Youghal on the crest of a wave

Another big win for Youghal in the Premier IHC, this one in sodden Páirc Uí Rinn on Saturday afternoon following very quickly on last week’s thumping of Tracton.

An impressive performance it was too as it qualifies the East Cork side for a semi-final meeting with the winners of Carrigaline/Bandon and they are still very much on track to make up for the disappointment of losing last year’s final.

It was a contest only for the first quarter, the teams tied on 0-3 apiece, when Youghal pounced for their first goal.

Fittingly it was midfielder James O’Mahony doing the damage, himself and hard-running partner Nigel Roche the game’s two standout performers. First there was a pacy burst straight through the heart of the Blarney defence by O’Mahony, a perfectly timed pass to Alan Frehill-O’Connor whose shot was smothered by Blarney keeper Paul Hallissey. But who was waiting? O’Mahony, who had done what the best players do and continued his run, crashing home the loose ball.

“James is relatively new to midfield,” Youghal manager Peter Queally (former Waterford star) explained.

“But he revels in the open spaces. His touch, his workrate, his pace are all very good. Nigel’s workrate is just outstanding, he’s the engine of the team. The two of them have had two very good outings in a row now.”

From there Youghal never looked back. A succession of points from a spread of players (Brendan Ring — as usual — leading the charge but supported by Brendan Coleman, Roche, Frehill-O’Connor and Jonathon Ormonde) had them 1-11 to 0-4 in front at the break, well in control.

“It was a bit like last week against Tracton,” reckoned Peter.

“We had the wind in the first half but it took us 15 minutes to settle. At that stage we were very lucky not to be behind, Blarney had a couple of very good goal chances but missed them, missed a few frees also. The lads [James and Nigel] then started to get on top around the middle, got a stranglehold there, put Blarney under a lot of pressure.

“We started to pick off a few scores and in the last ten minutes of the half especially we built up a good lead. That gave us a nice cushion at the break.”

The second half saw a continuation of Youghal’s dominance, corner-forward Brett Moloney taking advantage of some slack defending in just the fourth minute to crack a loose ball to the net, then points from Coleman and Brendan Ring further extending their lead, 2-13 to 0-4 in the 39th minute.

“We were now facing the breeze but again like last week we pushed on, kept up the workrate and the intensity, came good again,” said a very happy Queally.

The win in the bag Youghal could now afford to coast home, and did so with considerable ease. Andrew Curtin’s 56th minute goal was cancelled out in injury-time by a lovely overhead ‘double’ on a dropping ball by Blarney sub John Hurley but the goal was mere consolation for the 2008 champions, well outplayed here.

Good form then from Youghal but, says Peter Queally, there will be no resting on laurels — there are more fish to fry, albeit in a different pond.

“We spoke in the middle of the field immediately after the final whistle and our focus now is on the [intermediate] football quarter-final against Adrigole.

“That’s going to be a very tough game, it’s very important for all the lads now to focus on that. Most of them are dual players and we want to be going into a hurling county semi-final on the back of a football quarter-final win.

“I’ve noticed in the last couple of years that any time we get knocked out of one it has had an adverse effect on the other. Our aim now is to keep going in both and to gain momentum from winning both. Our focus for the next few weeks will be on football, then we can start thinking about hurling again.”

Scorers for Youghal: B Ring 0-6 (2f); B Moloney 1-2; A Curtin 1-2; B Coleman 0-2; N Roche 0-2; D Ring (f), A Frehill-O’Connor, J Ormonde, 0-1 each.

Scorers for Blarney: M Cremin 0-4 (1f); J Hurley 1-0; P O’Driscoll 0-2 (1f); B Hurley, O O’Connor, P O’Sullivan, 0-1 each.

YOUGHAL: R Cunningham; B Ring, J Grace, S Twomey; B Goggin, C Spillane, D Ring; J O’Mahony, N Roche; A Curtin, B Coleman, B Moloney; A Frehill-O’Connor, J Ormonde, B Ring.

Subs: K Dempsey (Ormonde 59).

BLARNEY: P Hallissey; J Barrett, D McSweeney, P O’Leary; J Jordan, J Hughes, M O’Leary; B O’Connell, D Cronin; E McCarthy (c), B Hurley, O O’Connor; P O’Driscoll, P O’Sullivan, M Cremin.

Subs: S Mulcahy (McCarthy 30); J Hurley (O’Connor 37). Blood sub: D Walsh (O’Driscoll 57/end of game)

Referee: D Copps (Ballyhea).

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