Éire Óg storm into semi-finals
IT didn't take Éire Óg very long to lay firm foundations for victory in the county IFC quarter final clash with Mitchelstown at Pairc Ui Rinn last Friday evening.
With just ten minutes gone, the Mid-Cork men had put nine points on the board with a devastating display of fire-power that showed why they are warmly fancied to go all the way this season.
It was a chastening experience for last year's junior kingpins, who went into the game with high hopes after registering a couple of convincing wins over Kildorrery and 2013 runners-up Aghabullogue in their opening two outings.
Simply put, Mitchelstown didn't know what had hit them after Eire Og exploded from the traps, with John Dineen (2), Aidan O'Connor (2), Kevin Hallissey, midfielder Liam Murphy and Daniel Goulding sharing a string of exquisite scores from play before Goulding completed the sequence with a converted free.
Wing-back Patrick Molloy eventually got the visibly stunned North-Cork men off the mark in the 12th. minute later, and. aided by two more good scores from play by Shane Beston and Shane Cahill, they had trimmed the deficit to five, 0-9 to 0-4, six minutes later.
The notion that Mitchelstown might be capable of making a match of it was quickly dispelled, as Éire Óg moved into overdrive again before half time, with Aidan O'Connor setting Kevin Hallissey for a goal in the 29th. minute that effectively finished the game as a contest.
Leading by 1-11 to 0-5 at the interval, Éire Óg seemed content to drop a gear in the third quarter, opting to get bodies behind the ball in numbers rather than continuing with their all-out attacking approach.
After Mitchelstown notched four points on the bounce, however, through James Sheehan (2), Shane Beston, their best performer overall, and Michael Walsh to cut the gap to seven, 1-14 to 0-10, with eight minutes remaining, Éire Óg smoothly raised the tempo again on the run-in.
John Dineen finished with a real flourish at corner forward, kick-starting another impressive scoring burst with two points before collecting a defence-splitting delivery from Daniel Goulding to embellish Éire Óg's emphatic triumph with a well-taken goal in the 55th minute.
It was power-packed stuff from the winners, for whom all six forwards contributed handsomely, including the industrious Daniel O'Connor, who didn't score but, working tirelessly, was heavily involved in several cohesive and fruitful raids.
Liam Murphy was always prominent at midfield, while centre-back Alan O'Mahony also stood out in an Éire Óg defence that performed with the utmost assurance as a unit. Having similarly thrashed Adrigole, 0-18 to 1-4, in the previous round, Eire Og would be entitled to move on from here with considerable optimism, although they won't need to be told there are bound to be stiffer tests ahead.
It was a disappointing end to what had been an encouraging campaign for Mitchelstown, and, aside from Shane Beston, only Michael Maher, Patrick Molloy, Dave Dineen and James Sheehan performed up to scratch for the outgunned losers.
Éire Óg: J Dineen 1-5, K Hallissey 1-3, D Goulding 0-5, 0-2 frees, A O'Connor 0-2, L Murphy, L Sheehan and P McDonagh 0-1 each
Mitchelstown: S Beston 0-3, J Sheehan 0-3, 0-1 free, P Molloy, S Cahill, D Dineen, M Walsh and L Flynn 0-1 each.
Éire Óg: C Kelly, J Mullins, S McCarthy, C O'Mahony, D Herlihy, A O'Mahony, M O'Shea, L Murphy, F O'Rourke, K Hallissey, L Sheehan, D O'Connor, J Dineen, D Goulding, A O'Connor. Subs: D Sheehan for McCarthy (injured), 23, P McDonagh for Murphy, 42, R O'Toole for A O'Connor, 52, T O'Leary for Hallissey, 58
Mitchelstown: L Hannah, S Coughlan, F Herlihy, M Maher, O Burke, S Fox, P Molloy, L Flynn, D Dineen, M Walsh, C Courtney, J Cott, J Sheehan, S Beston, S Cahill. Subs: J O'Sullivan for Fox (injured), 30, G Carroll for Burke, 49
Referee: D Daly (Brian Dillons)