Castlelyons 2-19 Valley Rovers 1-14
CASTLELYONS followed up their victory over Watergrasshill with another impressive Co-Op Superstores PIHC win at rain-soaked Ballincollig on Saturday evening.
Despite the heavy conditions and the absence of Cork hurler Colm Spillane through injury, last year's runners-up had far too much firepower for a dogged Valley Rovers. They're early favourites for this season's title and will take beating on this evidence.
Anthony Spillane rifled over four wonderful second-half points after moving out the field, hitting 0-5 overall, while corner-forward James Kearney pilfered 1-3 in the opening period, to go with David Morrison's poacher's goal. Rebel corner-back Niall O'Leary was redeployed to the number 11 slot and chipped in with three points, while Keith O'Leary and Alan Fenton also scored from play.
In contrast, Valleys were reliant on Chris O'Leary's accuracy from placed balls, which included a powerful penalty after impact sub John Cottrell was up-ended. Only O'Leary, Eoin O'Reilly and Sean O'Regan scored from play.
Darragh Murphy was all-action from centre-back for Rovers, but Castlelyons excelled in defence where Colm Barry and keeper Jack Barry were ice-cool in possession and corner-backs Jamie O'Leary and Tom Carroll tenacious throughout.
The first half was hard-hitting but engaging, ref Brendan Barry Murphy doing his best to let it flow, as the goals from Kearney and Morrisson made it 2-9 to 0-8 at half-time.
While O'Leary's penalty was a lifeline for Valleys, they were still seven down, 2-15 to 1-11 at the second water break.
From there, Castlelyons controlled the last quarter and meet Inniscarra, who beat Watergrasshill on Saturday, in three weeks looking the part. Valleys can still qualify if they beat the Hill.