By Denis Hurley
There was a major second-half turnaround at Ballincollig as St Francis College, Rochestown took victory in this Corn Uí Mhuirí Group A clash with neighbours Coláiste Chríost Rí.
Trailing by 0-8 to 0-4 at half-time, Rochestown had fallen five points behind early in the second half when Alan O’Hare had a goal chance only for Kenny Lynch to pull off a great save.
There might have been a Rochestown fear that that was emblematic of the way the game was going to go, but instead it proved to be a foreshadowing of what was to come – an unanswered 1-5 between the 39th and 45th minutes putting them into a lead that wouldn’t be lost.
Though Críost Rí did twice come back level thanks to points from Ronan Dalton, who finished with nine, Rochestown moved ahead again, 1-12 to 0-14, as Conor Russell got his fifth of the game as injury time dawned. Then, after Críost Rí pressure was alleviated, full-back Thomas Murphy rounded off a counter-attack to secure the win.
With two teams to qualify from three, it leaves Rochestown in a very strong position ahead of their clash with Tralee CBS on November 14. They will know, though, that they can’t fall into the habit of allowing opponents to build up four-point leads without being caught.
Having conceded the first two points to Darragh Callanan and Dalton, Críost Rí came back strongly with full-forward Russell to the fore while Ray O’Halloran was also on target as they moved ahead in the 11th minutes.
However, poor shooting meant that they couldn’t make the most of their period on top and Críost Rí reasserted themselves in the second quarter. With Fiachra Cronin prominent at midfield and Dalton’s shooting sights in, they moved 0-5 to 0-4 ahead on 24 and Callanan (two) and Jamie Lenihan had late points as they extended the lead before the break.
A fine Dalton score increased the advantage further on the resumption and though Roco sub Colm O’Mahony made his presence felt by drawing a free which Russell converted, Dalton responded in kind with his sixth to make it 0-10 to 0-5 on 35.
However, by the time the Capwell school had their 11th point, all had changed. O’Hare was unlucky after a good move, Lynch’s save outstanding, but, after Adam Hennessy’s free to cut the gap to four and then an O’Mahony point, Rochestown did have the ball in the net.
Centre-back Nathan O’Connell was the man to get it, with Pierce O’Halloran and Russell having been involved in the architecture. Hennessy added two more points to put them 1-9 to 0-10 in front, with the latter of those almost yielding a goal too.
Críost Rí were reeling but they managed to respond, and after O’Mahony’s second put Roco 1-10 to 0-11 ahead, Lenihan and Dalton were on hand to tie the game.
Rochestown had the momentum, though, and they ensured that they took the points.
Scorers for St Francis College: C Russell 0-5 (three frees), N O’Connell 1-0, A Hennessy (two frees), C O’Mahony 0-2, S Andrews, T Murphy, R O’Halloran 0-1 each.
Scorers for Coláiste Chríost Rí: R Dalton 0-9 (four frees), D Callanan 0-3, J Lenihan 0-2.
ST FRANCIS COLLEGE: M White (Douglas); M Harrington (Nemo Rangers), T Murphy (St Michael’s), B O’Connell (Douglas); S Downey (Shamrocks), N O’Connell (Cobh), D Fenton (Douglas); P O’Halloran (Ballygarvan), S Harrington (Passage); P Vaughan (Carrigaline), S Andrews (Shamrocks), A O’Hare (Douglas); A Hennessy (St Michael’s), C Russell (Douglas), R O’Halloran (Ballygarvan).
Subs: C O’Mahony (Douglas) for Fenton (half-time), S Aherne (Douglas) for Downey (45), C McCarthy (St Michael’s) for N O’Connell (46, black card), P Leneghan (St Michael’s) for Vaughan (53).
COLÁISTE CHRÍOST RÍ: K Lynch (St Finbarr’s); C O’Mahony (St Finbarr’s), M Aherne (St Finbarr’s), M Hill (Nemo Rangers); C O’Sullivan (Nemo Rangers), L Horgan (Nemo Rangers), C Ryan (St Finbarr’s); J Allen (Nemo Rangers), F Cronin (St Michael’s); D Cotter (Nemo Rangers), R Dalton (Nemo Rangers), J Lenihan (St Finbarr’s); D Callanan (St Finbarr’s), S Philpott (Nemo Ranngers), C Shannon (St Finbarr’s).
Subs: C McGowan (Nemo Rangers) for Shannon (52), J Kearney (Nemo Rangers) for Philpott (58), D McAree (Newcestown) for Cotter (59).
Referee: C Dineen (Douglas).