Bride Rovers 1-14 Cloughduv 1-10
BRIDE ROVERS lifted the Cork U21 A Hurling Championship title as they defeated a spirited Cloughduv side by four points in the final at Páirc Uí Rinn on Sunday afternoon.
The sides were level with just under 10 minutes remaining but a strong finish by a youthful Bride Rovers team, inspired by half forward Conor Barry, was enough to see them claim the silverware. It capped off a great season for the club, who were Premier 2 minor champions too, and landed a Premier 1 league through their excellent U14 unit.
Rovers scored three goals in both the quarter-final and the semi-final on route to this showpiece occasion and they almost raised a green flag inside the opening minute here.
The lively Brian Roche broke clear one on one with the keeper but his powerful drive was well saved by goalkeeper Cormac O’Driscoll.
Roche scored an excellent point moments later to open the scoring but that was quickly cancelled out by a well taken free from Brian Verling.
But Rovers would be celebrating a goal with six minutes on the clock and Roche was again involved as he picked out Conleith Ryan who coolly slotted the ball past the keeper at his near post.
Cloughduv responded impressively to that set back as Brian Verling fired another free over the black spot before he edged his side in front when he found the back of the net.
The corner forward beat Rovers’ shot-stopper Ben Hogan to Jack Kelleher’s dropping shot before he drilled the ball past the unsettled keeper at his near post to make the score 1-2 to 1-1 after just eight minutes.
Cloughduv extended their lead thanks to a superb score from Joe Ryan before the sides began to swap scores as the first half progressed.
Points from Conor Barry, Jesse O’Keefe and Brian Roche for Bride Rovers came in amongst a brace of frees converted by the accurate Brian Verling ensured Cloughduv lead by the minimum as the first period drew to a close, 1-5 to 1-4.
Bride almost grabbed their second goal of the game in the 25th minute but Conleith Ryan’s fiercely struck attempt was well blocked by the recovering defence.
Brian Roche levelled the scores yet again moments later before a neat Jack Kelleher over restored Cloughduv’s advantage at the interval with the scoreboard reading 1-6 to 1-5.
Cloughduv progressed to this final following a two-point win against Fermoy in a keenly contested semi-final played on this surface just four days previous.
They continued to battle at the beginning of the second period as a couple of scores from Brian Verling, in between points from Rovers duo Brian Roche and Conor Barry, kept their noses in front with 20 minutes remaining.
But they soon began to tire and Bride Rovers, who hit three of their nine wides shortly after the restart, took advantage as they gained control of proceedings.
Conor Barry fired over a brilliant free against the wind which was quickly matched by another fine score from Cloughduv’s full-forward Joe Ryan.
But further scores from Conleith Ryan and Barry earned Bride Rovers the lead for the first time since the eighth minute of the match, 1-10 to 1-9.
Joe Ryan drove over another brilliant score to equalise for his club and set up an intriguing finale with a little over 12 minutes remaining.
That effort did little to deter Bride Rovers though as they quickly regrouped and they quickly took the lead once more with a dead ball conversion from left wing-forward Conor Barry.
Barry thumped over another free to make the score 1-12 to 1-10 as the match ticked into injury time.
Cloughduv continued to battle but it just wasn’t to be their day as Bride Rovers sealed the victory in this third tier competition of the U21 grade thanks to two more sensational points from Brian Roche and Conor Barry.
Scorers for Bride Rovers: C Barry 0-7 (0-4 f), C Ryan 1-2, B Roche 0-4, J O’Keefe 0-1.
Cloughduv: B Verling 1-6 (0-6 f), J Ryan 0-3, J Kelleher 0-1.
BRIDE ROVERS: B Hogan; J Mannix, S Walsh, M Quinn; P O’Flynn, G O’Keeney, R Prendergast; S O’Connor, E Roche; C Barry, B Roche, D.J Cahill; K Kearney, C Ryan, J O’Keefe.
Sub: C Hogan for J O’Keefe (53).
CLOUGHDUV: C O’Driscoll; P O’Leary, P Buckley, S Flanagan; J Murphy, E Clifford, B Hinchion; A Twomey, M Walsh; D Walsh, W Ronan, E Curzon; B Verling, J Ryan, J Kelleher.
Subs: D Dulea for W Ronan (40), L Wall for S Flanagan (60).
Referee: Justin Murphy (Castletownroche).