Last weekend’s drawn game produced a dramatic finish with Duhallow forcing a replay, but this contest was well over before the final whistle, with Blackrock’s much improved performance putting the game beyond Duhallow’s reach.
There were changes to both teams — goal hero from the drawn match James Fitzpatrick replaced Garrett Linehan who missed out due to a red card while Ciarán Cormack started for Blackrock. And with far more urgency in their play it was Cormack’s brilliant goal in the 11th minute that set Blackrock on their way — a fabulous fetch and a bullet to the net.
The green flag had an unsettling effect on Duhallow and their anxiety showed, shooting nine first-half wides. They saw two goal chances go a-begging, whilst goalkeeper Barry Kenneally got them out of trouble twice keeping them in the game up to half-time, by which time they trailed 1-8 to 0-5.
Blackrock dominated the midfield exchanges where captain Stephen Murphy and Daniel Meaney ruled. Their defence was tight conceding just four points from play — Donnchadh Kenneally, Liam O’Keefe and Barry O’Connor (2). By contrast, the Rockies had a greater spread of attacking power — both midfielders registered, centre-back Alan O’Callaghan chipped in, while four of the starting forwards were on target as well as sub Paddy Lynch.
Outstanding duo John O’Sullivan and Michael O’Halloran made up over half of the Blackrock point tally. O’Sullivan bagged five points at wing forward while corner forward O’Halloran totalled six — one of which was a penalty diverted over the bar by custodian Kenneally.
“Our guys were well motivated tonight,” said Fergal Ryan. “I don’t think Duhallow got a chance to do anything, we were well on top. The better weather suited us as well. It was good, very enjoyable to see that performance.
“Good work rate all over, from Gavin [Connolly] in goal right up to Alan [Nolan] at corner forward. They just seemed to have the bit between their teeth, it is hard to pin point how you do that, but they did it and did it very well.
“Hopefully we will push on now. There are plenty of guys on that team who have played senior this year and hopefully a few more will come through.”
M O’Halloran (0-6, one pen, one free), C Cormack (1-2), J O’Sullivan (0-5), S Murphy (0-4, two frees, one 65m), A O’Callaghan, D Meaney, R Dineen and P Lynch (0-1 each).
D Hannon (0-4, three frees, one 65m), B O’Connor (0-2), D Kenneally and L O’Keeffe (0-1 each).
G Connolly; J Ryan, J Cashman, R Coleman; N Cashman, A O’Callaghan, A Murphy; S Murphy, D Meaney; J O’Sullivan, I O’Keeffe, R Dineen; M O’Halloran, C Cormack, A Nolan.
D O’Brien for R Coleman (49), P Lynch for C Cormack (51), T Deasy for I O’Keeffe (53), B O’Leary for J O’Sullivan (56), L O’Sullivan for M O’Halloran (59).
B Kenneally (Kanturk); P Allen (Newmarket), P Walsh (Kanturk), J Murphy (Dromtariffe); A O’Keeffe (Kanturk), D Browne (Kanturk), K Cremin (Dromtariffe); S Crowley (Kilbrin), J O’Callaghan (Meelin); D Kenneally (Kanturk), I Walsh (Kanturk), J Fitzpatrick (Kanturk); B O’Connor (Newmarket), D Hannon (Newmarket), L O’Keeffe (Kanturk).
S Howard (Dromtariffe) for S Crowley (35), C O’Keeffe (Newmarket) for S Crowley (40), C Murphy (Castlemagner) for D Kenneally, A Ryan (Newmarket) for I Walsh (both 46), G Forde (Newmarket) for K Cremin (56).
Dave Copps (Ballyhea).