Courty blitz game Ardmore

Shane Briggs made his usual weighty contribution as Ballinacourty saw off Ardmore.  								| Photos: Sean Byrne

Shane Briggs made his usual weighty contribution as Ballinacourty saw off Ardmore. | Photos: Sean Byrne

Champions Ballinacourty put a spirited Ardmore to the sword at a breezy Bushy Park on Saturday evening, with a 3-1 scoring blitz inside five first half minutes effectively ending the fixture as a context.

The Conway Cup holders registered 15 wides (that’s 28 in two SFC outings thus far) and struck the woodwork twice, so this 11-point reversal for the men in blue could have been considerably worse.

But to give Ardmore their due, at no stage did a single head of theirs drop during a testing 60 minutes, which suggests they might have the wherewithal to retain their senior status beyond this campaign.

Ardmore started brightly but failed to convert any of three early scoring opportunities into hard currency, with Mark Ferncombe opening the scoring at the other end after six minutes.

Mark Fives doubled Courty’s lead seven minutes later before the seasiders finally got off the mark through John Gartland following a marauding upfield run by Seamus Prendergast.

Fives and Gartland exchanged points in the 16th and 17th minutes before a Gary Hurney free in the 20th minute sent Ballinacourty two clear.

Between the 22nd and 27th minutes, Courty put Ardmore to the sword, firing home three well-executed goals via Shane O’Donovan, Gary Hurney and Mark Gorman, the latter’s proving the pick of the bunch after a sweeping move involving Mark Ferncombe and Gary Hurney.

Amidst that scoring spree, Patrick Hurney also pointed, while Kenny Murphy provided Ardmore’s sole response amidst the goal avalanche.

Niall Hennessy added Ardmore’s fourth point before Courty wing-back Conor Maloney played a one-two with Patrick Hurney to add another fine white flagger. The dangerous Gorman registered the final point of the half to leave the champions 3-6 to 0-4 ahead.

With a second successive win already in the bag, Ballinacourty relaxed somewhat during a second half when a great deal of their shots on goal proved wayward, something one expects they’ll be working at between now and Round Three.

Despite that, there was much to admire in their approach, and the passing of Mark Ferncombe, the industry of Sean O’Hare and the efficacy of Patrick Hurney really caught the eye.

Hurney opened the second half scoring after a fine Ronan Sheehan pass picked him out, before David Gartland slid home Ardmore’s goal in the 41st minute; he would end the game with 1-2.

Points from Gorman and Ferncombe either side of Jason O’Brien’s 51st minute goal completed the scoring for the champions, while goalkeeper Sean Barron (a 45), John Gartland and a David Gartland brace rounded off Ardmore’s tally.

So Courty are all but qualified for the quarter-finals after only two outings, with the task ahead of Ardmore now solely focused on survival.

Ballinacourty: Stephen Enright; Brian Looby, Shane Briggs, David Collins; Ronan Sheehan, Sean O’Hare, Conor Maloney; John Hurney, James O’Mahoney; Shane O’Donovan, Mark Fives, Mark Ferncombe; Gary Hurney, Mark Gorman, Patrick Hurney.

Substitutes: Jason O’Brien for John Hurney (HT) and John Power for Mark Fives (55).

Scorers: Mark Gorman (1-2), Gary Hurney (1-1; 0-1f), Shane O’Donovan and James O’Brien (1-0 each), Shane Fives (0-3), Patrick Hurney (0-2), Mark Ferncombe and Conor Maloney (0-1 each).

Ardmore: Sean Barron; Cathal Hennessy, Declan Prendergast, Daniel Power; Niall Hennessy, Seamus Prendergast, Kenny Murphy; James Salmon, Conor O’Shea; Wayne Hennessy, John Gartland, Michael Cronin; David Gartland, Seamus Keating, Tony Galway.

Black Card: Seamus Keating (39 mins).

Substitutes: Tom Power for Tony Galway (HT), John Kennedy for Seamus Keating (following Black Card, 39), 

Scorers: David Gartland (1-2), James Gartland (0-2; 0-1f), James Salmon, Niall Hennessy and Kenny Murphy (0-1 each) and Sean Barron (0-1 45’).

Referee: Paul Foley

text: Dermot Keyes

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