By Therese O’Callaghan (Courtesy of the Irish Examiner)
Youghal 0-19 Valley Rovers 3-6
A MAGNIFICENT four-point win for Youghal in the Cork Premier IHC quarter-final at Páirc Uí Rinn last evening.
After a solid opening half, played with plenty of heart, they went on to bag some magnificent scores over the 60 minutes.
A quick glance at the scoresheet tells the story — Valley Rovers were heavily dependent on superb full-forward Eamonn Collins, while Youghal had a far greater contribution, Leigh Desmond and Bill Cooper the outstanding players up front.
In reality, the outcome was seldom in doubt, with the seasiders hitting the ground running.
They were without John Grace and Brendan Coleman and whether this acted as incentive or not, they played like a team inspired. Their point-scoring was of top quality and, after a smart start to the game, raced 0-5 to 0-1 ahead inside the first 10 minutes.
As well as Desmond, Brendan Ring, James O’Mahony, Andrew Curtin and Damian Ring hit points. Richie Butler scored a pair for the Rovers but with Cooper coming into his own, Youghal stretched the lead with some outstanding points from Desmond and Cooper.
The east Cork team moved six points clear but up stepped Collins to capitalise on a mix up in the Youghal defence — he finished the easiest of tap-ins after a lengthy delivery from sub Ronan Lehane.
Eoin Manning added another point but Youghal went to the dressing-room with a 0-11 to 1-4 advantage.
A Brendan Ring free ensured a positive start for Youghal but they were reeled in when Collins hit the net six minutes in.
All of a sudden, it was a two-point game and the Innishannon side were hurling with far more intent.
However, Youghal were unrelenting.
Half-backs Conor Spillane and Damian Ring were tremendous and a trio of unanswered points were signed for up front.
They were looking good for a semi-final spot at 0-17 to 2-5 with 10 minutes remaining. There was one more twist though as Collins struck again. After winning clean possession he was fouled and then blasted the resultant penalty high to the net. It was back to a three-point match.
This was when Youghal dug deepest. Brett Moloney and Nigel Roche worked hard and when Brendan Ring knocked over a free, they could breathe a sigh of relief.
Ray O’Donovan hit back for the Rovers but when Andrew Curtin’s clearance found Desmond there was only going to be one result as he notched his fifth point from play to secure Youghal’s victory.
Scorers for Youghal: Brendan Ring 0-7 (5f), L Desmond 0-5, B Cooper 0-3, J O’Mahony, A Curtin, C O’Mahony and D Ring 0-1 each.
Scorers for Valley Rovers: E Collins 3-1 (1-0 pen), R Butler 0-2, E Manning, R O’Donovan and J Hurley (1 65m) 0-1 each.
YOUGHAL: R Cunningham; B O’Sullivan, K Walsh, S Twomey; Barry Ring, C Spillane, D Ring; B Cooper, N Roche; C O’Mahony, Brendan Ring, B Moloney; J O’Mahony, L Desmond, A Curtin.
Subs: B Goggin for S Twomey (45), K Dempsey for C O’Mahony (55), J Ormonde for J O’Mahony (59).
VALLEY ROVERS: W Burke; C Lynch, N O’Donovan, F Coughlan; J Hurley, C O’Donovan, D Lynch; R O’Donovan, R Butler; B Lehane, T Burke, D Coughlan; S O’Sullivan, E Collins, E Manning.
Subs: R Lehane for D Coughlan (22), J Burke for S O’Sullivan (40), T Fitzgerald for B Lehane (52), D Crowley for R Butler (54)