Courcey Rovers reached a second consecutive Co-Op Superstores Cork county final in Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Friday night. Less than 12 months after claiming the Premier IHC title, they are through to play either Bride Rovers or Fr O’Neill’s in the SAHC decider.
It is an incredible achievement for the club from Ballinspittle and Ballinadee. And they did it in style, recording an emphatic five goal victory. And there was no doubt either about their leading player – Sean Twomey who scored four goals in a display full of power and strength.
Manager/coach Sean Guiheen, who has already led them to PIHC glory, said it was a great feeling and that these lads love championship hurling.
“We knew we didn’t play well the last day (quarter-final), but fair play to Ballyhea – they were superb on the day. We needed to up it considerably to get to the final. They can do it, and they did
“To go from Premier intermediate to senior A in a year and be in a county final again is massive. Massive, obviously for the management team, but for the players and the community it is fantastic for them.
We will be massive underdogs the next day, but we have nothing to lose. The one thing is, they love wearing that jersey, and they wear it with massive pride and desire.”
It was a bitterly disappointing result for Fermoy – who were reduced to 14 players midway through the second-half – having topped their group they received a direct route to the semi-final.
The game quickly sparked into life – all of 22 seconds it took for Richard Sweetnam to land the opening point, and he followed with his second a couple of minutes later.
The Fermoy response was swift, a trio of points from Shane Aherne, Martin Brennan and Liam Coleman for the lead after nine minutes.
It wasn’t long before Courcey Rovers were back in front. Their advantage was short-lived though as the north Cork side dictated the next five minutes to dominate 0-7 to 0-4 in the 20th minute.
The match, however, turned in Courcey Rovers when they produced two great goals. The first was initiated by goalkeeper Stephen Nyhan whose clearance to his captain Tadhg O’Sullivan was passed to Ronan Nyhan, who raced beyond his defender to fire past Jason Condon.
Then, five minutes from the interval, there was further drama when Twomey turned his marker and applied a sublime finish.
In doing so, they transformed a three point deficit into a three point superiority.
A Stephen Nyhan free and one from play from Sweetnam pushed the difference to four points.
Shane Aherne finished the half with a Fermoy point to leave his team trailing, 2-7 to 0-10.
Courceys upped the intensity straight from the restart. Ronan Nyhan was denied by Condon but Twomey was on hand to ensure the sliotar got over the line. It got even better when Sweetnam curled over a point.
Coleman reduced the lead from a free, but with the result slipping away from them, management introduced two substitutes in an attempt to stop the bleeding. As well, Condon had to come to the rescue to save from Ronan Nyhan.
At the other end, Stephen Nyhan proved his worth, but it came at a cost for Fermoy who were reduced to 14 men when Jake Carr was carded.
To add to their misery, Twomey notched his third goal – Courcey’s fourth – to put them clear leaders, 4-10 to 0-11 at the three-quarter mark.
The Courceys defense was magnificent and did not give an inch, as Twomey rounded off a brilliant evening’s work with his fourth goal.
S Twomey (4-0), R Sweetnam (0-7, 0-3 frees), R Nyhan (1-1), S Nyhan (0-2 frees), T O’Sullivan, B Ryan, O Crowley and J O’Neill (0-1 each).
L Coleman (0-9, 0-6 frees, 0-2 65), S Aherne (0-2), J Carr, M Brennan and B Twomey (0-1 each).
S Nyhan; C Daly, K Collins, B Mulcahy; L Collins, F Lordan, C Roche; DJ Twomey, M Collins; B Ryan, S Twomey, O Crowley; T O’Sullivan (Capt), R Sweetnam, R Nyhan.
J McCarthy for L Collins (48), J O’Neill for R Nyhan (50), S McCarthy for B Mulcahy (57), D O’Donovan for S Twomey (59), M O’Donovan for O Crowley (62) .
J Condon; G Lardner, J Scannell, E Clancy; A Creed, D O’Carroll, P Murphy; M Brennan (Capt), D Daly; P De Róiste, T Clancy, L Coleman; S Aherne, J Carr, G O’Callaghan.
J Molloy for G O’Callaghan (36), S Shanahan for E Clancy (36), A Aherne for G Lardner (51), B Twomey for P De Róiste (53), B O’Sullivan for A Creed (56).
Nathan Wall (Ballincollig).