SAHC: Favourites Fr O'Neills see off Premier Intermediate champs Courcey Rovers

Goals from Billy Dunne and rookie Peter Hassett sealed the win at a packed Ovens
SAHC: Favourites Fr O'Neills see off Premier Intermediate champs Courcey Rovers

Declan Dalton, Fr O'Neills,  in action against Courcey Rovers, in the Co-Op Superstores SAHC game at Ovens. Picture: Larry Cummins

Fr O’Neill’s 2-20 Courcey Rovers 0-19 

FR O’Neill’s overcame a brave Courcey Rovers side in a pulsating Co-Op Superstores SAHC clash at sweltering Ovens.

Reports from the hosts suggested this was their biggest attendance at this magnificent venue for many years and the pundits were fortunate to witness a game of sheer intensity from start to finish.

Declan Dalton the O’Neill’s talisman gave Courceys an early warning that he meant business with consecutive points in the opening minute. Indeed the early exchanges were all about the East Cork outfit and they produced some wonderful passages of play. Commanding a three point lead in the eighth minute Joe Millerick had a good opportunity to raise the opening green flag but his tame shot was off target.

The game looked to be going out of reach for Courceys as Fr O’Neills basically scored at will and with nine minutes remaining to the interval they had surged into a 0-10 to 0-2 lead.

Over the years the one solid trait that Courceys possess is their ability to stick with their opponents and with Tadgh O’Sullivan reeling off five unanswered points plus one from Ronan Nyhan it reduced the deficit at a rapid pace.

In added time O’Sullivan added one more that brought his side to within a point but they were shocked when Billy Dunne drilled in classy goal that was followed by a white flag as Fr O’Neill’s went in at the interval with a five-point lead.

On the restart both sides continued to give their all but Courceys relied far too much on the placed-ball striking of O’Sullivan (0-14) to keep them in touch.

O’Neill’s, despite not being at full throttle, had too much class in key departments and their second goal in added time was worth the admission fee alone.

A flowing three-man move saw the ball fall to Peter Hassett, playing in his first game at this level, and he showed calmness personified to drill an unstoppable shot to the roof of the net.

The sound of the final whistle was probably a relief to both sides as the effort they put in over 60-plus minutes should be commended.

Fr O’Neill’s now look safe to qualify as a local derby with Killeagh beckons with Courceys concluding their programme against Blarney.

 Sean Twomey fires the sliotar down the line for Courcey Rovers. Picture: Larry Cummins
Sean Twomey fires the sliotar down the line for Courcey Rovers. Picture: Larry Cummins

Scorers for Fr O’Neill’s: D Dalton 0-10 (0-4 f, 0-1 sl, 0-1 65), B Dunne 1-4, P Hassett 1-0, John Millerick 0-2, P McMahon, M O’Keeffe, E Motherway, L O’Driscoll 0-1 each.

Courcey Rovers: T O’Sullivan 0-14 (0-10 f), R Nyhan, L Collins, D J Twomey, R Sweetman, S Twomey 0-1 each.

FR O'NEILLS: P O’Sullivan; M Millerick, S O’Connor, R Kenneally; M O’Keeffe, J Millerick, T Millerick; G Millerick, K O’Sullivan; J Hankard, D Dalton, P McMahon; J Millerick, C Broderick, B Dunne.

Subs: L O’Driscoll for J Millerick (45), P Hassett for P McMahon (53), E Motherway for John Millerick (53).

COURCEY ROVERS: S Nyhan; C Roche, B Collins, B Mulcahy; O Crowley, F Lordan, K Collins; D J Twomey, M Collins; T O’Sullivan, S Twomey, J O’Neill; R Nyhan, L Collins, C Daly.

Subs: R Sweetman for J O’Neill (38), R O’Callaghan for L Collins (42), J McCarthy for R Nyhan (53).

Referee: Diarmuid Kirwan (Éire Óg).

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