Midleton 0-20 Killeagh 2-8: The outcome was the one most predicted, but not with the ease expected from Midleton in this Cork senior hurling championship first-round game in Castlemartyr yesterday.
On a day when Killeagh would have been glad of the services of Joe Deane, who has not been involved so far this year, once again the quality of Conor Lehane’s striking from frees and general play was appreciated on all sides with a contribution of eleven points. Anticipating ‘a banana-skin fixture’ – “a local derby takes on a life of its own” — Midleton manager Jerry Wallace expressed satisfaction with the overall performance.
Adding the management had been ‘very happy’ with a five points lead at half-time after playing with the strong wind. “We lost our way around the 20th minute but the lads got back to the gameplan and kept tipping over the points. Conor Lehane wasn’t going a hundred miles an hour, he paced himself well and near the end of the game he came up with some nice scores. He’s a great player.”
Killeagh manager Sean Crowley said that they missed Joe Deane ‘more than any other day in the year,’ commenting: “we’ll be trying in the morning to get him back for the next day. He was a big loss there to be fair.
“We did the best we could. We had a few injuries coming in and we threw everything we could at them, but it wasn’t good enough.
“It’s no good unless we win the next day against Youghal.”
Killeagh opened well with a Daniel Walsh point after 30 seconds and were more than equal to the challenge over the course of the first quarter. Andy Walsh gave great leadership around the middle, they were picking up some hard-won possession in the half-forward line and showed their character after falling behind to three Lehane points and another from hard-working midfielder Paul Haughney by recovering quickly.
First Andy Walsh produced a great goal in the 11th minute and then Eoghan Keniry quickly followed with a point to level the scores for the third (and last) time.
Thereafter, Midleton raised the tempo, with Lehane inspiring them with three points (despite some very good covering by Pa O’Brien) and Seamus O’Farrell hitting two scores in quick succession.
In contrast, Killeagh paid the penalty for some poor finishing and an injury-time Shane Smiddy point was their only other score before half-time, when they trailed 0-12 to 0-4.
The second half turned out to be almost as competitive and while Midleton opened smartly with points from Haughney and Lehane, it was a case of flattering to deceive.
Killeagh’s backs got in some good work under pressure, but on the down side they found it increasingly difficult to get scores in the face of equally good defending from the likes of Killian Burke at right-half and steady play from Aidan Ryan in the centre.
Eventually, after wasting several good opportunities from frees (highlighting Deane’s absence at a key stage of the contest), they opened their scoring with a David Cahill point.
But, they benefitted from the continuing influence of Andrew Walsh and David Cahill’s ability to win ball after moving out from corner-forward. Additionally, they were encouraged by two long-range points from goalkeeper Bernard Rochford frees and their fighting display was rewarded with a second goal, which came from a well-struck 21 yards free from Daniel Landers in the 54th minute.
However, while the margin could have been tighter at the end, there was never any doubt about Midleton advancing – with the Killeagh manager anticipating that they will be county finalists, at the very least!
Scorers for Midleton:
C. Lehane 0-11 (0-6 frees); L. O’Farrell, S. O’Farrell and J. Nagle 0-2 each; P. Haughney, C. Walsh and P. White 0-1 each.
Scores for Killeagh:
D. Landers 1-1 frees; A. Walsh 1-0; B. Rochford (0-2 frees) and David Cahill 0-2 each; D. Walsh, S. Smiddy and E. Keniry 0-1 each.
T. Wallace; C. Hurley, P. O’Mahony, A. Kearney (capt.); K. Burke, A. Ryan, P. Ó Sé; P. Haughney, C. Walsh; J. Nagle, S. O’Farrell, P. White; L. O’Farrell, B. Hartnett, C. Lehane.
B. Rochford; P. O’Brien (capt.) C. Fogarty, A. Keniry; K. Lane, B. Barry, Darragh Cahill; P. O’Neill, B. Collins; D. Walsh, A. Walsh, S. Smiddy; E. Keniry, David Cahill, D. Landers.
K. Murphy for Darragh Cahill (29); S. Long for O’Neill (40).
Joe Larkin (Douglas).
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