The John Horgan column: One week made the difference for Cork hurling clubs

The John Horgan column: One week made the difference for Cork hurling clubs
Noel Cahill of Cloyne about to grab the sliotar despite the attention from Killeagh's Christy Coughlan during the Cork Senior A Hurling Championship match in Midleton. Picture: Howard Crowdy

TWISTS and turns, there have been a few of them already and there will be more before the business end of the Cork hurling championships are reached.

One good result by a team can be followed by a not so good one and as a result, everything will be on the line in the final group game.

Here’s just one example, Inniscarra were trounced by Blarney in their opener in the PIHC and there was an air of pessimism in the club afterwards.

Fast forward a week and the team bounces back to defeat Blackrock and thus keep their hopes of qualification for the knockout stages very much alive.

Inniscarra's David O'Keeffe is tackled by Blackrock's Cian McCarthy and Niall Cashman. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Inniscarra's David O'Keeffe is tackled by Blackrock's Cian McCarthy and Niall Cashman. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Youghal were another side to come a cropper in their opener in the same PIHC, losing to Aghada and maintaining a losing sequence in the grade and at senior that has stretched back quite a bit, four years in fact since their last championship win.

Again confidence must have been a fairly low ebb going into their game with Courcey Rovers at the weekend but they managed to turn things around and they now find themselves with nearly three weeks to prepare for a big game with Carrigaline who have been very impressive thus far.

In the Senior A championship, Cloyne took a bad beating against Kanturk in their first outing and going in against Killeagh in Midleton last Sunday the confidence levels could not have been great.

But what happens, they reinvent themselves to plunge Killeagh into a battle to avoid getting immersed in a relegation issue while Cloyne will believe that they can get something from their final group game with Newcestown and thus reach the next stage of the competition. 

What a difference a week makes.

Newcestown's Cian Healy shoots from Kanturk's Liam Cashman during the Co-Op Stores Cork SAHC at Coachford. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Newcestown's Cian Healy shoots from Kanturk's Liam Cashman during the Co-Op Stores Cork SAHC at Coachford. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

In the Premier senior grade, the most surprising result because of the manner of it was Newtownshandrum’s 12-point loss to Blackrock.

The Rockies might have been slight favourites going into the game but few envisaged such a heavy loss for Newtown.

Jamie Ryan, Blackrock, with Cormac O'Brien and Conor Twomey, Newtown. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Jamie Ryan, Blackrock, with Cormac O'Brien and Conor Twomey, Newtown. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

One of the most eagerly awaited games last weekend was the clash of Fr O’Neill’s and Bride Rovers in the Senior A competition.

Both had a successful start with the Rovers full value for their win over Ballymartle.

However, great expectations of a frenetic East Cork derby never came to pass as O’Neill’s ran out convincing winners.

And in doing so they sent out a strong message, they are leading contenders for the ultimate prize.

Yes, the Rovers were very poor but O’Neill’s were very good. They have now been very impressive in their two outings and have taken to the higher grade very well.

They have quality throughout the field but their greatest strength is their balance. They are playing without one of the best, young hurlers in the county in Ger Millerick but that has not bothered them.

At this stage, you would have them alongside Charleville as two of the main contenders for this title.

And we must not rule out Kanturk, going extremely well and defeating a battle-hardened side that Newcestown are will give them added belief going forward.

Last week we mentioned the contribution that Colm Spillane had made in attack for Castlelyons in their win over Blackrock.

Well, he did it again against Blarney in game number two, scoring 1-5 from play and maybe, just maybe giving the Cork selectors a small bit of food for thought.

Of course, it just goes to show that a good hurler can play anywhere.

Keeping tabs on matters around the country, there were some results that caught the eye.

This observer is keeping a close watch on Kilmallock in Limerick because of Tony Considine’s involvement as team boss.

Well, it’s so far, so good and after seeing off Ahane last weekend they are now into the last four.

They had their place booked in the last four by half-time against Ahane, leading by 15 points.

However, Considine will not have been happy with how they performed thereafter, taking their foot off the pedal and conceding a final tally of 3-13.

Have no doubt the Echo hurling columnist will be addressing that in training in the coming weeks.

Here on Leeside, Conor Lehane took the scoring honours with a return of 3-11 for Midleton against Ballyhea, some return.

However, that was bettered in the Clare SHC where Shane McGrath delivered 4-10 for Feakle in their demolition of Clarecastle.

That has to be near a record in the Banner county.

And finally, John Meyler’s team, reigning Wexford champions St Martin’s, so impressive in their opener against Oulart the Ballagh were eliminated at the quarter-final stage by Glyn-Barntown.

So that’s one title holder gone by the board in early August.

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