Blarney 2-13 Kilworth 0-15: Two heavyweights every year in the Cork Premier IHC went head to head in the second of the double headers in the Páirc Uí Rinn yesterday.
For most of the hour, there wasn’t much between them but Kilworth were rocked twice by Blarney goals, and while they did get back each time and even got to within a point midway through the second half, being reduced to 13 players in the closing stages proved too much for them.
With just three points separating the sides, firstly Kilworth centre back Nathan Byrne received a straight red card in the 54th minute and then two minutes later, Brian Tobin was flashed a second yellow. Despite the best efforts of the players on the field, the numerical imbalance was too much to ask.
Kilworth gave their supporters plenty of hope though opening brightly and surging 0-4 to 0-1 ahead after seven minutes — good scores from Noel McNamara (2), Jeremy Saich and Paddy Moakley.
Will Condon added another point before Blarney made their first big statement of the afternoon when centre forward Barra O’Connell let rip with his shot to the back of the net following Colin Murphy setting him up.
Again Kilworth replied with McNamara getting his third point and one from Tobin, keeping their noses in front, 0-7 to 1-2. But, Blarney put them on the back foot once more with Mark O’Leary raising a green flag, the layoff coming from Shane Mulcahy — who came into the game for injured captain Darragh McSweeney.
Led by dependable goalkeeper Paul Hallissey, a Colin Murphy point right on the stroke of half-time meant that Blarney, turning to play with the wind, held a 2-7 to 0-8 advantage. And they had a wonderful opportunity to extend their lead a couple of minutes into the second half when Mulcahy was fouled, but the resulting penalty taken by O’Connell was pushed out for a 65 by Kieran Walsh. The 65 tailed wide too.
Kilworth stepped up their game courtesy of points from Condon and McNamara (2), but Blarney got a welcome score from David Dunlea.
Again, Kilworth went looking for flags and went very close to goaling but the sliotar was dramatically swept off the line. They did land a brace of points in the next two minutes, 2-8 to 0-13, but Blarney, coached by former Na Piarsaigh player Sean Guiheen, regained control.
The defence, always so well anchored by Joe Jordan, were slowly getting to grips with the Kilworth attack. Jordan and O’Connell made it a four point game but when sub Paudie Lynch got in for a score, Kilworth only trailed by a goal, 2-11 to 0-14. It was then it all went so wrong for them.
Despite a pointed free from their top-scorer McNamara, it was one-way traffic for the closing five minutes. When Mark Coleman angled over two excellent frees in the 58th and 59th minute, it was game up for Kilworth.
However, the North Cork side are no strangers to having to dig deep having had to negotiate rounds one, two and three last year so they will be well aware of what is required when they square up to Tracton in round two.
Scorers for Blarney:
B O’Connell (1-5, five frees), M O’Leary (1-0), M Coleman (0-3 frees), D Dunlea (0-2), J Jordan, S Mulcahy and C Murphy (0-1 each).
Scorers for Kilworth:
N McNamara (0-7, six frees), W Condon (0-3), J Saich (0-2), P Lynch, P Moakley and B Tobin (0-1 each).
P Hallissey; J Barrett, P O’Leary, D Walsh; M Coleman, J Jordan, B Hurley; R O’Donovan, B O’Connell; M O’Leary, C Murphy, J D Good; D Dunlea, M Cremin, S Mulcahy.
K Costello for J Jordan (bs 27-30), K Costello for M O’Leary (46).
K Walsh; M McNamara, A O’Hara, S Keane; J McCarthy, N Byrne, M O’Connor; K Lane, J Saich; B Tobin, J Cahill, N McNamara; P Moakley, W Condon, B Sheehan.
P Lynch for P Moakley (47), L Whelan for J Cahill (52).
James Bermingham (Bride Rovers).
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