Coláiste an Spioraid Naoimh have put themselves in pole position to top Group D with Kieran McFadden’s late goal sealing a four-point victory over Hamilton High School.
In their first Corn Uí Mhuirí campaign since 2011, the Bishopstown schoolboys have risen to the challenge. This take-down of last year’s semi-finalists, featuring eight players who took the field that day, makes it two wins from two and they showed their mettle in recovering from the concession of two early goals to Seán Mac an tSaoi.
James Byrne and Darragh O'Donovan locked down their defence to ensure no further goals were leaked, while their midfield, led by Tomás O’Keeffe, gave them a foothold in the game. Mark O’Brien and Adam O’Sullivan worked hard in transition to get CSN up the park, with O’Sullivan assisting almost as much as he scored (1-4 scored, 1-3 assisted). Robert Quirke spearheaded the inside line in kicking three fine points.
It was a well-managed performance all round. They kicked only three wides (to Hamilton’s 10), scored a goal in the final minute of normal time in each half, and were patient in holding possession through those final moments before and after McFadden’s game-clinching cameo.
CSN, playing hosts after a venue change from Ballygarvan, were on the board early through a Quirke mark before Mac an tSaoi struck in the fourth minute. Conor O’Sullivan’s high ball was fielded by Micheál Maguire and he fed his fellow corner-forward to score.
They repeated the dose after 18 minutes, Maguire again supplying Mac an tSaoi after a Paul Kelly turnover to make it 2-0 to 0-2.
CSN responded well. O’Brien picked out Kevin Werner for a point, and their Ballinora clubmate Quirke kicked another fine score.
2021 Cork minors Olan Corcoran (who finished with 0-4) and Niall Kelly (0-2) were tightly marked but continued to threaten, their points keeping Hammies ahead. But in the 30th minute, Quirke was fouled when through on goal and O’Sullivan sent the keeper the wrong way from the penalty spot. Level at the break, 1-5 to 2-2.
They traded frees on the resumption and were level for a third time after Mac an tSaoi and Corcoran cancelled out points from Marc O’Connor and O’Sullivan. Corcoran, well picked out by Niall Kelly, kicked a classy point from 45 metres to give the Bandon school the edge on 51 minutes but from there to the end, CSN outscored them 1-3 to 0-1.
O’Keeffe pointed after Cork goalie Josh Woods saved from Quirke, O’Sulllivan fed Quirke for the lead score, and O’Sullivan’s free doubled that lead.
Corcoran’s fourth point narrowed the gap but Hammies were left to rue their wide count when CSN broke down the right wing, where they found so much joy all day, and O’Sullivan’s dropping shot was fisted to the net by McFadden.
A O’Sullivan (1-4, 1-0 pen, 0-3 frees); K McFadden (1-0); R Quirke (0-3, 1 mark); M O’Connor, K Murphy, T O’Keeffe, K Werner (0-1 each).
S Mac an tSaoi (2-1); O Corcoran (0-4); N Kelly (0-2, 1 free).
S Cronin (Bishopstown); D Byrne (Ballinora), J Byrne (Ballinora), C Dineen (Inniscarra); M O’Connor (Éire Óg), M O’Brien (Ballinora), K Murphy (Bishopstown); T O’Keeffe (St Finbarr’s), A Laverty (Ballinora); A O’Sullivan (Ballinhassig), O Foley (Bishopstown), D O’Donovan (Bishopstown); K Werner (Ballinora), G Holland (Bishopstown), R Quirke (Ballinora).
B Cahill (Bishopstown) for D Byrne (h-t), K McFadden (Bishopstown) for Werner (47), M Ahern (St Finbarr’s) for Holland (47), S Connolly (Inniscarra) for O’Connor (51).
J Woods (Valley Rovers); S Ahern (Bandon), R O’Donovan (Valley Rovers), B Lordan (Valley Rovers); J Calnan (Bandon), A Deasy (Courcey Rovers), C O’Sullivan (Ahán Gaels); C Johnson (Valley Rovers), E Guinane (Valley Rovers); P Kelly (Newcestown), O Corcoran (Ahán Gaels), A Casey (Valley Rovers); S Mac an tSaoi (Valley Rovers), N Kelly (Newcestown), M Maguire (Castlehaven).
O McCarthy (Valley Rovers) for P Kelly (47), H O’Mahony (Bandon) for Mac an tSaoi (57), K Hannon (Bandon) for Casey (59).
M Harrington (Carrigaline).