Imokilly repeat success

 

Imokilly became the first divisional side to retain the Cork county senior hurling championship title after sweeping to victory over Blackrock in difficult conditions at Pairc Ui Chaoimh yesterday. It was the east Cork club's second success; Blackrock lead the way with 29 titles.

Incessant rain turned the pitch into a quagmire and players from both sides struggled before the crowd of 9,000. Blackrock could manage only one point during the first half, a Jim Cashman free after four minutes, as the holders swept to a 0-5 to 0-1 interval advantage.

Blackrock were a different proposition after the changeover, however, drawing to within two points - 0-7 to 0-5 - before the game turned Imokilly's way in the final 10 minutes. Goalkeeper Bernard Rochford dashed from his line to stop the dangerous Brian O'Keeffe and from the resultant clearance, Brendan Coleman set up Sean O'Farrell for the opening goal.

Imokilly grew in confidence and, inspired by man-of-the-match Mark Landers at centre back, they turned the screws by adding points from Mick Daly, Derek Barrett and Coleman.

Blackrock, who played Kerry champions Causeway in the Munster club championship on Saturday, never gave up and Alan Browne crashed home a goal from a close-in free in the last minute.

Landers gave a magnificent display in the pivotal position, and four times Blackrock moved players in an effort to curb his influence.

Imokilly: B Rochford; W O'Riordan (capt), S Barrett, B O'Driscoll; B Murphy, M Landers (0-3), B Fitzgerald; D Barrett (0-2), R Dwane; T McCarthy (0-1), M Daly (0-1), B Coleman (0-1); S O'Farrell (1-1), J O'Connor, E Fitzgerald (0-1). Subs: J Smiddy for E Fitzgerald; M Downing for O'Connor.

Blackrock: T Barry; J Browne, N Keane, G Murphy; J Smith, W Sherlock, F Ryan (capt); C McBride, J Cashman (0-1); J O'Flynn (0- 1), A Cummins, A Coughlan (0-1); B O'Keeffe (0-1), A Browne (1- 1), D Dempsey. Subs: D Coakley for McBride; C O'Flaherty for Coughlan; B Hennebry for Coakley.

Referee: L O'Flynn (Cork).