Blackrock 4-18 Sarsfields 2-17
SILVERWARE for the Rockies in the final of the Red FM Cork County Senior Hurling League at Páirc Uí Rinn on Saturday night.
This was a nice boost for them before they resume their championship challenge against Newtownshandrum or Newcestown and they were fully deserving winners.
Sarsfields were looking to win the title for the third year on the trot but the Rockies were the more polished and balanced unit, laying down the platform for their triumph in the opening half when they hit their East Cork opponents for a hat-trick of goals.
They led by those three goals at the interval and, whilst Sarsfields did make a spirited comeback in the second-half, there was never too much doubt about the eventual outcome.
The Rockies had the greater firepower in front of goal and they had Tadgh Deasy, Michael O’Halloran, John O’Sullivan and Alan Connolly contributing handsomely on the scoreboard.
Niall Cashman, Alan O’Callaghan and Andrew Murphy formed a strong half-back line and Sars were chasing this game from a very early stage and the half-time advantage should have been greater for the Rockies who had 11 wides in that half.
O’Halloran pointed the Rockies in front after just 38 seconds and they led from pillar to post.
They opened their goals account in the sixth minute when Connolly set up Ciaran Cormack and he made no mistake.
Liam Healy and Aaron Myers posted a few points for Sars but Blackrock were in for a second goal after 13 minutes when Tadgh Deasy got away from the Sars defence to hammer home.
And things got a whole lot better for them shortly afterwards and a whole lot worse for Sars when Connolly delivered goal number three.
Liam Healy, Luke Hackett and James O’Leary split the sticks at the other end with a few tasty points but the Rockies were in a very commanding position going in at the break, leading by 3-8 to 0-8 They maintained their superiority when they came back out with points from Shane O’Keeffe, O’Halloran and John O’Sullivan with Willie Kearney, Eoin O’Sullivan and Hackett responding for Sars.
A point from midfielder Dave Farrell had the Rockies still firmly in control of the proceedings after 42 minutes but Sars got themselves back into the equation with a well-worked goal from Cian Darcy after good work by Danny Kearney and Jack O’Connor.
However, the Rockies were not for turning and points from O’Keeffe and Deasy had them five clear as the home stretch was entered.
And they were three goals to the good again after O’Halloran secured their fourth goal of the night which was followed up by another Deasy point Sars were awarded a penalty in the 58th minute but the shot from Aaron Myers was well saved by Rockies ‘keeper David O’Shea.
The Riverstown outfit did breach the Rockies defence deep into stoppage time when Jack O’Connor got in for a goal.
However, the last statement of the night was delivered by the impressive Niall Cashman, a fine long-range point which brought the curtain down on a very good night for the men from Church Road.
Trying to go one better than they did in the championship two years ago when they lost the final to Imokilly remains their primary objective but this will raise their confidence levels all that bit more before they embark again on that mission.
Sars, meanwhile, have a bit of work to do before they face Douglas at the end of August.
Scorers for Blackrock: T Deasy 1-5, M O’Halloran 1-4 (0-1 f), A Connolly 1-2, C Cormack 1-0, N Cashman, S O’Keeffe and J O’Sullivan 0-2 each, D O’Farrell 0-1.
Sarsfields: J O’Connor 1-1, E O’Sullivan (0-3 f), L Hackett 0-4 each, C D’Arcy 1-0, L Healy 0-3, A Myers 0-2, T Óg Murphy, W Kearney (f), J O’Leary 0-1 each.
BLACKROCK: D O’Shea; C O’Brien, G Norberg, J Ryan; N Cashman (c), A O’Callaghan, A Murphy; D O’Farrell, D Meaney; S O’Keeffe, M O’Halloran, J O’Sullivan; A Connolly, C Cormack, T Deasy.
Sub: R Laide for D Meaney (58).
SARSFIELDS: A Kenneally; D Kenneally, K Crowley, D English; C Leahy, C O’Sullivan, E Murphy; D Kearney, W Kearney; E O’Sullivan, T Óg Murphy (Capt), J O’Leary; A Myers, L Hackett, L Healy.
Subs: J O’Connor for J O’Leary, G Gray for K Crowley (both half-time), C D’Arcy for T Óg Murphy (43), T Murphy for E O’Sullivan, C Duggan for L Healy (both 56).
Referee: Simon Stokes (Tullylease).