Playing against the elements in the first period at Bansha yesterday, St Colman’s trailed 0-8 to 0-4 at the break and, truth be told, were fortunate to be within four-points of Nenagh at half-time such was the Tipperary side’s dominance.
St Colman’s, through corner-forward Cormac Donnellan, managed only one point from play in the opening period and were largely reliant on the dead-ball accuracy of Stephen Condon to remain in contention.
Aidan O’Flaherty, Robbie Quirke, Ruairi Maher, Ruadhan Mulrooney and Craig Morgan were the Nenagh marksmen and their interval advantage would have been far more substantial but for eight first-half wides.
Hindering Nenagh’s efforts also was the absence of five first team regulars owing to Kildangan’s involvement in this weekend’s Tipperary MHC final. Goalkeeper Barry Hogan was the sole Kildangan hurler to line out from the off and one wonders how the result would have fallen were Nenagh CBS at full strength. In any event, an Aidan O’Flaherty point within a minute and a half of the restart moved Nenagh five clear. It proved their last score in 31 minutes of action as there followed a relentless half an hour of hurling from St Colman’s.
Stephen Condon split the posts twice to cut the gap to three (0-9 to 0-6) and when Nenagh’s Ruadhan Mulrooney blasted wide a goal chance on 36 minutes, the pendulum shifted in the direction of their Cork opponents.
Condon and the impressive Niall O’Leary reduced the deficit to the minimum and St Colman’s completed the overtaking movement on 40 minutes, Diarmuid Linehan whipping the sliotar beyond Hogan.
Kyle Cronin’s initial effort was smothered by a swarm of black and blue jerseys in the Nenagh square and while Linehan made only the slightest of connections, it was sufficient to raise the green flag.
At the other end, Nenagh attacks were now few and far between, and on the rare occasion they plugged a hole in the Fermoy defence, their shooting-on-goal again let them down – six second-half wides were clocked. Two frees from Niall O’Leary and Condon and a further pair from Donnellan and Keith O’Leary stretched St Colman’s lead out to 1-12 to 0-9, the road sealed off to any potential revival from Nenagh.
Condon bagged their second goal on 54 minutes, flicking to the net a Niall O’Leary free, and their first victory of the campaign was wrapped up with late points from Condon and full-forward Keith O’Leary.
S Condon (1-8, 0-6 frees); D Linehan (1-0); N O’Leary (0-1 free), C Donnellan, K O’Leary (0-2 each).
R Mulrooney (0-1 free), A O’Flaherty (0-3 each); C Morgan (0-2, 0-1 free); R Maher, R Quirke (0-1 each).
E Davis (St Catherine’s); E Wallace (St Catherine’s), D O’Regan (Kilworth), K Neville (St Catherine’s); E McGrath (Kilworth), N O’Leary (Castlelyons), O Hickey (Ballyduff); J Saich (Kilworth), S O’Connor (Bride Rovers); D Linehan (Ballyhooly), J O’Leary (Castlelyons), T O’Donnell (St Catherine’s); C Donnellan (Kilworth), K O’Leary (Castlelyons), S Condon (Glanworth).
K Cronin (Watergrasshill) for O’Donnell (24 mins), R Morrison (Fermoy) for O’Regan (30, inj).
B Hogan (Kildangan); D Boland (Burgess), G O’Connor (Nenagh), L Howard (Burgess); M Breen (Portroe), J Morris (Nenagh), R Quirke (Cappawhite); J Cahill (Kilruane), A Healy (Nenagh); L Fogarty (Burgess), K Nealon (Burgess), R Mulrooney (Portroe); C Morgan (Kilruane), A O’Flaherty (Burgess), R Maher (Silvermines).
J Maloney (Burgess) for Maher (50 mins), J Quigley (Kiladangan) for Boland (51).