Castlehaven 2-12 Clyda Rovers 0-9: Several factors combined to produce this emphatic victory for Castlehaven in Saturday evening’s Cork SFC first-round game in Carrigadrohid - primarily a significant second-half improvement which yielded two goals inside the opening ten minutes.
However, it was achieved at a cost after Brian Hurley, scorer of the second goal, was red-carded in the 54th minute, while a similar fate befell Clyda’s Conor O’Sullivan four minutes later.
Agreeing that Hurley’s dismissal was ‘a downer,’ Castlehaven manager Jim Nolan remarked that the game had been ‘every bit as tough as he expected.
“We got the few breaks after half-time which made it easier,” he said, adding that the management hadn’t been that happy with elements of their forward play in the first half. “We thought we were going down the middle, we weren’t playing the corners,” he explained. “In the second half we played the wings a bit better and opened it up more.
“We got the two goals at the right time and that made the difference really. We pushed on from there. I thought Brian Hurley was magic.”
Clyda Rovers coach Ned English pointed out that having been down five of last year’s championship team, injuries to Fionn O’Shea and Conor Flanagan further handicapped them. “Everybody did their very best,” he said. “I suppose the game turned on a small moment, a turnover from us allowed Brian Hurley to goal and that goal turned the whole game. If it hadn’t gone in the game could have been highly competitive to the end.”
Cork star Hurley and Clyda’s James Murphy were key figures in the opening exchanges in terms of their free-taking accuracy, which had scores level three times up to the 12th minute and again – after Murphy had put Clyda in front for the first time – in the 21st. Fionn O’Shea, who had been quick to settle at midfield, picked up an injury after six minutes and after spending time at full-forward was eventually replaced. In his absence, it was noteworthy that Sean Dineen was hugely influential for Castlehaven around the centre, despite the best efforts of Daniel O’Callaghan.
Clyda opted for a seventh defender in the person of selected wing-forward Sean Ronayne and their tenacity under pressure – with Ray Carey comfortable at full-back and left corner-back Niall O’Mullane especially effective – had the effect of severely limiting Castlehaven’s forward potential.
And, typically, wing-back Paudie Kissane was seen to very good effect in an attacking capacity.
At the other end, possibly aided by a slight wind advantage, Clyda’s attack made marginally more progress and it had them two points in front by the 27th minute and leading 0-7 to 0-6 at the break.
However, the scoreline would have been different but for crucial goal-keeping saves, first by Clyda’s Conor O’Donoghue from Brian Hurley in the 18th minute and seven minutes later, by Anthony Seymour from Conor Flanagan (who was to be forced off injured eight minutes after the resumption).
Indicative of the way the game changed significantly over the course of the third quarter was the fact that, side by side with scoring their two goals, Castlehaven kicked seven wides in the same period. More positively, superb play from Mark Collins around midfield and in forward movements, was to prove critical in their overall dominance.
Sean Dineen, who maintained his consistency, got the first goal, in the 35th minute, palming the ball to the net after Hurley had crossed from the left.
And, a move involving Sean Cahalane and Collins in the 40th minute made the opening for Hurley himself to score with a powerful shot to the roof of the net.
To their credit, Clyda never stopped trying, but their best efforts at moving the ball forward at pace – with Kissane often leading the charge – were largely fruitless because of stonewall defending by Castlehaven. And, they were further frustrated by a few missed opportunities.
The end result was that after getting the first score of the second half, they were to be limited to just one more point before the end. Clyda will now meet Carbery Rangers in Round 2.
Before the throw-in, a minute’s silence was observed in memory of former Castlehaven star Michael Burns, who died during the week.
Scorers for Castlehaven:
B. Hurley 1-7 (0-5 frees); S. Dineen 1-0; M. Collins 0-3 (0-2 frees); S. Cahalane and S. Hurley 0-1 each.
Scorers for Clyda Rovers:
J. Murphy 0-7 (0-6 frees, 0-1 ’45); C. Flanagan (free) and Cian O’Sullivan 0-1 each.
A. Seymour; J. O’Regan, D. Limerick, T. O’Leary; C. Hayes, R. Whelton, D. Cahalane; S. Dineen, M. Collins; S. Collins, S. Hurley, J. Davis; S. Nolan, B. Hurley, S. Cahalane.
C. O’Donoghue; C. Kenny, R. Carey, N. O’Mullane; R. Willis, K. Fitzgerald, P. Kissane; F. O’Shea, D. O’Callaghan; Cian O’Sullivan, C. Flanagan, S. Ronayne; J. Murphy, Conor O’Sullivan, S. O’Connell.
D. Roche for O’Shea (inj. 23); R. Walsh for Flanagan (inj. 38); C. Kelly for O’Mullane (black card, 50); R. Flanagan for Willis (55).
Nathan Wall (Carrigaline).
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