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63 scores in Cork hurling semi-final thriller as Blackrock finish brilliantly to beat UCC

Glen Rovers or Erins Own await in the final.

Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Blackrock 3-26
UCC 0-34

OVER 80 MINUTES of pulsating action, 63 scores posted on the board and an outcome that propels Blackrock to the Cork senior hurling showpiece next Sunday.

The city side had to dig deep to fashion an extra-time success over UCC, powering to the finishline when the need was greatest and stringing together five points on the spin.

Shane Conway orchestrated so many positive moments  for the UCC forward line. The Kerry player amassed 0-14, sending a late shot whistling over the bar and there was no time to manufacture a levelling point as Blackrock held on.

It’ll mark a return to final participation three years after they fell short against Imokilly and puts them a step closer to ending their frustrating 18-year barren spell since they last lifted this title.

And Blackrock certainly demonstrated the necessary resolve to put themselves in a position to win that final. They were indebted to the nerve of Alan Connolly who landed a free at the close in normal time to drag Blackrock level and secure extra-time. Substitute Tadhg Deasy was terrific in shooting over 0-5 off the bench while centre-back Niall Cashman and forward Shane O’Keeffe were towering influences throughout. John O’Sullivan was another lively presence in their forward line as he notched 0-4 and Robbie Cotter added plenty when introduced.

It was Cashman who arrowed over a point in injury-time that brought them within one, 3-17 to 0-27, before Connolly nailed that levelling score. O’Keeffe was a strong focal point in attack, bagging two goals as he raised green flags either side of half-time.

The pre-match team news brought a boost to UCC’s fortunes. Conor Boylan, fresh from a Limerick senior success with Na Piarsaigh seven days ago, was drafted in along with Keith O’Leary as injury cost James Keating and Waterford’s Neil Montgomery spots.

Boylan injected power and a point-scoring capacity to the UCC forward line. His availability may be an example of what sparks debate over the college team’s participation but he was clearly a major asset, landing three points from play in the first half.

shane-conway-with-rory-oconnor Shane Conway (file photo) was a vital player for UCC today. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

As the game wore Conway’s influence became more pronounced with his accuracy improving from play and he raised five white flags in those exchanges, along with one from a sideline. Defeat was also rough justice on Blarney forward Padraig Power, who shone with a 0-6 haul. His club colleague Shane Barrett caught the eye with 0-3 while Tipperary’s Paddy Cadell along with his half-back compatriots David Griffin and Mark Coleman gave UCC a strong foothold in that sector.

The game was a slow-burner before fully igniting in the second half and producing extra-time phases of terrific entertainment. O’Keeffe netted in the 21st and 33rd minutes for Blackrock, profiting on both occasions from Cashman deliveries, yet UCC were ahead 0-13 to 1-9 and a brace from Conway pushed them 0-20 to 2-12 clear by the second water break.

Blackrock’s prospects looked precarious until Connolly did superbly to crack home a one-handed shot for a goal in the 53rd minute. The action was frenetic from thereon in, the small yet vocal crowd adding to it while the confusion over mixed messages from the scoreboards enhanced the tension.

UCC looked to have made a decisive burst with substitute Eanna Desmond, Conway and Coleman all splitting the posts yet Blackrock summoned a revival to shoot four of the last five points in normal time. They got a break as well when Boylan seemed to have been fouled at one late juncture but no penalty was awarded.

Into extra-time and UCC kept edging in front. Blackrock received three early yellow cards as the intensity increased. They trailed 0-30 to 3-20 at the midway mark and then seemed to be in jeopardy when facing a 0-33 to 3-21 deficit by the 74th minute.

However that is when they wrestled back the momentum at a crucial stage. Deasy inspired his team-mates by kick-starting the scoring run with O’Sullivan, Cotter and a pair of Connolly frees helping them overhaul their opponents.

It proved sufficient with their bench giving them extra impetus as UCC could not maintain their earlier energy, Tipperary’s Killian O’Dwyer a major loss after his display in defence.

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Blackrock clung on and celebrated the arrival of the final whistle. One more hurdle to surmount for Fergal Ryan’s team.

fergal-ryan Blackrock's manager Fergal Ryan Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Scorers for Blackrock: Alan Connolly 1-7 (0-5f, 0-1 ’65), Shane O’Keeffe 2-1, Tadhg Deasy 0-5 (0-1 sideline), John O’Sullivan 0-4, Niall Cashman 0-3 (0-1f), Daniel Meaney 0-2, Cathal Cormack, David O’Farrell, Mark O’Keeffe, Robbie Cotter 0-1 each.

Scorers for UCC: Shane Conway 0-14 (0-8f, 0-1 sideline), Padraig Power 0-6, Conor Boylan, Shane Barrett 0-3 each, David Griffin, Mark Kehoe 0-2 each, Mark Coleman, Brian Verling, Eanna Desmond, Andrew Casey 0-1 each.

Blackrock

1. Gavin Connolly

4. Jamie Ryan
7. Stephen Murphy
3. Gary Norberg

2. Richie Laide
5. Cathal Cormack
6. Niall Cashman

8. Daniel Meaney
9. David O’Farrell

14. Shane O’Keeffe
11. Ciaran Cormack
10. Mark O’Keeffe

22. Michael O’Halloran
13. Alan Connolly
12. John O’Sullivan

Subs

22. John Cashman for O’Farrell (39)
23. Tadhg Deasy for Mark O’Keeffe (39)
20. Robbie Cotter for Ciaran Cormack (47)
21. Kevin O’Keeffe for Murphy (72)

UCC

1. Dylan Desmond (Éire Óg – Cork)

2. Eoghan Clifford (Cloughduv – Crk)
3. David Lowney (Clonakilty – Cork)
4. Killian O’Dwyer (Killenaule – Tipperary)

6. Paddy O’Loughlin (Kilmallock – Limerick)

7. David Griffin (Carrigaline – Cork)
9. Paddy Cadell (JK Brackens – Tipperary)
5. Mark Coleman (Blarney – Cork)

20. Keith O’Leary (Castlelyons – Cork)
10. Andrew Casey (Ballyduff Upper – Waterford)

11. Shane Conway (Lixnaw – Kerry)
22. Conor Boylan (Na Piarsaigh – Limerick)
13. Shane Barrett (Blarney – Cork)

14. Padraig Power (Blarney – Cork)
12. Mark Kehoe (Kilsheelan Kilcash – Tipperary)

Subs

21. Eanna Desmond (Carrigaline – Cork) for O’Leary (half-time)
23. Owen McCarthy (Inniscarra – Cork) for Casey (67)
18. Brian Verling (Cloughduv – Cork) for Boylan (69)
26. Mark O’Leary for O’Dwyer (74)

Referee: Joe Larkin (Ballinora)

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole  / Reports from Páirc Uí Chaoimh

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