Na Piarsaigh/Douglas & Carrigtwohill/Courcey Rovers – Cork Senior Hurling Championship 2012

Douglas 2-14 Na Piarsaigh 0-11 FT

Douglas: T. Delaney; P. Clarke; D. McSweeney; J. Collins; M. McGrath; M. Harrington; C. Lucey; D. Hanrahan (0-1); M. O’Callaghan (0-2; J. Moylan);  M.Collins (0-2); O. Mulrooney (0-2); E. Cadogan; A. Cadogan (0-1); R. Murphy (1-3; 0-2f); S. Moylan (1-3).

Na Piarsigh: A. Keating; D. Mannix; Adam Dennehy; E. Moynihan; S. Og hAilpin; J. Gardiner (0-2f); R. McGregor; A. Brady (0-1); C. Buckley (0-1); P. Gould (0-4; 0-2f); S. Glasgow; C. Joyce (0-1); S. Duggan (S. Curtin); E. McCarthy; Anthony Dennehy (0-2; S. O’Sullivan).

A disappointing city derby saw Douglas beat an incredibly poor Na Piarsaigh in Pairc Ui Rinn. In a game often played at league intensity, neither team was impressive, both sides failing to show any real style of play, organisation or decent touch. Douglas won out largely because they used the huge wind to their advantage more effectively – Tom Delaney’s puck-outs dropping on top of the Na Piarsaigh full-back line throughout the first half – and because they were more clinical up front. Douglas were mediocre but undeniably they have one of the stand-out forwards in club hurling in MOTM Stephen Moylan. Yet again, Na Piarsaigh hit numerous bad wides, as has been their downfall for years now, but at least under past managements they showed an ability to run at the goalkeeper and get goals, something that was completely absent today. This was an exceedingly flat performance from Na Piarsaigh from beginning to end and a stark contrast to their performances under Paul O’Connor for the last couple of years.

For Na Piarsaigh, only Christopher Joyce, roving between the half-forward line and midfield, was impressive. He worked hard all day and was Na Piarsaigh’s only consistent puckout winner. Alan Keating was solid in goals and didn’t look like he could have done much for either goal – however the small, inexperienced full-back line in front of him had a nightmare, unable to deal either with Moylan’s movement or Delaney’s long distance puck-outs. To be fair, they got little assistance from their half-back line, who were just as poor – Sean Og was anonymous, and Gardiner came off second best to Mulrooney all day – both player’s performances are exceedingly worrying in the build up to the Tipp game. In the middle of the pitch, Joyce and to a lesser extent Buckley and Brady won a lot of ball, albeit to little effect.

The Na Piarsaigh attack was largely toothless bar Anthony Dennehy in spurts and Padraig Gould, both of whom contributed two points from play. Na Piarsaigh failed almost completely to get the ball into Shane Duggan and it seemed strange that they would play a traditional three man full-forward line when they could keep Duggan and Dennehy (both of whom have natural pace) inside on their own and play ball into them in space. In general, there was no obvious plan to play to the strengths of Duggan, Gould etc – i.e. free up space for them to run at their opponents full-back line – and there was little method to Na Piarsigh’s forward play as a whole.

For Douglas. there were a few stand-out performers. Colm Lucey was excellent throughout at half-back and and the defence as a whole was solid, although why Harrington was at 6 and Cadogan in the half-forward line I’m not sure. Both midfielders chipped in with a few points while center-forward Mulrooney ran aggressively at the Na Piarsaigh defence, in particular setting up Douglas’ second goal. Eoin Cadogan was largely anonymous at half-forward. Inside, Richard Murphy was again quietly effective, pilfering 1-3 from play, although it was more Moylan alongside him that terrorised the Na Piarsaigh defence. With the talented Alan Cadogan also in there Douglas have one of the more dangerous full-forward lines. Its difficult to tell how good Douglas really are however – both Harrington and Eoin Cadogan can play better, and they were short a couple of players through injury, but their performance on the day wasn’t anything beyond mediocre and their opponents were very poor.

Carrigtwohill 0-17 Courcey Rovers 0-13 FT

Carrigtwohill: W. McCarthy; A. Garde; P. O’Sullivan; R. Power; C. O’Connell; N. Furlong; M. O’Riordan; D. O’Mahony (0-2); L. O’Sullivan; S. Dineen; B. Lordan; R. White (0-4); M. Fitzgerald (0-5; 0-2f); N. McCarthy (0-5); T. Hogan (0-1; J. Leahy).

Courcey Rovers: S. Nyhan; D. Lordan; B. Hayes; G. Moloney; D. Murphy; V. Hurley; O. Gately; G. Moloney; K. Moloney; S. Lordan; D. Lordan (0-7; 0-2f); S. Moloney (0-1; J. O’Regan; S. Hayes (0-2); N. Murphy (0-1f; J. Duggan); G. Minihane (0-2).

Thankfully, this was a far superior spectacle then the opening game, with Carrigtwohill struggling to overturn a dogged and impressive Courcies side. Even though both defences were on top and there was almost no goal chances, both sides – Carrigtwohill in particular – showed decent approach play and some excellent long distance point-taking (Niall McCarthy and Daire Lordan stood out in this respect in particular). Although Carrigtwohill showed the better passages of play and won more possession, Courcies could have brought the game to within a point going into extra-time if it wasn’t for a last ditch Pat O’Sullivan flick.

For Carrigtwohill, it was another impressive team performance. They play to a pretty simple but effective game plan – Liam O’Sullivan drifts in front of the half-back line picking up loose ball, sometimes dropping on top of the center-forward so Furlong can win ball in front of and protect his full-back line, while they excel at making space both for players to run on to puck-outs and for their inside forwards to receive ball in one on one situations. The brilliance of Niall McCarthy helps – even though he hit some poor wides in the first half today, he was incredibly accurate in the second. Elsewhere Noel Furlong again hit a huge amount of ball although he should be said Daire Lordan bested him in the air throughout. Both Liam O’Sullivan and Daniel O’Mahony played considerable amounts of ball – the latter was instrumental in the last ten minutes of the game in getting Carrig the win – while Stephen Dineen showed the odd flash of his impressive pace when on the ball. Robert White was also excellent in the second half, scoring four points. He is a player Jimmy Barry-Murphy and co should look at more closely – even if he is raw and has to be used in a particular way, he has a combination of pace and power that is sorely missing from the current Cork inside forwards.

For Courcies, Daire Lordan starred, and probably won himself a center-forward starting berth for the Cork U-21s in their upcoming game against Tipperary. He was pretty much unmarkable, repeatedly winning puck-outs and showing some unerring shooting throughout. To a certain degree his class stood out like a sore thumb in the Courcies attack, although Seamus Hayes and Gary Minihane were effective in parts in the corners and no doubt have more to show. Elsewhere Gavin and Killian Moloney showed some drive in the middle of the pitch, while Vincent Hurley had a solid second half. Its hard really to fault the Courcies defence individually but it seemed pretty clear that collectively they struggled to deal with the pace and hard running of White, Dineen etc, and they looked somewhat short in class in attack. Still, they were well organised, tough in defence, showed efficient shooting and going on this performance have a decent chance of staying up.

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