Ballymartle turn it round with late burst

Ballymartle 5-12 Blackrock 2-17
Goals were central to a second-half turnaround as Ballymartle advanced to the Cork SHC quarter-finals by beating Blackrock at Páirc Uí Rinn last night.

Trailing by seven points, 2-12 to 2-5, at half-time, the south-east side had a great start to the second half when Brian Corry got his second goal and then Darren McCarthy’s penalty at the threequarter mark tied matters at 2-14 to 4-8.

With the momentum behind them, they kicked on and kept up their record of having reached the last eight each year since winning the Premier IHC in 2010, with semi-final appearances in the last two campaigns.

Manager Johhny Crowley put the change in fortunes after half-time to a refusal to let Blackrock dictate the terms.

“In the first half, when we hurled we were a bit slicker and a bit faster,” he said, “we probably got embroiled in their game more than playing our game.

“There was no magic wand or anything, it was just about self-belief. When we hurled and opened them up we got at them, there was fantastic heart shown.

“Brian Corry was immense, the half-back line was good, Darren McCarthy was excellent when he came out around the middle. We’re thrilled with it.”

As he would in the second half, Corry opened the first-period scoring, finding the net inside 45 seconds. That gave Ballymartle a cushion for a while, but once Blackrock got going they were well on top. David Cashman was on form from frees while midfielder David O’Farrell was also prominent alongside Kevin O’Keeffe.

When Cashman goaled in the 17th minute, killing a high delivery on his stick and then poking home, it put them 1-7 to 1-4 in front and he added a free immediately after. While Cork sub goalkeeper Darren McCarthy got Ballymartle’s second goal immediately after that, netting after a scramble, they wouldn’t score again until deep into injury-time.

In between, Blackrock put daylight between the sides. Ballymartle goalkeeper Declan McCarthy had to save well from Patrick Deasy on 25, but further points had the city side four clear when Colin O’Leary was fouled for a penalty.

Though Olan Kelleher’s initial effort was saved, Ballymartle were unable to clear and Kelleher converted for a seven-point lead which remained at half-time after Barry Dwyer and Shane O’Keeff exchanged points.

Corry repeated his early-goal feat three minutes into the second half to make the game a contest though, with Ruairí and Barry Dwyer bringing them to within two points. With Darren McCarthy getting joy in a roving midfield role, Ballymartle were really beginning to frustrate Blackrock and three points separated the sides when Corry was fouled by goalkeeper Alan Long just as he was about to score.

While Darren McCarthy didn’t hit his penalty perfectly, it ended in the net. Cashman’s sixth point was Blackrock’s immediate response, but that was to prove to be the last time they led as Ballymartle turned on the turbo in the final quarter.

Rickard Cahalane, Ruairí Dwyer and sub Killian McCarthy all scored and Dwyer’s reliability from frees was in contrast to Blackrock’s growing anxiety, with panic setting in as the end neared.

They did manage to come back to within a point when Cashman converted a late free but then Killian McCarthy made the game safe when he cleverly batted a shot to the net from a tight angle.

Blackrock vainly sought a goal, but for the third year in a row they found themselves beaten by Ballymartle. A last-eight clash with Glen Rovers or Bishopstown now awaits the Riverstick side.

Scorers for Ballymartle: Darren McCarthy 2-1 (1-0 penalty), D Dwyer 0-6 (frees), B Corry 2-0, K McCarthy 1-1, R Cahalane, R Dwyer, J Dwyer (free), K Fitzpatrick 0-1 each.

Scorers for Blackrock: D Cashman 1-7 (five frees), O Kelleher 1-1, D O’Farrell 0-3, K O’Keeffe (one free, one 65), C O’Leary 0-2 each, S O’Keeffe, G Norberg 0-1 each.

BALLYMARTLE: Declan McCarthy; C Coleman, M Tobin, D Edmunds; J Kelly, P Dwyer, S Corry; R Cahalane, S O’Mahony; J Dwyer, Darren McCarthy, K Fitzpatrick; B Dwyer, B Corry, R Dwyer.

Subs: K McCarthy for J Dwyer (45), J Wallace for B Dwyer (60).

BLACKROCK: A Long; E Cantwell, B Aherne, R Laide; E Smith, S Murphy, G Norberg; D O’Farrell, K O’Keeffe; S O’Keeffe, C O’Leary, C Cormack; O Kelleher, D Cashman, P Deasy.

Subs: N Cashman for Smith (39), A Murphy for Deasy (46), E O’Farrell for Kelleher (53).

Referee: C McAllister (Aghada).


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