County Senior Hurling Championship Round 4 (22/08/2014)
Na Piarsaigh 0-18 Bride Rovers 2-9
Jim O’Sullivan (The Irish Examiner)
FULL credit to Bride Rovers for coming close to forcing a draw in Pairc Uí Rinn on August 22nd, but praise for Na Piarsaigh’s qualification for a quarter-final meeting with Newtownshandrum has to be balanced against their poor finishing. While dominant at certain stages, a match total of 14 wides allowed the Rathcormac side to stay in contention and ultimately put in a bold challenge after Barry Johnson scored the second of their goals with twelve minutes remaining.
It made for a hectic finish, for while Johnson’s goal was quickly followed by Na Piarsaigh points from Cian Buckley and Padraig Gould, Bride Rovers came storming back. Hard-working Sean Ryan’s point six minutes from time reduced the deficit to four scores, substitute Michael Collins was an addition to the attack and Na Piarsaigh were relieved to see an angled free from Johnson on the 20 metre line fly over the bar.
And, there was even more drama after two minutes of injury time when substitute Jerome O’Driscoll won a close-in free and Johnson had another chance of a goal. He hit his shot hard and low and somehow it was deflected outside the post by one of his team-mates.
Na Piarsaigh had set the pace from the early stages, with Cork minor Dayne Lead putting them in front after two minutes, following which Padraig Gould got into a great position to goal only to be foiled by a timely tackle by wing-back Shane Walsh.
The city side benefitted from a dominant midfield where Cian Buckley exerted a strong influence alongside Cork senior Christopher Joyce, while seasoned campaigners John Gardiner especially and Seán Óg Ó hAilpín did a lot of covering in the half-back line. Up front, they created scoring opportunities with comparative ease and greater regularity, but there was a sharp contrast between some excellent striking and wayward shooting from different parts of the field. By the interval they had accumulated no fewer than eleven wides.
Bride Rovers, starting without the injured Collins, found it difficult to settle and even the normally reliable Barry Johnson missed the chance of an opening score from an early free. Indeed, while they seemed powerless at times to halt Na Piarsaigh’s onward march, they did show a gradual improvement, with Walsh doing good work in defence, Barry Murphy coming into the game at midfield and in attack both Cian O’Connor and Sean Ryan showing promise in the second quarter.
At the interval, Na Piarsaigh were 0-9 to 1-4 in front (Ciaran O’Connor getting the Bride Rovers goal after blocking an attempted clearance by Eoin Moynihan) and it represented a poor return for their overall efforts. Thereafter, while they were more consistent in their scoring, they remained vulnerable in the face of enhanced play from the opposition (who hit twelve wides) and when Johnson put the ball in the net they knew they were in a fight for their survival.
Scorers: Na Piarsaigh – K. Buckley 0-6 (0-2 ‘65’s, 0-2 frees); P. Gould 0-5; C. Buckley 0-3; D. Lee, J. Gardiner, P. Rourke and A. Brady 0-1 each.
Scorers: Bride Rovers – B. Johnson 1-4 (0-2 frees, 0-1 ’65); S. Ryan 0-4; C. O’Connor 1-0; M. Collins 0-1.
NA PIARSAIGH: D. O’Connell; A. Brady, D. Mannix, E. Moynihan; A. Dennehy; J. Gardiner, S. Óg Ó hAilpín; C. Joyce, C. Buckley; K. Buckley, P. Rourke, P. Gould; C. O’Mahony, S. Duggan, D. Lee. Subs: R. McGregor for O’Mahony (53); A. Dennehy for Duggan (55); E. Gunning for Dennehy (56); S. Curtin for K. Buckley (57).
BRIDE ROVERS:Dinny.Fitzgerald; Donncha. Carr, Brendan. Walsh, Shane. Kearney; Liam. Forde, Brian Murphy, Shane. Walsh; Michael. Liddane, Barry Murphy; Jason. Pratt, Cian. O’Connor, Barry. Johnson; Stephen. Glasgow, Michael. Kearney, Sean. Ryan. Subs: Fergus. Collins for Forde (ht); Michael. Collins for Glasgow (43); William. Finnegan for Pratt and Jerome. O’Driscoll for F. Collins (48)
Referee: Conor Lane (Banteer).