CO-OP SUPERSTORES COUNTY IAHC
A relieved Cloughduv emerged with a worthy victory over Meelin in a hard fought Co Op Superstores County Intermediate A Hurling Championship at Kanturk last Saturday.
Effectively Cloughduv ensured a favourable outcome thanks to a pair of opportunist goals from corner forward Seán O’Connor, the strikes almost identical in nature. On each occasion, the sliothar came off an upright at either end and typical of any good forward, O’Connor reacted smartly to clinically net the rebounds.
The outcome sees Cloughduv top Group C with five points and along with Midleton, the pair advance to the quarter finals and leave both Kildorrery and Meelin empty handed. And when those quarter final pairings were confirmed, the meeting of Cloughduv against neighbours Aghabullogue ensures the prospect of a cracking tussle.
And though losing all three games, Meelin contributed enormously to this contest and at the full time whistle, they had gained ample consolation on surviving a relegation play off scenario thanks to a better scoring difference than city sides Glen Rovers and Blackrock.
Cloughduv settled into the proceedings quickly, points put on the board by Brian and Mark Verling along with a third from Ódhran O’Driscoll. Steadily, Meelin stepped up their game, good work by Michael McAulliffe placed Jack Curtin for a goal.
However, Cloughduv delivered an immediate response, a Mark Verling free hit the upright and O’Connor pounced for a green flag. Though Cloughduv added points to Verling, the Mid Cork side weren’t having it all their own way, Meelin enjoying a productive spell under the positive efforts of TJ Brosnan, Maurice O’Keeffe, William Murphy and Liam Collins.
Up front, the pace of Curtin and McAulliffe posed problems with telling scores, Meelin enjoying a 1-7 to 1-6 lead at the water break. As the hurling remained fast and furious, the sides traded further points, Meelin wing forward Brendan O’Sullivan hit three on the bounce for a 1-13 to 1-11 advantage by the interval.
Though Nicholas Lenihan added to the Meelin tally upon the resumption, Cloughduv rose the tempo through the input of Eoghan Curzon, Aodh Twomey, Patrick Buckley and the Verlings with substitutes Cormac O’Driscoll and Eoin Moynihan creating an impression as the gamed aged.
The accuracy of Mark Verling from placed balls surfaced, three in quick succession tied up the contest. Back came Meelin to briefly regain the lead from Lenihan before Cloughduv enjoyed a stroke of further good luck, Brian Verling’s effort for a point was denied by the right hand post and from the dropping ball, corner-forward O’Connor accepted the opportunity to net.
That score lifted Cloughduv, points added by the Verlings and Mark Walsh helped secure a 2-19 to 1-17 grip at the second water break. Meelin offered a spirited comeback with Lenihan showing coolness with much needed points to remain within range.
Still Cloughduv remained in the driving seat, operating within the comfort zone, points to O’Driscoll, Mark Walsh and Stephen O’Donoughue rubber-stamped a merited triumph.
CLOUGHDUV: J Buckley; M Dunne, P Buckley, J Moynihan; E Curzon, A Twomey, L Kelleher; S Curzon, A Murphy; W Ahern, O O’Driscoll 0-3, M Verling 0-13 (0-11f), B Verling 0-4 , M Walsh 0-2, S O’Connor 2-0 Subs: C O’Driscoll for J Moynihan, E Moynihan for S Curzon, K Walsh for S O’Connor, S O’Donoughue for W Ahern
MEELIN: S M O’Sullivan; T J Twomey, S Hehir, S Curtin; T J Brosnan, M O’Keeffe, J O’Sullivan; D Buckley, W Murphy 0-1; B O’Sullivan 0-3, L Collins 0-1, J O’Callaghan 0-4f, J Curtin 1-3, M McAulliffe 0-2, N Lenihan 0-6(0-5f) Subs: J McAulliffe 0-1 for B O’Sullivan, S Brosnan for T J Twomey , J Forrest for D Buckley, S Geaney for J O’Sullivan
REFEREE: W Wallis (Aghada)