Conditions militated against good football, yet both sides must be credited for an entertaining contest . Crucially, Kanturk emerged the better balanced outfit and once Aidan Walsh punched home a 51st minute goal, his side found more zip and won their second title in three years.
The sides were deadlocked early on before a breeze-assisted Rockchapel availed of an injury to Walsh that necessitated a brief move to full-forward. Rockchapel made the most of it to strike a goal, the Kanturk defence ripped apart, Kevin Collins and Ian Guiney linking up for Seamus Hickey to finish smartly. That goal did much to boost Rockchapel’s as they gathered momentum from the positive efforts of Philip Murphy, Eamon O’Callaghan and Collins as William Murphy and O’Callaghan posted a brace of points. Steadily Kanturk raised the intensity through the assured play of Walsh and Markie Sheehy at midfield, well supported by Dave Riordan, Eoghan O’Connor and the McLoughlin brothers. And Kanturk finished the opening half in fine fettle with points from Donough Duane and Cathal Burke to level it, 0-7 to 1-4.
With the intermittent showers slowing down matters, both sides struggled for supremacy during a scrappy third quarter. Guiney did jink his way through for a lead point to Rockchapel but the exceptional accuracy of Duane did the needful for Kanturk to nudge ahead. Given the conditions, neither side could be faulted for workrate and commitment. From a tight game, a goal was going to be of paramount importance. And for Kanturk, it was a case of the right man in the perfect position, Walsh offered strength and power to punch home a Duane free.
Now, Kanturk’s sharpness and fitness was clearly superior, Anthony Nash thumped over a pair of delightful points. It left Rockchapel facing a huge amount of repair work yet they scrapped feverishly in a barrage of late pressure.
Apart from a Kevin Collins point, Rockchapel never posed enough of a threat on a tenacious Kanturk defence that allowed team captain Eoghan O’Connor accept the silverware.
Scorers for Kanturk: D Duane 0-4 (3fs), A Walsh 1-0, A Nash 0-3, C Burke, L McLoughlin, J Holland, E O’Connor 0-1 each.
Scorers for Rockchapel: S Hickey 1-0, I Guiney 0-2 (1f), B Curtin, M Stack, W Murphy, K Collins (f) 0-1 each.
KANTURK: J Kenneally; L O’Neill, J Healy, S Walsh; D O’Riordan, E O’Connor, J McLoughlin; M Sheehy, A Walsh; A Nash, L McLoughlin, D O’Connor; C Burke, K Holland, D Duane.
Subs: J Lynch for D O’Connor (41), A Sheehy for Burke (57), I Walsh for Duane (61).
ROCKCHAPEL: TJ O’Connor; N O’Callaghan, P Murphy, J O’Callaghan; D J O’Callaghan, B Curtin, C Murphy; E O’Callaghan, J Doody; S Hickey, K Collins, W Murphy; I Guiney, M Stack, L Collins.
Subs: B Cahill for L Collins (inj. 34), M Doody for D J O’Callaghan (51), C Guiney for C Murphy (58).
Referee: D Twomey (Millstreet).