Sarsfields 3-22 Charleville 2-19
SARSFIELDS bounced back from an opening day defeat in the Co-op Superstores Premier Senior Hurling Championship to see off Charleville in Mallow on Saturday night, putting them right back in the mix for a quarter-final place.
On a perfect night for championship hurling the Riverstown outfit looked well on the way to victory for long periods but had to fight off a late Charleville comeback to seal the deal.
Led on the field by former Cork star Daniel Kearney as well as Aaron Myers and Daniel Hogan the boys in blue came flying from the traps bagging 2-1 before Charleville got their act together.
James Sweeney, Shane O’Regan and Colm McCarthy also impressed in an attacking set that looked perfectly at ease in front to the posts.
For Charleville, Darragh Fitzgibbon proved key to their challenge, as did Andrew Cagney, Jack Doyle and Jack O’Callaghan at corner-back. Darren Casey another to impress in red.
From the off Sarsfields looked to be in good shape. A trio of missed efforts from the men in red handed the edge to the favourites and Jack O’Connor didn’t need to be asked twice – he blasted the ball home for the game’s first goal inside three minutes.
A point from Daniel Hogan quickly followed before Colm McCarthy made it 2-1 to no score in favour of Sars, and still not six minutes on the clock.
Another brace of points followed for Sars before Fitzgibbon finally got Charleville off the mark with a point from distance.
Charleville looked to be struggling to get their hands on the ball however a brilliant goal from full-forward Cagney lifted the spirits and a point from Jack Doyle had the gap down to just four.
A super point from O’Connor got Sars back in the groove – things could have got even better for the victors if Charleville keeper Cian Collins hadn’t pulled off a brilliant save on 17 minutes.
Eight of the next 10 points went Sars' way and they looked to be cruising to the break with plenty to spare however Charleville hit back on the stroke of the short whistle with another sensational goal from Cagney – 2-12 to 2-5 heading to the dressing rooms.
If the Avondhu side were going to drag this one from the fire they needed a quick start and while they didn’t exactly hit the ground running on the restart they did manage to keep pace with Sarsfields – that was until James Sweeney raised the third green flag for his side on 40 minutes – this one looked all but over.
To say that Fitzgibbon singlehandedly took the fight to Sars would be disingenuous to the Cork star’s teammates but the midfielder did hit eight of the next 11 points as Charleville fronted up to their opponents all over the pitch.
Charleville got tighter in the tackle, quicker to the ball and more accurate with their efforts as the dragged this game back into the melting pot – just four points in it with three minutes still on the clock.
But, this Sars team are made of strong stuff and they didn’t come to Mallow to leave with nothing and a couple of tasty scores from the lethal Myers and substitute Luke Hackett put this one to bed – Sarsfields deserved winners on the night.
All sides in the group remain in with a credible chance to get through – the last day of the round robin hurling will have everyone on their toes.
A Myers 0-9 (0-2 f), J O’Connor 1-3, D Hogan, D Kearney 0-3 each, Colm McCarthy, J Sweeney 1-0 each, S O’Regan 0-2, L Hackett, P Leopold 0-1 each.
D Fitzgibbon 0-10 (0-4 f), A Cagney 2-3, J Doyle 0-3 (0-1 f), D Casey, J O’Callaghan, C Buckley 0-1 each.
A Kennedy; C O’Sullivan, B Murphy, W Kearney; C Roche, K Crowley, P Leopold; K Murphy, Colm McCarthy; D Hogan, J Sweeney, D Kearney; S O’Regan, J O’Connor, A Myers.
L Hackett for S O’Regan (53), C McCarthy for Colm McCarthy (60).
C Collins; J Kilcommins, J Meade, J O’Callaghan; A Dennehy, J Buckley, F Cagney; D Casey, D Fitzgibbon; G Kelleher, C Buckley, J Doyle; O O’Connell, A Cagney, M Kavanagh.
S Gleeson for M Kavanagh (28), J O’Brien for G Kelleher (h-t), D Butler for O O’Connell (43), D Forde for J O’Brien (55).
Simon Stokes (Tullylease