Classy Courcey Rovers edge out Valleys to return to PIHC final

A haul of 1-3 from keeper Stephen Nyhan in the first half was a major factor in Courceys' success
Classy Courcey Rovers edge out Valleys to return to PIHC final

Gary Farrell, Valley Rovers, tries to hold up Martin Collins, Courcey Rovers, in the PIHC semi-final at Páirc Uí Rinn. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

Courcey Rovers 2-19 Valley Rovers 0-17 

COURCEY Rovers are back in the final of the Co-Op Superstores Premier IHC for the first time since 2018, where they will take on either Castlelyons or Ballinhassig.

Goals in either half in Páirc Uí Rinn on Saturday were crucial for the Sean Guiheen-managed Courcey Rovers, who topped their group and received a bye to this penultimate round.

The highlight of the first 30 minutes was the contribution of their goalkeeper Stephen Nyhan with the custodian nailing 1-3, the goal a hugely important score from the penalty spot in the 25th minute after Sean Twomey was held back on route to goal.

The game got off to a lively start, Jerry O’Neill and Adam Kenneally swapping points in the opening minute before Courcey Rovers moved into the lead through Sean Twomey and a lengthy free from goalkeeper Nyhan.

By the 10th minute, they led 0-5 to 0-2 courtesy of Ronan Nyhan and Richard Sweetnam's white flags. They remained in control at the first water break, excellent points from wing-back Shane McCarthy and Stephen Nyhan pushing them 0-7 to 0-4 ahead.

Reliable free-taker Colm Butler (2), Kevin Canty and Adam Kenneally the Valley Rovers scorers.

Courceys fired 1-3 after the water break to open up an eight-point gap.

Fielding without the suspended Chris O’Leary, Valleys' response came in the shape of four unanswered points late in the half - one long-range effort from Darragh Murphy. They trailed at the break, 1-10 to 0-8.

A second Courcey Rovers goal arrived eight minutes into the second half, and again Stephen Nyhan was involved in the build-up. His delivery from a free eventually found Ronan Nyhan and his well-taken goal put them 2-12 to 0-10 up.

They were seven points clear at the second water break with Butler continuing to excel from placed balls.

In the closing minutes, Stephen Nyhan came to the rescue once more, denying Jonathan Kenneally a certain goal. All through, he received great defensive cover from all six backs.

 Miske Savic, Valley Rovers, controls the sliotar ahead of Brian Collins, Courcey Rovers. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Miske Savic, Valley Rovers, controls the sliotar ahead of Brian Collins, Courcey Rovers. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

Scorers for Courcey Rovers: S Nyhan (1-0 pen, 0-3 f), R Nyhan 1-3 each, R Sweetnam 0-4 (0-1 f), S Twomey 0-3, J O’Neill, T O’Sullivan 0-2 each, F Lordan, S McCarthy 0-1 each.

Valley Rovers: C Butler 0-14 (0-12 f), D Murphy, A Kenneally, K Canty 0-1 each.

COURCEY ROVERS: S Nyhan; C Daly, B Collins, B Mulcahy; S McCarthy, F Lordan, D Coughlan; DJ Twomey, M Collins; T O’Sullivan (c), S Twomey, J O’Neill; R Nyhan, R Sweetnam, L Collins.

Subs: J McCarthy for J O’Neill (20-22 bs), C Roche for S McCarthy (57 inj), M O’Donovan for R Nyhan (62 inj).

VALLEY ROVERS: W Burke; E Delaney, T O’Brien (c), S O’Leary; D Murphy, J Cottrell, D Lynch; G Farrell, W Hurley; A Kenneally, K Canty, C Butler; E O’Reilly, M Savic, J Walsh.

Subs: R O’Sullivan for E O’Reilly (27), C Desmond for M Savic (35), J Kenneally for A Kenneally (43), S O’Regan for G Farrell (45), A Lyons for J Walsh (55).

Referee: Niall O’Neill (Midleton).

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