Blackrock 1-22 Douglas 0-20
BLACKROCK confirmed their status as one of the leading contenders for this season’s Cork County Premier SHC title with a deserved victory of near neighbours Douglas in the quarter-final at an empty Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Sunday afternoon.
Maybe tradition had a part to play in the outcome of a very entertaining contest but the Rockies were that bit more balanced throughout the pitch.
They defended resolutely throughout, especially against the win with all six defenders doing their bit at different times.
Stephen Murphy was one of those in an accomplished defensive display while at the other end the return to full-time action from a leg injury of Michael O’Halloran was a standout factor in the victory.
He split the posts with seven quality points from play and set an example for all those around him.
Shane O’Keeffe chipped in with two important second-half points as the pendulum swung very much in the direction of the Church Road outfit.
In a four-minute spell between the 40th and 44th minutes they secured an unanswered 1-3 and that, in the final analysis, was crucial.
Douglas will reflect on some poor wides, 10 in total in the second half and on a few occasions they might have taken the wrong option.
Shane Kingston was their scorer-in-chief again, dangerous throughout, while Brian Turnbull delivered a fine tally of 0-5 from play.
Alan Cadogan ended with a tally of 0-3 but he was well policed at times by Stephen Murphy.
The opening half, in particular, was a splendid ball affair with both sides matching each other score for score on the board.
In the opening 15 minutes alone there were sixteen scores, 14 of them from play.
O’Halloran had three points for the Rockies in the opening five minutes as both sides went at it hammer and tongs.
They were level on numerous occasions in that half but four unanswered points between the 25th and 28 minutes from John O’Sullivan, Niall Cashman, David Farrell and O’Halloran handed the initiative to the Rockies.
It was 0-14 to 0-11 at the interval and at that juncture, the contest was still very delicately balanced.
In that half, Rockies keeper Gavin Connolly denied Conor Russell with a sublime save.
Kingston and Turnbull pointed for Douglas on the resumption to make it a two-point game before O’Keeffe struck two fine points for the Rockies.
Then arrived what could be described as the game’s defining score when Alan Connolly seized possession from an outfield delivery and he crashed home a superb goal.
It was now 1-17 to 0-14 and Douglas had a big task on their hands.
Their keeper Donal Maher saved well from Rockies sub Tadgh Deasy who pointed shortly afterwards to give his side a seven-point advantage.
O’Halloran embellished his tally with another point but Douglas responded well with four unanswered points from Kingston and Cadogan, both with a brace.
However, as the minutes added up it became increasingly obvious that they would require a goal to set up a grandstand finale.
But it wasn’t to be, Kingston went for goal from a few close-in frees but each time his effort was thwarted by an alert Blackrock goal line.
Alan Connolly had the final say of the hour with a pointed Rockies free and their quest for a first title since 2002 gains momentum They are right in the mix now.
Scorers for Blackrock: A Connolly 1-6 (0-5 f, 0-1 65), M O’Halloran 0-7, S O’Keeffe 0-2, C Cormack 0-2, N Cashman, D Farrell, J O’Sullivan. D Meaney, T Deasy 0-1 each.
Douglas: S Kingston 0-10 (0-4 f, 0-2 65), B Turnbull 0-5, A Cadogan 0-3, C Baldwin, M O’Connor 0-1 each.
BLACKROCK: G Connolly, R Laide, G Norberg, J Ryan, Cathal Cormack, N Cashman, S Murphy, D Meaney, D Farrell, M O’Keeffe, Ciaran Cormack, J O’Sullivan, A Connolly, S O’Keeffe, M O’Halloran.
Subs: T Deasy for Ciaran Cormack (33), J Cashman for Farrell (35), R Cotter for M O’Keeffe (54), A O’Callaghan for N Cashman (57).
DOUGLAS: D Maher, B O’Neill, C Kingston, D Murphy, E Cadogan, M Harrington, C O’Donovan, C Baldwin, S Moylan, E Dolan, S Kingston, M O’Connor, A Cadogan, C Russell, B Turnbull.
Subs: A O’Connell for Russell, R Howell for O’Connor.
Referee: C McAllister (Aghada).