Valley Rovers 0-12
JJ HURLEY REPORTS
TWO second-half goals from Carrigaline edged out Valley Rovers in a thrilling South East U21 hurling cup final in Minane Bridge.
With seven minutes remaining, Valley Rovers’ Eoghan Crowley brought the sides level with a superb point. But Valley Rovers’ celebrations were cut short moments later when Finn O’Connell rifled a ball to their net moments later at the other end.
The score proved crucial, but Valleys had spurned their opportunities to put their noses in front earlier in the game.
The first half had been dominated by the free-taking skill of Valley Rovers’ Evan O’Shea, who landed six placed balls, including two 65s, as Dave McCarthy responded with four frees.
Indeed, only three points in the first half arrived from play, two from the Innishannon side thanks to Conor Taheny and Evan O’Shea, and Carrigaline’s captain Ronan Kelleher, who proved to be a menace to the Rovers throughout the opening 30 minutes.
Both sides failed to take goal chances, including an important interception from Nathan O’Keeffe on 27 minutes as he prevented a goal-bound shot from Evan O’Shea.
Earlier in the half, Carrigaline’s Dave McCarthy and Kevin O’Reilly had chances to raise green flags, but they could not find the Valleys’ net. As the half concluded, a goal separated the sides, with Valleys leading by 0-8 to 0-5.
Carrigaline opened the second half with their intent apparent to regain the initiative on view as the man-of-the-match Dave McCarthy landed two frees.
With a point between the sides, Ronan Kelleher found Ciaran Kearney, and he lashed the ball to the Valley’s net on eight minutes.
Another free from the Innishannon number 12 was matched at the other end by McCarthy, as the first point from play arrived from Carrigaline’s Patrick Mellet on 42 minutes.
A minute later, Valleys narrowed the deficit as Johnathan Keneally landed a point and was followed by three-goal opportunities from the Brinny men, including a fine save by Conor Hourihan from Conor Taheny.
With the bit between their teeth, two points from Kevin O’Flynn and Eoghan Crowley had the teams level before Finn O’Connell’s 54th minute strike proved crucial.
Carrigaline: D McCarthy 0-7 (7f); F O’Connell, C Kearney 1-0 each; R Kelleher, P Mallet 0-1.
Valley Rovers: E O’Shea 0-8 (5f, 2 ‘65); C Taheny, J Keneally, K O’Flynn, E Crowley 0-1 each.
Carrigaline: C Hourihan; C Laverty, N O’Keeffe, B Cronin; D King, R McCarthy, S O’Neill; P Mallet, K Barry; R Kelleher, D McCarthy, F O’Connell; K O’Reilly, C Kearney, C Barrett. Subs: T Vaughan for K Barry (ht); S Brown for C Laverty (46); C O’Mahony for C Barrett (50).
Valley Rovers: A White; C Kilduff, C O’Sullivan, J O’Driscoll; J O’Leary, C Johnson, B McCarthy, D O’Shea, E Guinane; C O’Shea, J Kenealy, A Keneally; C Taheny, C O’Sullivan, E O’Shea. Subs: E Crowley for E O’Shea (44); K O’Leary for E Guinane (46); C McCarthy for C O’Shea (51); E O’Shea for C Taheny (53).
Referee: Alan O’Connor (Ballygarvan).