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PIHC: Courceys seal top spot and semi-final berth

October 19th, 2021 11:30 AM

By Southern Star Team

Courcey Rovers' Tadhg O'Sullivan is challenged by Éire Óg's Matt Brady during the Co-op Superstores PIHC round three at Cloughduv on Saturday night. Photos: Paddy Feen

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COURCEY ROVERS 0-18
ÉIRE ÓG 2-08

JJ HURLEY REPORTS

Courcey Rovers will face Ballinhassig or Carrigaline, in the semi-final of the Premier Intermediate Hurling Championship, after seeing off Éire Óg at Cloughduv last Saturday night.

In front of a large crowd, the game's fate was decided twenty minutes into the first half as Éire Óg failed to register a score while the Ballinspittle-outfit landed nine points of their own.

While Éire Óg did make amends in the second half, outscoring Courceys, Seán Guiheen's tactics secured a semi-final berth for his side.

'We started off very well and played some good hurling in the first half, but then in the second half we went flat. I knew they would come back at us, but overall I thought we deserved the win,' remarked a relieved Guiheen, following the final whistle. Initially though, it was the Ovens outfit that hit the front with two points from team captain Kevin Hallissey before Rovers' ace marksmen Richard Sweetman opened the Courcey account after four minutes.

The impressive number 14 had the sides level a few minutes later before teammate Olan Crowley gave his side the lead, one Rovers would not surrender for the rest of the clash.

Ominously beginning to work through the gears, a slick series of hand passes led to Courcey's fourth point from Jerry O' Neill, while Joe Cooper responded for Éire Óg.

Another twenty minutes would pass before Éire Óg would register another score.

Courcey Rovers took control of the game thereafter, with the score at the water break 0-07 to 0-03 in favour of Courceys.

In truth, a lack of discipline from the Mid Cork outfit did not help their cause as three frees from Sweetnam and one from distance from Stephen Nyhan helped open what was now a widening gap.

In addition, O'Sullivan and O'Neill landed two points from play as Courceys pushed on, but a chink of light for the opposition was a watertight full back line denying any real goal scoring opportunity.

Reaching the half-hour mark Hallissey, who led by example for the full hour, finally got his team back in the game with a free, leaving the halftime score at 0-13 to 0-04.

Introducing Mat Brady at the break seemed to give Éire Óg more purpose as Courcey Rovers began to lose their composure.

Opening the second half as the first had finished, Hallissey narrowed the gap before Nyhan produced a fine save from Colm O'Callaghan as the Courcey defence was sprung open by a rejuvenated Éire Óg forward line.

Now sensing they had the opportunity to turn the tide, Joe Cooper on the 40 was impressing.

Another free from Hallisey had the scores at 0-13 to 0-06.

In need of some cool heads, Courceys' Tadgh O' Sullivan and Sean Twomey landed two points. Twomey, who had been closely chaperoned all evening, had landed a cracking point from over his shoulder.

Éire Óg pushed on, and they were rewarded when Daniel Goulding forced home a speculative cross from John Cooper.

Reaching the water break, the two sharpshooters, Sweetnam and Hallissey, exchanged points, leaving the scores at 0-16 to 1-07.

With news filtering through that Ballinhassig were in trouble, it was the Courcey number four Bill Mulcahy whose hand went up to push on his side.

He was helped in his efforts by additional scores from Sweetnam and Liam Collins.

Despite a spirited second-half performance that included a late penalty from Hallisey and two additional points, from the number 14 and Lar Considine, Courceys were full value for their win by 0-18 to 2-08.

Scorers for Courcey Rovers: R Sweetnam (0-8, 7 frees), T O’Sullivan (0-3), J O’Neill (0-2), D Coughlan, S Nyhan (free), S Twomey, L Collins and O Crowley (0-1 each).

Scorers for Éire Óg: K Hallissey (1-6, 1-0 pen, 3 frees), D Goulding (1-0), Joe Cooper and L Considine (free) (0-1 each).

COURCEY ROVERS: S Nyhan; S McCarthy, B Mulcahy, C Daly; B Collins, F Lordan, D Coughlan; DJ Twomey, M Collins; J O’Neill, T O’Sullivan, O Crowley; S Twomey, R Sweetnam, A O’Donovan.

Subs: L Collins for O’Sullivan (52 mins), R Nyhan for Coughlan (56).

ÉIRE ÓG: D Desmond; John Kelleher, D O’Herlihy, J Mullins; D Dineen, C McGoldrick, B Corcoran; R O’Toole, John Cooper; D Goulding, C O’Callaghan, D McCarthy; Joe Cooper, K Hallissey, Jerome Kelleher.

Subs: M Brady for Corcoran (h/t), L Considine for Jerome Kelleher (37 mins), D Kirwan for O’Toole (53 mins), B Hurley for McCarthy (55mins).

Referee: Cathal McAllister (Aghada).

THE HIGHLIGHTS

Our Star: With Éire Óg seeking those elusive goals in the second half, Courcey defender Bill Mulcahy had none of it.

Star Moment: Despite being closely watched, Sean Twomey still managed to fire a shot of his shoulder and land a vital point.

Talking point: Going 20 minutes without scoring did nothing to help the Mid Cork side’s chances.

What's next? Courcey Rovers await the winners of Ballinhassig and Carrigaline

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