Pulling and dragging, some very poor football for the most part and a mass brawl near the end all made for a sad afternoon’s football and Valley Rovers’ coach Michael Lyon is well aware it’s going to take a mighty improvement if they are to advance further. But he will be pleased with a stirring last quarter display which Cill Na Martra could not match
The eagle-eyed Hugh O’Donovan, who kicked six points, and corner-forward Eoin Manning, with 1-2, were Valley’s scorers-in-chief, but it was the superb play of Fiachra Lynch, operating at full-forward for the second-half, that won the contest for Rovers. Lynch was a thorn in the Cill Na Martra defence, scoring two points and setting up Manning’s 61st minute goal.
In truth though the Mid Corkmen were poor. Nollaig Ó Laoire failed to get a grip at midfield and despite some good work by Cormac Ó Mocháin, lively Cill Na Martra forwards Risteard Ó hUidhir, Sean Ó Loinsigh and Caoimhin Ó Súilleabháin were starved of good possession in the second-half
They did, however, shade the first-half action. Despite two opening Valley Rovers points from O’Donovan, Donal Ó Buachalla replied for Cill Na Martra and that’s the way the scoring stayed after a sloppy opening quarter.
Ó Súilleabháin then tied up the scores with a terrific point and with a bit of luck Cill Na Martra might have been well ahead. Sean Ó Loinsigh missed a sitter, Ó Mocháin hit the upright, but they did lead at the break 0-4 to 0-3, thanks to points from Ó hUidhir and Ó Mocháin.
With Chris O’Donovan now partnering Kevin Canty at midfield and Lynch at full-forward for the second-half, Valley looked a better balanced side. Ó hUidhir had two more points for Cill Na Martra but O’Donovan and Manning replied for Valley Rovers and John O’Donovan should have had a Valley goal in the 37th minute.
But, looking sharper all over the park now, Valley Rovers led 0-7 to 0-6 entering the final quarter and at last began to show their mettle. Playing with more urgency, they opened up the Cill Na Martra defence with long balls that Lynch was always eager to get on the end of.
Ó Buachalla did tie up the scores in the 46th minute, but that’s as good as it got for Cill Na Martra. Valley Rovers swarmed all over them with O’Donovan and Manning providing the finish. But it was Lynch’s night, saving the best for last by setting up Manning for the only goal in injury-time with a glorious defence-splitting pass.
: Valley Rovers: M. O’Donovan 0-6 (0-4 frees), E. Manning 1-2, F. Lynch 0-2, J. O’Donovan 0-1. Cill Na Martra: R. Ó hUidhir 0-3 (0-2 frees), D. Ó Buachalla 0-2 (0-1 free), C. Ó Mochain, C. Ó Súilleabháin 0-1 each.
: A. Quirke; S. Manning, B. Lehane, R. O’Donovan; R. Lehane, D. Lynch, D. Collins; F. Lynch, K. Canty; J. Young, C.. O’Donovan, H. O’Donovan; E. Manning, R. Butler, J. O’Donovan.
: F. Coughlan for Butler, J. Kelleher for Coughlan.
: S. Ó hUidhir; M. Ó Goillidhe, C. MacSuibhne, S. Ó Ceilleachair; G. Ó Duinnin, C. Ó Laoire, B Ó Loinsigh; C. Ó Mocháin, N. Ó Laoire; D. Ó Buachalla D. Óg Ó Laoire, R. Ó hUidhir; S. Ó Loinsigh, M. Ó Concúir, C. Ó Súilleabháin.
: B. Ó Cuana for Óg Ó Laoire, P. Ó Concuir for MacSuibhne.
: G. Sweeney (Glenville).