Blackrock/Ballymartle & Glen Rovers/St. Finbarrs – Cork Senior Hurling Championship

Ballymartle 3-13 Blackrock 1-13 FT.

Ballymartle: Declan McCarthy; Declan Dwyer (C. Coleman); M. Tobin; D. Coleman; D. Edmonds; J. Kelly (P. Dwyer); S. Corry (0-1); Dan Dwyer (0-3); S. O’Mahony (0-1); B. Dwyer (0-5; 0-2f): J. Dwyer (1-1); B. Corry (0-1); K. Fitzpatrick (R. Cahalane); R. Dwyer (1-0); Darren McCarthy (1-1).

Blackrock: A. Long; W. Sherlock; E. Cantwell; R. Laide (A. Hayes); B. Ahern; K. Murphy; C. Cormack (E. O’Farrell 0-1); R. Dineen (E. Smith); D. O’Shea (C. Crowe 0-1); S. O’Keeffe; C. O’Leary (1-0); P. Deasy (0-1); O. Kelleher (0-8; 0-4f); M. Ryan (0-1); B. O’Keeffe.

Ballymartle again overcame the Rockies in an entertaining first round championship match in Pairc Ui Chaoimh. Although the winning margin was considerable, this was a game between two evenly matched sides, the main difference between both teams being Ballymartle’s class close into goal. All three of their goals were marked by first class finishing, all three slotted into the bottom corner of the net while bar O’Leary’s goal the Rockies fumbled their goal chances. Although the Ballymartle full-back line did a better job then their counterparts in hassling and hooking close in on goal it was obvious which team had the superior finishing.

For Blackrock, it was a pretty promising performance, certainly in comparison to prior years. They worked hard all day, but as noted lacked the class of their opponents close in on goal – however, they seem to have found a couple of new forwards in U-21 Patrick Deasy and in particular Olan Kelleher, the latter putting over some excellent points from difficult angles. Elsewhere Shane O’Keeffe did well in winning a number of puck-outs, although he does have a habit of running down cul-de-sacs while Colin O’Leary took his goal well. Both subs Callum Crowe and Eoin Farrell grabbed a couple of points. They were less impressive elsewhere however – both midfielders were subbed while the full-back line gave too much space to their men resulting in all three goals. The half-back line similarly struggled to get a grips with Brian Corry, while Jamie Dwyer and Darren McCarthy terrorised the Rockies defence with their movement. Still, with Kevin O’Keeffe and Stephen Murphy to come back in and a little re-jigging to be done up front, it looks like Blackrock will at the very least avoid a relegation battle this year.

Ballymartle looked as solid as ever, even without center-back Patrick Dwyer. Their backs harassed and bullied their counterparts constantly and rarely let Blackrock get off a clean shot close into goal while Kelly had a solid game at 6 and Seamus Corry largely got the better of Shane O’Keeffe throughout. Elsewhere Dan Dwyer got three excellent points from the middle of the pitch while further up Brian Corry won numerous puck-outs brilliantly. Finally the touch and skill of Jamie Dwyer and Darren McCarthy was great to watch throughout and all three Ballymartle goals were delightfully taken. In general it was a performance from Ballymartle that suggests that again they’ll be competitive to the very end of the championship, although they maybe still lack a little star quality to really challenge for the championship.

St. Finbarrs 0-18 Glen Rovers 0-9 FT.

Glen Rovers: D. Hourihan; S. Kennefick; B. Phelan; A. Dunlea (G. Moylan); B. Moylan; P. O’Brien; S. McDonnell; G. Callinan; D. O’Callaghan; D. Brosnan (R. Whitty); D. Goggin (J. Anderson); C. Healy (B. Hackett); C. Dorris (0-1); P. Horgan (0-7; 0-6f); E. Cronin (0-1).

St. Finbarrs: D. O’Gorman; D. Cahalane; E. Keane; J. Burns; R. McCarthy; R. Curran; P. O’Brien; G. O’Connor (0-4): S. Callinan; E. Finn (0-6; 0-2f); J. Goggin; E. Maher (C. McCarthy); R. O’Mahony (0-2); J. Crowley (0-1); I. Lordan (0-5; 0-3f).

A mini-shock here as a dire Glen side were comprehensively out played and beaten by the Barrs. Glen, a team who have enough talent to at least make it to the business end, were hopeless for pretty much the entirety of the game, showed no energy and were completely out fought be a relatively young Barrs side. St. Finbarrs, who were missing a number of starters, showed a lot more fight and effort then in their performances last year and could and should have won by a lot more.

For the Glen, there were very few decent performances. Patrick Horgan tried hard up front, pretty much on his own, but his shooting was off and he got little to no support. Elsewhere only Hourihan – who pulled off a number of excellent saves – and Brian Phelan in front of him impressed. Besides their players being flat-footed and easily demoralised, the Glen looked lost tactically – they played with a two man full-forward line and an extra man in the middle of the pitch for most of the game, presumably as a gambit to create room for Horgan and Brosnan to play hurling in, but it was completely ineffective as the Barrs half-back line was on top throughout. The fact that Goggin and Dorris (neither player blessed with speed) made up the two man full-forward line for most of the opening half was bizarre, as was the decision to move one of the best club midfielders in the county, Denis O’Callaghan, back corner back to man mark Robert O’Mahony. To be fair though, its hard to blame the selectors too much for the fact that the likes of Brosnan and Callinan never looked like they were going to get into the game.

For the Barrs, it was impressively tough and hard-working performance. Their full-back line was exceedingly solid throughout while Ronan Curran showed superior form at center-back. Similarly Damien Cahalane man marked Patrick Horgan out of the game. Further up Glenn O’Connor was close to MOTM and led the attack brilliantly throughout while Cork U-21 Eoghan Finn again showed some exceptional point-scoring. Inside the corners both Robert O’Mahony and Ian Lordan grabbed some eye catching points. In general it was a whole hearted and confident performance from the Barrs, and it’ll be interesting to see how they progress from here on out considering they were missing a number of quality players like John Neville and Cathal McCarthy.

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