2007 SH Win V Midleton
Bride Rovers 2-14 Midleton 1-15
BRIDE ROVERS threw the Evening Echo Cork County SHC on its head at Páirc Uí Chaoimh yesterday when they shocked a fancied Midleton side in a quarter-final tie played in glorious sunshine.
There was no fluke about their two point victory, but they were forced to live on their nerves for most of the second-half as they saw their half-time lead of seven points - it was 12 points after 20 minutes - whittled away by a Midleton side that never produced the form they displayed in seeing off Cloyne.
The Rovers had many heroes. Denis Fitzgerald was superb in goal; county senior Brian Murphy, his brother Barry, Brendan Walsh and Pat Walsh were rock solid in defence.
Barry Johnson and Pádraig Murphy ensured they won the midfield exchanges but it was in attack where their real heroes were. Michael Collins was magnificent at corner-forward and helped himself to a goal and three points, while Richie Cahill and Terry Broderick showed their experience with three points each.
Midleton never turned up for the first half. Apart from the opening five minutes, they struggled alarmingly all over the field; found themselves 2-9 to 0-3 down after 25 minutes, and only a goal by Pádraig O'Shea from a penalty just before the interval, kept them in the game.
While they improved considerably in the second half and managed to get the deficit down to two points, they gave themselves too much work to do.
An unyielding half back line of Pádraig O'Shea, Peter Smith and Willie O'Brien meant the Rovers never got beyond the Midleton 45 metre line in the opening five minutes, but in the next five minutes the game took a dramatic turn as the Rathcormac side threw down the gauntlet to the favourites.
Points by Michael Collins and Barry Johnson had them two to the good after six minutes. Mickey O'Connell pegged one back for the Magpies a minute later before Richie Cahill was only inches away from a Rovers goal, his shot grazing the crossbar on its way over.
Midleton struggled at midfield where Barry Johnson was hugely influential for the Rovers, and he showed his class with a superb goal from a penalty after Terry Broderick was fouled going through.
And it got worse for Midleton as Johnson pointed a free from midfield and a 65 to give his side a 1-4 to 0-3 lead at the end of the opening quarter.
Midleton struggled all over the field to contain the lively Rovers side who made light of the sweltering heat.
Defensively the Rathcormac backs were superb, holding the Midleton forwards in a vice like grip with Brian Murphy, his brother Barry and Brendan Walsh particularly impressive while at the other end Michael Collins roasted his marker .
He showed his class with a magnificent second goal for the Rovers when he rose superbly to pluck Jerome O'Driscoll's long delivery out of the sky before giving the Midleton ‘keeper no chance and urged on by the vocal supporters, they forged further ahead with a succession of points to lead 2-9 to 0-3 after 25 minutes play.
Only the accuracy of Mickey O'Connell from frees kept his side within striking distance and after he pointed two in a row, the Magpies were thrown a lifeline when Aidan Ryan was fouled and awarded a penalty.
Wing back Pádraig O'Shea came forward to blasted the ball to the net and the Rovers retired at the break, 2-9 to 1-5 in front.
Midleton clearly got a roasting at the break because they resumed the second-half with far more fire. After the sides had shared four points between them, Midleton struck apurple patch which coincided with the switch of Declan Ryan from wing forward to centre back and the introduction of Liam Walsh to the attack.
Hurling with far more purpose they hit over four points in a row and as the Rovers attack struggled for scores, Liam Walsh showed his worth with two further points and by the end of the third quarter the deficit was down to four points.
Apart from the dominance of Declan Ryan at centre back, Alan Cahill was also hugely impressive at corner back and as the tension mounted Walsh continued to show his prowess as a free taker and with two minutes of normal time left then Rovers were clinging to a two point lead.
Try as they might however Midleton couldn't breach the Rovers defence for that all important goal, and the Rathcormac side can thank goalkeeper Denis Fitzgerald for one vital save in injury time as they hung on for a deserved victory.
Scorers for Bride Rovers: M. Collins 1-3; B. Johnson 1-3 (1-1 free, 0-1 65); R. Cahill, T. Broderick 0-3 each; S. Ryan, P. Murphy 0-1 each.
Midleton: M. O'Connell (frees), L. Walsh (0-3 frees) 0-4 each; P. O'Shea 1-0 (pen.); L. Farrell 0-2; C. Mulcahy, C. Hurley, S. O'Farrell, W. O'Brien, A. Ryan 0-1 each.
BRIDE ROVERS: D. Fitzgerald; T. Moloney, B. Walsh, J. Murphy; Brian Murphy, Barry Murphy, P. Walsh; P. Murphy, B. Johnson; D. Ryan, S. Ryan, R. Cahill; M. Collins, J. O'Driscoll, T. Broderick.
Sub: B. Hazelwood for Broderick.
MIDLETON: B. Behan; P. Barry, A. Kearney, A. Cahill; P. O'Shea, P. Smith, W. O'Brien; S. Hennessy, M. O'Connell; A. Cotter, A. Ryan, D. Ryan; L. O'Farrell, C. Mulcahy, S. O'Farrell.
Subs: L. Walsh for Cotter; C. Hurley for Mulcahy; J. Keane for Hennessy; E. Ferriter for Barry.
Referee: J. Sexton (Ballyhea).
This story appeared in the printed version of the Irish Examiner Monday, September 10, 2007