Midleton 4-23 Ballyhea 1-13
IT took them a while, but Midleton got back on track in Group A of the Co-op SuperStores Cork Premier SHC after eventually easing past Ballyhea at Fermoy.
A 19-point victory didn’t look like a likely outcome when Ballyhea twice led by five points in the first half but Midleton – playing in all-black with their fellow Magpies in all-white – finished the first half well and then blitzed Ballyhea on the resumption. Four goals in the opening ten minutes of the second half – Conor Lehane getting three and finishing with 3-11, Pa White with the other – put the outcome beyond doubt.
Midleton might have had a goal from the off as Conor Lehane burst through the middle to create an opening for Luke O’Farrell but Mikey Browne was quick off his line to avert the danger.
Even so, Midleton were in control as they pushed into a 0-4 to 0-2 lead by the eighth minute thanks to a Pa White’s point. However, Pa O’Callaghan got his third and fourth frees of the evening to tie the game, the latter from his own 45, and then he set up Tom Hanley for a 14th-minute goal.
Midfielder Caoleann Cox put them four in front and though Lehane’s third point for Midleton cut the deficit, they went into the water-break 1-6 to 0-5 to the good after Hanley’s point. Midleton almost managed a goal just before the stoppage, but Sam Quirke fired into the side-netting and they should have had one just after the resumption but Luke O’Farrell missed the target, too.
After Ballyhea captain Eugen O’Leary put them five clear, Midleton failed to avail of a third goal chance as Mikey Browne saved well from Tommy O’Connell. Five minutes before half-time, there was still a five-point deficit, O’Callaghan making it 1-8 to 0-6, but Midleton found an extra gear from there to the break.
They outscored their opponents by 0-5 to 0-1, Lehane with three points as Luke O’Farrell and Cormac Beausang found the target too, and just a point separated the sides at the interval, 1-9 to 0-11.
In the first minute of the second half, Midleton took the lead for the first time 11th minute of the opening period. When a delivery by corner-back Killian Burke was won well by Tommy O’Connell, he found his route to goal illegally blocked, with a penalty resulting, and Lehane fired home.
A second goal almost followed immediately but Browne saved from Beausang, however, Lehane pushed Midleton four clear with two more points before O’Connell set him up for a second goal and a seven-point lead.
In the 35th minute, that became ten as Beausan was the creator for Pa White to fire to the net. When Lehane got his third and Midleton’s fourth goal in the 40th minute, it was 4-14 to 1-10.
From there, it was a procession for the victors, who continued to send over points which could yet prove crucial if this group is to be decided on scoring-difference.
The picture should become somewhat clearer after this evening’s clash between Douglas and Sarsfields. For Midleton, the most important thing is that they are still in the mix.
Scorers for Midleton: C Lehane 3-11 (1-0 penalty, 0-6 f, 0-2 65) P White 1-2, T O’Connell 0-4, L O’Farrell, C Beausang 0-2 each, S O’Meara, C Walsh 0-1 each.
Ballyhea: P O’Callaghan 0-8 (0-6 f, 0-2 65), T Hanley 1-1, C Cox, E O’Leary, G Morrissey, S O’Kelly 0-1 each.
MIDLETON: J Loftus; K Burke, E Moloney, S Smyth; S O’Leary Hayes, J Nagle, S O’Farrell; S Quirke, P O’Farrell; C Walsh, C Lehane, C Beausang; L O’Farrell, T O’Connell, P White.
Subs: A Daly for S O’Farrell (50), A Ryan for L O’Farrell, S O’Meara for Quirke (both 53), S O’Farrell for Moloney (60).
BALLYHEA: M Browne; K Copps, L O’Connor, A Barrett; T Foley, J Copps, M Morrissey; C Cox, J Morrissey; T Hanley, M O’Sullivan, G Morrissey; L Crowley, P O’Callaghan, E O’Leary.
Subs: J O’Leary for Foley (39), S O’Kelly for G Morrissey (42), S O’Kelly for M Morrissey (44).
Referee: C Lane (Banteer).