Midleton 0-24 Carrigtwohill 1-14
THE form book stood up as Midleton outpointed their east Cork rivals Carrigtwohill in a contest which went as expected in the Co-Op Superstore county premier senior hurling championship at Pairc Ui Rinn on Saturday.
They were expertly led by former Cork player, Conor Lehane, who gave a true captain's display with a grand tally of 0-11, of which half-a-dozen came from open play.
Midfielder Paul Haughney followed suit with an important 0-4 contribution as nine players in all managed to get on the scoreboard, 0-19 coming from play.
Carrig always trailed, rarely looked like registering a shock and their plight was evident in scoring just once from play as they relied on Sean Walsh, Liam Gosnell and keeper Shane Devlin for the bulk of their scores.
Devlin, in particular, deserves special mention for he kept a clean sheet by making a couple of brave saves to, twice, frustrate Sean O'Meara in either half.
Despite always playing catch-up, Carrig actually 'won' the third quarter 0-5 to 0-4 and only trailed by four, 0-17 to 1-10, at the second water break, a reflection of their gritty determination and Midleton's inability to put the game to bed.
Just before the short break, Carrig achieved a milestone in the game by registering their first score from play, when midfielder Brendan Twomey found the range from a different angle on the left.
It left only four points between the teams, which wasn't a true reflection of the game's trend, but Midleton added three more scores without reply entering the closing quarter to stretch their advantage to seven points.
The game fizzled out before the inevitable conclusion, the Magpies retaining that advantage to the final whistle and getting their campaign off to a winning start.
They did so without the assistance of Cork defender Sean O'Leary-Hayes and U20 midfielder Sam Quirke, who were both listed as substitutes with Midleton going unchanged from start to finish.
At the outset, Midleton quickly settled, scoring the opening four points from four different players inside seven minutes and it took Carrigtwohill another three minutes to register their first score.
Lehane was contributing well from placed balls and frees to help his side to a 0-7 to 0-2 lead at the water break with their opponents still waiting to score from play.
The skipper completed the set with a class score, displaying a glorious first touch before applying the appropriate finish.
The pattern continued on the resumption with Haughney getting on the score sheet with a couple of fine long-distance points as Carritwohill relied on the accuracy of keeper Devlin for their scores.
He struck a couple in quick succession for 0-9 to 0-4 after 24 minutes before Devlin's long-range attempt from the left, four minutes later, ended in the net after his opposite number Brion Saunderson fumbled.
Midleton responded well, however, as Tommy O'Connell and Haughney hit fine points and while Shane Walsh closed the half with a pointed free for Carrig, they still trailed by 0-13 to 1-5, all their scores coming from frees.
Lehane's account came to six in the period, the stand-out effort arriving just before the goal when he controlled the ball brilliantly before firing over from an acute angle.
Midleton have strong designs on reaching the knock-out phase, having been squeezed out last season, while Carrig's main goal will be preserving their status with a young and inexperienced side.