Glen Rovers 1-22, Newtownshandrum 2-12
Almost a year after the county final drubbing by Sarsfields, Glen Rovers have picked themselves up admirably and are progressing nicely in the Cork SHC.
The manner of this quarter-final win at Páirc Uí Rinn was what impressed most - their fans delighted leaving the Boreenmanna Road on Saturday.
Brian Phelan’s game-changing goal five minutes into the second-half put enough daylight between the sides.
And a 13-point scoring spree from Patrick Horgan (11 frees) also went a long way to securing their place against 2013 champions Midleton in the last four.
“What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger,” said Glen manager Richie Kelleher, referring back to that fateful day.
“Last year was hard. But when we have bad days, we pick it up and we get on with it again. The lads are a good bunch, they are honest. Newtownshandrum gave us some trimmings over the years so we were up for this one big time.”
Up for it they were. Four rapid points on the board before Newtown’s Ryan Clifford landed a free. Another pair of points before the north Cork side scored from play.
However, and despite being closely monitored by Stephen McDonnell, Jamie Coughlan still managed to get in for two terrific goals in that first 30 minutes.
This meant the teams were level four times during that opening period, but the Glen still edged it at half-time by a point.
As a unit, the Glen defence must be commended for doing a fantastic job in restricting the rest of the Newtown attack to just four points from play.
The Blackpool outfit then kicked on as the Newtown challenge faltered, failing to raise a flag for the last quarter.
It was the 17th minute before their first point from play arrived when Jack Herlihy, set up John Paul King.
Meanwhile, Glen Rovers had plenty of possession surging 0-7 to 0-3 clear with an array of scorers including Horgan, Brian Moylan, David Busteed, Conor Dorris and Phelan.
Michael Thompson nearly raised a green flag for Newtownshandrum only for McDonnell clearing off the line.
However, they did shoot a bullet of a goal from Coughlan on 22 minutes to draw them level, 0-7 to 1-4. PJ Copse sent him a pinpoint delivery and the corner forward finished delightfully.
Glen Rovers took the lead again through Dave Noonan, Horgan and Dorris but they were rocked for a second time when Coughlan sneaked in behind two defenders and scooped the sliotar to the net to leave the teams deadlocked a minute into injury time.
Horgan then hit an amazing point from over his shoulder. Michael Bowles cancelled it out, but a Horgan free put his side back into the lead, 0-13 to 2-6.
Another brace of Horgan frees restarted the second-half, with Thompson rifling over a much-needed point for Newtown.
Next came the defining moment when a clearance from Graham Callinan picked out Horgan who controlled the ball superbly on the run.
His shot at goal was parried, but only as far as Phelan who buried from close range, making it 1-15 to 2-7.
Horgan stretched the advantage to six points with as many minutes elapsed in the new half.
For all of that, Newtown kept coming back and during the remainder of the third quarter they outscored their opponents five points to two. Cathal Naughton doing his best to rally the troops, they trailed 2-12 to 1-18 with the final quarter left to play.
It was at this juncture the Glen showed their mettle, repelling attack after attack. They didn’t allow Newtown any more scores while showing plenty of strength and ability in their own forward line as they tacked on four points without reply.
Three frees from Horgan and one from play from Phelan opened up a seven point gap. And it didn’t stop there with goalkeeper Cathal Hickey saving from King at the very end.
Kelleher knows further big tests await the Glen. Still, they are going in the right direction.
Since losing to Ballymartle (by two points) in the first round and negotiating Carrigtwohill in round two (by one point), they are moving closer to another showdown. And they are the only non-Imokilly side left in the championship.
“We tweaked our programme this year a bit. Not being cocky, we thought we would get to the quarter-final. Any team worth their salt will get to a quarter-final. So that is when you want to be ready. It is working, so long may it last.”
Scorers for Glen Rovers:
P Horgan (0-13, 11 frees), B Phelan (1-2), C Dorris (0-3), D Busteed (0-2), B Moylan and D Noonan (0-1 each).
Scorers for Newtownshandrum:
J Coughlan (2-0), R Clifford (frees) and C Naughton (0-3 each), M Thompson (0-2), C Twomey (65m), J P King, M Bowles and D Stack (0-1 each).
C Hickey; G Moylan, B Murphy, S McDonnell; D Dooling, B Moylan, G Callinan; D Cronin, D Noonan; D Brosnan, P Horgan, D Cunningham; C Dorris, B Phelan, D Busteed.
G Kennefick for D Cronin (48).
W Biggane; J O’Mahony, R Fallon, M Ryan; J Herlihy, C Twomey, PJ Copse; J P King, C Naughton; R Clifford, M Bowles, M Thompson; J Coughlan, D Stack, T O’Mahony.
J Lane for T O’Mahony (43), J Bowles for D Stack (48), T O’Mahony for M Thompson (52), K Cagney for R Clifford (56 inj).
Cathal McAllister (Aghada).