Hurlers rebound through the back door

East Cork Junior A Hurling Championship
2nd Round – Sat 16th July @ Ballinacurra
Carraig na bhFear 0-21 St. Ita’s 1-12

It was the last chance saloon for our Junior A Hurlers on Saturday night as they took on 2015 finalists St.Ita’s with championship survival on the line. Ita’s had defeated us twice in 2015 and it was always going to be a huge test for the lads but it was one which they were very much ready for. Conditions in Ballinacurra were excellent for hurling and it was Ita’s, playing with the aid of a slight wind, who took the lead through an early Seamus Harnedy free. Carraig responded with a point from John Forde free as both sides tried to get an early grip on proceedings. The sides were level 0-03 apiece on 15 minutes and Carraig took the lead with a point from another Forde free to lead by one shortly after. St. Ita’s struck a blow to Carraig however when they scored a goal to take the lead after a blocked clearance in defence, but this only served to drive Carraig on. Lead by the majestic Timmy Geaney at the centre of defence, Carraig responded with the next 5 points, strikes from Aidan Hegarty,Con Burn, John Forde and a great effort from Brendan Murphy on the left wing, the pick of the bunch. Ita’s responded with a point from a Harnedy free but this was cancelled out again by another well struck free from John as we went into the break a point ahead, 0-09 to 1-05.
Carraig came flying out of the traps to start the second hallf, with Paul Geaney and Conor Hayes taking a firm grip on the midfield sector, while up front, Brendan Murphy and Con Burns were working hard and winning some great ball. With John unerring from frees, we stretched our lead to 0-15 to 1-06 by the 42nd minute. A great point from Conor Hayes after a driving Brendan Murphy run the standout score. Aaron Dorgan picked off a point in the right corner, while the defence was solid, with the full back line on top and Diarmuid O’Driscoll marshalling the threat of Harnedy throughout.  There was just 4 points between the sides with 10 minutes remaining and with Ita’s continuing to push hard, the game was far from over.

However it was Carraig who finished the stronger side. Substitute Oisin Crowley made a great impact, winning a number of converted frees and finding the range himself on two occasions, as we closed on the last 10 minutes outscoring the Gortroe side four points to two. Gary Geaney, David Sweeney and the aforementioned Conor Hayes all worked extremely hard around the middle late on, playing with great heart and determination. Ita’s pushed on in search of a goal that would bring them back into the game, but the defence wouldn’t break and fittingly it was man of the match Timmy Geaney who made the final clearance as referee Brian Murphy blew his whistle.

Well done to all the lads on a performance full or hard work and determination. There were 9 scorers overall and a feature of the game was some great hooking, blocking and tackling from 1-15. The displays of our younger players in particular was very encouraging, especially with a number of injuries in the squad at present. Next up we play the winners of Lisgoold and Fr.O’Neills in the third round on the weekend of the 30th July.

Conor Hegarty,
Stephen Casey, Diarmuid O’Driscoll, Tomás Sheehan
Gary Geaney, Timmy Geaney, David Sweeney
Paul Geaney, Conor Hayes
Cian Dorgan, Aidan Hegarty, John Forde
Aaron Dorgan, Con Burns, Brendan Murphy

Subs used:
Oisin Crowley for Cian Dorgan

John Forde 0-10 (0-08 frees), Con Burns, Oisin Crowley,Conor Hayes 0-02 each, Timmy geaney, Paul Geaney, Brendan Murphy, Aidan Hegarty and Aaron Dorgan 0-01 each.