Writes Ciaran Dineen
Ballymartle began their first year back in the Premier Intermediate Hurling Championship with a win over local rivals Carrigaline in Shanbally on Saturday afternoon, in the Co-Op Superstores Hurling Championship.
The Riverstick outfit, who were relegated from the Senior division last year, took their first steps towards returning to the top flight of club hurling, with a relatively comfortable victory over Carrigaline, who shot more wides than points, with 17 in total during the contest.
Conditions in Shanbally were blustery, but neither team had any major advantage with the wind, with Ballymartyle having a slight edge in this regard during the first half. Both teams lined out as selected, with former Cork goalkeeper, Darren McCarthy, starting at Centre-Forward for Ballymartle, while Carrigaline’s former Cork hurler, Rob O’Shea, started in a deeper role than usual, at wing-back.
The opening minutes of play were a sample of what was to come for the remaining 60 minutes, with Ballymartyle proving to take their chances from play, while Carrigaline wasted a number of opportunities. Donnacha Desmond, Brian Corry, Shane Cummins and Darren McCarthy put ‘Bally’ in control and were 0-4 to 0-0 up after the opening 5 minutes, as Carrigaline hit a couple of wides in between.
Brian Kelleher pointed Carrigaline’s first score of the day from a free after 8 minutes, and both he and Darren McCarthy traded points from placed ball positions for the first quarter of the game. Former Cork Intermediate hurler David Drake finally scored Carrigaline’s first point from play after 17 minutes, but his side still trailed Ballymartyle 0-7 to 0-5. With a slight wind behind him, McCarthy was proving to be a major danger from the placed ball, and Carrigaline’s indiscipline afforded him the opportunity to keep the scoreboard ticking over, grabbing three frees in a row.
Kelleher kept his side in the game with a couple of frees, one of which was awarded after Kevin Kavanagh fielded a magnificent high ball from a puckout and was subsequently fouled. Éanna Desmond made up for shooting a few wides in the opening 30 minutes by grabbing his first from play of the day, but McCarthy scored another free before half-time to have Ballymartle leading 0-11 to 0-8 at the break.
Carrigaline needed to start strongly in the second period to get back into the game and they did so through David Drake, putting two points between the teams. However, they could not close the gap any further and Ballymartle soon pulled into a 0-9 to 0-14 lead, with Brian Corry and McCarthy coming up with the goods.
With 10 minutes to go, Carrigaline were just about hanging on, with substitutions Dan Greene and Kevin O’Reilly both scoring from play to leave themselves with a chance of turning things around. It wasn’t enough however as Ballymartle clicked into another gear in the final stage of the game, with Luke O’Callaghan scoring two from play and McCarthy again punishing Carrigaline for giving away some soft frees, leaving the final scores at 0-19 to 0-13.
The defeat will mean that next week’s game against Éire Óg is a must win for Carrigaline, while Ballymartle face yet more local rivals as they take on Valley Rovers, in what is sure to be a hotly contested match. Both fixtures are of importance to both, especially following Éire Óg’s victory over Valley’s, surprising many.
D McCarthy (0-10f), B Corry and L O’Callaghan 0-3 each, S Cummins 0-2, D Desmond 0-1
B Kelleher (0-7f), D Drake 0-2, D Greene, K O’Reilly, E Desmond and R McCarthy 0-1 each.
John McCarthy; Colm Coleman, TJ Murphy, Eoghan O’Leary; Liam Corry, Jack Dwyer, Paidi Dorney; Ryan Deasy, Simon Dorney; Shane Cummins, Darren McCarthy, Brian Corry; Donnacha Desmond, Rickard Cahalane and Luke O’Callaghan.
Ballymartle Subs: S Corry for Dorney (inj – 6min) and P Geary for B Corry (60).
Rob Foster; Nathan Coleman, Chris Vaughan, Darragh King; Rob O’Shea, Kieran Kavanagh, David Griffin; Ronan Kelleher, Nathan O’Keeffe; Kevin Kavanagh, Rhys McCarthy, Brian Kelleher’ Finn O’Connell, David Drake and Éanna Desmond.
Carrigaline Subs: S Williamson for Vaughan (35min), P Mellet for Drake (41), K O'Reilly for O'Connell (41) D Greene for R Kelleher (49).
Referee: Brendan Barry Murphy