CLOUGHDUV are renowned for their fighting sprit and never was it more evident than when they took on champions Sarsfields in the SE Systems senior championship backdoor round game in Castle Road on Saturday afternoon.
A Hollie Herlihy goal nineteen minutes in was a key moment in the game as Cloughduv just couldn’t bridge the four- or five-point lead that Sars enjoyed from there. Enjoyment is possibly the wrong word as Sars had to battle hard for every inch over the hour with Cloughduv chasing and hounding every ball and opponent that moved.
With their defence magnificent Cloughduv soaked up big pressure where they dispossessed Sars on a number of occasions. Aoife Murray was in the right position for the goal but her vision was blocked as Herlihy’s long ball defied the crowded Cloughduv square.
Molly Lynch pulled off a brilliant point blank save on twenty-one as Cloughduv tried to cancel out the Sar’s goal and the exemplary free taking of Saoirse Desmond pushed Cloughduv back time and again. Saoirse finished the first half with five points to her credit as Sars led 1-7 to 0-4 at the change of ends.
With teeming rain in the opening half conditions became slippery and it affected striking at times but nothing came in the way of two teams giving it their all Sars made a number of substitutes and all contributed well. Holly Herlihy who worked very hard throughout pointed just after a Saoirse Desmond free and the gap had extended to seven points. But such was the heart of Cloughduv they came back again. Two Lisa Lynch frees and a Mairead Corkery point gave the West Cork side momentum. They then had half a chance of a goal but the Sars defence did well to smother and try as they might Cloughduv just couldn’t get beyond that four-point deficit.
With a stronger panel and with Cloughduv’ s legs tiring Sarsfields started pulling away again. Saoirse Desmond continued her unerring free conversion and substitutes Rionna O’Mahony and Lucy Allen struck over as four further points saw the champions advance.
It was an honest hard hours work by both sides. Credit Cloughduv for such a spirited performance and credit Sar’s for reciprocating the battle.
It should stand to the city side as they next face the winners of Cloughduv and Ballincollig.
Scorers for Sarsfields: S Desmond 0-10 (0-8 f 0-1 45), M Herlihy 1-1, M Barry, C Mullins, R O’Mahony, L Allen 0-1 each.
Cloughduv: L Lynch 0-6 (0-5 f 0-1 45), C O’Leary, M Corkery, L Buttimer (f) 0-1 each.
SARSFIELDS: M Lynch; E Twomey, K Barry, N O’Callaghan; E Murphy, M Mullins, E Casey; L Kelly, O McAllen; C Irwin, H Herlihy, C Mullins; S Desmond, A Mullins, M Barry.
Subs: G Cashman for M Mullins (24), M McCarthy for A Mullins and E Lonergan for E Twomey (45), L Allen for C Irwin, R O’Mahony for M Barry (55).
CLOUGHDUV: A Murray; A Kelleher, E Dunne, A Corkery; A Barry Murphy, N O’Leary, N McCarthy; L Buttimer, C Hughes; R Hurley, E Healy, L Lynch; M Corkery, C O’Leary, A Twomey.
Subs: S Bateman for E Healy (h/t), O Barry Murphy for J Down (47)
Referee: Cathal Egan (Glen Rovers).