Aghada 0-16 Eire Óg 0-9
It may have been a long time coming but at last Aghada have claimed their first adult hurling title, when on last Saturday evening they proved too good for an Eire Óg team that failed to bring their shooting boots to Pairc Ui Rinn on the night. In contrast Aghada were razor sharp and they took the chances that came their way.
Aghada were one of the founding members of Cork County Board and while their football star has shone on the odd occasion, their hurling one had yet to shine. All of that changed last Saturday night when the new kids on the block, left their mark in Pairc Ui Rinn when they were deserving winners over an Eire Óg side that were forced to play second fiddle all night. It was a pillar to post victory for the Rostellan outfit, yet in general play, it was a hard fought and competitive game. However, the finishing of Aghada was superb, but in contrast Eire Óg except for Kevin Hallissey, were sadly off target with their efforts. Some were down to pressure from Aghada, but others were just poor shooting, which they will be disappointed with.
Aghada certainly made the better start with Ronan Kennedy, William Leahy, Cian Fleming and Pearse O’Neill all raising white flags inside the opening ten minutes. It took Eire Óg a further couple of minutes for Kevin Hallissey to registrar their opening point, by which time they had shot five wides. It was to be that kind of night for Eire Óg as they found the Aghada defence in superb form, while the Aghada attack were taking the chances that came their way.
It was not a classic match by any means but at the end of the opening quarter Aghada led by 0-5 to 0-1 with William Leahy grabbing his second point from play. By half time Eire Óg had improved a little with Kevin Hallissey adding three points to their total, but Aghada with three points from Cian Fleming and one from John Looney, led by five at half time, 0-9 to 0-4 on a night that Tim Hartnett and Stephen O’Keeffe stood out. Aghada lost Tom O’Neill to injury with David Rice coming in and Jake O’Donoghue moving to centre back.
Neither side looked capable of scoring a goal, although it took a fine Dylan Desmond save to deny John Looney a goal for Aghada. Had they gotten it they were home and hosed as Aaron Stafford had increased their advantage with a 31st minute point. Billy Hennessy made it a seven-point game, before Eire Óg had their best spell as they rattled over three points in quick succession, with Kevin Hallissey, John Cooper and sub Colm O’Callaghan all finding the range. Aghada got going again with a Cian Fleming free and once the Eire Óg momentum was broken, they could find no way back.
Instead it was Aghada that found the reserves of energy required and points from Aaron Stafford, Cian Fleming ang John Looney pushed Aghada towards the winning post. Sub Kevin O’Hanlon embellished what was a polished performance from the Niall McCarthy coached side and while Brian Hurley had a late point for Eire Óg, it was a token score on a night that saw Aghada create their own bit of history with a first hurling success.
The joy of at last getting the job done was there for all to see as John Paul O’Connor collected the Paddy Walsh Memorial Cup from Ger Lane, to signal a great weekend for Aghada and a great six days for East Cork with William Leahy and Cian Fleming picking up their second county medal in six days having helped Imokilly to senior success the previous Sunday.
Aghada: C Fleming 0-6, W Leahy 0-2, J looney 0-2, A Stafford 0-2, R Kennedy, P O’Neill, B Hennessy and K O’Hanlon 0-1 each.
Eire Óg: K Hallissey 0-6, J Cooper, C O’Callaghan and B Hurley 0-1 each.
Aghada: T O’Keeffe, T Hartnett, JP O’Connor, J O’Donoghue, B Hennessy, T O’Neill, S Wall, S O’Keeffe, A Stafford, J McDonnell, W Leahy, R Kennedy, P O’Neill, J Looney and C Fleming. Subs used D Rice for T O’Neill inj, C Terry for R Kennedy, K O’Hanlon for P O’Neill, D Creedon for C Fleming and G Melvin for J McDonnell.
Eire Óg: D Desmond, A O’Connor, J Kelleher, P Kirwan, B Corcoran, D Herlihy, F O’Rourke, J Cooper, D O’Connor, A O’Mahony, K Hallissey, E O’Shea, P McDonagh, D Goulding and J Dineen. Subs used C O’Callaghan for J Dineen, B Hurley for P McDonagh, R O’Toole for E O’Shea, D McCarthy for B Corcoran and C O’Mahony for P Kirwan.
Referee: Mark Maher (St Finbarr’s)