Bandon’s early blitz sees off Aghabullogue

Bandon went for the kill right from the start and eased past Aghabullogue in the second PIHC first-round game at Cloughduv yesterday.

Within four minutes of throw-in, last year’s intermediate champions led by 2-0 to nil after centre-forward Mark Sugrue had found the net twice, and at half-time they led 4-10 to 0-4 after Mikey Cahalane had raised a pair of further green flags.

On top in all sectors, the Carbery side never looked as if they would be beaten, the good start ensuring they always had a considerable cushion, Ronan Crowley’s frees continuing to keep the scoreboard ticking over while Donough Lucey marshalled a strong defensive unit.

Though Aghabullogue ‘won’ the second half by 0-7 to 0-6, underpinned by Finbarr Foley’s reliable free-taking, they will know that serious questions must be answered ahead of a second-round meeting with Tracton.

Despite playing with the wind, they simply could not cope with the strong current of Bandon’s attacks, some of the interplay superb as coach Teddy McCarthy enjoyed being on the other side of a big win after enduring Laois’s loss to Dublin on Saturday.

What will please Bandon most was the ruthlessness with which they set about the task. The first goal came after one such flowing move, Lucey, Cahalane and Crowley combining to set Sugrue away for a powerful strike, and then two minutes later Sugrue won possession when a Lucey free broke, his pace setting him clear to double the lead.

Though some point chances were missed, Bandon led 2-3 to 0-1 when Cahalane added a third goal, Crowley winning a James Walsh clearance and finding his fellow corner-forward, who produced a cleverly batted finish to the net.

Three more points – Darren Crowley with the best of them – had been put up when Cahalane struck again, the Cork minor pulling home after goalkeeper Denis O’Leary had denied Ronan Crowley with a good save.

Though John Corkery and Foley were on target for Aghabullogue before half-time, Ronan Crowley had really found his free-taking groove, sending over three late on as well as one from play, and with the 18-point lead at the interval Bandon were never likely to be denied.

The first 25 minutes of the second half failed to produce a score from play, Crowley and Foley matching each other in the free-taking stakes, while there was also a red card apiece, Aghabullogue corner-back Jerome Corkery and Bandon sub Kieran Hurley both dismissed for off-the-ball strikes.

Aghabullogue did have the gap down to 15 points at one stage after two Foley points were followed by one from Niall Buckley – the first from play in the second half – but Bandon finished well as Sugrue, Joe Harrington and Darren Crowley all had points.

They progress safely to round four with any fears of an immediate relegation quenched. For Aghabullogue, however, they will hope that they can produce an improvement in the second round.

Scorers for Bandon: R Crowley 0-10 (0-8f), M Sugrue, M Cahalane 2-2 each, J Harrington, D Crowley 0-1 each.

Scorers for Aghabullouge: F Foley 0-7 (0-5f, 0-1 65), J Corkery 0-2, P O’Rourke, N Buckley 0-1 each.

BANDON: J McSweeney; P Crowley, J O’Donovan, J Burke; M McNamara, D Lucey, J Walsh; P Murphy, J Harrington; N O’Rourke, M Sugrue, D Crowley; M Cahalane, A Johnson, R Crowley.

Sub: K Hurley for P Crowley (41, injured).

AGHABULLOGUE: D O’Leary; D Murphy, E Murphy, J Corkery; B Buckley, G Murphy, E Kennedy; N Buckley, P O’Rourke; A Barry-Murphy, D Quinlan, J Buckley; J Foley, F Foley, J Corkery.

Referee: D O’Leary (Watergrasshill).

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