Given how Glen Rovers had fared in front of goal in this year’s Cork senior hurling championship, a 16-point win over Cloyne at Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Saturday would not have been high on the list of expectations.
Losses to St Finbarr’s and Bishopstown yielded a cumulative total of 19 points for the city side. But winning manager Tony Wall used that statistic to inspire his troops for this third round tie.
"We set a target," he admitted, "we scored 19 points in the first two games and we wanted to outscore what we had got in those two matches.
"To be fair, they did it in style, but I don’t think that was a true reflection of Cloyne. Last year, we were eight points up with 15 minutes to go and they caught us, so we hammered it home at half-time that, even though we were 10 points up, we had to keep going and keep going. We knew that they would come at us so we just made sure that we kept going until the very end."
Whereas previously Patrick Horgan had been shouldering almost all of the scoring burden, here he was ably assisted, as Dean Brosnan and David Cunningham both scored 1-3 and Eoghan Cronin got two points. In contrast, Cloyne had only three scorers, with Paudie O’Sullivan (1-6) the only player to register more than once.
To accuse Cloyne of not having a plan would be unfair, however. Luke Cahill began at corner-forward but moved to midfield straight away while James Nyhan dropped back to helped Diarmuid O’Sullivan double-mark Horgan.
That left Gavin Moylan sweeping in the Glen full-back line, however, and bar a pair of Paudie O’Sullivan frees, the first quarter was fairly joyless for the East Cork side’s attack.
While the Glen’s start was nothing earth-shattering either, they got a stroke of luck in the 13th minute, when David Cunningham played a low ball across goal and Cloyne corner-back Brian McCarthy, in attempting to intercept, could only prod the ball over his own line, leaving it 1-3 to 0-1, Horgan converting a free moments after.
The gap had opened to 1-6 to 0-2 before Conor Cusack got Cloyne’s third point in the 22nd minute, and by half-time the Glen had moved 1-11 to 0-4 clear.
Cloyne reverted to a traditional formation midway through the first half and after half-time they re-deployed Diarmuid O’Sullivan to full-forward. But, while Luke Cahill got the second half’s first score for them, by the time they would score again the Glen had added four more points, the game’s flow being disrupted by a number of niggly incidents.
A pointed Paudie O’Sullivan free, followed by a converted penalty from the same player after Keith Dennehy had been fouled, gave Cloyne fleeting hope as the deficit was reduced to 1-15 to 1-6. They were unable to get any closer than that, however, and Brosnan’s goal following a fine solo run made it 2-16 to 1-7.
After Brosnan added a point, captain Cunningham then put the issue beyond doubt when he pulled to the net after Graham Callanan’s point attempt had come off the post. Cronin added a sparking point late on, and the loss of centre-back Paul O’Brien to a second yellow card, as well as the game’s final point from Paudie O’Sullivan, were both immaterial to the outcome.
The Glen advance to meet champions Carrigtwohill next weekend in the last 16, whereas Cloyne now face an all-East Cork battle with Bride Rovers to avoid relegation.
Scorers for Glen Rovers: P Horgan 0-9 (0-8f, 0-1 65), D Brosnan, D Cunningham 1-3 each, own goal 1-0, E Cronin 0-2, J Anderson 0-1.
Scorers for Cloyne: P O’Sullivan 1-6 (1-0 penalty, 0-5f), L Cahill, C Cusack 0-1 each.
GLEN ROVERS: D Hourihan; S Kennefick, S McDonnell, G Moylan; B Moylan, P O’Brien, G Callanan; B Phelan, P Virgo; D Brosnan, D Cunningham, J Anderson; E Cronin, P Horgan, D Busteed.
CLOYNE: A Walsh; B McCarthy, Diarmuid O’Sullivan, B Fleming; E O’Sullivan, M Naughton, Domhnall O’Sullivan; J Nyhan, K Dennehy; C Cusack, P O’Sullivan, D Cahill; C Nelligan, C O’Sullivan, L Cahill.
Referee: D Kirwan (Éire Óg).