Kilbrittain 1-10 Valley Rovers 0-11
Cian O’Leary’s goal strike proved crucial as Kilbrittain advanced to the quarter-finals of the Premier Intermediate Hurling Championship on Saturday.
For defeated Valley Rovers, their demise was largely of their own making; the concession of too many scoreable frees and a failure to take advantage of a plethora of second-half scoring opportunities.
Their mentors on the line could only shake their heads in disbelief as the players racked up wide after wide to leave Kilbrittain in control of a game noted for its intensity, but which lacked finesse.
Valley Rovers finished with 14 wides, 10 of them in the second half as the battle for a quarter-final spot raged. Kilbrittain, although struggling to find the target from open play, were at least consistent with six first-half and five second-half wides.
Going forward they will surely know that an over-reliance on the free-taking expertise of Jamie Wall won’t be sufficient against the level of opposition they are bound to face.
The winners failed to score a point from play throughout the first half and, indeed, their first arrived 12 minutes from time.
In that sense, Cian O’Leary’s 14th-minute goal was critical in maintaining their slender advantage throughout.
Wall’s frees kept Kilbrittain’s tally ticking over, while Eamonn Collins and Kevin Canty made the biggest contribution to Valley Rovers’ first-half total of 0-8.
O’Leary’s major in the opening quarter was exceptional in that he gathered possession straight from a puck-out and finished brilliantly with a diagonal strike that Ger Rice had no chance of stopping.
Rice had earlier denied Tommy Harrington with an excellent stop and he went on to deny Wall in the 42nd minute with a half-block that allowed defender David Lynch to divert the goal-bound sliotar away to safety.
That second half was memorable only for the succession of missed chances and the fact that Canty actually scored the first score from play of the second 30 well into the final quarter.
That was just one of three, however, and Kilbrittain were able to add to their slim half-time advantage by outscoring their rivals four points to three in that forgettable second spell.
Scorers for Kilbrittain: J Wall 0-7 (6f), C O’Leary 1-0, R Cashman (f), M Sexton, P O’Mahony 0-1 each.
Scorers for Valley Rovers: E Collins 0-5 (3f), K Canty 0-3, R Butler (f), D Crowley, R O’Donovan 0-1 each.
KILBRITTAIN: R Hayes; D Desmond, J Murphy, C McCarthy; V O’Brien, R Cashman, D Hickey; J Deasy, C Hickey; M Sexton, P O’Mahony, C O’Leary; D Desmond, J Wall, T Harrington.
Subs: F O’Connell for Harrington (45).
VALLEY ROVERS: G Rice; N O’Donovan, D Lynch, F Coughlan; J Hurley, C O’Donovan, D Murphy; R O’Donovan, R Butler; D Crowley, T Fitzgerald, F Lynch; D Looney, E Collins, K Canty.
Subs: E Fallon for Fitzgerald (46), J Burke for Butler (46), E O’Reilly for Crowley (46).
Referee: D Kirwan (Eire Og).
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