John Horgan on hurling: Barrs come of age but Midleton back in the mix

Our club hurling expert reviews the second round of Premier Senior games and looks at the likely county champions this season
John Horgan on hurling: Barrs come of age but Midleton back in the mix

Tommy O'Connell blasts in a goal for Midleton against Newtown. Picture: Larry Cummins

THE future is not ours to see but the victory of the Barrs over the Rockies last Saturday night has to be the story of the hurling weekend.

Long gone are the days of yore when these two alongside the Glen lorded it above all others and when the house full sign was put up at the venue that hosted them.

The latest installment between the great southside rivals might not have lived up to the thunderous games of the past but it did bring back memories of the rivalry.

When the Rockies swept into a nine-point advantage before the first quarter had run its course many might have been thinking that the game was as good as over as a contest.

The Rockies were the far superior outfit in that period and split the sticks with some sublime points from a number of players.

When they led by 0-11 to 0-2, some Barrs supporters might have been fearing the worst.

But this group of Barrs hurlers had other ideas and they were a reinvented unit by half-time, trailing by just a point at 0-15 to 0-14.

It was as dramatic a transformation as we have seen for quite some time and full credit to the men from Togher for making it possible.

 Stephen Murphy, Blackrock, tries to block down Ethan Twomey, St Finbarr's in Saturday's exciting PSHC clash at Páirc Uí Rinn. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Stephen Murphy, Blackrock, tries to block down Ethan Twomey, St Finbarr's in Saturday's exciting PSHC clash at Páirc Uí Rinn. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

Young Ben Cunningham was flawless from the dead ball and all over the field there was a newfound attitude that had the Rockies wondering what was going on.

You could sense the energy that was flowing through the team in blue and that continued subsequently.

And it wasn’t long into the second half before they found themselves in front and coming down the home stretch they were five points to the good.

The Rockies reduced that to one but the Barrs held their nerve to register what has to be their best victory over their great rivals for many a long day.

In fact, it has to be one of their best wins for a long, long time and the spirit that these bunch of players exhibited had to be admired.

This was a thoroughly enjoyable and compelling hour of hurling and is sure to act as a huge energiser for the Barrs going forward.

They now find themselves sitting on top of a group that has been described as the ‘Group of Death’ and with everything to play for when Sars come out of the opposite corner in the deciding encounter in a few weeks.

The Rockies must now regroup for their final group game with Charleville.

ALL TO PLAY FOR

For the Barrs, there will be a spring in the step as they return to the training ground but it’s still all to play for in what has now become an intriguing group.

A number of questions were answered very positively in what was a very interesting hurling weekend across all the grades.

After Douglas had secured a fine win over Midleton in their opener, the big poser was, could they back up that up against Kanturk? The answer was very emphatic and they must now be included in the category of the main contenders.

The Kingston brothers, Shane and Conor shared 1-16 between them in what was a very positive team display.

And they had a double reason to be very satisfied with their day’s work, the game doubled up as the league semi-final and now they have that to look forward to later on in the season. And all this was done without the injured Eoin Cadogan.

Midleton were a much-improved outfit, particularly in the second half against Newtownshandrum and they are very much back in the chase now.

Conor Lehane and Luke O’Farrell rifled over some superb points and the goal delivered by Tommy O’Connell was excellent in its construction and execution with Sean O’Leary-Hayes and Cormac Beausang doing the initial spadework.

Team manager Ger Fitzgerald and coach James O’Connor will have been a much happier combination after their victory.

And they had to be under a bit of pressure after that opening day loss to Douglas but both players and management will realise that there’s further room for improvement However a return of 1-28 will do for now.

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