Borris-Leigh 1-17 Glen Rovers 3-8
FOR the third year-in-a-row, the losing team in the Cork County final came a cropper in their opening game of the Munster Club SHC.
Given the circumstances that Midleton, last season, Blackrock the previous one and Glen Rovers this time found themselves in, it was always going to be a big ask for them to impact in the provincial arena.
And so it proved at Semple Stadium yesterday for the Glen as they made their exit at the hands of the Tipperary champions.
Just as it was in their Cork loss to Imokilly, they went down fighting here and just came up short in the end of a game that was entertaining at times, particularly in the closing sequences when the Glen put the frighteners on the new Tipp champions.
With just a few minutes remaining they had come to within two points of Borris after earlier being 10 in arrears.
With a bit of luck they might have snatched it or forced the game into extra-time but, having said that, one could not really argue with the outcome.
Borris-Leigh deserved their victory, leading from gun to tape and the Glen were chasing the game all the time.
The Cork team lined out without the influential Stephen McDonnell because of injury and his absence was a big blow.
Borris were the more penetrative side, having the greater firepower in front of goal where Conor Kenny at wing-forward put in a man of the match performance with a haul of 0-6 from play.
Kevin Maher and Jerry Kelly put up some big scores too while young James JD Devaney drilled home a sublime solo goal.
At the back, Brendan Maher did nothing wrong at number six while the three full-backs, Seamus Burke, Paddy Stapleton and Liam Ryan were miserly all through, so much so that by the 47th minute the three Glen inside forwards were withdrawn.
Patrick Horgan nailed a brace of goals for the Glen, sub Mark Dooley got the other while Dean Brosnan posted one or two good points.
Borris led by 0-4 to 0-0 after six minutes, Conor Kenny with three of them before Horgan finished exquisitely after being set up by Simon Kennefick.
There was just a point between the sides after 17 minutes when Brosnan pointed but Borris finished the half stronger and led by four at the break, 0-10 to 1-3.
And things got much better for them on the resumption when young Devaney burst forth after just 20 seconds to fire home a wonderful goal.
Three more points from Brendan Maher, Kevin Maher and Jerry Kelly followed and suddenly the Glen were 10 down.
But they responded very positively, Horgan blasting home from a 20 metre free in the 43rd minute and that was followed by two points from the Cork All-Star and another from David Dooling.
Horgan split the posts again with another free and it was game on now as the excitement levels grew.
But Borris pushed on again with points from Kenny and Kevin Maher.
The Glen were thwarted in their attempts for a third goal when Dooley’s shot was blocked down by Liam Ryan.
The Glen sub, however, was in for a goal soon afterwards to reduce the gap to just two points.
But Borris held their nerve in the final, frenetic minutes and they sealed the win and a final place against Ballygunner when Jerry Kelly delivered another point.
They were certainly made to earn the victory in those closing sequences but the momentum from last Sunday’s victory in Tipperary was enough for them to carry the day.
Maybe if the shoe was on the other foot and the Glen had come in as Cork champions the outcome might have been different.
But it was Borris-Leigh’s day in front of 2,317 souls.
Scorers for Borris-Ileigh: C Kenny (0-6), Kevin Maher (0-5, 0-3 frees), J Kelly (0-4), J JD Devaney (1-0), B Maher (0-2, 0-1 free, 0-1 65).
Scorers for Glen Rovers: P Horgan (2-4, 1-3 frees, 0-1 65), M Dooley (1-0), D Brosnan (0-2), G Kennefick and D Dooling (0-1 each).
BORRIS-LEIGH: J McCormack; S Burke, P Stapleton, L Ryan; S McCormack (Joint-Capt), B Maher, R McCormack; T Ryan, D McCormack; C Kenny (Joint-Capt), Kieran Maher, J Kelly; Kevin Maher, N Kenny, J JD Devaney.
Subs: J Hogan for T Ryan (55), C Cowan for N Kenny (60), J Harkin for P Stapleton (62).
GLEN ROVERS: C Hickey; A Lynch, D Dooling, C Healy; D Noonan, B Moylan (Capt), R Downey; D Cronin, A O’Donovan; D Brosnan, D Cunningham, S Kennefick; C Dorris, P Horgan, L Coughlan.
Subs: M Dooley for S Kennefick, G Kennefick for C Dorris (both 36), E Murphy for L Coughlan (48), D Busteed for D Cunningham (53).
Referee: Thomas Walsh (Waterford).