Courcey Rovers 2-17 Blarney 0-18
A PAIR of goals from Seán Twomey – one just before half-time and one just after – were crucial as Courcey Rovers secured qualification from Group 2 of the Co-op SuperStores Cork SAHC at Páirc Uí Rinn on Saturday evening.
With the Ballinspittle/Ballinadee side and their Blarney opponents having both lost to group winners Fr O’Neills and beaten Killeagh, this was a winner-take-all encounter, with Courceys’ superior scoring difference giving them the advantage if the game was a draw. While the match was tied at 1-10 to 0-13 after a good Courceys start to the second half, Twomey’s second goal put them into a lead that they would not lose thereafter, setting up a quarter-final meeting with Ballyhea.
This meeting of the last two winners of the Premier IHC – Blarney in 2020 and Courceys in 2021 – took time to get going, with Blarney enjoying the early advantage as Shane Barrett, Pádraig Power and Mark Coleman all scored for them, though Colin Roche was impressive in the Courceys midfield.
Courceys goalkeeper Stephen Nyhan had cut the deficit to a point, 0-5 to 0-4, in the 25th minute when Blarney were reduced to 14 players after Seán Crowley’s high tackle saw him shown a second yellow card. The Mid-Cork side coped well in the immediate aftermath as Denis McSweeney and Shane Barrett (two) had points to help them move three clear, but Courceys midfield DJ Twomey landed a point before winning the subsequent puckout and delivering for Twomey to claim possession and fire to the net.
It gave them the lead for the first time, 1-6 to 0-8, but four unanswered Blarney points – McSweeney, Power and two long-range Coleman frees – sent them in with a 0-12 to 1-6 advantage.
Courceys had not taken advantage of all of their dead-ball opportunities in the first half but Richard Sweetnam converted two early second-half frees before Nyhan’s third of the night tied the match on 35 minutes. Then came the second goal as a ball forward wasn’t dealt with by the Blarney defence, allowing Sweetnam to prod the ball to Twomey, who produced a blistering shot from the 20m line.
Coleman and Power brough Blarney back to within a point, but chances of an equaliser were not taken and Twomey was able to set Sweetnam up for his fourth point on 50 minutes, opening up a 2-12 to 0-16 lead before Brendan Ryan landed an inspirational score.
While the Carrigdhoun side had to play the last six minutes plus stoppages with 14 players after Martin Collins was booked for the second time, they ensured that Blarney were unable to find the goal necessary to turn the game. The closest they came was when Nyhan saved a Coleman free, with Sweetnam on hand to score his seventh point just after that.
R Sweetnam 0-7 (0-4 f), S Twomey 2-0, S Nyhan 0-4 f, J O’Neill, B Ryan, O Crowley, F Lordan, DJ Twomey, T O’Sullivan (f) 0-1 each.
M Coleman 0-9 f, P Power, S Barrett 0-3 each, D McSweeney 0-2, E Kirby 0-1.
S Nyhan; C Daly, B Mulcahy, B Collins; M Collins, F Lordan, S McCarthy; DJ Twomey, C Roche; J O’Neill, T O’Sullivan, O Crowley; R Sweetnam, B Ryan, S Twomey.
R Nyhan for O’Neill (49), J McCarthy for Ryan (58), L Collins for O Crowley (60).
E O’Neill; MJ Shine, P O’Leary, A McEvoy; P Crowley, P Philpott, C Power; M O’Leary, D McSweeney; S Barrett, S Crowley, M Coleman; E Kirby, P Power, C Barrett.
D Walsh for Shine, K Costello for C Barrett (both 37), C McCarthy for McSweeney (52), J Jordan for M O’Leary (54), D Kelly for McSweeney (59).
P Lyons (Bishopstown).