Lough Rovers 4-15
Bantry Blues 1-14
BANTRY Blues’ interest in this year’s county junior B hurling championship is over.
Having lost their round one game, Bantry came up short in this do-or-die round two clash against Lough Rovers in Ballinascarthy.
Bantry, with Seanie O’Leary, John Lavin, Ronan O’Mahony, Billy Foley and Shane O’Neill impressing, had the better of the opening exchanges as Rovers struggled to find their first touch. Points from Shane Murray, O’Leary and Arthur Coakley sandwiched a pointed free from Jonathan English but then Rovers began to find their feet.
English’s superb free-taking was a prominent feature of the game all through as he punished any indiscretions by the Bantry backs and he soon had the sides level at 0-3 apiece.
The sides swapped point for point, level three more times before Rovers struck for the first vital goal in the 25th minute, Shane Murphy billowing the Bantry net following a pass from English.
Rovers were well on top now with the strong Kieran Kenneally causing havoc at full forward and Tim O’Keeffe playing lovely hurling on the forty. They traded points with Shane O’Neill and Billy Foley before Kenneally doubled an O’Keeffe centre to the Bantry net in the 30th minute and it was Rovers in front at the break by 2-10 to 0-8.
Bantry needed a good start to the second half but it was Rovers who got it with scores from English and O’Keeffe and the Blues had a mountain to climb. To their credit they didn’t shirk the challenge and with Shane O’Neill, Sean O’Leary, goalkeeper Sean Connolly, Tim Foley, Arthur Coakley and Shane Murray to the fore, they set about reducing the lead.
Three frees by O’Neill and points from play by Coakley and Foley, in reply to a single effort by English (free), had the lead down to a manageable six points with ten minutes remaining. However, Rovers’ physical advantage began to tell at that stage.
Bantry’s comeback was halted in its tracks in the 54th minute when Sean Blake goaled for Rovers but the Blues responded quickly with a Shane Murray goal. They fought to the bitter end but it was the city men who had the final say when sub Niall O’Sullivan pointed a 65 and Kenneally tapped home their fourth goal deep in injury time.
Lough Rovers: Kieran Kenneally 2-1, Jonathan English 0-7 (6f), Shane Murphy 1-1, Sean Blake 1-0, Tim O’Keeffe 0-3, Eddie O’Keeffe, Alan O’Sullivan, Niall O’Sullivan (65) 0-1 each.
Bantry Blues: Shane O’Neill 0-6 (4f), Shane Murray 1-2, Billy Foley, Arthur Coakley 0-2, Sean O’Leary, Tim Foley 0-1 each.
Lough Rovers: Gordon Ahern; Chris Oliver, Denis Lyons, Eanna O’Sullivan; Colin Keane, Paul Foy, Dean Cummins; Sean Keane, Eddie O’Keeffe; Shane Murphy, Tim O’Keeffe, Alan O’Sullivan; Jonathan English, Kieran Kenneally, Sean Blake.
Subs: Philip Burns for D Cummins, Niall O’Sullivan for S Blake, Brian Healy for D Lyons, Jason Nott for J English.
Bantry Blues: Sean Connolly; Paudie McGuinness, John Lavin, Robert McCarthy; Stephen Coughlan, Seanie O’Leary, Jack McCarthy; Ronan O’Mahony, Billy Foley; Arthur Coakley, Shane O’Neill, Gary Hurley; Daniel Murray, Tim Foley, Shane Murray.