By Derek Kiely
Youghal Comfortably through to the Semi Finals with a four point victory at Pairc Ui Rinn
Evening Echo Premier Intermediate Hurling Championship
Eochaill 0-19 Valley Rovers 3-06
Youghal have made it through to the semi final of the 2011 Premier Intermediate Hurling Championship with a win over Valley Rovers on Sunday night and after a week of distractions off the field, the smiles were broad and wide on the turf at Pairc Ui Rinn at the final whistle of what was another important victory for the Youghal men.
Youghal under Peter Queally were here last year and know only too well the heartbreak of coming so close, but yet so far, but this year nothing has been taken for granted, no stone has been left unturned and the spirit within the group is fantastic.
Valley drew first blood with a fine score off Richard Butler, but then Youghal started the ball rolling in their direction with 5 unanswered points four points from play and a monster strike.
Youghal leveled through Lee Desmond on the third minute, then led through Brendan Ring two minutes later.
Youghal then added three further points in a five minute spell. James O'Mahony, Andrew Curtin and huge free from miles out off Damien Ring all pointing and on the 11 minute mark the Youghal Gaels led by four points.
Ray O'Donovan and Eamonn Collins pointed for Valley Rovers, but Youghal's powerhouse duo, Brendan Ring and Lee Desmond added a further two points each to extend Youghal's lead to six points after 25 minutes of play.
Then a mini disaster for Youghal who conceded a soft goal on the 26th minute when a defensive mix up left in Collins who swept the ball into the net.
Youghal responded with a score from Brendan Ring, Valley scored another point before Lee Desmond wrapped up the first half with a score from play to leave Youghal leading by four points at the short whistle.
Youghal started the second half brightly with a score from a Brendan Ring free, but then out of the blue Collins struck another goal for Valley Rovers.
No panic from Youghal who then hit back three pointed scores without reply to redress the balance and the five point advantage, with points from Ciaran O'Mahony and two from Brendan Ring.
Rovers scored a '65' on the 46th minute to reduce Youghal's lead to four points, but again Youghal responded well with two scores, one from Bill Cooper and the other from play off Brendan Ring.
Then with nine minutes to go Valley Rovers were awarded a very controversial penealty and Collins made no mistake converting the chance, but as was the way all night, Youghal responded with pure hurling.
Brendan Ring pointed a free one minute later and then Lee Desmond was on target 3 minutes from time, to give Youghal the five point cushion. Valley did add a further point, but in the end the four point victory was the very least the Youghal side desreved.
There were standout performances for Youghal all over the field and the spirit of the side is stronger than ever.
Scorers for Youghal: Brendan Ring 0-7, Lee Desmond 0-5, Bill Cooper 0-3, Andrew Curtin, Ciaran O'Mahony, Damien Ring and James O'Mahony 0-1 each.
Scorers for Valley Rovers: E Collins 3-1, Chris O'Donovan 0-2, R Butler, R O'Donovan and E Manning 0-1 each.
YOUGHAL: Richard Cunningham; Brendan O'Sullivan, Kenneth Walsh, Stephen Twomey; Barry Ring, Conor Spillane (Captain) Damien Ring; Bill Cooper, Nigel Roche; Ciaran O'Mahony, Brendan Ring, Brett Moloney; James O'Mahony, Lee Desmond, Andrew Curtin.
Subs: Barry Goggin for Stephen Twomey (45) Ken Dempsey for Ciaran O'Mahony (55) Jonathan Ormonde for James 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.
Referee: Peter Downing