They stuck to their task, were physical when needed and outplayed a lethargic Cloyne side to put their name safely in the hat for the knock-out draw.
In truth, it wasn’t a great second round derby contest, but the pickings were rich and it was Killeagh, with Brendan Barry and Kieran Lane sublime in defence, Brian Collins superb at midfield and Joe Budds, Eoin O’Loughlin and Mark Landers in top form up front, who stepped up to the plate to send Cloyne crashing. And they can have no excuses.
Indeed Cloyne looked a pale shadow of teams of yore and were never able to penetrate a teak tough Killeagh defence, who all excelled, only scoring two points from play. They’ll have some soul searching to do now before they meet Blackrock in a last chance saloon game to stay in the championship.
Cloyne were first on the scoreboard, Dillon Cahill converting a free chance after five minutes. But they struggled for scores in the first-half subsequently, just two more pointed frees from Cahill. Killeagh, with Bugsy Barry – what a competitor — majestic at centre-back, were much more clued in and up to the task and it was no surprise when Collins levelled the scores in the eighth minute.
It was 0-2 apiece after the opening quarter, Budds getting Killeagh’s second point, and although the game was competitive it was palpable Killeagh’s movement and pace all over the park was causing Cloyne problems. With Landers using his strength and experience to good effect in around the middle of the park, Killeagh were creating plenty of chances, despite the mercurial Joe Deane being well held by Cloyne corner-back Brian Fleming.
But it was no surprise when Collins got his second point in the 17th minute and Killeagh just took off subsequently.
Landers found O’Loughlin with a peach of a pass to make it 0-4 to 0-2 and then Deane got on the scoreboard with two sweet frees. But Killeagh’s best score was kept for last, O’Loughlin’s second point, taking a sweet pass from Barry before popping over a beauty to put his side 0-7 to 0-3 clear at half-time.
Cloyne were in trouble, struggling in every department, though Diarmuid O’Sullivan did have his moments at full-back. Brother Paudie wasn’t at the races and so the scoring was left to Cahill, seven points, just one from play though.
Cloyne resumed with Cahill and Keith Dennehy at midfield and, for a while, began to shape up, Chris Smith scoring a rare point from play and Cahill converting a long free to reduce the gap to two.
But there was no denying Killeagh on a splendid night for hurling as Collins and Budds thundered into the action. O’Loughlin, Budds, Deane, with another few converted frees, and Philip O’Neill all found the target to power them into a 0-13 to 0-6 lead entering the final quarter.
Simply nothing was going right for an out of sorts Cloyne. Keeper Ashley Walsh had to make a smart save to deny Sean Long a goal, probably the only goal chance of the game, and now it was really only a matter of Killeagh closing the game out.
Paudie O’Sullivan did convert a last gasp penalty for Cloyne to put a more respectable look on the scoreboard. It hardly mattered though, Killeagh were the complete masters on the night. Noel O’Connor and his selectors are doing a fine job with this band of hurlers.
Scorers for Killeagh: J Deane 0-7fs, E O’Loughlin 0-4, B Collins, J Budds 0-2 each, P O’Neill 0-1.
Scorers for Cloyne: D Cahill 0-7 (6fs), P O’Sullivan 1-0p, C Smith 0-1.
KILLEAGH: B Rochford; Cian Fogarty, Colin Fogarty, S Murphy; P O’Brien, B Barry, K Lane; B Collins, P O’Neill; J Budds, M O’Brien, M Landers; E O’Loughlin, S Long, J Deane.
Sub: P McGrath for Lane (56).
CLOYNE: A Walsh; B Fleming, Diarmuid O’Sullivan, B McCarthy; S Nyhan, Donal O’Sullivan, E O’Sullivan; S Cotter, C Smith; P O’Sullivan, C O’Sullivan, C Cusack; K Dennehy, D Cahill, M Walsh.
Subs: C Lomasney for Cotter (20), M Naughton for Smith (52), V Cusack for Dennehy (58).
Referee: J Sexton (Ballyhea)