MALLOW booked their spot in this season’s SAFC final with a superb and well-deserved win over rivals Fermoy in Glanworth on Sunday afternoon.
The boys in red continued their recent run of form that has seem them impress more and more in every game after losing their opener to Kiskeam.
Impressive from start to finish, Mallow’s Cian O’Riordan and Ryan Harkin along with Cork stars James Loughrey and Mattie Taylor used their undoubted talent and passion to lead a bunch of young stars such as Shane Merritt, Sean McDonnell and Kieran O’Sullivan.
It was a fully deserved win which brings all concerned just one step away from a place in the premier senior grade.
Led in the scoring stakes by the irrepressible veteran corner-forward O’Riordan, Mallow were on the front foot for the majority of this tie, leading at half time, both drinks breaks and most importantly at the final whistle.
Mallow were first on the scoreboard with a free from O’Riordan who would add three more scores in the opening half as Fermoy struggled to handle his power and accuracy.
Fermoy’s Ruairi O’Hagan responded with a point in the fifth minute to level things up but five points on the bounce from Mallow, Michael O’Rourke, Daniel O’Sullivan (two) and a brace from O’Riordan swung this one in favour of victors at the first water break.
O’Sullivan, a first cousin of Mallow golfer James Sugrue, was dominant in the opening period with Darragh Moynihan, Eoin Stanton, Merritt and Taylor also putting in serious shifts.
Cork stars Taylor and Loughrey were immense while Stanton and Moynihan in the middle provided threat going forward as well as in reverse. Mallow led 0-8 to 0-4 at the break.
For Fermoy, the effort was there all over the pitch with O’Hagan, Padraig De Róiste and Darragh O’Carroll at centre-back impressing throughout – the loss of injured Cork star Tomás Clancy to the team was obviously a major blow.
The second half started in the same manner as the first with O’Riordan and O’Hagan trading frees but another serious score from O’Sullivan pushed Mallow five clear again.
Fermoy were in no mood to give this one away and points from keeper Liam Coleman (45) De Róiste, and O’Hagan had this one down to just two as the game ticked into added time. Mallow fell back and invited Fermoy on.
A magnificent 45 from Harkin at the death secured the win as Mallow advance to take on either Éire Óg or O’Donovan Rossa in a couple of weeks.
Scorers for Mallow: C O’Riordan 0-5 (0-2 f); K O’Sullivan 0-3, R Harkin 0-2 (0-1 45); M O’Rourke, K Sheehan 0-1 each.
Fermoy: R O’Hagan 0-4 f; K Morrison 0-2; L Coleman (45), P De Róiste, M Brennan 0-1 each.
MALLOW: K Doyle; O Carroll, J Loughrey, A Cashman; B Myres, S Merritt, M Taylor; D Moynihan, E Stanton; K O’Sullivan, R Harkin, M O’Rourke; C O’Riordan, K Sheehan, P Herlihy.
Subs: J Dillon for M O’Rourke (50), E Kelleher for K Sheehan (54).
FERMOY: L Coleman; S Shanahan, E Clancy, R Morrisson; A Baragry, D O’Carroll, P Murphy; D Dawson, S Aherne; B O’Sullivan, P De Róiste, D O’Flynn; R O’Hagan, M Brennan, K Morrisson.
Subs: A Creed for E Clancy (44), R O’Callaghan for M Brennan (46, G Lardner for A Baragry (50), A O’Connor for D O’Flynn (52), D Lardner for K Morrisson (55).
Referee: B Coniry (Crosshaven).