By Brendan Larkin (Courtesy of the Irish Examiner)
Tracton 0-22 Youghal 0-13
Tracton torn the form book to shreds at Páirc Ui Rinn on Saturday night to see off the challenge of highly rated Youghal in the replay of the Evening Echo Premier IHC semi-final, setting up a mouth-watering final against fellow Carrigdhoun side Ballymartle in a fortnight's time.
Playing a far superior brand of hurling, Tracton had many stars in this thriling victory. Billy Lynch was majestic at centre back, Tom McGuinness ensured his side won more than their share of midfield while up front the superb free taking of Ronan Walsh and the probing runs of Joe Kingston and Michael O'Sullivan made it a night to remember for the Minane Bridge side.
Youghal began this replay at a cracking pace and had the opening score after just 15 seconds when Bill Cooper pointed.
There was a great bite to the contest with three yellow cards in the opening 10 minutes but it was by no means a dirty game.
A Ronan Walsh point in the third minute levelled the game and two evenly-matched sides were level again at 0-2 each by the sixth minute before Tracton took a grip on proceedings.
Their half backline of John Kingston - a late call up - Billy Lynch and Robert Cronin began to dominate and their busy forwards, thriving on the plentiful supply of ball that came their way, rattled over four points in a row to lead 0-6 to 0-2 at the end of the first quarter.
Without a score for 10 minutes Youghal were in dire need of inspiration and indiscipline by the Tracton defenders cost them needless frees, withBrendan and Damien Ring punished them every time to cut the deficit to 0-7 to 0-5 by the 25th minute.
Tracton refushed to be ruffled and in the remaining minutes of the half they scored five points without reply - two could easily have been goals - and at the short whistle they were full value for their 0-12 to 0-5 lead.
Youghal were expected to step up a couple of gears on the changeover but simply couldn't as Tracton continued to pick off the points and by the end of the third quarter had a seven points lead, 0-17 to 0-10, the Minane Bridge side scoring some great points through excellent combined play.
Two points in a row by Brendan Ring threatened a Youghal recovery, but Tracton were having none of it, and hurling with supreme confidence, they hit over three points without reply, two by the effective Joe Kingston, and there was only going to beone winner from there on.
Scorers for Tracton: R. Walsh 0-7 (0-4 frees, 0-2 65s); Joe. Kingston 0-4; T. McGuinness 0-3; M. O’Sullivan, S. O’Sullivan, K. Lynch, F. Lynch 0-2 each.
Youghal: Brendan Ring 0-7 (0-5 frees); B. Cooper 0-3; J. O'Mahoney, D. Ring (free), L. Desmond (free) 0-1 each.
TRACTON: D. Walsh, M. Barry, K. Corrigan, C. McGuinness, J. Kingston, B. Lynch, R. Cronin, K. Lynch, T. McGuinness, D. O'Callaghan, S. O’Sullivan, J. Kingston, R. Walsh, F. Lynch, M. O’Sullivan.
Subs: C. Lordan for K. Lynch (58)
YOUGHAL: E. Coleman, M. Cronin, J. Grace, B. O’Sullivan, C. Spillane, L. Desmond, Barry. Ring, N. Roche, D. Ring, C. O’Mahony, B. Cooper, B. Coleman, J. O’Mahony, Brendan. Ring, B. Moloney.
Subs: G. Hogan for Cronin (33); A. Curtin for Moloney (37); R. Cunningham for J. O'Mahoney (37)
Referee: J. Dorgan (Nemo Rangers).