SAHC: Four-star Seán Twomey drives Courcey Rovers into another final

South-east club await Fr O'Neills or Bride Rovers in the decider
SAHC: Four-star Seán Twomey drives Courcey Rovers into another final

DJ Twomey of Courcey Rovers gets past Fermoy's Martin Brennan in the Co-op SuperStores Cork SAHC semi-final in Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

Courcey Rovers 5-14 Fermoy 0-14

A four-goal haul from Seán Twomey means Courcey Rovers are still in the hunt to win a second consecutive Co-op SuperStores Cork Hurling Championship.

The Ballinspittle/Ballinadee progressed past Fermoy in Friday night’s SAHC semi-final in Páirc Uí Chaoimh and, not for the first time this year, their firepower was key in propelling them past a challenge.

Having won their final make-or-break group game by out-goaling Blarney two to zero, here they struck for five green flags to turn the match their way. Scorer of both the goals against Blarney, Twomey doubled that output, including three in the second half to make the game safe, while Ronan Nyhan’s first-half goal was the catalyst for turning a game that might have been slipping away from them.

In addition, Richard Sweetnam continued his excellent point-scoring form while Fergus Lordan and Colm Daly led a strong defence.

The fact that Courceys had that must-win game against Blarney before beating Ballyhea in the ‘real’ knockout stages stood to them. Unfortunately for Fermoy, who received a bye to the semi-finals after topping their group and were playing their first game in four weeks, couldn’t make the extra rest count in their favour.

The North Cork side looked to be gaining a grip early on. Despite Sweetnam pointing twice in the opening two minutes for Courceys, the concession of cheap frees by the Ballinspittle/Ballinadee side allowed Liam Coleman to fire Fermoy ahead by the ninth minute and they were 0-6 to 0-3 to the good after 17.

 Ronan Nyhan of Courcey Rovers scores his first-half goal. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Ronan Nyhan of Courcey Rovers scores his first-half goal. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

While Sweetnam ended nine scoreless Courceys minutes, Fermoy replied with a good Jake Carr point to move three ahead again but it was the last time they had such a cushion. Nyhan’s goal came after he did well to snaffle the loose ball after captain Tadhg O’Sullivan’s delivery break, a polished finish levelling the scores.

Though Coleman’s free from halfway put Fermoy back in front, Sweetnam replied in kind before the first of Twomey’s goals. Having been fouled as he powered towards goal and shot to the net, it looked as if the goal wouldn’t stand with a free awarded instead, but the green flag was raised and they never looked back.

A long-range free from goalkeeper Stephen Nyhan helped them to a 2-7 to 0-10 half-time advantage and the lead was doubled on the resumption. Again, O’Sullivan’s ball goalwards was key, but Fermoy goalkeeper Jason Condon was unlucky, saving from Twomey and then Ronan Nyhan before Twomey was able to bundle the home from practically on the line. When O’Sullivan set up Sweetnam for a magnificent point from out on the right, they were seven ahead, 3-8 to 0-10. While Coleman replied with his seventh on 35 minutes, Fermoy wouldn’t score again until after normal time had expired.

Their cause was further impeded by the dismissal of Carr for a second bookable offence and Courceys drove on to extend their lead. The fourth goal, Twomey’s third, came just after the three-quarter mark after he showed good anticipation to intercept a loose defensive pass.

After points from Brendan Ryan and Stephen Nyhan (free) made it 4-12 to 0-11, Twomey registered his fourth goal after a superb catch to claim yet another inviting ball from O’Sullivan.

As the benches were emptied, Olan Crowley and sub Jerry O’Neill added further scores and Coleman and Twomey got the Fermoy tally going again but the outcome was decided long before the game had meandered to a halt.

For Courceys, the journey goes on and they will look forward to taking in the semi-final between Fr O’Neills – to whom they finished group runners-up – and Bride Rovers on Saturday night.

Scorers for Courcey Rovers: S Twomey 4-0, R Nyhan 1-1, R Sweetnam 0-7 (0-3 f), S Nyhan 0-2 f, O Crowley, J O’Neill, T O’Sullivan, B Ryan 0-1 each.

Fermoy: L Coleman 0-9 (0-7 f, 0-2 65), S Aherne 0-2, J Carr, B Twomey, M Brennan 0-1 each.

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

FERMOY: J Condon; G Lardner, J Scannell, E Clancy; A Creed, D O’Carroll, P Murphy; M Brennan, D Daly; P de Róiste, T Clancy, L Coleman; S Aherne, J Carr, G O’Callaghan.

Referee: N Wall (Ballincollig).

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