Fr O’Neills 1-24 Bride Rovers 0-16
FR O’Neills booked their place in the SAHC showpiece game for the third year in a row taking out Bride Rovers in the semis for the second year on the bounce.
Led by Cork senior Declan Dalton, the Imokilly side pushed on in the second half to deservedly secure their spot in this season’s final – Courcey Rovers all that stands in their way of a place in the Premier grade.
Tomás Millerick, Billy Dunne and Jason Hankard also impressed on the night with Kieran O’Sullivan and John Millerick also doing their bit on what was a great night for O’Neills.
For Bride Rovers, Shane O’Connor, Adam Walsh and William Finnegan did really well with captain Patrick O’Flynn another to shine on the night.
O’Neills were first to register a score, wing back Tomas Millerick on target from distance. Rovers were quick to respond with a tasty score from full forward Brian Roche – both sides also wasting some early chances to add to their tallies.
O’Neills again went in front, a close-in free from Dalton almost crept under the bar, but Bride Rovers were again back on terms soon after, this time centre-back Eoin Roche split the posts from a long way out.
The game settled into a solid pace with no quarter asked or given with a pair of Fr O’Neills points (John Millerick and Billy Dunne) opening up the game’s first multi-score advantage with just over 10 minutes on the clock.
Points from Bride Rovers’ trio Kieran Kearney, William Finnegan and a brilliant effort from Patrick O’Flynn had this one back to parity before another point, this time from midfielder Daniel Dooley had Rovers in front for the first time.
In response, Tomás Millerick landed his second of the night but Conleith Ryan again put Bride one up – five minutes remaining in an entertaining opening half.
O’Neills rose to the challenge with four points in four minutes (a trio of frees from Dalton as well as a score from Jason Hankford) had them three clear as the game went into added time – a point from Bride Rovers captain O’Flynn sending the sides in at the break with just two between them (0-10 to 0-08).
The second half started as the first had ended with O’Neills on top. Five of the first eight scores going the way of the victors, two Dalton frees and one from play for the centre-forward with Dunne and Joe Millerick adding to the Bride Rovers pain.
A brace of scores from Adam Walsh kept Bride in touch however the wing forward would be replaced soon after what looked like a shoulder injury.
Any thoughts that this one were done would be put to bed in a five-minute spell that saw Bride Rovers nailing four points to bring this one back to the minimum – a brace of points from Finnegan making sure that this one would stay in play to the bitter end.
With the game heading into the final 10 the turning point would come thanks to a beautiful pass from Cillian Broderick and a superb finish to the Rovers net by Dunne.
Three more points would follow for O’Neills who pushed the gap out to eight but credit to the vanquished side they came back again with points from Shane O’Connor and Ronan O’Connell.
Fr O’Neills are now just 60 minutes away from finally take their place at the top table of Cork hurling, but for Bride Rovers, losing out in the semis to Fr O’Neills for the second year on the bounce will be tough to take.
D Dalton 0-11 (0-10 f); B Dunne 1-2; T Millerick 0-3; J Hankard 0-2; P McMahon, D Harrington, K O’Sullivan, John Millerick, Joe Millerick E Conway 0-1 each.
W Finnegan 0-4 (0-1 f); P O’Flynn, A Walsh (0-1 65, 0-1 f), S O’Connor 0-2 each; E Roche, K Kearney, D Dooley, R O’Connell, B Roche, C Ryan 0-1 each.
P O’Sullivan; M Millerick, S O’Connor, R Kenneally; M O’Keeffe, D Harrington, T Millerick; G Millerick, K O’Sullivan; Joe Millerick, D Dalton, J Hankard; John Millerick, C Broderick, B Dunne.
P McMahon for Joe Millerick (48), E Motherway for R Kenneally (49), L O’Driscoll for John Millerick (57), E Conway for B Dunne (63).
C Hogan; T O’Sullivan, S Walsh, J Pratt; P O’Flynn, E Roche, S O’Connor; K Kearney, D Dooley; W Finnegan, R O’Connell, A Walsh; C Tobin, B Roche, C Ryan.
C O’Connor for D Dooley (37), M Collins for A Walsh (43 inj).
M Maher (St Finbarr's).