Courcey Rovers 2-15 Mallow 1-10
COURCEY ROVERS are back in the Premier IHC final for the second time in five years following a comprehensive victory over Mallow in the first of the semi-finals at Páirc Uí Chaoimh yesterday.
Playing marvellous attacking hurling, they struck for two goals at crucial stages in the second half when the North Cork side were shaping up as likely winners.
Rovers owed much to the skill of full-forward Seamus Hayes. Despite his stature, he has that ability to wriggle his way past defenders and he finished the game with 1-5, all from play.
However, it wasn’t all about the Courceys full-forward. Timmy Lordan was outstanding at full-back; Vincent Hurley and David Hayes gave them control at midfield while Cian Lordan and John Murphy played their part.
Mallow never reached the heights of their quarter-final win over Inniscarra. The conditions may have had something to do with that and the North Cork side had little answer to the pace and skill of their opponents. Wayne O’Donnell couldn’t be faulted for the two goals that past him; Denis Hayes was solid at centre-back; Fergal McCormack had his moments at midfield, while up front, only Pa Dineen and Barry Murphy posed any real threat.
Conditions were extremely difficult due to the drizzle and the slippery surface made ball control almost impossible. Early points had the sides level before Courceys hit a purple patch.
First time hurling in the conditions was the policy and they hit five points in a row to lead 0-6 to 0-1 at the break. Mallow looked in trouble.
However, a goal can change a game in seconds and Mallow grabbed one in the 17th minute, and a lucky one.
Fergal McCormack drove a long ball into the Courceys keeper but he failed to hold the greasy sliotar, and it dropped over the goal line. Pa Dineen tacked on a point and Courceys lead was down to a point, 0-8 to 1-4 in front at the short whistle.
The standard of hurling improved on the changeover. Seamus Hayes continued to pose problems for Mallow and he played a key role in the Rovers’ opening goal in the 33rd minute.
A long clearance out of defence by David Murphy saw Hayes beat the Mallow ‘keeper in a race for possession, and displaying marvellous vision, the full-forward played a clever pass to Cian Lordan who drilled the sliotar to the back of the empty net.
Three points in a row were added and Mallow were in danger of being overrun. The loss of a player each, Niall Murphy (Rovers) for a second yellow card and Pa Riordan for a straight red, made for a more open match, but it was the South side who took advantage of the extra space.
Cian Lordan put Seamus Hayes in for their second goal and only a magnificent save by Mallow ‘keeper Wayne O’Donnell from Gavin Moloney denied them a third as Courceys tightened the screw. Mallow were powerless to prevent the inevitable and points by Vincent Hurley and Seamus Hayes put the seal on a splendid victory.
Scorers for Courcey Rovers: S. Hayes 1-5; C. Lordan 1-1; V. Hurley (0-1 free), J. Murphy 0-3 each; N. Murphy 0-2 (frees); T. Collins 0-1.
Mallow: P. Dineen 0-6 (0-4 frees); F. McCormack 1-1; B. Murphy, BJ Ryan, D. McInerney 0-1 each.
COURCEY ROVERS: S. Nyhan; D. Duggan, T. Lordan, B. Hayes; J. Quinn, B. Hayes, D. Murphy; V. Hurley, D. Hayes; T. Collins, N. Murphy, K. Moloney; C. Lordan, S. Hayes, J. Murphy.
Sub: G. Moloney for Collins (53).
MALLOW: W. O’Donnell; D. Coughlan, B. Gleeson, J. Culloty; F. O’Neill, D. Hayes, C. Kerrisk; F. McCormack, D. McInerney; J. Hayes, M. Maher, C. O’Riordan; B. Murphy, M. Linehan, P. Dineen.
Subs: B. Carey for Maher (half time); P. O’Riordan for Carey (34); BJ Ryan for Linehan; CD. Sheehan, for O’Donnell; R. Galvin for Murphy.
Referee: C. Lyons (Nemo Rangers).
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