O’Donovan Rossa commenced their 2020 Cork SAFC campaign impressively, fashioning a comprehensive victory over a disappointing St Nick’s at Brinny today.
The Skibbereen club should be contending for ultimate honours at this grade but will face more searching examinations from the other two teams in this group, Béal Átha an Ghaorthaidh and St Michael’s, from which two will emerge to the knock-out stages.
Rossa manager, Martin Bohane, will struggle to find any weaknesses in his team’s performance that was replete with a splendid team-work ethic, sweet lines of running, some sumptuous approach-play, and sublime shooting.
Posting 26 scores in a round one game would give most managers little to quibble about but the Skibb boss was not getting carried away afterwards: “We’d little done coming into this game including just two challenge matches. We would have been very cautious of Nick’s and what we needed today was a fast and open game, which is what we got.
“I can still see plenty of room for improvement. Ballingeary are up next. We don’t have a great record against them – they’ve beaten us a few times and I’ll be expecting a hard and dogged game.”
St Nick’s, for their part, will need to return to the proverbial drawing board. They were totally outclassed and will need to regroup quickly for the next group game. They were missing a number of players owing to injuries and, while they did deploy a sweeper system in an attempt to resist an endless procession of Rossa attacks, the Blackpool men could do little to stem the flow and fast-paced play of a highly-motivated Skibb outfit.
Donal Óg Hodnett displayed all of his mercurial skill and leadership material, conjuring up a litany of attacks for a merciless Rossa forward unit. Others to shine in a five-star show for the Rossa were Danny Hazel, Paudie Crowley, Seán Fitzgerald, Kevin Davis, David Shannon, Dylan Hourihane, and Elliot Connolly, but as a team one could witness few flaws.
Rossa started this game in rampant fashion and what must be lauded is that they never took their foot off the accelerator – or off the throat of a subdued Nick’s team. Kevin Davis (2) and Darren Daly posted early points before Elliot Connolly found Hodnett in a good goal-scoring position and the former Cork senior made no mistake from close range.
It was 1-6 to 0-0 by the 10th minute when David Shannon scored from a ‘mark’ before Nick’s landed the first of their opening half points from Liam Coughlan.
However, for the remainder of the half, Rossa continued to cut through the opposition with precision and point from every angle and distance tallying 1-13 to Nick’s 0-2 by the short whistle.
Goals from Davis and the very impressive Dylan Hourihane in the 36th and 38th minutes respectively pushed the west Cork men 3-14 to 0-2 in front. Rossa could have had a fourth goal in the 46th minute only for Eddie Fuller to save brilliantly from a Hourihane spot-kick.
There was no reprieve for an outclassed Nick’s who did keep battling to the end. The evergreen David Brosnan notched an impressive 55th-minute goal, but it was little consolation as Skibb continued to tack on the points with ease, and a goal from Hodnett in the 62nd minute added further polish to a fine overall Skibb team performance.
K Davis 1-8 (0-1f, 0-1 ‘mark’); D Óg Hodnett 2-1; D Shannon 0-5 (0-1 ‘mark’; 0-1 ‘45’); E Connolly 0-3; D Hourihane 1-1; T Hegarty, S Fitzgerald, D Daly, R Byrne 0-1 each.
D Brosnan 1-2 (0-1f, 0-1 ‘mark); L Coughlan 0-2; A Lynch 0-1.
R Price; D Hazel, E Fitzgerald, S Fitzgerald; D Daly, P Crowley, S O’Driscoll; C Fitzgerald, R Byrne; D Óg Hodnett, D Hourihane, T Hegarty; K Davis, D Shannon, E Connolly.
E Fuller; D Dunlea, K McCarthy-Coade, A Hosford; G Mulcahy, A O’Donovan, R McCarthy-Coade; L Forde, J Morrissey; A Lynch, S Kenefick, D Morris; L Coughlan, D Brosnan, J Galvin.
R Byrne for O’Donovan, J O’Brien for Morris and C Cullinane for Hosford (all 39 mins).
E Sheehy (Newcestown)