Intermediate Hurling Championship 1st Rd – Aghada 2-15 v Ballygarvan 3-9; Cobh 13/5/2017
Aghada’s hurlers successfully negotiated their 1st round championship game for 2017, when they had a 3 point winning margin over a battling Ballygarvan outfit in Cobh on Saturday night last. Playing into the wind and the sun for the 1st half, Aghada were straight out of the blocks via a Will Leahy free when Aaron Stafford was fouled in possession just seconds after the throw in. John Looney made it 2 after 7 minutes from play. A physically big Ballygaran outfit , having missed a few opportunities, had their 1st score of the contest from a placed ball on 9 minutes. Next up corner back Alan Creedon burst forward from defence, and then off loaded to Charlie Terry, who made a good catch before slotting the sliothar between the posts. Ballygarvan had their 1st from play a minute later which was followed by 2 more pointed frees from Leahy for Aghada. Ballygarvan’s third point was a nice effort from out on the wing, and it was 5 v 4 after they pointed a free with 10 minutes to go in the half. Next Leahy made a great catch from a puc out, and then off loaded to Pearse O’Neill who tore through the centre of the Ballygarvan defence before pointing. Straight from the puck out however, Ballygarvan breached the Aghada rearguard and finished smartly to the back of the net for the 1st goal of the night. However their time in the lead was short-lived. 1st John Looney’s attempt at goal was blocked. Cian Fleming had another go from the rebound. This too was blocked, however Kevin O’Hanlon was on hand to turn this rebound into the net and Aghada were back in front – 1-6 vs 1-4. A Will Leahy free on 29 minutes finished the scoring for the half and Aghada were in a good position turning to play with the elements at their back.
The 1st 15 minutes of the 2nd period saw Aghada hit 4 points with only two in reply from Ballygarvan. Looney cut over a super sideline. Cian Fleming hit two fine frees. The 1st earned after a good turnover forced by Aghada and the second was won by Mike Russell after he won a good possession. Hardworking midfielder Stephen O’Keeffe probably hit the pick of the four when he pointed on the run from the left hand sideline. Ballygarvan hit their 7th , from play, on 18 minutes, but from the puc out, Aghada struck for another major. This time Fleming found himself one on one with his marker, and after quickly rounding him, he hit a great shot low to the side netting to the ‘keepers right and Aghada were 2-11 v 1-7 in front. Ballygarvan pointed again from play, but Leahy plucked the resulting puc out from the sky and pointed to keep the 7 point lead intact. Aghada looked to be well in the ascendancy by now, but a minute later, Ballygarvan struck for another well worked goal and were back in the contest again. Next O’Hanlon took off on a speedy solo run, and finished with a good point. From the puc out, a dogged Ballygarvan replied by hitting a fine score from the wing. Aghada ‘keeper Trevor O’Keeffe found Looney with his puck out and Looney hit a great score from right on the sideline. When Fleming pointed a free he had earned himself in the last minute, Aghada were 6 clear as the game headed for time added on. Credit Ballygarvan who fought to the end and 2 minutes into injury time they earned a close in free. O’Keeffe saved the free well, but in the scramble that followed, the ball was bundled into the net and it was a 3 point game again. There was a couple of more plays left in the game, but the Aghada goal wasn’t threatened again, and when the final whistle sounded it was Aghada that were celebrating as they marched through the front door into the next round. A job well done on the night, in a game where Aghada never fully burst into top gear, so hopefully lots more to come from this bunch as the year goes on. Next up in championship will be an East Cork derby against Sars , down for the 23rd of June at the moment.
Aghada Team and scorers – Trevor O’Keeffe, Tim Hartnett, John O’Connor (capt), Alan Creedon, Billy Hennessy, Michael Russell, Jordan Tynan, Stephen O’Keeffe(0-1), Aaron Stafford, Pearse O’Neill (0-1), Will Leahy(0-5, 4f), Charlie Terry (0-1), Cian Fleming(1-3, 3f), John Looney(0-3, 1s/line),Kevin O’Hanlon(1-1). Sub Used Jack McDonald.