A dominant second half at Cloughduv last evening secured Muskerry a semi-final spot in the unseeded divisional section of the Co-op SuperStores Cork Premier SHC.
The Mid-Cork division had trailed by three points at half-time but limited their opponents Carbery to just a point in the second period, with goals from Kevin Murphy and Cian O’Driscoll turning matters the way of Diarmuid Kirwan’s side.
They will now advance to play Avondhu in the last four of this pool next Tuesday, but shooting practice is likely to be central to any work done between now and then as they had 16 wides over the course of the hour, with 11 of them registered in the opening half. Carrigdhoun meet Duhallow in the other semi-final, with the winners doing battle the following week for the chance to join UCC, MTU Cork and Imokilly in the next stage of the divisions and colleges group.
Muskerry had Cork senior hurler Seán O’Donoghue lining out in midfield but, against the wind, they endured a tough first half. Carbery led by 0-9 to 0-6 at the break, having had the wind at their backs, but they will feel that they could have given Muskerry even more to do.
A pair of long-range efforts from wing-back Aaron Holland had Carbery two to the good early on and, though O’Donoghue opened the Muskerry account in the sixth minute, Carbery continued to hold the upper hand. Aaron Hayes drew a save from Dylan Desmond before Jeremy Ryan made it 0-3 to 0-1 with a shot which could have gone under the crossbar and the same player opened up a three-point advantage as Muskerry’s poor shooting continued to cost them.
They had reached ten wides by the 22nd minute, by which stage it was 0-7 to 0-4, good points from wing-back Eoin Clifford and centre-forward Brian Keating ensuring they remained in touch. However, Carbery continued to motor well, with captain Ryan and Matthew Lawton showing up strongly in midfield – the pair combined for a fine Aaron Hayes point and it was Hayes who set up Adam McSweeney to make it 0-8 to 0-4 on 23.
When Lawton won the puckout and fed McSweeney again, the lead was five. While Muskerry did have the last two points of the half, from David Kirwan and a long-range Keating free, they should have had a goal too but Dylan Harrington saved from Tadhg O’Connell and corner-back David Murphy did well to clear the loose ball when a scramble seemed set to result in a green flag.
A goal did come three minutes into the second half as Keating drew a save from Dylan Harrington, with Kevin Murphy on hand to fire the loose ball home. Points followed from Mark Walsh (two), Cian O’Driscoll and Clifford, who was influential after a move to midfield while O'Donoghue held the half-back line.
In contrast, Carbery – missing a total of 15 players due to a combination of injuries and holidays, and with just two subs – began to flag and Ryan’s 42nd-minute point proved to be their only one of the second half.
After sub James Dwyer point for Muskerry, O’Driscoll’s well-worked goal involving Jordan Murray and Séamus Cronin made it 2-11 to 0-10. While Carbery did have a half-chance of a goal through Holland – moved forward after picking up an injury – John Kelleher did well to avert the danger and the remainder of the game saw Muskerry ease clear.
Scorers for Muskerry: C O’Driscoll 1-2, B Keating (0-1f), M Walsh 0-3 each, K Murphy 1-0, E Clifford, J Dwyer, D Kirwan 0-2 each, S Tarrant (0-1f), S O’Donoghue 0-1 each.
Carbery: J Ryan 0-5 (0-1f, 0-1 65), A Holland (0-1f), A McSweeney 0-2 each, A Hayes 0-1.
MUSKERRY: D Desmond (Éire Óg); B O’Mahony (Inniscarra), J Murray (Ballincollig), J Kelleher ((Éire Óg); E Clifford (Cloughduv), S Sheehan (Inniscarra), F Denny (Ballincollig); S O’Donoghue (Inniscarra), D Kirwan (Éire Óg); C O’Driscoll (Ballincollig), B Keating (Ballincollig), K Murphy (Ballinora); T O’Connell (Ballincollig), A O’Shea (Ballinora), M Walsh (Cloughduv).
Subs: S Cronin (Grenagh) for O’Connell (40), J Dwyer (Ballincollig) for Murphy (42, injured), S Tarrant (Aghabullogue) for Walsh (44), A Murphy (Cloughduv) for Kirwan (56), D Kelly (Iveleary) for O’Driscoll (57).
CARBERY: D Harrington (Argideen Rangers); D Murphy (Barryroe), N O’Donovan (Kilbrittain), N Barrett (Clonakilty); B Butler (Kilbrittain), J Moloney (Barryroe), A Holland (Kilbrittain); J Ryan (Ballinascarthy), M Lawton (Argideen Rangers); C Cullinane (Ballinascarthy), D Kiely (Barryroe), K O’Donovan (Diarmuid Ó Mathúna); F Butler (Argideen Rangers), A Hayes (St James'), A McSweeney (Argideen Rangers).
Subs: S Ryan (Barryroe) for McSweeney (58), D Dullea (Dohenys) for Holland (60).
Referee: A O’Connor (Ballygarvan).