Cork SAHC Group C: Fr O’Neill’s 1-20 Bride Rovers 0-16
A lovely warm evening on Leeside Friday night, the heat turned up a notch as well on the pitch with round 2 of the Co-Op Superstores Cork hurling championships down for decision. There was no doubting the victors in this east Cork derby SAHC, as last year’s Premier IH champions proved too strong for Bride Rovers with eight different scorers on the board.
Two wins for two now for O’Neill’s in Group C meaning they are in a good position to make the knockout stage and based on the evidence so far, deservedly so, confirming their status as one of the main contenders.
They were full value for this victory with superb contributions from many sectors. Up eight points at the interval, they reached the finish line with seven to spare.
Bride Rovers started well but failed to replicate the standard produced in their win over Ballymartle last week, to be fair though, they missed influential attacker Conleith Ryan who suffered a broken jaw in that tie.
Fr O’Neill’s launched their bid in an explosive second quarter when they outscored their opponents 1-5 to 0-3. This was a crucial period as Bride Rovers struggled to get into their stride after that.
Fr O’Neill’s were 0-4 to 0-2 ahead on 10 minutes, Declan Dalton (put up another big tally 1-10) angled over a brace of frees and there was one each from play from Mark O’Keeffe and Jason Hankard. William Finnegan replying for Bride Rovers.
After the water break was when Fr O’Neill’s took control. Thirty-eight year old Brian Murphy was handed the job of marking Dalton and you would have to say he didn’t do a whole lot wrong but Dalton still played a significant role in the outcome. His goal was put away in the 24th minute after being set up by O’Keeffe – the midfielder also struck two great points.
Bride Rovers had two chances of goal – one went out for a ’65 early on and later in the half O’Neill’s were grateful to goalkeeper Colin Sloane and to corner back and captain Mike Millerick who swooped the sliotar off the line.
By the halfway mark, Fr O’Neill’s enjoyed a 1-11 to 0-6 cushion. Brian Roche the best of the Bride Rovers attack hitting two very good points.
Critically, Kevin O’Sullivan struck the first score of the second half for Fr O’Neill’s. Free-taker Finnegan and Roche replied but O’Neill’s went on a scoring run – the pick of them a lengthy sideline cut from Dalton and a superb flag from corner back Eoin Motherway who was another to feature.
Midway through the half, it was 1-16 to 0-10.
Mike Millerick produced a timely intervention to tip away what could have been a Rovers goal opportunity, something they badly needed. Skipper Daniel Dooley landed a couple of points as Bride Rovers struck six points to Fr O’Neill’s four. They kept going to the bitter end but really this match was done and dusted.
Fr O’Neill’s centre back Dan Harrington picked up a shoulder injury and he will have a few weeks to hopefully recover before their next game against Ballymartle at the end of the month.
Bride Rovers, who have already defeated Ballymartle, meet Kilworth and will need to get something out of this to keep their interest alive.
Scorers for Fr O’Neill’s: D Dalton (1-10, 0-5 frees, 0-1 sl, 0-1 65), M O’Keeffe, K O’Sullivan and J Hankard (0-2 each), R Cullinane, E Motherway, B Dunne and P McMahon (0-1 each).
Scorers for Bride Rovers: W Finnegan (0-10, 0-8 frees, 0-2 65s), B Roche (0-4), D Dooley (0-2).
FR O’NEILL’S: C Sloane; M Millerick (Capt), S O’Connor, E Motherway; P Butler, D Harrington, T Millerick; K O’Sullivan, M O’Keeffe; J Hankard, P McMahon, R Cullinane; B Dunne, D Dalton, J Millerick.
Subs: L O’Driscoll for J Millerick (48), E Conway P Butler (53), J Millerick for D Harrington (57 inj).
BRIDE ROVERS: C Hogan; F Collins, B Murphy, T O’Sullivan; S O’Connor, E Roche, S Walsh; D Dooley (Capt), K Kearney; W Finnegan, R Prendergast, P O’Flynn; J Pratt, C O’Connor, B Roche.
Subs: M Collins for R Prendergast (43).
Referee: Cathal McAllister (Aghada).