Goals prove costly to Macroom as Saints take spoils
County PIFC: St Michaels 3-12 Macroom 1-14
Last weekend was first round championship time at county football level so there was plenty of choice for GAA patrons.
On Sunday afternoon there was a premier intermediate game at Ovens where last seasons defeated county finalists St Michaels were in action. Their opponents for this first round encounter were similar to last year Macroom.
The Blackrock side gained victory on that occasion by the narrowest of margins and they again managed to come out on top. The winners were quickly into their stride and an early bout of scoring enhanced their prospects of victory.
A point in the third minute from Dan Linehan put Michaels ahead and it was clear that they really meant business when the inform Liam O Sullivan quickly followed with a goal.
Eric Hegarty then raised a white flag to increase their lead and an Adam Hennessey goal made it 2-2 to nil at the end of ten minutes of action. Macroom fought back however and they got their act together as they secured the next four scores.
Pa Lucey was on target with his point scoring efforts while a move initiated by Fintan Goold ended with Conor O Sullivan finding the St Michael's net with a blistering drive.
The arrears were consequently reduced to two points by the 17th minute and the exchanges were entertaining for the remainder of the action with the issue very much in doubt.
The Blackrock side led 2-7 to 1-6 at the break but their mentors were clearly unhappy and they introduced substitutes Daniel Meaney and Tadg Deasy for the second moiety.
Both of those players made their presence felt but Macroom's position improved following the resumption of the action when David Horgan, Dillon Twomey and Pa Lucey (2) all raised white flags.
The sides were consequently on level terms and the contest was at a very exciting phase. St Michael's managed to lift the siege, however, and a strong run goal wards by Niall Cashman opened up the opposing defence and finding Keith Hegarty in a good position a goal opportunity was likely.
The latter made no mistake as he slotted home his sides' third goal so the Blackrock side had the initiative. Macroom fought back, however, and points from Tony Dineen and Fintan Goold reduced the arrears to the minimum.
Niall Cashman and Tadg Deasy replied however so the winners had a cushion entering the final quarter. The atmosphere was intense at this stage and a long delivery goal wards almost yielded a major for the mid Cork side.
Martin Bourke in the winner's goal did well to fly kick the ball away from the danger zone as it appeared likely to cross the white goal line. St Michael's subsequently went on the offensive and a Keith Hegarty point clinched victory.
The winners will be very happy to be over the first hurdle in their quest for a county title and they are still a formidable side despite having to endure defeats in finals in 2012, 2015, 2017 and 2018.
Macroom can also take some satisfaction from the game as they performed very well following their disastrous opening period and they will be no push over for any opponents in the second chance stage of the competition.
St Michaels: Martin Bourke, Joe Golden, Richard Dineen, Eoghan O Sullivan, Diarmuid Cormack, Alan O'Callaghan, Tom Linehan, Eoin Hickey, Andrew Murphy (0-2), Dan Linehan (0-1), Niall Cashman (0-2), Keith Hegarty (1-2), Adam Hennessey (1-0), Eric Hegarty (0-1), Liam O Sullivan (1-3) Subs: Tadg Deasy (0-1) for Dan Linehan (1/2 time), Daniel Meaney for Eoin Hickey (1/2 time), Donal Cremin for Eric Hegarty (38th minute), Dylan Corkery for Adam Hennessey (55th minute)
Macroom: Brendan O'Connell, Michael Cronin, Rory Buckley, Mark Corrigan, Gerrard Angland, Alan Quinn (0-1), Sean Kiely, Caleb Dineen, Fintan Goold (0-1f), Tony Dineen (0-1), David Horgan (0-1), Andrew Hegarty (0-1), Conor O Sullivan (1-1), Patrick Lucey (0-5, 2f, 1 '45), Dillon Twomey Subs: Paul O Farrell for Gerard Angland (29th minute), John Murphy (0-1) for Andrew Hegarty (50th minute), Ethan O Gorman (0-1) for Caleb Dineen (50th minute), Sean McMahon for Michael Cronin (54th minute), Cian Twomey for Alan Quinn (55th minute)
Referee: Michael O Mahony (Kilbrittain)