Sarsfields 0-14 Carrigtwohill 0-11: There was a certain inevitability about the Sars’s victory in this Cork SHC first round tie in sunny Caherlag on Saturday evening.
While scores were level six times in the first half it was noteworthy that dogged Carrigtwohill led just once for a two-minute period and they were chasing the game for the greater part of the second half.
While there were a number of contributory factors, including wastage of decent scoring chances by both sides in each half, it was notable that Sarsfields captain Craig Leahy exerted a significant influence at full-back and while his ball control let him down at times, the returning Michael Cussen was a decided asset to the attack.
Expressing delight with Cussen’s availability after missing last year’s campaign, manager Teddy McCarthy commented: “just being there, he takes a lot of minding.” Though victory was ‘a step in the right direction’ (after being beaten by Newtownshandrum last year and Douglas in 2014 in their opening games), McCarhty sees huge room for improvement.
“We have an awful lot of work to do, everyone can see that we are very beatable at the moment,” he added.
“The standard we played is not good enough to progress. Our forwards are not shooting enough, they are not scoring enough and that’s why we are in the position we are in the League,”
Carrigtwohill boss Niall Kidney viewed them as ‘a serious outfit, an awesome team,’ saying: “they brought fellows off the bench and they are as good as everyone that was there. We’d have the players but they’re just not up to that pace yet.
But, we stayed with them for the bones of 50 minutes. We just didn’t have that bit of class that they seem to have. They just caught us by three points and we’re happy with that.”
Leahy was quick to make an impression in the Sars defence (from which Eanna Martin, an outstanding servant for the last few years, has been lost after moving job to Dublin) and others to contribute were William Kearney and Eoin Quigley.
Daniel Kearney and Conor O’Sullivan provided a solid base at midfield and in addition to Cussen, Cian McCarthy also posed a threat at centre-forward.
Likewise, Carrigtwohill’s backs acquitted themselves well, with Pat Sullivan, Ronan Power and Padraig Hogan each making a mark at different stages of the game. However, for all the efforts of Daniel O’Mahony and Niall McCarthy (initially in the centre but at full-forward in the second half), their attack posed less of a threat.
The fact that Tomás Hogan was top scorer with five pointed frees testified to their difficulty in this regard.
Sars’ two point lead at half-time (0-8 to 0-6) was the biggest margin between them up to that stage, but Carrig had it back to a point within 20 seconds of the restart.
The game continued to be closely contested until ten minutes from the end when a Cian McCarthy score stretched the margin to three points.
However, the margin would have been bigger but for some poor wides and they were just a point further in front until Niall McCarthy, giving a typically wholehearted display, got the last score of the match.
Scorers for Sarsfields:
C. McCarthy 0-5 (3 frees, sideline); M. Cussen 0-3; D. Kearney 0-2; C. Smith, C. O’Sullivan, T. Óg Murphy and J. O’Connor 0-1 each.
Scorers for Carrigtwohill:
T. Hogan 0-5 frees; N. McCarthy 0-3; D. O’Mahony 0-2; R. White 0-1.
A. Kennedy; W. Kearney, C. Leahy (capt.), P. Leopold; E. Murphy, E. Quigley, C. Smith; D. Roche, C. O’Sullivan; D. Kearney, C. McCarthy, G. O’Loughlin; L. Hackett, M. Cussen, T. Óg Murphy.
E. O’Sullivan for O’Loughlin (30); J. O’Connor for Roche (48); L. Healy for Murphy; R. O’Driscoll for Hackett (54).
W. McCarthy; P. Sullivan, R. Power, B. Cashman; C. O’Connell (capt.), P. Hogan, M. Riordan; L. Sullivan, J. Horgan; S. Roche, N. McCarthy, T. Hogan; D. O’Mahony, D. O’Driscoll, R. White.
S. Kidney for O’Driscoll (inj. 30).
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