The new champions can look forward to playing in the intermediate grade in 2013 — after a hard-earned win over Kilmurry — following in the footsteps of Kanturk, who were successful 12 months ago.
A quarter of century on from Rockchapel’s last county junior title, it was a goal from Seamus Hickey that ultimately decided the outcome in the third quarter.
Manager Tom Doody didn’t hide his delight.
“This is one of the proudest days of my life. I played with Rockchapel 40 years ago. And to come back after 40 years and train them — my nephews, my cousins, my neighbours, it is the best feeling you could ever have, to win a county final with them. We started training on the January 8, running the roads up in Rockchapel in frost and snow. I said ‘lads we are not doing this for fun, this is for a bigger day’.”
That day arrived yesterday. Like the drawn match, it won’t be remembered as a classic but few in Rockchapel will worry about that this morning. Kilmurry came close, especially after their productive start (leading 0-3 to 0-0) but their brave challenge agonisingly fell short. A goal was always going to be crucial and when influential sub William Murphy set up Hickey on 42 minutes, the tie swung Rockchapel’s way.
The momentum was with Kilmurry in the opening stages, kicking three points from William Buckley (two frees) and Pat O’Sullivan. But, they failed to raise a flag again for 20 minutes as Rockchapel found their feet after Liam Collins opening their account with a 16th minute free. Within five minutes, they were level as Daniel Curtin and Hickey were on target. The sides both enjoyed periods of dominance but were unable to convert their chances. The final 10 minutes produced just one score, an Ian Guiney point which left Rockchapel 0-4 to 0-3 ahead at the break.
Kilmurry, with the wind, stormed from the blocks and took the lead with points from James White and William Buckley. But then came the game’s turning point as sub William Murphy did the ground work before Hickey atoned for an earlier miss with a superb finish past Jason McDonald.
Hickey combined with Guiney, to increase the advantage 1-5 to 0-5 as Rockchapel defended in droves. Entering the final five minutes, William Buckley capitalised on a Rockchapel error to cut the margin to two points but again Doody’s men replied, with super sub Murphy firing a superb point.
The gap was three points but typically Kilmurry pegged back another score through Paudie O’Connell before Murphy again answered the call and landed another fine score.
With Rockchapel defending in numbers Kilmurry could find no way through as Doody’s men held out for a memorable victory.
Scorers for Rockchapel: S Hickey 1-2, W Murphy 0-2, L Collins (free), D Curtin and I Guiney 0-1 each.
Scorers for Kilmurry: W Buckley 0-4 (0-3 frees), J White, P O’Connell and P O’Sullivan 0-1 each.
ROCKCHAPEL: T Collins; P Murphy, B Curtin, E O’Callaghan; B Cahill, K Collins (Capt), J O’Callaghan; D J O’Callaghan, J Doody; D J O’Sullivan, D Curtin, S Hickey; I Guiney, J Forrest, L Collins.
Subs: W Murphy for D Curtin (37), N O’Callaghan for J O’Callaghan (48), M Doody for B Cahill (62).
KILMURRY: J McDonald; E Barrett (Capt), KBarrett, W Barrett; L Long, D O’Leary, I Murphy; J White, E Creedon; P O’Sullivan, D O’Halloran, J Buckley; G Barrett, J Kelleher, W Buckley.
Subs: A O’Sullivan for G Barrett (36 inj), F Crowley for I Murphy (47), P O’Connell for J Buckley (55).
Referee: M Collins (Clonakilty).