Old friends are best: Rockies and Barrs set up classic championship finale

Blackrock accounted for Erin's Own with goals key to victory for Louis Mulqueen's side. 
Old friends are best: Rockies and Barrs set up classic championship finale

FINAL COUNTDOWN: Blackrock manager Louis Mulqueen and Alan Connolly after defeating Erin's Own.

Blackrock 3-21 

Erin’s Own 0-21 

Two great Cork clubs Blackrock and St Finbarr’s will renew their rivalry in the Co-Op Superstores Cork Premier SHC final in three weeks. As their respective supporters left Páirc Ui Chaoimh yesterday, age-old memories were being recalled.

The banter has started.

For now, the club with the most senior titles is back in the county final, and they will enjoy the next couple of days following victory over Erin’s Own.

On the evidence of this display, they will be gearing up for the mother of all showdowns. Blackrock have improved game on game, and Louis Mulqueen - in his first year in charge - will have designs on leading the famed Rockies to their 34th senior title having now taken out Imokilly and Erin’s Own.

Both finalists have emerged from the same group - remember the group of death - that also included Sarsfields and Charleville. Already, the Barrs and Blackrock played out a thrilling group game which the Togher side won by a single point.

The first-half of this clash with Erin’s Own was a tight affair. Twelve points to eleven they led at the half-way mark. Before we get into the Blackrock side of things, it would be remiss not to mention the wonderful role of Robbie O’Flynn who weighed in with 12 of the Erin’s Own tally and stood out as one of the best hurlers on the field.

For Blackrock, the positioning of Alan Connolly and Robbie Cotter alone in the inside forward line is paying dividends. The nearer these players are to goal, the better it gets.

They really cut loose in a wind-assisted second-half.

John Cashman was on hand to pick out Tadhg Deasy in the 34th minute for Blackrock’s first goal. It put them four up.

Erin’s Own were stubborn and did really well to stay within three points. It would be stating the obvious to say they would need a goal to remain in the hunt.

Instead, it was the Rockies who more or less put the game to bed when Michael O’Halloran netted midway through the second-half. His belter coming after good work by Shane O’Keeffe.

Connolly slotted over a run of well-worked points as well.

County colleagues Connolly and O’Flynn were the leading scorers for their respective teams.

The gap was pushed out to seven points with 50 minutes played.

The Glounthaune club could get no return whatsoever from an ultra-solid Blackrock rearguard. They came close to grabbing a goal in those late stages, but repeatedly their efforts were snuffed out - just one goal the city team have conceded now in their last two games suggests their timing might be right.

They managed to keep their opponents at arm’s length.

The outcome never looked in doubt, but for good measure, Blackrock raided for a third goal with the clock counting down.

Cotter showed his class four minutes from the end of regular time. He had only one thing on his mind when he made contact with the sliotar. His delightful finish was the icing on the cake.

And so to Cork’s little All-Ireland on October 16, and a much anticipated all-city final.

In the first place, how many people would have foreseen the semi-finalists of Blackrock, St Finbarr’s, Newtownshandrum and Erin’s Own?

Blackrock survived a mammoth 2020 county final battle against Glen Rovers after extra-time.

Extra-time again, and penalties, to overcome Imokilly earlier this month.

Yet, form will go out the window, because anything can happen in a two-horse race.

Scorers for Blackrock: A Connolly (0-9, 0-2 frees, 0-1 65), T Deasy (1-4), R Cotter (1-3), M O’Halloran (1-2), M O’Keeffe (0-2), D Meaney (0-1).

Scorers for Erin’s Own: R O’Flynn (0-12, 0-5 frees), E Murphy (frees) and B Ramsey (0-2 each), D Twomey, J O’Flynn, C Coakley, K Murphy and M O’Carroll (0-1 each).

BLACKROCK: G Connolly; S Murphy, J Cashman (J-Capt), C O’Brien; Cathal Cormack, A O’Callaghan, N Cashman; D Meaney, M O’Keeffe; M O’Halloran, T Deasy, S O’Keeffe (J-Capt); R Cotter, A Connolly, K O’Keeffe.

Subs: D O’Farrell for K O’Keeffe (48), Ciarán Cormack for S O’Keeffe (54), G Norberg for A O’Callaghan (57), G O’Regan for A Connolly (58), I O’Keeffe for M O’Halloran (59).

ERIN’S OWN: S Bowen; C O’Connor (J-Capt), C Dooley, J O’Carroll; D Twomey, J O’Flynn, A Moynihan; S Kelly, C Coakley; M O’Carroll, S Guilfoyle, K Murphy; Conor Lenihan, R O’Flynn (J-Capt), E Murphy.

Subs: Oran O’Regan for E Murphy (half-time), R Twomey for S Kelly (40), Cathal Lenihan for Conor Lenihan (46), B Ramsey for S Guilfoyle (49).

Referee: Ciarán O’Regan (Ballyhea)

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