Midleton 1-17 Ballymartle 0-18 FT
Midleton: B. Behan; P. O’Mahony; D. Ryan; F. O’Mahony; P. O’Shea (0-1; P.O’Keeffe); A. Ryan; J. Nagle; S. O’Farrell; C. Walsh (0-4; 0-3f); S. Hennessy (0-7; 0-5f); K. Mulcahy; S. Moore; C. Lehane (0-3); L. O’Farrell (1-2); P. Haughney.
Ballymartle: Declan McCarthy; D. Coleman; M. Tobin; D. Edmunds; J. Kelly (0-1); P. Dwyer (0-1); S. Corry; Darren McCarthy (0-3; 0-2f); S. O’Mahony (0-1); B. Dwyer (0-8; 0-3f); B. Corry; R. Dwyer (0-4; J. Coleman); J. Dwyer (P. Coughlan); D. Dwyer; K. Fitzpatrick.
Midleton squeezed past a typically competitive Ballymartle outfit on Sunday night by a couple of points in an entertaining fast game of hurling. Despite being favourites with Newtown to win the championship out Midleton were two points behind towards the end and won courtesy of Luke O’Farrell’s cracking goal in the first half and superior fitness in the dying minutes of the match. At the same time it was an impressively nervy performance from a Midleton squad, two thirds of which is still U-21, and with the slightly easier route to the final then Newtown its fair to say Midleton are best equipped to win the championship out as of right now.
For the Magpies there were a number of stand out performers. Cormac Walsh’s performance at midfield was exceptional – largely unerring from the dead ball he dispossessed a number of Ballymartle players throughout and pulled off one eye catching point from the middle of the pitch. Moreover, with Seamus O’Farrell alongside him Midleton seem to have finally solved their midfield weaknesses. Elsewhere the Midleton full-back was solid throughout and ensured Ballymartle were bereft of any goal chances, while Aidan Ryan did an excellent marking job on Brian Corry. Up front, Sean Hennessy put in a good shift but was the only member of the Midleton half-forward line to really perform; inside Conor Lehane and Luke O’Farrell were typically dangerous with ball in hand although the former in particular didn’t get enough service. Worryingly for Midleton both half-backs struggled badly to deal with their men while likewise the half-forward line seems short on class, and one assumes that maybe Lehane will start out half-forward the next day with Wallis or White coming in corner forward.
For Ballymartle, the team as a whole can be pretty happy with how they performed. Luke O’Farrell’s goal aside Ballymartle’s full-back line did well to hold Midleton’s goal chances to a minimum. Ballymartle’s half-back line likewise largely dominated their counterparts but neither midfielder really got a grip on the game in the middle third. Ballymartle’s attack revolved almost completely around half-forwards Barry and Ruari Dwyer as the inside forwards had little impact (two were subbed) and Brian Corry, usually good for a few points per game, had one of his most ineffectual games of the year. Both Dwyer’s however destroyed their men and were brutally clinical from play. However the inability of Ballymartle to create enough goal chances and the domination of Corman Walsh at midfield ensured a Midleton victory. At the same time, Ballymartle will surely be ecstatic with their first year at senior level and considering the youth of their team very hopeful for the coming decade.
C.I.T. 1-17 Bride Rovers 2-10 FT
C.I.T.: K. Roche; E. Dillon; R. Cashman; J. O’Callaghan; B. O’Sullivan; S. Leahy (J. Cronin); B. Withers; N. Kelly; L. McLoughlin (0-3f); D. Drake (0-4); M. O’Sullivan (0-3); A. Walsh (0-2); S. O’Brien (K. Hallisey); C. Casey (1-0; N. Doherty 0-1); T. Quaid (0-4;0-2f).
Bride Rovers: D. Fitzgerald (0-1f); A. Collins; B. Walsh: S. Kearney; Brian Murphy; Barry Murphy; L. Forde; M. Kearney (J. Pratt); B. Johnson (0-6; 0-4f); M. Collins (2-0, D. Ryan); D. Burke (0-1; J. O’Driscoll); P. Murphy; J. Mannix (C. O’Keeffe); S. Ryan (0-1); D. Dooley (0-1).
A decent performance by C.I.T. saw them through to a semi-final against Newtown after beating a limited but game Bride Rovers side. In contrast to the fast more intense opening game, this was of a lower quality and even though their victory was relatively comfortable in the end C.I.T. will need to improve considerably for Newtown. Although the scoreline suggests a close game overall its somewhat misleading as both Bride Rover’s goals were fortuitous and came from lapses in concentration by C.I.T., particularly from their goalkeeper Kevin Roche (Banteer).
For C.I.T., there was impressive performances from some of their lesser known players. Nicky Kelly (Mayfield) and substitute John Cronin (Lisgoold) were the main catalyst for victory in the second half, both players dominating the middle third, working exceptionally hard and playing considerable amounts of ball. Elsewhere Brendan Withers (Banteer), Brian O’Sullivan (Fermoy) and Eoin Dillon (Mildford) were solid in defense while Micheal O’Sullivan (Tracton) and likely MOTM David Drake (Carrigaline) also stood out as leaders for C.I.T., both scoring some very important points. Worringly for Newtown there is probably a lot more to come from C.I.T., considering McLoughlin (Kanturk), Casey (Iniscarra) and Adian Walsh (Kanturk – to be fair, still clearly unfit) had pretty quiet days, although the latter two did get some excellent scores between them. If they get these players going again, ensure no mistakes inside and continue to work hard in the middle third they will compete with Newtown big time.
Bride Rovers will no doubt be disapointed with the final result but they are undoubtedly a bit short on real quality, or at least in comparison to C.I.T. Defensively they performed well, the full-back line solid throughout and Brian Murphy exceptional on Aidan Walsh although no one got a grip on David Drake at any time in the game. Similarly Kelly, Drake and Cronin bullied Bride Rovers in the second half drying up what little ball was going inside, although Barry Johnson showed some nice flashes and was excellent from the dead ball. In the forwards, Bride Rovers, playing with extra men at the back for much of the game, had little ball and even less room, and failed almost completely to utilise Dooley or any other forward, with only Micheal Collins having any impact. All in all though reaching yet another quarter fnal is an impressive achievement for such a small club and one can say this has been another good year for the Rathcormac club.