Minor hurling: Killeagh edge out Bride Rovers to reach Premier 2 final

Dylan McCarthy was unerring from frees in a gripping Rebel Óg semi-final at the Mardyke
Minor hurling: Killeagh edge out Bride Rovers to reach Premier 2 final

Darragh O'Brien, Killeagh, in action against Ryan O'Callaghan, Bride Rovers, in the Rebel Óg P2 Minor Hurling semi-final at the Mardyke. Picture: Larry Cummins.

Killeagh 2-21 Bride Rovers 2-15 
KILLEAGH are through to the Rebel Óg Premier 2 MHC final following a hard-fought win over Bride Rovers at the Mardyke on Friday evening. 

The Imokilly pairing delivered a game that had everything, brilliant scores, blocks, hooks, and certainly no shortage of endeavour from both teams. 

Killeagh’s two quick-fire goals just before the third quarter proved decisive.

Both sides came into this semi-final tie in great form. Killeagh won all their group stage games, getting a bye to the last four. Bride Rovers had to work hard, they finished second in their group and had to get past Aghada in the quarter-final, 2-11 to 1-7.

 Midfielder Fionn Brennan, Killeagh, in action against Bride Rovers. Picture: Larry Cummins.
Midfielder Fionn Brennan, Killeagh, in action against Bride Rovers. Picture: Larry Cummins.

The game started at a fast pace, the sides traded points inside two minutes. 

The opening score was a brilliant free from Bride Rovers goalkeeper Ronan O’Riordan deep in his own half. 

It was extremely competitive, the sides were level on a number of occasions and were deadlocked after 12 minutes at 0-4 each. 

Killeagh nudged ahead on the stroke of the first quarter, Seán Meade with a beauty from an acute angle for the winners.

The impressive Dylan McCarthy sent over a free for Killeagh, but Cillian Barry landed a great effort for Rovers to reduce the lead to a point. The sides traded points until Killeagh rattled off three points without reply, a McCarthy free, and scores from Barry Walsh and Colm Leahy, 0-10 to 0-6 after 28 minutes.

Bride reduced the lead down to a goal through a Conor O’Riordan free, but the winners sent over three points on the trot to lead 0-13 to 0-7 at half-time.

They started the better team on the resumption, tacking on two points in two minutes to reduce the lead down to four points. They could have been closer if it wasn’t for a number of wides early in the second half, and despite doing all the hurling in this period, Killeagh raised two green flags in a minute. 

Meade was quickest to react to the bouncing ball and he billowed the back of the net from close range. From the puck-out the victorious team won possession and it resulted in a long ball into the square, Leahy got a touch and the ball trickled into the net. 

All of a sudden there were 10 points between the teams.

The Rathcormac side are made of stern stuff, and instead of feeling sorry for themselves, they rose to the huge challenge. They scored 1-2 without reply to put the game back in the melting pot. 

The talented Conor O’Riordan with the crucial green flag, 2-13 to 1-12 with 12 minutes remaining. Killeagh were looking nervous, but two white flags from the very impressive and accurate McCarthy put breathing space between the teams.

Just when Killeagh thought they had done enough to shake off the challenge, Bride Rovers banged in a goal. O’Riordan with his second, as he pounced on a breaking ball. 

Bride were unable to reel in Killeagh in the closing 10 minutes. 

 Dylan McCarthy. Picture: Larry Cummins.
Dylan McCarthy. Picture: Larry Cummins.

McCarthy put in an exhibition of free-taking throughout, he landed three in a row, 2-18 to 2-12, with five minutes to go. 

Rovers battled hard, but Killeagh had the poise to see out the game. 

The sides exchanged scores a number of times late on, but Killeagh held onto their six-point cushion.

Scorers for Killeagh: D McCarthy 0-15 f, C Leahy 1-2, S Meade 1-2, P Geary, B Walsh 0-1 each.

Bride Rovers: C O’Riordan 2-9 (0-8 f), L Roche 0-2, Cillian Barry, C O’Sullivan, D Cashman, R O’Riordan (f) 0-1 each.

KILLEAGH: F Murphy; O Cunningham, H Connon, M Doherty; P Geary, D O’Brien, C Burns; B Walsh, F Brennan; D McCarthy, J Ogbebor, B Walsh; S Meade, C Leahy, D Buckley.

BRIDE ROVERS: R O’Riordan; E O’Connor, K Cotter, D Kielty; A Hynes, D Cashman, J Collins; Cormac Barry, C O’Sullivan; Cillian Barry, K Obi, L Roche; C O’Riordan, F O’Flynn, R O’Callaghan.

Subs: C O’Sullivan for J Collins (18), B Knox for C O’Sullivan (27, inj), O Kielty for R O’Callaghan 034, inj).

Referee: Cathal Egan (Glen Rovers).

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