Rovers suffer as impressive Sars get ball rolling again

Sarsfields 2-25 Bride Rovers 0-15

Rovers  suffer  as  impressive Sars  get ball  rolling again

Confident, Sars stamped their authority from the throw-in, led by five points after eight minutes and when Tadgh Óg Murphy had their opening goal in the 25th minute, they were home and dry.

It was a result that pleased manager Pat Ryan: “I knew going into the game against Douglas last week we were up against a very good team, and today I cautioned the lads to take nothing for granted against the Rovers.

“When they were reduced to 14 players so early, it gave us plenty of space to play our usual open game. The inclusion of Ray Ryan and Michael Cussen strengthened our challenge, and having the Cork players back for two weeks was also a plus.

“It’s a good sign of our lads to be still in the championship. You must remember we have contested five of the last six county finals, winning three, and that can take its toll on players.

“In fairness to Bride Rovers, they never gave up, came at us from the restart, got two quick points, but the extra man was crucial. If I have any complaint about our lads, it’s we gave away far too many frees and that is something we’ll have to remedy in time for the fourth round.”

The towering figure of Michael Cussen at full-forward troubled the Rovers defence no end, and with Eoin Quigley dominant at midfield, scores came freely for Sars.

Five points without reply in the opening eight minutes was a sign of things to come, and it took a brilliant save by Rovers keeper Denis Fitzgerald to deny Cian McCarthy a goal.

Rovers played with Barry Johnson as a third midfielder, but their cause became hopeless in the 10th minute when Daniel Dooley was red-carded for a reckless pull.

Credit to Johnson, he showed uncanny accuracy from frees, scoring all his side’s first-half tally of seven points from placed balls, but the pressure on the Rovers defence was relentless, and when Tadgh Óg Murphy slipped home Sars’ opening goal, it helped them to an interval lead of 1-12 to 0-7.

Rovers threatened a recovery with two quick points on the resumption but they needed a goal to have any chance. Despite the best efforts of Michael Kearney and the switch of Brian Murphy to attack, they never threatened a Sars defence using their extra man to great advantage.

With Murphy upfield, the Rovers defence was weakened and the points flowed before Kieran Murphy set up Cian McCarthy for Sars’ second goal which killed off Bride’s challenge.

Scorers for Sarsfields: C. McCarthy 1-10 (0-7 frees, 0-1 65); T. Óg Murphy 1-1; M. Cussen 0-7; E. Quigley 0-4; G. O’Loughlin, G. Grey, D. Kearney 0-1 each.

Bride Rovers scorers: B. Johnson 0-12 (0-10 frees); M. Collins 0-2; M. Kearney 0-1.

SARSFIELDS: A. Kennedy; W. Kearney, C. Leahy, C. O’Sullivan; E. Martin, R. Ryan, D. Roche; D. Kearney, E. Quigley; G. O’Loughlin, C. McCarthy, R. Murphy; C. Duggan, M. Cussen, T. Óg Murphy.

Subs: G. Grey for R. Murphy (40); K. Murphy for C. Duggan (40).

BRIDE ROVERS: D. Fitzgerald; S. Kearney, L. Forde, D. Carr; M. Liddane, B., Murphy, S. Walsh; F. Collins, J. Pratt; M. Kearney, C. O’Connor, D. Dooley; M. Collins, S. Glasgow, B. Johnson.

Subs: E. Murphy for M. Liddane (29); B. Murphy for M. Kearney (48); D. Linehan for Glasgow (55); M. Kearney for F. Collins (58).

Referee: C. Lyons (Nemo Rangers).

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