Cork Premier IHC semi-final
Blarney 4-20 Carrigaline 1-12
Blarney’s hurlers will chase atonement for their comprehensive Cork Premier IHC group stage defeat to Castlelyons when the pair renew acquaintances in next month’s county final.
Blarney’s hugely impressive semi-final win on Saturday means the PIHC decider will be a re-run of the Group C encounter at Mourneabbey in early August which Castlelyons won with six points to spare. It was a fixture the East Cork side were always in control of and their margin of victory would have been almost double-digit territory but for a late Keith Costello Blarney goal.
Next month’s second instalment, though, should be a far tighter affair, with Blarney giving notice of their potential when taking apart Carrigaline in such clinical and ruthless fashion.
They were never once led during Saturday’s semi-final, the high point of their performance being the unanswered 2-7 they reeled off between the 45th and 57th minute to open up a 19-point lead.
“Delighted to be in a county final. Fierce work has gone in at underage level in Blarney over the last 15 years. It is great for those people to see something come of it in the form of a county final appearance,” said Blarney coach Brian Hurley.
When asked if he felt Blarney performed on the afternoon of the aforementioned group stage defeat, Hurley replied with a firm, “oh no”.
“We were a bit slack early on and we definitely weren’t at our best. I’d put a lot of that down to Castlelyons being very strong and very difficult to play against. They made us look that way.
“I am not trying to build them up unnecessarily, but they are very strong all over the field.
“They are probably two to three years ahead of us in development and in terms of their age profile. But it is a one-off match. We have a chance, we just need to make sure we are still there in the second-half with a fighting chance and not have the game gone past us like it was the last day.
“To get a second go [against Castlelyons] is good for the lads, see can we learn from what was a tough and frustrating day at the office for a lot of them, and see can we correct one or two things.”
Where Blarney were slow and sluggish starters in the defeat to Castlelyons and, more recently, their sensational come-from-behind quarter-final win over Ballincollig, it was a completely different story here as they surged 1-3 to 0-0 clear after just four minutes. Pádraig Power supplied the game’s opening goal, the inside forward doing ever so well to control Mark Coleman’s pass and get his shot in, despite the close attention of three blue shirts.
Carrigaline settled thereafter with four-in-a-row from Eanna Desmond, Kevin O’Reilly and a pair of Brian Kelleher frees. They were unable, however, to extend this period of dominance after the first water break as Blarney pushed out their lead with another 1-3 burst. Mark Coleman was provider-turned-finisher for their second green flag. Indeed, they could have had a third but for an excellent Mark O’Mahony save to deny Shane Barrett.
Carrigaline were creating no such goal chances at the other end and went a 17-minute spell of the first half without finding the target from play.
The winners led 2-7 to 0-6 at the interval, with Carrigaline coming no closer than four points during a one-sided second-half. Pádraig Power delivered goals number three and four to complete his hat-trick, while Shane Barrett struck six second-half points from play.
“When Shane opens up like that and gets space, he doesn’t miss too many. Pádraig has found serious form in the last couple of weeks. He was flying tonight. They get a lot of scores off their own work rate, hard running, hooks, blocks, and turnovers, which is very pleasing. They are not reliant on getting just perfect ball,” continued Hurley. “Overall, our work rate was exceptional.”
Scorers for Blarney: P Power (3-2); M Coleman (1-7, 0-5 frees); S Barrett (0-7); D Hanlon, K Costello (0-2 each).
Scorers for Carrigaline: B Kelleher (0-7, 0-6 frees); R O’Shea (1-0); E Desmond (0-2); D Drake, R Kelleher, K O’Reilly (0-1 each).
BLARNEY: P Hallissey; A McEvoy, P O’Leary, S Crowley; D Walsh, P Philpott, J Jordan; R Murphy, D Hanlon; P Crowley, M O’Leary, M Coleman; P Power, K Costello, S Barrett.
Subs: S Mulcahy for Costello (44); B Ahern for Murphy (46); B O’Connell for O’Leary (53); C O’Mahony for Walsh (59).
CARRIGALINE: M O’Mahony; C Vaughan, D Stack, D Griffin; K Kavanagh, S Williamson, W O’Brien; E Desmond, S O’Brien; K O’Reilly, D McBarron, D Drake; B Kelleher, R O’Shea, R Kelleher.
Subs: K McIntyre for S O’Brien (37); P Ronayne for Vaughan (46); T Murphy for R Kelleher (48); D King for Stack (57).
Referee: D Copps.