Inniscarra fall as happy Valley finally beginning to fire

THE turnaround continued for Valley Rovers at Ballincollig on Saturday night as they overcame Inniscarra to reach the quarter-finals of the Evening Echo Cork Premier IHC.

Just under a month ago, the Innishannon side’s status in the grade was in peril as they trailed Watergrasshill by nine points at half-time in their third-round clash. They managed to salvage a draw before winning the replay and now sit in the last eight, previous losses to Blarney and Ballyhea a distant memory.

Rovers worked hard as a unit, each sector answering questions when called upon. In attack, Eamon Collins and Eoin Manning did most of the damage, scoring 1-5 apiece, the latter also putting in a good late shift as a sweeper in the face of Inniscarra pressure. His effort solidified a defence that did well, anchored by the excellent Chris O’Donovan, while Ray O’Donovan and Richard Butler provided a good balance in midfield.

Inniscarra’s chances grew slimmer as the second half wore on, but a renewed vigour, underpinned by Colm Casey and Dan O’Connell, saw them come back into contention and a 58th minute goal by sub Sean O’Callaghan left just three points between the teams though ultimately they could not bridge the gap.

From almost the very beginning, the Muskerry side were playing catch-up as their opponents were that bit sharper. While Valleys’ lead was only 0-6 to 0-5 after the first 15 minutes, poor wides had let them down. Inniscarra began to suffer as their shooting became wayward, and Collins’ goal in injury time gave Rovers a 1-8 to 0-6 interval lead.

The same pattern pertained early in the second half, despite Inniscarra reshuffling their attack. Collins impressed while Shane O’Sullivan had a fine score, and at the other end corner-back Fearghal Coughlan and then goalkeeper Willie Burke denied John Casey an Inniscarra goal.

Manning’s green flag for Rovers on 46, when he pulled home after Inniscarra goalkeeper John O’Keeffe failed to deal with a Ronan Lehane delivery, made it 2-11 to 0-8, but two from Casey and one by Michael Coleman gave Inniscarra hope for the last 10 minutes.

They went for goals but , Chris O’Donovan made a great block from Coleman, and while O’Callaghan did find the net after Coleman’s shot was kept out by Noel O’Donovan, it was as close as they came.

Scorers for Valley Rovers: E Collins (0-4f), E Manning 1-5 each, S O’Sullivan 0-2, M O’Brien, T Burke 0-1 each.

Scorers for Inniscarra: A O’Mahony 0-4f, C Casey 0-3, S O’Callaghan 1-0, A Sheahan, M Coleman, L O’Brien, T O’Regan 0-1 each.

VALLEY ROVERS: W Burke; C Lynch, N O’Donovan, F Coughlan; J Hurley, C O’Donovan, D Lynch; R O’Donovan, R Butler; B Lehane, E Collins, M O’Brien; S O’Sullivan, T Burke, E Manning.

Subs: R Lehane for O’Brien (41), J Burke for B Lehane (56), T Fitzgerald for T Burke, D Crowley for Butler (both 60).

INNISCARRA: J O’Keeffe; B O’Keeffe, K Burke, G Burke; L Ó Riain, J O’Callaghan, M O’Mahony; A O’Mahony, M Coleman; L O’Brien, A Sheahan, C Casey; J Casey, D O’Connell, T O’Regan.

Subs: F Olden for G Burke (half-time), C Buckley for Sheahan (42), S O’Callaghan for O’Brien.

Referee: D O’Leary (Watergrasshill).

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