Sarsfields 2-18 Blackrock 2-17
AFTER a cracker of a game of hurling on this mid-December Saturday night, Sarsfields booked their place in the final of the Cork U21 Premier 1 Hurling Championship.
Two fantastic hurling clubs played their part in what was a gripping spectacle over blinding 60-minutes plus of action. The weather was seasonally cold but the game was red hot.
When it was all said and done, Sars, who had Liam Healy in sensational scoring form, edged out the city side and now face Midleton in the decider next weekend.
Sars and the Rockies met in the opening round, the East Cork outfit winning well, but this this festive contest was a much closer affair and were it not for former Cork minor and U21 Healy, who lanced over 14 points, an incredible 10 from play, they could have progressed.
Scores were exchanged between the teams in the opening few minutes, through Alan Connolly for Blackrock and Healy for Sarsfields.
Sars found the back of the net after 11 minutes, as Cian Darcy finished a fine individual run when he kicked in from close range.
The Blackrock response was a positive one though and they got the next six scores of the game without reply.
Included in that spell was a Billy Cain goal, an effort which he blasted to the back of the net.
Scores by Healy were keeping the Glanmire side in touch. But Blackrock were to strike for a second goal just shy of the half hour mark.
Peter Leneghan showed slick work with the hurley to accurately plant the ball home. That crucial score meant that Blackrock held a six-point advantage at the half time break: 2-12 to 1-9.
Sars dusted themselves down and rallied together to produce a strong second half display.
In fact Sarsfields were to get seven out of the next eight scores upon the resumption of action.
Healy was continuing to prove ever influential, while Sars found the back of the net through a neat strike by Daniel Hogan from a Ben Graham assist.
Those scores helped see Sars into a 2-15 to 2-14 advantage heading into the last ten minutes.
Blackrock dug deep to try to find a second wind through points by Tadhg Deasy and Connolly.
But it was Sars who pointed late on through Healy yet again and efforts by Hogan and Aiden Hackett.
This was a win which not only showed Sarsfields hurling ability, but it also illustrated their strong character when facing down the barrel of a gun.
Securing an U21 Cork title would be the perfect Christmas present for those out the Sarsfields direction but Midleton have been excellent to date and will be keen to avenge last season’s loss to Fr O’Neill’s.
Scorers for Sarsfields: L Healy (0-4 f) 0-14, D Hogan 1-1, C Darcy 1-0, B Graham, J O’Connor, A Hackett 0-1 each.
Blackrock: A Connolly (0-10 f) 0-11, B Cain, P Leneghan 1-0 each, R Cotter, J O’Sullivan 0-2 each, T Deasy, C McCarthy(1f) 0-1 each.
SARSFIELDS: C Looney: D Barry, K Crowley, K Walsh: S O’Driscoll, K Roche, K Murphy: C Darcy, J O’Leary: B Graham, J O’Connor, D Allen: D Hogan, L Healy, C McCarthy.
Subs: D Walsh for Allen (41), A Hackett for Graham (48).
BLACKROCK: E O’Shea: J Golden, S Cormack, F Cronin: C McCarthy, D Cormack, R Coleman: T Deasy, E Sheehan: B Cain, M O’Keeffe, J O’Sullivan: P Leneghan, R Cotter, A Connolly.
Sub: J Walsh for Cain (27-ht).
Referee:Simon Stokes (Tullylease).