It was double scores in the end, and it was double scores that Kanturk deserved as they proved much too strong for Cloyne in this Cork SAHC Group A game played in Killavullen on Sunday afternoon.
There was only a point between the sides at the end of a competitive first-half where Kanturk looked the better team but were too wasteful, hitting ten wides. Facing into a stiff breeze on the re-start, they upped their accuracy significantly and were dominant all over the field.
Central to their improvement were Lorcan O’Neill, who hit five second-half points, and young midfielder Brian O’Sullivan, who worked relentlessly and registered three points over the hour.
Cloyne’s lack of a scoring threat outside of Mikey Cahill and Paudie O’Sullivan proved their undoing in a third quarter where they were outscored by 0-7 to 0-2, while the loss of Keith Dennehy to a second yellow card in the 40th minute didn’t help their cause either.
O’Neill and O’Sullivan had four points in that period with Lorcán McLoughlin and the Walshs, Aidan and Alan, also on target. As was the pattern of the game, Cloyne’s only answer came from two Cahill points and were it not for two vital saves from Dónal Óg Cusack, the result would have been certain before the second drinks break as they trailed by 1-13 to 1-7.
A Brian O’Shea point on the resumption briefly brought Cloyne closer but when McLoughlin reacted quickest to another save from Cusack to whip the ball home, the game was up for the Imokilly side.
O’Sullivan and O’Neill shared three points between them in the closing stages while Ryan Walsh and McLoughlin also found the target with Cahill, inevitably, tapping over Cloyne’s final score.
Such a margin seemed unlikely at the end of a first period where Kanturk played with the breeze, and while they opened brightly, overall they would have been disappointed with how they used it. Too often they took the wrong option, regularly shooting from long range as opposed to feeding the dual-threat of Alan and Aidan Walsh in their two-man full-forward line.
McLoughlin traded frees with Cahill early on before the Walsh cousins put their mark on proceedings. Aidan soared high to fetch a delivery from Paul Walsh before driving it past Dónal Óg Cusack. He added a point sixty seconds later and when Alan Walsh popped over his first score, Kanturk looked in control as they led by 1-3 to 0-1.
The wides total was rising, however, and two Cahill frees left Cloyne reasonably happy as they broke for drinks. They were ecstatic moments later when a touch of genius from Paudie O’Sullivan gave him enough room to fire past Anthony Nash to level the game for the second time.
To their credit, Kanturk answered the goal well with three points in a row from O’Sullivan, O’Neill, and McLoughlin but two more frees from Cahill meant that Cloyne trailed by one, 1-6 to 1-5, as they turned to play with the elements.
Ronan Curran, the Duhallow side’s coach, will be happy with their improvement after the break but will be aware that they have plenty to improve on as they face into a mouth-watering clash against fellow table-toppers Newcestown next weekend.
As for Cloyne, they will have much to ponder before their east Cork derby with Killeagh.
L McLoughlin (1-4, 1 free, 1 ’65), L O’Neill (0-6), Aidan Walsh (1-2), B O’Sullivan (0-3), Alan Walsh (0-2), R Walsh (0-1).
M Cahill (0-8, 6 frees), P O’Sullivan (1-0), B O’Shea (0-1).
A Nash; J McLoughlin, L Cashman, A Sheehy; J Browne, D Browne, P Walsh; L McLoughlin (Capt), B O’Sullivan; J Fitzpatrick, R Walsh, L O’Neill; L O’Keeffe, Aidan Walsh, Alan Walsh.
D Óg Cusack; D Germyn, E Motherway, B Fleming (Capt); M Lynch, S Beausang, J Halahan; A Walsh, B Minihan; B Walsh, K Dennehy, D Cahill; M Cahill, P O’Sullivan, N Cahill.
K Mullins for D Cahill (h/t), E Motherway for Lynch (38), D O’Sullivan for B Walsh (48), B O’Shea for A Walsh (48).
Teddy O’Donovan (Douglas).