Perfect evening for the Valley Rovers at new Páirc Uí Chaoimh

Cork PIHC Round 3: Valley Rovers 1-21 - Blarney 1-8: Cork panellist Chris O’Leary scored 12 points as Valley Rovers took victory last night in the first game in the new Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

Having lost to Carrigaline in the first round, Valleys bounced back with a win over Inniscarra and are now in the quarter-finals. Selector Neil O’Sullivan was happy that his team had focused on the game and not the occasion.

“It’s good now to look back and have a souvenir,” he said, “but we were trying not to think too much about it, the venue was a side-show.

“We didn’t want any distractions, just to concentrate on Blarney and getting the result. Most of Innishannon was here tonight, it was fantastic.”

Back in 1976, the old stadium was opened with a double-header featuring Cork against Kerry and Kilkenny. That was preceded by an hour of Irish song, music, and dance as well as a procession of past All-Ireland-winning Cork captains before a blessing of the stadium by the Catholic bishops of Cork, assisted by Dr Morris, the Archbishop of Cashel.

The blessing and the hurling match were televised live by RTÉ, but this preamble was altogether more low-key, if not unanticipated — with reports of heavy traffic from all approaches as early as 6pm.

Though there were some misgivings about the €10 entry fee and lack of concessions for OAPs or students, the near-unanimous reaction was of being impressed.

With so many neutrals in the attendance of 10,749, it made for a strange atmosphere, but the teams had to divorce themselves from the occasion and deal with what was a knockout championship game.

Blarney were out first – vacating a dressing room fitted out by their coach James Hughes and entering a pitch designed and maintained by former player Stephen Forrest – but that was the only lead they were to take.

Chris O’Leary had the first point, striking from play inside 32 seconds — he was to have the first wide and first pointed free too — while Blarney’s Alan McEvoy had the Buzz Aldrin role of the second point.

With the wind behind them, Valleys moved into a 0-4 to 0-1 lead but frees from Mark Cremin helped to reduce the arrears, 0-5 to 0-4, by the end of the first quarter.

Valleys eased clear from there, O’Leary, Jack Walsh and Eoin O’Reilly on target, and the advantage wouldn’t recede thereafter. In addition, Blarney goalkeeper Conor Murphy had to deny Kevin Canty a goal and would also keep out Walsh, while at the other end Cremin kicked an effort wide.

By half-time, it was 0-11 to 0-6 for the Innishannon side, with full-back Tomás O’Brien having done well to block a Stephen Lohan effort coming up to the break.O’Leary and Walsh increased that in the second half’s nascent stages. Cremin did send a sideline over for Blarney but Walsh’s goal, a low finish from Gary Farrell’s handpass, ended the game as a contest on 42, making it 1-13 to 0-7.

Blarney relocated Mark Coleman from centre-back to midfield in the second half as they sought to reduce the arrears, but it was Rovers’, and O’Leary’s, night. He scored a super point from the left on the three-quarter mark and then landed two frees from behind his own 65m.

By that stage, many of the crowd had begun to filter out, happy with what they had sampled. They missed a late goal from Blarney sub David Cremen, but it is Valleys who march on to a quarter-final tie with Mallow.

Scorers for Valley Rovers:

C O’Leary (0-12, 7 frees), J Walsh (1-3), J Cottrell (0-3), E O’Reilly (0-2), K Canty (0-1).

Scorers for Blarney:

M Cremin (0-3, 2 frees, 1 sideline), D Cremen (1-0), M Coleman (0-2 frees), C Power, A McEvoy, S Mulcahy (0-1 each).

VALLEY ROVERS:

W Burke; E Delaney, T O’Brien, J Lynch; D Lynch, N O’Donovan, W Hurley; C Butler, C Desmond; K Canty, G Farrell, C O’Leary; J Cottrell, J Walsh, E O’Reilly.

Subs:

D Looney for Canty (21, injured), D Lordan for Cottrell (53), S O’Regan for Hurley (58).

BLARNEY:

C Murphy; B Walsh, P O’Leary, D Walsh; C Power, M Coleman, J Jordan; C O’Mahony, K Costello; S Lohan, C Murphy A McEvoy; M Cremin, D Whyte, S Mulcahy.

Subs:

P Philpott for Costello (26), R Murphy for White, D Cremen for Lohan (both 45), E Hyland for O’Mahony (48), P O’Connor for Power (54), S Crowley for Cremin (60, blood).

Referee:

S Stokes (Tullylease).

More on this topic

Review: Rod Stewart rocks Leeside with high energy entertainment Review: Rod Stewart rocks Leeside with high energy entertainment

Páirc Uí Chaoimh looks ‘ready to go’, says Tracey KennedyPáirc Uí Chaoimh looks ‘ready to go’, says Tracey Kennedy

Tracey Kennedy: 'I find it hard to look at it at the moment with anything but rage, but it is a beautiful wonderful stadium'Tracey Kennedy: 'I find it hard to look at it at the moment with anything but rage, but it is a beautiful wonderful stadium'

Full Páirc Uí Chaoimh cost won’t be known for monthsFull Páirc Uí Chaoimh cost won’t be known for months


Lifestyle

Breanndán Ó Beaglaoich will not let a day pass without his ritual dip in the sea, which he describes as the best anti-depressant ever, says Lorna Siggins.Taking the plunge has a depth of benefits

10% of women suffer from it worldwide.As Alexa Chung reveals she has endometriosis, here’s everything you need to know about the condition

Pinnies, cookie cutters and wooden spoons at the ready.Food projects to do with the kids this summer

Stop. Climbing. Uluru.As tourists rush to climb Uluru despite an incoming ban – 5 ways to enjoy the rock respectfully

More From The Irish Examiner