Blackrock 1-18 Aghabullogue 1-15
THE manner in which Blackrock ground out this three-point victory over Aghabullogue on Saturday night in Páirc Uí Rinn is testament to the resolve they have shown in getting back to the IHC final just 12 months after they came up short against Ballincollig.
They appeared to be pulling away in the second half when a point from captain Eoin O’Farrell propelled them into a seven-point lead at the start of the fourth quarter, but Aghabullogue pegged them back.
Aghabullogue came within three points. However, it was a reflection of Blackrock’s defensive display, including goalkeeper Daniel O’Mahony – that they closed all avenues to Aghabullogue who just couldn’t get an equalising goal.
Overall Blackrock were the more balanced and their replacements too proved effective. They had to wait a long time for this semi-final, and now they face a short turnaround with the county final against Cloughduv pencilled in for Saturday.
The game was there for the taking at half time, Blackrock 0-8 to 0-6 in front. It was nip and tuck for most of the half, the teams deadlocked five points apiece after 22 minutes.
Shane Tarrant opened the scoring for Aghabullogue and they were 0-4 to 0-2 ahead approaching the quarter-hour. However, points on the trot from Olan Kelleher, O’Farrell and Colin O’Leary put the Rockies one up.
Daniel Dineen equalised for Aghabullogue but once O’Farrell pointed Blackrock into the lead in the 25th minute, they led from there until full time.
Goals lit up the second half. It was just two minutes old when David Cashman put a low shot past Finbarr Foley. Two minutes later, Paul Ring got a stick to a Tarrant free for one at the other end. Blackrock 1-8 to 1-7 up.
The Rockies started to gain momentum and had some fine scores from O’Leary, O’Sullivan, O’Farrell and a superb effort from Kelleher. When Kelleher notched his fifth point, they moved four clear and by the 50th minute, the gap was 1-16 to 1-9.
Tarrant started the Aghabullogue comeback and there were good scores from Ian Barry Murphy also to cut the gap to three. Cotter and O’Sullivan added points for Blackrock but again the Muskerry men rallied and Tarrant made it a two-point game entering stoppage.
Despite their best efforts, they just couldn’t get the goal that was required. O’Mahony and company repelling them time after time and Blackrock to hold out.
Scorers for Blackrock: E O’Farrell (0-1 f, 0-1 65), O Kelleher 0-5 each, D Cashman 1-0, C O’Leary, L O’Sullivan 0-3 each, R Cantwell, R Cotter 0-1 each.
Aghabullogue: S Tarrant 0-7 (0-3 f, 0-1 65), I Barry Murphy 0-4, P Ring 1-0, P Twomey 0-2, N Barry-Murphy, D Dineen 0-1 each.
BLACKROCK: D O’Mahony; J Golden, A Hogan, R Coleman; C O’Brien, E Smith, R Cantwell; D Cormack, M O’Farrell; E O’Farrell (c), I O’Keeffe, D Cashman; O Kelleher, B Cain, C O’Leary.
Subs: L O’Sullivan for B Cain (half time), R Cotter for I O’Keeffe (40), E Sheehan for R Coleman (52), L Fogarty for D Cashman (55).
AGHABULLOGUE: F Foley; C Furey, A Barry Murphy, D Quinlan; N Barry-Murphy, D Rooney, S Furey; S O’Sullivan, S O’Connell; S Tarrant, D Dineen, P Ring; P Twomey, N Buckley, I Barry-Murphy (c).
Subs: J Corkery for S Furey, L Casey for P Twomey (both 43), B Casey for D Rooney (49), A Healy for S O’Sullivan (57).
Referee: Cathal McAllister (Aghada).