00:00 Saturday 04 September 2010  Written by Carrigdhoun

Great team display by Ballymartle

Ballymartle 2-15

Courcey Rovers 0-9

Ballymartle confirmed their tag as pre-match favourites when they deservedly defeated a gallant Courcey Rovers side in the final of the South-East Barry Collins Supervalu Junior A hurling championship which was played at Ballinhassig on Sunday last in fine but blustery weather conditions.

These are heady and exciting times for hurling in these traditional hurlings strongholds, as both clubs will line up on Friday at Minane Bridge in the county premier intermediate hurling championship semi-final, as they vie for a final tilt with the winners of Tracton/Youghal.

On Sunday last both clubs' second strings produced some sporting and exciting hurling but at the end, Ballymartle's powerful finish earned them a worthy and merited victory and they became proud holders of the Con Murphy Memorial Cup for 2010.

Just two years ago, the Riverside club claimed the blue riband of Carrigdhoun hurling when they defeated Ballinhassig by a similar score, 2-14 to 0-9, and they now hold 14 South-East titles behind the Blues twenty-five.

And another smilarity emerged from Sunday's decider when the talented John Coleman was chosen as the man of the match, sponsored by Denis Quinn of Robertscove Inn, and presented at a special lunchon on Monday last, because back in 2008, sharpshooter John Coleman was also chosen for this award.

Overall, it was a great team victory for Ballymartle, with defenders Gavin Hallissey, who had an outstanding game at left corner back, captain Brian Higgins, a stalwart at centre back, while wingers Graham Webb and Ian Coleman also stood out.

Colm Sheehan brought all of his experience to the middle of the park, while his overhead striking was a special feature. Up front Eamon Kelly, Brian Coleman, sub Kieran Lordan and John Coleman, with a tally of 1-10, always posed problems for the Courcey defence, where Brian Hayes, Adrian Collins, Conor Ryan and David Lordan tried gamely all through.

Oisín Gately got in some good deliveries from midfield but up front Rovers did not possess the power of their opponents, despite the best efforts of Terence Collins, Shane McCarthy, Shane Moloney and Tomas Connery.

Courcey claimed the first score from a Tomas Connery free after 30 seconds and to their credit they kept in touch for three quarters of this entertaining final before Ballymartle broke loose. At the 45th minute the winners led by just 0-11 to 0-9, but in the last quarter, the new champions added 2-4 without reply, with the goals finished to the net by Coleman and Eamonn Kelly, two of their most industrious attackers.

Courceys' Shane Moloney, with a good strike, made it two points to nil after five minutes. Keith Fitzpatrick pointed from the right flank to open Ballymartle's account. By the end of the first quarter, Rovers led 0-4 to 0-3 after Terence Collins and Connery exchanged scores with Coleman and Kelly, the latters score at the end of good three man move involving Brian Coleman and Darragh McCarthy.

With Hallissey and Higgins now in command at the break, Ballymartle forged ahead, after the side were level twice, to claim a 0-7 to 0-5 lead at the 27th minute, with five scores from sharpshooter John Coleman. Despite the swirling wind, he added another from a seven metre free, before Oisin Gately, under pressure out on the left, from 10 metres swept over a splendid score to leave the winners 0-8 to 0-6 in front at the break.

Ballymartle introduced Kieran Lordan on the restart and his experience and craft at the edge of the square gave his side added power. After Coleman (free) and Connery had exchanged scores, the latter's a splendid effort, and when he then pointed a 55m free the margin was down to the minimum.

In the meantime Ballymartle had missed a couple of handy frees, but they quickly atoned with a brace from Eamon Kelly, following good work by captain Higgins, Ian and Brian Coleman, while John Coleman showed his skill from play with a sweet strike out on the right wing to extend their lead 0-11 to 0-8. Directly from the puck-out, Shane McCarthy fed Oisin Gately for a good score, 0-12 to 0-9.

That was to be Courcey's last score, as sub Kieran Lordan laid the foundation for his side's final flourish, when he finished the good work of the outstanding Colm Sheehan. Courcey's Connery was unlucky when his pass for goal went astray.

Then came Coleman's major when Brian Higgins' long range free was broken by Lordan and the no.15 applied the finish in the 55th minute.

Two minutes later Kelly applied the killer-punch when Brian Coleman's solo and lay off was clinically clung to the net, and then in added-time sub Dan O'Leary and Coleman added another brace.

Following the game, Mr John Twomey, chairman of South-East Board and sponsor, Mr Barry Collins, presented the cup to the Ballymartle captain, Brian Higgins.

Scorers - Ballymartle: J Coleman 1-10, (0-8 frees), E Kelly 1-2, K Fitzpatrick, K Lordan and D O'Leary 0-1 each. Courcey Rovers: T Connery 0-4, (0-3 frees), O Gately 0-2, S Maloney, T Collins and S McCarthy 0-2 each.

Ballymartle: P Allen, C Coleman, S O'Connell, G Hallissey, G Webb, B Higgins, I Coleman, C Sheehan, D McCarthy, E Kelly, K Hallissey, M O'Mahony, J Coleman, B Coleman, K Fitzpatrick. Subs: K Lordan for K Hallissey, TJ Murphy for D McCarthy, D O'Leary for E Kelly, B Dwyer for M O'Mahony.

Courcey Rovers: A Hegarty, B Hayes, A Collins, G Coholan, D Lordan, C Ryan, C Minihane, O Gately, J O'Neill, T Collins, G McCarthy, S McCarthy, T Connery, S Moloney, O Crowley. Subs: C Daly for O Crowley, O Crowley for T Connery.

Referee, Gerard Harrington (Carrigaline).

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