Blackrock 2-27 Ballyhea 1-10
A CLASSY Blackrock side inflicted a 20-point defeat on Ballyhea in the opening round of the Cork SHC at Páirc Uí Rinn on Saturday.
More polished in most areas of the field, they moved into a five-point lead at half-time, and while Ballyhea remained competitive for a brief period at the start of the second half, there was only ever going to be the one winner.
Ballyhea were in the driving seat early on through points from Tom Hanley (2) and Pa O’Callaghan (3). Blackrock were slow to settle, and they were grateful to John O’Sullivan’s stunning goal to keep them in touch after the corner-forward took off on a marvellous solo run along the right flank and made no mistake from close range.
Once they gained parity approaching the end of the first quarter, they never looked back.
Blackrock went on to score five points without reply. They had excellent white flags from Daniel Meaney, Stephen Murphy, Ciarán Cormack and Kevin O’Keeffe who was in fantastic form. As well, Mikey Browne did well to bundle the sliotar out for a ’65 in an effort to deny Kevin O’Keeffe what looked like a certain goal. At half-time, the Rockies were 1-11 to 0-9 ahead.
Despite Maurice O’Sullivan posting a well-worked goal soon after the restart, Blackrock took over for the second-half. They shot a host of quality points from all different angles.
Captain Niall Cashman, Andrew Murphy, David O’Farrell, O’Sullivan, Cormack and Michael O’Halloran all looking dangerous. With the fourth quarter left to be played, they were 1-22 to 1-10 to the good.
O’Callaghan with the sole reply for Ballyhea. It was looking very grim at this stage as the Avondhu men struggled to win any decent sort of possession. Blackrock, by contrast, all of their players appeared to be capable of getting scores with a lot more ease.
Another big blow arrived eight minutes from time when Kevin O’Keeffe latched on to the ball after Cormack sent it in his direction. His finish low to the far corner of the net was sublime. Blackrock continued to look dangerous and tacked on another five points in the remaining five minutes of the game, including a brace from substitute Tadhg Deasy.
Blackrock, who were knocked out by Midleton in last year’s championship at the semi-final stage, are safely through to round three. Ballyhea, meanwhile, move to round two.
Scorers for Blackrock: K O’Keeffe 1-7 (0-3 f, 0-1 65), J O’Sullivan 1-3, Ciarán Cormack 0-4, N Cashman 0-3, S Murphy, T Deasy, D Meaney 0-2 each, A Murphy, D O’Farrell, S O’Keeffe, M O’Halloran 0-1 each.
Ballyhea: P O’Callaghan 0-7 (0-4 f), M O’Sullivan 1-0, T Hanley 0-2, J Copps 0-1.
BLACKROCK: D O’Shea; J Ryan, G Norberg, R Laide; Cathal Cormack, A O’Callaghan, N Cashman (c); S Murphy, D O’Farrell; M O’Halloran, D Meaney, S O’Keeffe; J O’Sullivan, Ciarán Cormack, K O’Keeffe.
Subs: A Murphy for Cathal Cormack (24), T Deasy for A O’Callaghan (42).
BALLYHEA: M Browne; A Barrett, M Morrissey, W Carroll; T Foley, B Coleman (c), L Hanley; J Morrissey. C Cox; T Hanley, P O’Callaghan, G Morrissey; J Copps, M O’Sullivan, E O’Leary.
Subs: K Copps for T Foley (39), O O’Sullivan for W Carroll (50).
Referee: Cathal McAllister (Aghada).