Trailing 1-5 to 0-4 at half-time after playing against the wind, the Innishannon side limited their opponents to just two points — one right at the end — as they were rampant at the other end.
Valley’s progression to a semi-final with Macroom comes on the back of last week’s U21AFC final win over Clonakilty, with seven of those players starting and two more coming on. Despite the half-time deficit, they never panicked and coach Paul Cronin paid tribute to his side’s composure shown.
“We definitely have a bit of belief this year, that no matter what situation we find ourselves in we can keep going.,” he said.
“At half-time, everything in the dressing room was positive and we came out and showed the way we can play. Maybe Kiskeam were hoping that we’d be out celebrating after the U21 but we trained on Monday and we had 34 fellas there.”
Fiachra Lynch’s penalty in the 40th minute, to put Valleys 1-7 to 1-6 ahead, was the pivotal score. Lynch finished with 1-2, but most of his good work came at midfield after a first-half swap with Kevin Canty paid dividends.
That score, following a magnificent catch, came in the 54th minute and opened up a 1-9 to 1-6 lead as Valleys began to pull away.
In the second-half, strong and stout defending repelled any Kiskeam forays while Lynch and Chris O’Donovan owned the skies around the middle. Canty was a valuable outlet at full-forward, and the overall scoring spread was best illustrated by the fact four players — Canty, Jack Lyons, Darragh Murphy and Hughie O’Donovan — each got two points and corner-forward John Cottrell three.
Lyons exemplified the effort, carrying out his wing-back duties with great efficiency and then aiding the attack when he could, and his second point followed Lynch’s to leave four in it.
Kiskeam’s race was run by then, and Hughie O’Donovan, Cottrell and sub Eoin Delaney all got on the scoresheet, leaving David Scannell’s late Kiskeam point a consolation.
When Canty’s late score left seven in it, it was hard to credit that this was the same game as a half-hour previously. Then, Kiskeam full-forward Billy Dennehy and Robert Carroll had profited from the excellent build-up play of captain Mike Herlihy as they kept Valleys on the back foot. Dennehy’s ninth-minute penalty made it 1-2 to 0-3, and as Valleys struggled in for scores the Duhallow side asserted themselves.
But for an excellent Alan Quirke save from Niall Cronin, Kiskeam would have been further in front, but even allowing for Murphy’s late point for Rovers, they still looked in a good position as they turned with a four-point advantage. As the wind rose, so did Valleys, and it is they who advance.
Scorers for Valley Rovers: F Lynch 1-2 (1-0 penalty), J Cottrell 0-3, J Lyons, K Canty, D Murphy, H O’Donovan (one free) 0-2 each, E Delaney 0-1.
Scorers for Kiskeam: B Dennehy 1-2 (one free), R Carroll 0-3, M Herlihy, D SCannell 0-1 each.
VALLEY ROVERS: A Quirke; N O’Donovan, D Lynch, T Cummins; J Lyons, M Power, D Crowley; K Canty, C O’Donovan; H O’Donovan, D Murphy, E Fallon; J Cottrell, F Lynch, J Murphy.
Subs: J Lynch for Power (26), E Delaney for Fallon (42), R Butler for D Murphy, B Murphy for Crowley (both 60).
KISKEAM: A Casey; AJ O’Connor, J Dennehy, DJ Casey; P O’Leary, D Linehan, S Linehan; M Casey, E O’Mahony; D Fitzgerald, M Herlihy, R Carroll; D Scannell, B Dennehy, N Cronin.
Subs: T O’Sullivan for Fitzgerald (48), G Casey for Carroll (54, injured).
Referee: S O’Leary (Mallow).