MIDLETON booked their place in the final of the Co-Op Superstores JBHC following a comfortable win against Delanys at Páirc Uí Rinn.
The city outfit were totally outclassed by a side that wouldn’t be out of place competing at a higher level, and featuring a number of hurlers with senior experience, but they weren’t helped when losing two players to straight red cards three minutes before the interval. In the second half, two more Delanys players saw red and they finished the game with 11 players.
The Magpies were quickest out of the blocks and five unanswered points in the opening four minutes put Delanys under the cosh.
There was little doubt the East Cork outfit looked a polished outfit in the early exchanges as Delanys struggled to get possession.
After a six-point siege Delanys eventually ended the drought when a classy Roy Downey point was added to by another white flag from Cian McElhinney.
Suddenly belief came into Delanys’ game and a long-range Kevin Foley point reduced the deficit to three before a brace of Mark O’Keeffe points and one from Billy O’Shea restored a 0-9 to 0-3 lead in the 16th minute.
The game threatened to go totally out of control in the 27th minute when three players received straight yellow cards with Delanys’ Aaron and Kenneth Spriggs in the company of Midleton’s Ryan McConville involved in a mini brawl.
The biggest problem that Delanys were encountering was their tendency to give away soft frees as the outstanding striking of O’Keeffe punished them at will and they trailed 1-12 to 0-6 at the break.
Thirteen-man Delanys needed a huge improvement, but it was Midleton who drew first blood after the break when O’Keeffe pointed in the 36th minute. The reality is that if Midleton hadn’t dropped down to a low gear they would have won by a cricket score.
Delanys were out of their depth and this Midleton team will take some stopping in the final.