A first-half Mark Sugrue goal proved crucial in this tight meeting at Caherlag on Saturday, helping Bandon to just about see off a competitive Castlelyons team.
At the end of a game riddled with stoppages and substitutions referee Joseph Larkin curiously played no stoppage time, which was greeted with frustration by the Castlelyons team who had clawed their way back to within a point and looked the fresher of the sides at the final whistle.
Castlelyons’ inability to drive home their advantage when they were on top in the first half proved their undoing. Having trailed 1-3 to 0-5 at the changeover they never let Bandon get out of sight but couldn’t complete a late comeback.
A high standard of hurling was established inside the opening minute when Castlelyons’ Aidan O’Sullivan opened the scoring, splitting the posts with an expertly struck sideline cut. Ronan Crowley responded with a fine free for Bandon in the fourth minute.
The sides traded points again over a quick-paced and evenly fought opening 10 minutes.
With a strong breeze at their backs, Castlelyons soon took control of midfield where Leo Sexton and O’Sullivan were impressive.
Having struggled to get into an attacking rhythm, Bandon were gifted a foothold in the game with Sugrue’s goal on 13 minutes.
A long sideline cut caused confusion in the Castlelyons defence and somehow the ball fell to the centre-forward completely unmarked and he whipped in from close range, giving Bandon the lead for the first time.
Castlelyons struck back with excellent scores from O’Sullivan and Barry Fitzgerald but Ronan Crowley notched the last point of the half for Bandon, ensuring his team took a one-point lead into the break despite playing against the wind and having seen less of the ball.
Points from Michael Cahalane and Darren Crowley extended Bandon’s lead to three at the start of the second half and they looked certain to kick on and win comfortably.
However, Sexton, Ciarán McGann and substitute Robbie Feeney refused to wilt and two late Feeney frees left just a point between the teams as the clock ticked to 60 but there was to be no injury-time leveller as Larkin sounded the full-time whistle.
Scorers for Bandon: M Sugrue 1-0, R Crowley 0-3 (2fs), M Cahalane 0-2, D Crowley, A Johnson and J McCarthy 0-1 each.
Scorers for Castlelyons: D Tobin, R Feeney 0-3 (3f) each, A O’Sullivan 0-2 (1 sl), C McGann (1f), B Fitzgerald 0-1 each.
BANDON: J McSweeney; P Crowley; J O’Donovan; J Burke; E O’Donovan; P Lucey; J Walsh; J Harrington; D Crowley; N O’Rourke; M Sugrue; JHickey; M Cahalane; A Johnson: R Crolwey.
Subs: C Dullea for Walsh (16), J McCarthy for O’Rourke (36), P Murphy for Harrington (61).
CASTLELYONS: S O’Sullivan; C O’Leary; C Barry; B Carroll; M O’Leary; C McGann; P Murphy; L Sexton; A O’Sullivan; A Spillane; P McMahon; B Fitzgerald; R Fenton; T McCarthy; C Spillane.
Subs: R Feeney for Fitzgerald (ht), D Lawlor for Fenton (43), A Fenton for Spillane (50), E Maye for Murphy (55).
Referee: J Larkin (Douglas).
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