Cork hurling: Sarsfields' gifted young forward line can still find another level

Cork hurling: Sarsfields' gifted young forward line can still find another level
Daniel Kearney, Sarsfields, tries to stop Mark O'Connor, Douglas. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

THERE’S more to come from Sarsfields’ exciting forward division, according to selector Ray Ryan.

They contributed all but two points of their 4-15 in their Co-Op Superstores county premier senior hurling championship win over Douglas at Páirc Uí Chaoimh at the weekend.

Liam Healy led the way with 1-6, followed by Jack O’Connor on 2-1, James Sweeney with 0-4 and substitute Damien Hogan on 1-1 as Sars advanced to the knock-out stage on a 4-15 to 1-22 scoreline.

“We know the forwards we have. It’s a very young forward line with an average age of 21-22,” said Ryan.

“They have bundles of pace and talent and I know from my own days playing that you don’t want anyone running at you.

“It’s very hard to defend against that kind of directness and that’s what we’re getting them to do, be positive.

“We want them to go for the jugular when it’s there and I can’t remember the last time Sars scored four goals in championship.

“Mind you, we couldn’t be sure of winning until the fourth goal, scored typically by young Damien, who came on and did what he’s good at, picking the defender’s pocket and scoring.

“Daniel’s a fantastic talent. He’s only 17-18 and this was only second senior championship appearance.

“And to do that at such an important stage in the game showed what he has to offer. I’m just glad he’s a Sars man.”

Aaron Myres, Sarsfields, is tackled by Dylan Ward and Eoin Cadogan, Douglas, at Páirc Uí Chaoimh last weekend. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Aaron Myres, Sarsfields, is tackled by Dylan Ward and Eoin Cadogan, Douglas, at Páirc Uí Chaoimh last weekend. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

But, as with youth, it remains a work in progress as 15 wides, 11 in the second-half, identified one aspect the Glanmire club will need to improve on as the championship hots up.

“I’d say Douglas’s stats will be a lot more positive than ours in terms of percentage scores to wides.

“It’s something that we can work on as well. We’ve been back now the bones of six or seven weeks.

“The lads who hit those wides will know what they’ve done wrong.

“We always say to take an extra couple of steps out of the ball, angle your body in the right way, but sometimes we rush the shots.

“We were trying to put balls over the bar, when running away from goal, over the shoulder stuff and sure there’s very few able to do that.

“One of them was probably here and the other is a Glen player, but, we’ll get some practice in on the training field.”

Ryan was referring to Douglas’s Shane Kingston, who was magnificent throughout, finishing with 12 points, some of them straight from the top drawer.

He and fellow Cork player, Alan Cadogan, accounted for 1-16 of their return, but it’s the concession of so many goals which will occupy the attention of coach Shane Brick.

Douglas are level on two points with Midleton and their meeting is effectively a straight knock-out tie with the winners advancing to the quarter-finals.

They’ll be hoping Brian Turnbull will recover in time from the hamstring injury suffered in the first half of the Ballyhea game and which forced to sit out Saturday evening’s match.

Sars are now two from two, guaranteed at least a quarter-final place and maybe the sole semi-final spot as the best group winner of the three sections.

“We had the two hardest games in the group at the start and that’s no offence to Ballyhea,” Ryan added.

“It was tough going playing those games within a week of one another and yet we had some momentum coming in.

“We had a great win over Midleton, trained very lightly during the week and sometimes when you’ve a few weeks off it’s hard to get back up to that championship pace.

“Thankfully we don’t have to play again until next week.

“The incentive for us is to finish top of the group. We know we’ve already qualified because we can’t finish out of the top two.

“But, we still want to win the group and at least get a seeded quarter-final position, though we won’t be looking beyond our next game against Ballyhea.

“They gave Douglas a very tough game in the first match and were very much in the game in the first-half against Midleton as well,” Ryan concluded.

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