CORK hurling supporters would be forgiven for feeling that they overdosed on the stuff at the weekend.
From cold turkey for months, to suddenly having multiple live games being thrown at them, on national television as well as on streaming channels, while also having dozens of match reports to dissect across all grades. Life is good again!
The many matches last weekend gave plenty of food for thought from an inter-county perspective. Many of the expected star names turned up for their clubs, shooting big numbers in victory and defeat.
Patrick Horgan scored an absolute screamer in Glen Rovers’ destruction of St Finbarr’s in front of the RTÉ cameras, with him notching 1-9 altogether. His usual partner in crime in the Cork full-forward line Alan Cadogan scored 0-6, all from play, as Douglas did enough to see off the challenge of Ballyhea. Injury permitting, those two are bankers come the Munster Championship.
There were some other impressive tallies registered by players on, or around the Cork panel, which is a sign that most of the finest players in the county have effectively hit the ground running since the long lay-off.
Darragh Fitzgibbon scored 0-10 in Charleville’s impressive win over Bandon, with two of those points coming from play. Robbie O’Flynn looked sharp as he notched four points from play, but he couldn’t prevent Erins Own from losing their opener against Blackrock by four on Saturday evening, while Shane Kingston also scored four for Douglas in that aforementioned win for Douglas.
Another Cork regular, Conor Lehane, scored 10 points as Midleton went down by a goal to a battling Sarsfields. Lehane went out of the game in the second period, while two Midleton youngsters with Cork ambitions, Sean O’Leary-Hayes and Tommy O’Connell had quiet nights for their club side.
For Sars, Liam Healy impressed at times, as he helped himself to 1-7, but the big take away from that game was probably the performance of 6' 7” Sars wing forward James Sweeney, who was a major target from puck-outs, caused havoc in the Midleton defence, and helped himself to three points from play to boot. It will be interesting to see how he performs in the rest of the club campaign.
Declan Dalton put up his customary big score for Fr O’Neill’s, with him striking over 1-7 in total as his side saw off Kilworth at Ballynoe. Notably, he got 1-4 from play. Of the other current ‘big men’ options in the Cork attack, Aidan Walsh struck 1-2 in Kanturk’s easy win over Cloyne, while Tim O’Mahony was relatively quiet with just two points scored in Newtownshandrum’s late victory over a gallant Bishopstown.
It was a bad night for the Barrs, but Billy Hennessy did enough in midfield to suggest that if Cork want an all-action midfield duo come the ‘winter championship’ that is on the horizon then he could well be the man to partner Bill Cooper.
In defence, Eoin Cadogan was a dominant figure for Douglas, while Mark Coleman played at wing-back, rather than midfield, for Blarney in their easy win over Inniscarra but still shot 0-5. Another contender for a wing berth on the Cork team this year, Damien Cahalane, hit three points of his own from downtown against the Glen. Chris O’Leary, also scored four as his Valley Rovers’ side lost out to local rivals Ballinhassig.
Interestingly, in that Blarney v Inniscarra tie, Cork corner-back Sean O’Donoghue was deployed in the half-forward line, while Castlelyons’ Colm Spillane was magnificent at centre-forward as well, with a stunning 1-7 to help his side to Premier Intermediate victory over Blackrock. Hopefully, Spillane is now over his injury issues, as the Rebels were certainly leakier in his absence.
Robert Downey will be looking to forget last weekend after his harsh red card, which luckily did not hurt the Glen.
In terms of the U20s, Blackrock unleashed the exciting full-forward Alan Connolly on the Erins Own rearguard, who struggled to deal with his blistering pace. He clipped 1-3 from play.
Blarney’s Shane Barrett, was another youngster in sensational form as he scored a brilliant 1-7 from play against Scarra. Others like Shane O’Regan and Padraig Power featured prominently for Watergrasshill and Blarney, respectively, while Daire Connery was in fine form for Na Piarsaigh in the exciting draw with Carrigtwohill.
A number of recent Cork minors made their first forays into senior club hurling. Luke Horgan had a great debut for the Glan, while Brian O’Sullivan scored an impressive three points for Kanturk from midfield.
Other youngsters likes Ethan Twomey, Jack Cahalane and Daniel Hogan made brief cameos for their clubs, but they will get bigger run outs before too long.