hill enjoyed more of the play which wasn’t reflected on the scoreboard.

With limited possession, the Seasiders added two further points, the second a beauty from out on the touchline by county senior player Bill Cooper, who was hugely influential.

The Hill continued to enjoy the majority of possession but could only add to their wides tally and they hit seven by the end of the opening quarter. In contrast Youghal made use of possession they won with a Leigh Desmond goal, set up by Richard Cunningham, which had them 1-6 to 0-2 in front after 20 minutes, the two Hill points coming from placed balls by Paddy O’Regan.

Youghal’s hurling was crisp and it showed with a superb second goal, created by centre-back Conor Spillane and carried on by Bill Cooper and Leigh Desmond and finished in style by Richard Cunningham. Coming up to half-time the Hill applied a lot of pressure on the Youghal defence as they looked for a goal, but keeper Eoin Coleman denied John Halbert to leave Youghal in front at the break, 2-6 to 0-4.

Youghal continued to hold sway on the changeover with John Grace and Conor Spillane rock solid in defence where they held the Hill forwards in a vice like grip. But the game was thrown wide open in the 40th minute when Halbert placed Jason Foley for a goal. It was just the spark this dull affair needed and with Halbert now at centre forward, he (Halbert) rocked Youghal with his side’s second goal.

Bill Cooper eased the pressure on the Youghal defence with a splendid point and another by Brendan Ring gave them a four point cushion coming up to full time. The Hill continued to press forward and after Paddy O’Regan pointed a long range free, they were denied an equalising goal by that brilliant Coleman save.

Scorers for Youghal: Brendan Ring 0-6 (0-4 frees), L Desmond 1-1, R Cunningham 1-0, B Cooper 0-3, B Moloney, A Curtin 0-1 each.

Scorers for Watergrasshill: J Halbert 1-3 (0-3 frees), P O’Regan 0-3 (frees), J Foley 1-0, S O’Callaghan 0-2, E Barry 0-1.

YOUGHAL: E Coleman; S Twomey, J Grace, B O’Sullivan; K Walsh, C Spillane, B Coleman; B Moloney, Barry Ring; N Roche, B Cooper, R Cunningham; A Curtin, Brendan Ring, L Desmond.

Subs: J Ormond for A., Curtin (55).

WATERGRASSHILL: A Foley; E O’Reilly, E Enright, W O’Leary; D McCarthy, S O’Callaghan, G Hogan; A Cronin, P O’Regan; K Coakley, N O’Riordan, J Foley; P Cronin, J Halbert, E Barry.

Referee: D. Kirwan (Eire Óg).

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