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Report of SHC -v- Blackrock (Evening Echo Eamonn Murphy 10/10/17)


Blackrock 0-21       Na Piarsaigh 2-14

THE ROCKIES are back in a county final for the first time in 14 years thanks to Michael O’Halloran’s 58th minute point in the closing stages of an entertaining county semi-final yesterday afternoon.

Blackrock absorbed the blow of a pair of amazing goals in the two minutes after the break by Cork minor Evan Sheehan on his introduction. Both were taken at full tilt on the run, one from his right-hand side and the other his left, and gave Na Piarsaigh a 2-11 to 0-12 lead and significant momentum.

However the southsiders kept their cool and responded with three points from Shane O’Keeffe, sub Liam O’Sullivan, and an O’Halloran free. Though Na Piarsaigh then grabbed two scores from Keith Buckley, his third from play, and a gem from Sheehan after he caught a long delivery, their attack completely misfired in the fourth quarter.

Blackrock shot five in a row from the 44th to the 53rd minute to go one up, 0-20 to 2-13, with the experienced Dave Cashman very influential off the bench, their defence extremely tight as a unit and David O’Farrell the standout performer in midfield. Keeper Gavin Connolly made a smart save from Gordon Joyce after 55 minutes and while Eoin Moynihan converted the subsequent 65, Cashman set up O’Halloran to retake the lead two minutes later.

It turned out to be the winner. Blackrock outscored Piarsaighs 0-9 to 0-3 from the 32nd to the 64th minute.

Both teams squandered opportunities during the tense finale, with Christopher Joyce going closest to an equaliser. However the Rockies’ work-rate and ability to squeeze their opponents in packs ensured they made the turnovers to get them over the line.

They were the slightly better team, despite being underdogs on the back of Na Piarsaigh’s form in beating the Glen and Bandon. They made the early running, Alan O’Callaghan with two neat points. Stephen Murphy and O’Farrell were hoovering up possession, while wing-forwards O’Keeffe and Ger O’Regan – who finished with 0-3 apiece – disrupted the Piarsaighs’ half-back line.

The northsiders were left aggrieved by a few marginal calls from referee Joe Larkin, and perhaps with reason. Yet they’ll know themselves they weren’t able to run at pace in attack like they did in previous games. The loss of Pádraig Gould to injury was keenly felt, while Pádraig Guest, Dayne Lee and Shane Forde only threatened in patches.

Eddie Gunning and Adam Dennehy drove them on from defence, but Blackrock were teak-tough at the other end, with the Cashmans, John and Niall, Gary Norberg and Dylan Stokes all settling after Evan Sheehan’s instant impact in the second half.

Blackrock have room to improve and will need to in the county final on October 23. Their preparation may be slightly hindered by the dual crossover with the St Michael’s contingent that face Mallow in the PIFC decider next Sunday, but they appear to heading in the right direction. 

They’ve gone quietly about their business since winning the RedFM Senior Hurling League last winter under this management team led by Fergal Ryan, having been the dominant force at minor and U21 in the modern era. Can their young players now complete the set of medals?  


Scorers for Blackrock: M O’Halloran 0-8 (0-6 f), G O’Regan, S O’Keeffe 0-3 each, A O’Callaghan 0-2, L O’Sullivan, D Cashman, D O’Farrell, S Murphy, N Cashman 0-1 each.

Na Piarsaigh: E Sheehan 2-1, P Guest 0-5 (0-4 f), K Buckley 0-4 (0-1 f), E Moynihan 0-2 65s, C Joyce, S Forde 0-1 each.

NA PIARSAIGH: P O’Sullivan; Adam Dennehy, E Gunning, E Moynihan (c); Anthony Dennehy, C Joyce, C Buckley; A Brady, K Forde; A Hogan, S Forde, P O’Rourke; K Buckley, D Lee, P Guest. Subs: E Sheehan for K Forde (h-t), G Joyce for A Hogan (38), E Hanifin for Guest (51), K Forde for Brady (56).

BLACKROCK: G Connolly; J Cashman, D Stokes, G Norberg; A Murphy, E Smith, N Cashman; S Murphy (c), D O’Farrell; S O’Keeffe, A O’Callaghan, G Regan; M O’Halloran, C Cormack, J O’Sullivan.  Subs:L O’Sullivan for J O’Sullivan (38), D Cashman for Cormack (42), D Meaney for Murphy (43), T Deasy for L O’Sullivan (61).

Referee: Joe Larkin (Ballinora).