Inniscarra lay down a serious marker with four-goal demolition of Castlelyons
County Premier IHC, Round 1
Inniscarra kick-started their campaign in the county PIHC on a very positive note in last Saturday, serving up a performance that suggests they could be quite capable of mounting a serious bid for the title this summer.
Inniscarra 4-11 Castlelyons 1-11
Defeated in three of their four outings in 2015, they probably wouldn't be shortlisted as potential champions on that basis, but they didn't enjoy the best of luck last season, particularly in their first two games which were lost to Mallow, after extra-time, and Cloyne.
They certainly looked like a team that isn't short on self-belief as they recovered from a most uncertain start to comfortably account for Castlelyons, whose prospects of delivering the goods suffered a setback with the late withdrawal of their ace attacker Anthony Spillane.
Given that Cork senior panellist Colm Spillane has had his decimated by injury, it isn't going to be easy for the East-Cork side to get back to winning ways and remain in the hunt for glory when they square up to Courcey Rovers in Round 2B.
They shouldn't be ruled out of the equation just yet, as they displayed commendable battling qualities to stage a mini-revival after it seemed they were destined to be completely overwhelmed by Inniscarra in the second half.
They started brightly as well, with corner forward Michael Spillane bagging an early goal, to which he quickly added a point, prompting the Inniscarra management to take remedial action after just five minutes.
Switching their corner backs yielded the desired result, as Sean O'Donoghue, who is a member of Kieran Kingston's Cork senior squad, immediately put the shackles on Spillane, removing much of the sting from the Castlelyons attack in the process
O'Donoghue - who, just two years out of minor ranks is obviously a tremendous prospect - went on to emerge as one of Inniscarra's top performers, delivering a power-packed display at corner back that bordered on perfection.
Midfielder Tomas O'Connor was also especially influential as Inniscarrra began to settle, while Colm Casey looked threatening up front from the outset.
Casey had chipped in with two points before being denied a goal by Castlelyons 'keeper Jack Barry, who was powerless to prevent Dan O'Connell from finishing to the net in the ensuing play.
O'Connell's strike brought Inniscarra back on terms 1-4 to 1-4 in the 25th minute, and, moved from the '40 to full forward in a switch with Casey, he quickly tacked on a point before firing in two more goals to complete a devastating scoring burst within the space of four minutes.
Ahead by 3-6 to 1-5 at the interval, Inniscarra stretched the gap courtesy of points from Casey and Tomas O'Connor within five minutes of the resumption, and, on top in all sectors, it seemed as if the extent of their winning margin was the only issue to be resolved at that juncture.
Credit to Castlelyons, they refused to give up the ghost, with Tom Carroll at full back and Aidan O'Sullivan up front doing much to spearhead a resurgence that saw them trim the deficit to four points, 3-8 to 1-10, with four minutes of regulation time remaining.
Once Tomas O'Connor ended a lenghty barren spell for Inniscarra, the Mid-Cork men, for whom industrious wing forward Aidan O'Mahony was another leading light, predictably clicked into top gear again, with a goal from Colm Casey, after he had collected a long clearance from the excellent Sean O'Donoghue, putting the finishing touch to a fully merited triumph deep in stoppage time.
Inniscarra: J O'Keeffe; S O'Donoghue, J O'Callaghan, D O'Callaghan; S Olden (0-1), G Burke, L O'Riann; T Murphy, T O'Connor (0-3); A O'Mahony 0-2 (1f), D O'Connell (3-1), C Buckley; K Rice (0-1), C Casey (1-3), P O'Donoghue. Subs: P Farmer for D O'Callaghan, 24, M Nagle for O'Connell (injured), 39.
Castlelyons: J Barry; B Carroll, C Barry, T Carroll; K O'Leary (0-1), C O'Leary, C McGann; E Maye, R Feeney; D Lawlor (0-2), S Moroney, R Fenton (0-1); M Spillane 1-3 (2f), A O'Sullivan (0-4), R Bransfield. Subs: C O'Neill for Barry (injured), 29, J O'Leary for Feeney, 42.
Referee: T O'Donovan (Douglas)