LIHC review: A year of double joy for Lisgoold

Having claimed the 2020 junior A hurling title in August, they followed it with the lower intermediate in November
LIHC review: A year of double joy for Lisgoold

Lisgoold's Ciran Cronin wins the ball from Kilbrittain's Philip Wall during the Co-Op Superstores LIHC final at Páirc Uí Chaoimh Picture: Eddie O'Hare

ON September 13, 2020, Lisgoold beat Carraig na bhFear by 0-17 to 0-11 to claim the Imokilly JAHC title for the first time.

In the county championship quarter-final the following month, they had a point to spare on Inniscarra’s second team but it wasn’t until June of this year that they would be able to play their semi, against Dromtarriffe.

That obstacle was overcome too, on a scoreline of 3-16 to 2-17, setting up a final against Harbour Rovers in Páirc Uí Rinn. The silverware was secured as Jack Ryan and Jason Hegarty both scored goals in a 2-19 to 0-16 win over the Glanworth side. There was just over a month to prepare for the step up to the lower intermediate grade but, crucially, they had momentum on their side.

Lisgoold's captain John Cronin with supporters. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Lisgoold's captain John Cronin with supporters. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

St Finbarr’s were first up when the 2021 season began on the second weekend in September but the new kids on the block prevailed, winning by 0-25 to 0-16 in Cobh. An East Cork derby against Russell Rovers was next, with the importance of form shown as Rovers had lost the 2020 LIHC final to Castlemartyr and then been beaten by Tracton in their 2021 opener.

The clubs’ graphs continued to diverge as James O’Driscoll netted a 20th-minute goal to give Lisgoold the upper hand and Liam O’Shea grabbed another shortly before the second-half water break. He was to finish with 14 points as they won out by 2-21 to 0-19.

As Tracton had also beaten the other two sides, it meant that the qualification spots in the group were assured with a game to spare. They met in Páirc Uí Rinn on October 9 and Lisgoold took the honours, and second seeding overall, as they won by 2-18 to 0-15, having trailed by 0-8 to 1-4 at half-time. Liam O’Shea finished with eight points while John Cashman scored four and their goals came from James O’Driscoll and Mark Hegarty. The bulk of Tracton’s scoring output came from John Good and Ronan Walsh.

Along with Kilbrittain, they could now regroup and wait in the semi-finals as the other members of the last four were established. In the event, Tracton overcame Milford by four points while Ballygarvan beat Argideen Rangers by point. Having lost all three group games, Russell Rovers did at least arrest their slide in the relegation play-off, seeing off Grenagh.

The make-up of the semi-finals on November 6 saw Lisgoold take on Ballygarvan in Páirc Uí Rinn while Ballinspittle was the venue for the meeting of Kilbrittain and Tracton. Leading by 0-7 to 0-4 at half-time in their afternoon clash, Kilbrittain pushed clear in the second half with Tom Harrington scoring a goal as they won by 1-15 to 0-9.

That evening, Lisgoold had a great start as James O’Driscoll netted early on against Ballygarvan and John Cashman and Liam O’Shea were among the points but Mark Kennefick and Gary White kept the south-east side in contention as the half-time score was 1-9 to 0-10.

In the second half, goalkeeper Ciarán Cronin made a superb save to deny White and it was 1-14 to 0-13 at the water break. O’Shea and Michael Cussen pointed in the closing stages to ensure that the same four-point margin was there at the end, 1-16 to 0-15 the final score.

November 20 saw Lisgoold take on Kilbrittain in Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Though John Cashman’s opener was answered by Kilbrittain’s Philip Wall, Lisgoold settled better, with inspirational captain John Cronin and Cathal Hickey on target from the half-back line along with O’Shea as they moved 0-7 to 0-1 in front.

It was 0-8 to 0-2 at the water break but Kilbrittain improved after that and were back to 0-9 to 0-7 at half-time approached, Maurice Sexton leading the way for them. However, Conor Hallahan and Mark Hegarty had points for Lisgoold as they moved four clear by half-time.

On the resumption, Hickey and Hegarty had points but Lisgoold were thankful to Ciarán Cronin as he denied Declan Harrington a goal. After that let-off, they continued to keep their south-west opponents at arm’s length and it was 0-14 to 0-9 at the water break.

When action resumed, O’Shea landed a clinching goal as he fired home in the 49th minute. Though Sam Shorten and Ross Cashman pulled points back for Kilbrittain, Lisgoold’s supremacy was never in doubt as O’Shea kept the scoreboard ticking over and Hegarty wrapped things up at the death with a second goal. It finished 2-19 to 0-15, with just one of the Lisgoold points coming from a dead ball.

Just over three months after claiming the junior A title, they had added the intermediate championship. The intermediate A grade awaits in 2022.

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