Fr O’Neill’s 3-16 Kilworth 0-18
DOWN to 14, Fr O’Neill’s turned on the style in the second half to take the points on offer in the Co-Op Superstores Cork SAHC Group C1 at Ballynoe.
In a repeat of last year’s Cork Premier IHC final, the winners got nothing easy from Kilworth in the first 30 minutes after which the east Cork side trailed by two points.
But they are an experienced outfit and that told. Minus a few starters from last season through injury and unavailability, the nature of the win will be of great satisfaction particularly as they lost wing-back John Barry to a straight red card in the 39th minute, yet they powered to the finish line underlining their strength in depth.
It was a night when many stood up and were counted, and there was plenty of class including their lethal forward duo Billy Dunne and Declan Dalton who bagged 2-11 between them.
Fr O’Neill’s were quickly into their stride with Dalton angling over a second-minute free. This was followed by a Billy Dunne goal, a well-worked effort with Jason Hankard providing the final pass to the corner-forward.
Once Noel McNamara opened Kilwoth’s account in the fourth minute from a free, they took control and hit the next seven points without reply. Four of their forwards – McNamara, Will Condon, Eoin Carey and Liam Whelan the providers while midfielder Kevin O’Sullivan also chipped in.
This devastating period came despite losing their centre-back Brian Tobin to injury.
Fr O’Neill’s finished the half striking four to Kilworth’s two points, leaving them 1-5 to 0-10 in arrears at the interval.
The Imokilly men restarted purposely and profited from a couple of early points. Mark O’Keeffe’s goal into the top corner five minutes after the resumption drove them on further, 2-7 to 0-11.
In spite of being a man down, they clipped over some magnificent points, the bulk of which came from play. Rob Cullinane and Paudie McMahon were impressive too while they also enjoyed dominance at the back as well.
The Kilworth scores weren’t as plentiful now – only one from play in the third quarter. They did close with five points but Fr O’Neill’s third goal (a bullet from Dalton while surrounded by defenders) put clear distance between the sides.
Today Ballymartle and Bride Rovers clash in the other Group C1 fixture. Next weekend, Fr O’Neill’s meet Bride Rovers while Ballymartle are up against Kilworth.
Scorers for Fr O’Neill’s: D Dalton 1-7 (0-3 f), B Dunne 1-4, M O’Keeffe 1-0, P McMahon, R Cullinane 0-2 each, K O’Sullivan 0-1.
Kilworth: N McNamara 0-5 (0-3 f, 0-1 45), E Carey 0-4 (0-1 f), W Condon 0-3, L Whelan, J Sheehan 0-2 each, B Sheehan, M McNamara 0-1 each.
FR O’NEILL’S: C Sloane; M Millerick, S O’Connor, E Motherway; J Barry, D Harrington, T Millerick; K O’Sullivan, M O’Keeffe; J Hankard, P McMahon (j-c), R Cullinane; B Dunne, D Dalton, J Millerick.
Sub: E Conway for J Hankard (h-t).
KILWORTH: K Walsh; M McNamara, N Byrne, E McGrath; J McCarthy, B Tobin, A O’Hara; J Saich, B Sheehan; E Carey, T Twomey, L Whelan (c); P Moakley, N McNamara, W Condon.
Subs: D Twomey for B Tobin (15 inj), J Sheehan for T Twomey (36).
Referee: Colm Lyons (Nemo Rangers).