Sarsfields 3-21 Midleton 2-14
SARSFIELDS thundered into the semi-finals of the Co-op Superstores PSHC with a comprehensive victory over Midleton in Páirc Uí Rinn.
This was a clash of two teams with 100% records but the Riverstown side, after a slow start, set down a marker for the rest of the campaign with a superb performance, while Midleton will have to re-group before they take on Erin’s Own in the quarter-finals.
The opening exchanges were ponderous as both sides tried to neutralise one another. A game of musical chairs before the throw-in saw Tommy O’Connell move from centre to wing-back to pick up Daniel Kearney while for Sars Kevin Crowley picked up Midleton talisman, Conor Lehane.
Two points from Lehane (2) and another from Paul Haughney gave the Magpies the perfect start as they raced into a three-point lead. Two frees from Aaron Myres brought Sars to within one before a stunning Sam Quirke point saw Midleton lead by 0-4 to 0-2 after 10 minutes.
In the ten minutes that followed, both sides created plenty of chances but crucially, Sars took theirs while Midleton’s wide rise to eight before they scored again. Sars had no such trouble as Killian Murphy and Myers both pointed before Kearney made his presence felt with two fabulous scores from play.
He then turned provider as his long delivery was fetched by James Sweeney at the edge of the square and finished smartly to give Sars a 1-6 to 0-4 lead. Haughney then traded points with Kearney and then it was Lehane’s turn to show his class. Firstly, he sliced through the heart of the Sars defence before passing to Luke O’Farrell who finished to the net from a tight angle.
Lehane followed this with an exquisite score from play to answer a Jack O’Connor point before Sam Quirke’s second score left the minimum between them as half time approached. Sars finished the half the stronger, however, with three points from the impressive Myers to give them a 1-11 to 1-7 lead at the break.
Midleton looked set to reel their rivals in on the resumption when Quirke and Cormac Beausang pointed but, again, Myers answered with aplomb for Sars before his side completely took over.
Myers tapped over two more points, so did Sweeney, Kearney slotted over his fourth, Daniel Hogan his first while Luke Hackett struck for two majors, the second, in particular, a real thing of beauty. After a beautiful turn he had the vision to lob Brion Saunderson in the Midleton goal in an effort reminiscent of Erin’s Own Fergus Murphy in the 2006 county final.
All Midleton could muster in response was points from Lehane and O’Farrell as they trailed by 3-19 to 1-12 with ten to go. They kept plugging away though, and two points from Lehane were followed by a goal from Darren Quirke to give them a sliver of a chance.
Sars finished the stronger, however, with a free from Liam Healy and a fifth point from the outstanding Daniel Kearney as they established themselves as the team to avoid as the Little All-Ireland heads towards its conclusion.