JOHN MURPHY REPORTS
KILBRITTAIN are taking the quickest route to the business end of the Co-op Superstores Premier Junior Hurling Championship.
The Black and Amber took the scalp of near neighbours Barryroe at tropical Ballinspittle to top Group 1 with a 100 percent record.
As one of the top two teams from the group stages, Jamie Wall’s men go straight into the county semi-final, whereas Barryroe bow out.
‘It’s job done,’ Wall reflected after the seven-point derby win.
‘We came here to get a win, and we are happy with that. But this was a mixed bag – patches of good play, but there were times we were really sloppy too. We need to tidy that up if we are to progress further in the competition.
‘We picked up a number of knocks, the most serious being to captain Maurice Sexton; he would be a huge loss if he’s not available for the semi-final.
‘We gave Barryroe a great start, rallied well, but took our foot off the gas. Look, we have to take remedial action to correct our problems, but the bottom line is we have won the group, are unbeaten to date and have qualified for the semi-final.’
For Barryroe, this was last-chance saloon as a defeat would end their county campaign. They started like a steam train, shocking their fancied opponents as they stormed into a 1-2 to 0-0 lead by the fourth minute. After ace free-taker Adam McSweeney had opened their account, a neat move involving dual star Ryan O’Donovan and Tipperary’s Robbie Kiely saw the latter blast a beauty past reliable Kilbrittain shot-stopper Aaron Holland.
Daniel O’Driscoll added a point and things appeared to be looking up for the Blues. However, Kilbrittain steadied a slightly rocking ship with a lovely point from midfielder Bertie Butler. When Philip Wall unleashed a rocket into the right corner of the Barryroe rigging in the ninth minute, the Kilbrittain boys were back in town.
Conor Ustianowski added a point and with the industrious Sam Shorten bagging a brace, augmented by the splendid accuracy of Mark Hickey, the Seasiders’ ship appeared to be now sailing in serene waters, 1-9 to 1-5 ahead by the 29th minute.
Kilbrittain struck a Barryroe iceberg a minute later.
Following good work by Conor Madden, Ryan O’Donovan powered home a rocket from an acute angle. It made for an intriguing second half, as the bare minimum, 1-9 to 2-5 separated the sides.
Ross Cashman and Hickey added to the winner’s tally on resuming, but one minute later disaster struck for Barryroe. A long delivery by the former saw the latter billow the Barryroe net for a fortuitous goal in the 36th minute.
When the dynamic Phillip Wall got his second green flag four minutes later, following good build-up play by Sam Shorten, lightning had struck twice. Kilbrittain had now opened up a commanding lead, 3-12 to 2-6, by the end of the third quarter.
With the aforementioned quartet on song for Kilbrittain and powerful play by Nick O’Donovan, Bertie Butler, Ivan Burke and Tomás Sheehan really upping the tempo, Barryroe’s championship chances were slipping away.
Gamely, they battled on, with James Moloney, the Kiely duo, Ryan O’Donovan, Adam McSweeney and Conor Madden putting in the hard yards, but it was becoming mission impossible.
A rasping shot by Adam McSweeney produced a fine save by Aaron Holland in the 48th minute, but the goal Barryroe craved for never materialised and rampant Kilbrittain were home and hosed, despite late points by Adam McSweeney, Robbie Kiely, Ryan O’Donovan and Conn Dineen putting a degree of respectability on the result.
Kilbrittain: Mark Hickey 1-7 (6f); Philip Wall 2-1; Sam Shorten 0-3; Bertie Butler, Conor Ustianowski, Colm Sheehan, Ross Cashman (f) 0-1 each.
Barryroe: Adam McSweeney 0-7 (6f, 1 65); Ryan O’Donovan, Robbie Kiely 1-1 each; Daniel O’Driscoll, Conn Dineen 0-1 each.
Kilbrittain: Aaron Holland; Ivan Burke, Tomás Sheehan, Declan Harrington; Ross Cashman, Maurice Sexton, Conor Ustianowski; Bertie Butler, Nick O’Donovan; Mark Hickey, Colm Sheehan, Sean Crowley; Philip Wall, Sean Sexton, Sam Shorten.
Subs: Tom Harrington for Maurice Sexton (inj, 15), James Hurley for Declan Harrington (42), Conor Moloney for Sean Crowley (49), Conor Hogan for Sam Shorten (52), Patrick O’Mahony for James Hurley (58).
Barryroe: Billy O’Donovan; Seán O’Riordan, Jerome O’Brien, Michael Ryan; David Murphy, James Moloney, David O’Sullivan; Cathal Sheehy, Conn Dineen; Daniel O’Driscoll, David Kiely, Robbie Kiely; Ryan O’Donovan, Adam McSweeney, Conor Madden.
Subs: Patrick Moloney for Cathal Sheehy (40), Tomás O’Buachalla for Michael Ryan (40), Jack Murphy for Daniel O’Driscoll (50).
Referee: Cathal Egan (Clyda Rovers).