Impressive Bantry too strong for Kinsale

Bantry Blues 0-17 Kinsale 0-09

The West Cork men played into the teeth of a strong breeze in the opening period and laid the foundations for victory when they led by two at the break.

Turning to play with the elements in the second half — and rattling off three quick scores by the 34th minute, to stretch that margin to five — proved crucial.

And in those key minutes just before and after the break, it was their key men who led by example.

Top scorers Declan Barron (3) and Michael O’Sullivan got four between them while Graham Canty drilled over a contender for score of the match on 26 minutes.

Along with those three, full-back Kevin Harrington impressed, while Cork junior Ruairi Deane came more into the game in the second half, assisting in the Bantry dominance with some clever passes.

And perhaps the most pleasing aspect for them on the night was those who came on, did so to good effect. Stephen Coughlan was injured in the warm up and had to be replaced by Pat Daly in midfield — and he put in an industrious shift, while Cathal Power and Timmy O’Brien both came on and slotted in seamlessly.

Kinsale can’t have many complaints and while they can point to the loss of star midfielder Richard O’Sullivan (thigh strain) after 16 minutes as one reason for not mounting a more considerable challenge, their deficiencies were well flagged.

Gearoid Finn was their go-to man in attack and though he finished with seven points, he was too often isolated and starved of possession. Crucially he and David Ward spurned two great goal chances which could have changed the course of the tie.

In the second half also, when they trailed by four points on 36 minutes, Kinsale had plenty of possession but squandered three glorious chances before Bantry converted at the other end following a swift breakaway to regain their foothold.

It was a lively affair early; Kinsale taking the lead, 0-3 to 0-2, through a Finn effort on 10 minutes and from there to the interval it was nip and tuck. Michael O’Sullivan showed up well for Bantry a few times, kicking two points while Barron notched his third of the half just before the break.

The same player kick-started the second half after a lovely tee-up from Deane and by the 40th minute, Bantry were six clear at 0-12 to 0-6; O’Sullivan particularly prominent. From there to the finish it was mere shooting practice as Tadhg Downey, Gavin O’Shea and O’Sullivan (2) all found their range while Kinsale’s only cheers came from two frees from Finn and one from play by Conor O’Brien.

Scorers for Bantry Blues: D Barron 0-6 (0-3f), M O’Sullivan 0-6 (0-2f), T Downey 0-2, G Canty, G O’Shea, S O’Leary (0-1) each.

Scorers for Kinsale: G Finn 0-7 (0-6f), M Cronin, C O’Brien (0-1) each.

BANTRY: D Murray; J O’Leary, K Harrington, C O’Leary; N Canty, D O’Sullivan, S O’Leary; G Canty, P Daly; G O’Shea, T Downey, R Deane; D Casey, D Barron, M O’Sullivan.

Subs: T O’Brien for N Canty (40), C Power for G O’Shea (42).

KINSALE: G O’Callaghan; N McCarthy, M O’Sullivan, M Scully; D Ward, J Keohane, C McCarthy; R O’Sullivan, D Coughlan; D Murphy, L Kiely, M Coughlan; B Grey, M Cronin, G Finn.

Subs: C O’Brien for R O’Sullivan inj. (15), A Gould for D Murphy (46), N Stanley for B Grey (56).

Referee: Pat O’Leary (Kilmurry).

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