Na Piarsaigh 0-18 Killeagh 1-12
CONSIDERING the stormy seas they found themselves in last season, residing in the relegation zone of the Cork County SHC, this opening-round victory at Páirc Uí Rinn was a welcome change in the fortunes of Na Piarsaigh.
They did make hard work of getting a gritty Killeagh side off their backs, but they were fully deserving of their victory.
There’s a new management team presiding over matters in Farranree and, in the opening half in the Sunday sunshine, they must have been pleased with the return from their players, quite a few of them in the younger age bracket. They ruled the roost in the opening 30 minutes, firing over superbly executed points and they were well in control at the interval, restricting their East Cork opponents to just three points.
However, they also shot wides and that wayward shooting continued into the second half so that by the end they were well into double figures.
It was 0-8 to 0-3 at the interval, five of the starting six Na Piarsaigh forwards getting on the board. Padraig Guest, Shane Forde, Danny Gunning, Evan Sheehan and Kelvin Forde all split the sticks, with Killeagh responding through Killian Treacy, Eoghan Keniry and Shane Smiddy.
Killeagh had a lot on their plate during the half-time interval, but to their credit, they re-emerged a transformed outfit, with sub Sean Walsh playing a significant role in their revival.
The first three points of the second half belonged to them: Ryan McCarthy with a delightfully struck sideline ball, Gary Leahy and Walsh all converting points.
Suddenly, it was a two-point game and it was game on.
Na Piarsaigh, however, didn’t panic and they garnered a four-point advantage after 37 minutes, following points from Pa Rourke and Cian Buckley, the latter having a fine match in the number four jersey.
However, Killeagh kept hanging on to their coat tails and they were rewarded in the 47th minute when Gary Leahy drilled home a fine goal after being set up by sub Walsh.
The margin was now down to just a point and big questions were being asked of the city team, but they were able to respond and points from Craig Hanafin and Alan Hogan kept things ticking over for them.
However, Killeagh kept digging away and a point that looked wide from the press area from that man Walsh again had it back down to just two points.
Na Piarsaigh now had the most dangerous advantage of all as the game approached its 60th minute.
However, they kept their nerve, with Hanafin slotting over the game’s final score and the Northside team were home and hosed.
A number of players were more conspicuous than others for them, with Eddie Gunning performing well in defence and young Daire Connery exhibiting his quality at times too.
This was very much a case of a lot done but much more to do, but they are up and running and, at this juncture in the season, that’s all that counts.
Killeagh too have plenty to build on from this courageous display and they can do better
Scorers for Na Piarsaigh: C Hanafin 0-4 (0-3 f), D Connery (0-1 f), P Guest, E Sheehan, K Forde, S Forde 0-2 each, C Buckley, A Hogan, P Rourke, D Gunning 0-1 each.
Killeagh: G Leahy 1-2, E Keniry 0-4 (0-2 f) S Walsh 0-3, R McCarthy (sl), K Treacy, S Smiddy 0-1 each.
NA PIARSAIGH: L Donovan; E Moynihan, E Gunning, C Buckley; A Hogan, P Rourke, D Connery; C Joyce, D Lee; C Hanafin, S Forde, D Gunning; P Guest, E Sheehan, K Forde.
Subs: K Buckley for D Gunning (53 mins); G Joyce for S Forde (59)
KILLEAGH: C Walsh; A Keniry, D Hogan, S Long; K Murphy, C Fogarty, K Treacy; E Keniry, M Fitzgerald; P O’Neill, D Walsh, S Smiddy; A Leahy, G Leahy, R McCarthy.
Subs: B Collins for O’Neill (25); S Walsh for Leahy, M Murphy for Fitzgerald (both half-time); K Lane for D Walsh (53).
Referee: M Maher (St Finbarr’s).