O’Keeffe awesome as Rockies secure title in style

Blackrock 2-24 Na Piarsaigh 2-10

O’Keeffe awesome as Rockies secure title in style

However, they did not get it all their own way at Ballinlough last evening, and despite the 14-point winning margin, Na Piarsaigh put up stubborn resistance throughout.

Overall, the Blackrock side were dominant in many positions, with star-of-the-show Kevin O’Keeffe returning a remarkable 1-13, 1-5 coming from play. Andrew Murphy, Eoin Smith and Niall Cashman were commanding in the Blackrock half-back line and this was crucial as the Rockies moved 0-6 to 0-1 ahead.

It took Na Piarsaigh a while to settle, once they got going though, they set about clawing back the deficit. Padraig Guest, Eoin Hannafin and Dayne Lee were prominent and when Guest flashed low to the net after great work by centre-back Shane Curtin, they had it back to 1-7 to 0-11.

But Blackrock finished the half with four unanswered points to push 0-15 to 1-7 in front at the break.

Guest made it a four-point match immediately after the restart but with the strength of the wind increasing, Blackrock soon made their advantage tell, when David O’Farrell’s blistering run down the centre resulted in a brilliant Kevin O’Keeffe goal.

Four minutes later and Na Piarsaigh were back in contention when Lee picked out Hannafin and he rifled the net from close range, 2-9 to 1-17.

The Blackrock response was magnificent, making their presence felt in the closing quarter, blitzing the Northsiders by a goal and seven points to one point.

Cathal Cormack struck the major in the 40th minute, following excellent approach work by corner-back PJ Green. The majestic O’Keeffe added the next four points — two frees, one 65 and one from open play.

Na Piarsaigh fought on, with Hannafin converting a free with just one minute remaining.

However, there was still time for this impressive Blackrock outfit to confirm their supremacy, hitting three more points from Michael O’Halloran, Shane O’Keeffe and O’Farrell.

Scorers for Blackrock: K O’Keeffe (1-13, seven frees, one 65m), C Cormack (1-0), S O’Keeffe (0-3), R Dineen and A O’Callaghan (0-2 each), N Cashman, S Murphy, D O’Farrell and M O’Halloran (0-1 each).

Scorers for Na Piarsaigh: P Guest (1-5, five frees), E Hannafin (1-3, one free), D Lee and C Buckley (0-1 each).

BLACKROCK: P Delaney; PJ Green, J Ryan, E McCarthy; A Murphy, E Smith (Capt), N Cashman; D O’Farrell, S Murphy; R Dineen, S O’Keeffe, C Cormack; A O’Callaghan, K O’Keeffe, A Nolan.

Subs: M O’Halloran for A Nolan (52), D Stokes for J Ryan, J Cashman for E McCarthy (both 56), M Bond for A O’Callaghan, N Foley for R Dineen (both 57).

NA PIARSAIGH: S Higgins; E Gunning, A Bell, A Dennehy; E O’Keeffe, S Curtin, A Hogan; P O’Sullivan, C Buckley; P Cunningham, E Hannafin, S Warren; D Lee, P Murphy, P Guest.

Subs: E Sheehan for P O’Sullivan (26), D Morrissey for P Murphy (37).

Referee: Colm Lyons (Nemo Rangers).

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