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Blackrock defeat Erins Own to reach senior decider as Cork duo star in semi-final

A third Cork final appearance in six seasons awaits Blackrock.

Alan Connolly and Robbie O'Flynn both impressed today.
Alan Connolly and Robbie O'Flynn both impressed today.
Image: INPHO

Blackrock 3-21

Erins Own 0-21

LAST SEASON THE concession of four goals proved the undoing of Blackrock at the semi-final stage as their Cork hurling ambitions were ended.

They redressed that statistic in some style this afternoon, keeping a clean sheet at the back and firing home three classy finishes to the net in the second half courtesy of Tadhg Deasy, Michael O’Halloran and Robbie Cotter to advance to a third Cork decider in six seasons.

The 2020 champions were good value for this triumph, Clare native Louis Mulqueen at the helm as they booked their spot in the final with nine points to spare over Erins Own.

It was a game defined by those second-half strikes to the net, but also one illuminated by a pair of terrific point-scoring displays by the Cork senior forwards on opposing sides.

Robbie O’Flynn was heroic in defeat for Erins Own as he amassed 0-12, seven of those from play, while Alan Connolly notched 0-9 from his full-forward berth for Blackrock, six shots despatched between the posts from play. The critical difference was the considerable support Connolly received with Deasy (1-4), Cotter  (1-3) and O’Halloran (1-2) all sharp and alert in the Blackrock forward line.

In contrast the reliance on O’Flynn to deliver up front for Erins Own was glaring. He struck four points from play in the opening period and hit eight out of the team’s ten second-half points, assuming free-taking duties after the interval. Substitute Brian Ramsey raised two white flags late on, the only other Erins Own player to score in the second half, while Blackrock’s rearguard held firm on the couple of occasions that Erins Own looked on the cusp of grabbing a goal.

This pair held some familiarity with each other. The group stages brought them together in 2020, Blackrock winning by four points, and in 2021, Erins Own winning by two points.

The third instalment saw the stakes raised, pitching them into a meeting in the knockout arena with Erins Own chasing a first final spot in six years and Blackrock aiming to nail down their third final showing in six campaigns.

There was contrasting approaches to this game as well, Erins Own securing the safe passage direct to the semi-final and free of action for four weeks since the group games concluded, while Blackrock bounded into this tie a fortnight after a breathless quarter-final win in a penalty shootout over Imokilly.

Backed by the wind, Erins Own constructed the early scoreboard advantages, 0-5 to 0-3 in the 7th minute and 0-9 to 0-7 clear after 23 minutes. But Blackrock knocked over five of the last seven points in the first half to edge ahead by one at the break.

Then they pounced in the second half for those critical goals, creating space impressively as they isolated Connolly and Cotter inside. The first arrived in the 34th minute as John O’Sullivan did superbly to intercept a puckout, pop a pass into the path of Deasy who raced clear and drilled home for the game’s opening goal.

The second goal occurred nine minutes later as Shane O’Keeffe fetched a long delivery, shrugged aside the defensive challenges to lay it off and O’Halloran whipped in a fiercely-struck shot.

And then Blackrock rounded off the win in style with four minutes left in normal time. It featured a delightful touch by Cotter to control a long ball in the air, spin the ball away into space and collect before lashing home the score that rounded off Blackrock’s afternoon.

Scorers for Blackrock: Alan Connolly 0-9 (0-2f, 0-1 ’65), Tadhg Deasy 1-4, Robbie Cotter 1-3, Michael O’Halloran 1-2, Mark O’Keeffe 0-2, Daniel Meaney 0-1.

Scorers for Erins Own: Robbie O’Flynn 0-12 (0-5f), Brian Ramsey 0-2, Eoghan Murphy 0-2 (0-2f), Darra Twomey 0-1, James O’Flynn 0-1, Colm Coakley 0-1, Kieran Murphy 0-1, Maurice O’Carroll 0-1.

Blackrock

1. Gavin Connolly

2. Stephen Murphy, 3. John Cashman, 4. Conor O’Brien

5. Cathal Cormack, 6. Alan O’Callaghan, 8. Niall Cashman

7. Daniel Meaney, 10. Mark O’Keeffe, 18. Kevin O’Keeffe

12. Michael O’Halloran, 15. Tadhg Deasy, 11. Shane O’Keeffe

14. Alan Connolly, 13. Robbie Cotter

Subs

9. David O’Farrell for Kevin O’Keeffe (48)

17. Ciaran Cormack for O’Halloran (54)

19. Gary Norberg for O’Callaghan (56)

28. Ger O’Regan for Connolly (58)

24. Ian O’Keeffe for O’Halloran (58)

Erins Own

1. Shay Bowen

2. Cian O’Connor (joint captain), 3. Cormac Dooley, 7. James O’Carroll

5. Darra Twomey, 6. James O’Flynn, 4. Alan Moynihan

8. Sean Kelly, 9. Colm Coakley

14. Maurice O’Carroll, 11. Sam Guilfoyle, 10. Kieran Murphy

13. Conor Lenihan, 12. Robbie O’Flynn (joint captain), 15. Eoghan Murphy

Subs

21. Oran O’Regan for Eoghan Murphy (half-time)

20. Ronan Twomey for Kelly (40)

24. Cathal Lenihan for Conor Lenihan (45)

22. Brian Ramsey for Guilfoyle (49)

Referee: Ciaran O’Regan

About the author:

Fintan O'Toole  / Reports from Páirc Uí Chaoimh

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