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Dublin: 17 °C Sunday 9 August, 2020
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Sarsfields make strong start to claim victory in Cork opener over Midleton

Pairc Uí Rinn hosted tonight’s game.

Conor Lehane (Midleton) and Daniel Kearney (Sarsfields) featured in tonight's game (file photo).
Conor Lehane (Midleton) and Daniel Kearney (Sarsfields) featured in tonight's game (file photo).
Image: INPHO

Sarsfields 2-17
Midleton 1-17

IN A MEETING of East Cork rivals it was Sarsfields who issued the stronger opening statement in Páirc Uí Rinn.

The first night of the Cork Premier SHC pitched together a pair of East Cork sides who had witnessed first hand the might of the division that has ruled the senior hurling grade in Cork of late. Imokilly dumped both out of the 2019 race – Sarsfields by 10 points in a quarter-final and Midleton by six points in the fourth round.

With a new group format ushered into action it was a forceful second-half showing from Sarsfields that turned this game in their favour. They trailed by three at the break, 0-14 to 1-8, but had that same margin in their favour by full-time.

Their half-forward line of Aaron Myers, Liam Healy and James Sweeney conjured up a combined return of 2-13. That contribution was critical and the experience of Conor O’Sullivan and Daniel Kearney further back the field were other important ingredients in this success.

Conor Lehane produced a tour de force in a fixture between this pair on county final day back in 2013. In tonight’s opener he lit up the first half for Midleton with the scoring spree he produced, a return of 0-8 split evenly between play and frees.

Midleton’s fortunes were overseen by a high-profile figure. After a glittering career with Cork, Ben O’Connor’s coaching CV was embellished by his work in taking Charleville as far as the All-Ireland intermediate final in 2019. His first championship outing with Midleton yielded defeat yet there was enough in their performance to sustain them that a response can be produced in the round-robin stages.

Sarsfields ambitions were boosted by goals in either half, Liam Healy soloed through before bundling home their first in the 23rd minute and Aaron Myers smashed in a low drive early in the second half. Myers strike put them ahead 2-9 to 0-14 yet in an encounter of great entertainment it was Luke O’Farrell that cracked home a stinging third-quarter shot to nudge them back ahead, 1-15 to 2-11.

But Sarsfields kicked on after that concession with a pair of points by Healy edging them in front narrowly at the last water break and then they won the points battle 0-4 to 0-2 in the closing quarter.

Scorers for Sarsfields: Liam Healy 1-7 (0-5f, 0-1 ’65), Aaron Myers 1-2, James Sweeney 0-4, Jack O’Connor 0-2, Cian Darcy, Donal English 0-1 each.

Scores for Midleton: Conor Lehane 0-10 (0-6f), Luke O’Farrell 1-1, Cormac Beausang, Cormac Walsh 0-3 each.

Sarsfields

1. Alan Kennedy

9. William Kearney
3. Craig Leahy
5. Conor O’Sullivan

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7. Eoghan Murphy
8. Daniel Kearney
2. Cillian Roche

4. Donal English
6. Paul Leopold

10. Aaron Myers
11. Liam Healy
14. Luke Hackett

12. James Sweeney
15. Jack O’Connor
13. Cian Darcy

Subs

24. Daniel Hogan for Hackett
22. Dylan Walsh for Darcy (54)

Midleton

1. Joe Loftus

2. Killian Burke
3. Eoin Moloney
4. Seadniadh Smyth

5. James Nagle
6. Sean O Leary Hayes
7. Padraig O’Farrell

8. Sam Quirke
9. Cormac Walsh

10. Cormac Beausang
11. Conor Lehane
12. Tommy O’Connell

13. Luke O’Farrell
14. Aidan Ryan
15. Pa White

Subs

20. Seamus O’Farrell for Nagle (44)
22. Sean O’Meara for Ryan (46)

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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