In the end, it was fairly straightforward for Rochestown’s St Francis College as they booked the final Dr Harty Cup quarter-final place by beating Blackwater CS in Fermoy yesterday.
Knowing a win or a draw would be enough to take the second spot in Group 2 behind winners Dungarvan CBS, Rochestown must have had some fears after losing out in not-dissimilar circumstances in the Corn Uí Mhuirí last week. As it turned out, they need not have worried as they dealt with the task in a calm and composed manner dashing Midleton CBS’s chances in the process.
Full-forward Mark O’Connor was on song, hitting 2-6 – all from placed balls – while Aaron Ward got 2-2 from midfield and Shane Kingston and David King both chipped in with fine points. In addition, centre-back Niall Cashman provided leadership, also scoring a couple of long-range efforts.
Once O’Connor’s 20m free found the net in the fifth minute for a 1-1 to 0-2 lead, Rochestown never trailed and though Aidan O’Dywer hit a few frees for Blackwater, Ward made it 2-4 to 0-4, profiting from David King’s pass before producing a good finish.
Blackwater – missing Waterford minors Shane Bennett, Colm Roche and Micheál Kearney – were always going to struggle to reel back such a deficit. By half-time Rochestown had forged further ahead, O’Connor with another goal from a free helping them to lead 3-9 to 0-6 at half-time.
The Waterford school did get a glimmer of hope when Cian Leamy goaled early in the second-half after Shane Kenny’s shot had been half-blocked, but Rochestown responded well as O’Connor, Ward and Kingston all pointed.
Ward’s second goal with 12 minutes left made it 4-16 to 1-9 and while Blackwater never gave up, with O’Dwyer and David Prendergast scoring in the final stages, Ciarán Cormack wrapped things up for Rochestown with a fifth goal. While they finish level on six points with Dungarvan CBS, the Waterford school take top spot on account of having won the meeting of the sides.
There was one other game yesterday, the Group 3 clash between already-eliminated St Flannan’s and St Colman’s. The Ennis school claimed victory, 1-14 to 1-7, to take third spot behind qualifiers Ardscoil Rís and Hamilton High School.
Scorers for St Francis College: M O’Connor 2-6 (2-5 frees, one 65), A Ward 2-2, S Kingston 0-4, D King 0-3, C Cormack 1-1, N Cashman 0-2 (one free).
Scorers for Blackwater CS: A O’Dwyer 0-6 (four frees), C Leamy 1-2 (one free), D Prendergast 0-3, A Molumphy, J Beecher 0-1 each.
G Connolly (Blackrock); D O’Connor (Blackrock), D Long (Douglas), D Kelliher (Cobh); D Griffin (Carrigaline), N Cashman (Blackrock), C Kingston (Douglas); D Meaney (Blackrock), A Ward (Douglas); C Cormack (Blackrock), M Dolan (Douglas), S Kingston (Douglas); D King (Blackrock), M O’Connor (Douglas), P Lynch (Blackrock).
Subs: C Sheehan (Douglas) for Lynch (39), E O’Brien (Douglas) for O’Connor (48), N O’Mullane (Blackrock) for C Kingston (50), J Cashman (Blackrock) for Kelliher (52), M Sexton (Douglas) for King (54).
J McGrath (Modeligo); A Flynn (Lismore), J Tobin (Tallow), D McDonagh (Ballyduff Upper); S Murray (Cappoquin-Affane), S O’Brien (St Catherine’s), E Murray (Cappoquin-Affane); C Leamy (Ballyduff Upper), A Molumphy (Cappoquin-Affane); J Beecher (Tallow), A O’Dwyer (Geraldines), D Prendergast (Lismore); R Landers (Lismore), S Kenny (Geraldines), J Prendergast (Lismore).
Subs: A Whelan (Lismore) for S Murray (25), D Mangan (Tallow) for E Murray (29), A Casey (Ballyduff Upper) for Landers (46), C Galvin (St Catherine’s) for McGrath (48).
D Copps (Ballyhea).
The draws for the Dr Harty Cup and Corn Uí Mhuirí will take place at the Munster Council’s offices in Limerick tonight at 8.30pm. Group winners are seeded, while they cannot meet the teams they have already played.
Group winners: Thurles CBS, Dungarvan CBS, Ardscoil Rís, Charleville CBS.
Runners-up: St Fintan’s CBS Doon, St Francis College Rochestown, Hamilton High School, Our Lady’s Secondary School Templemore.
Group winners: Coláiste na Sceilge, Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne, DLS Macroom, St Brendan’s College.
Runners-up: Coláiste Chríost Rí, IS Killorglin, St Flannan’s College, St Fachtna’s DLS.