Dolan turns on style as Rochestown rule again

St Francis College, Rochestown 1-13 Thurles CBS 0-11

Dolan picked off 1-6 for the winners as Rochestown set up a semi-final showdown with Scoil Na Trionoide Naofa, Doon.

It’s been a remarkable first season in the Harty Cup for Rochestown and the emergence of this city outfit as a major force in Munster schools hurling is a massive boost for the wider Cork hurling community.

Coach Diarmuid Fahy, a Limerick native, remarked: “I knew we had the potential, we have the hurlers and you could never question the attitude. When things went right, they went right. A few of our games could have gone either way and the same applied today.

“We were well aware of the history and tradition of Thurles CBS coming up here and we’re delighted, thrilled.”

Despite missing prolific forward Mark O’Connor following a hip surgery, Rochestown still had too much firepower, know-how and physical presence for seven-time winners Thurles CBS.

Dolan’s poacher’s goal would prove decisive but Rochestown were also well served by centre-back Niall Cashman and Shane Kingston. Kingston picked off three fine long-range points, including two classy scores in the first-half, with Aaron Ward also contributing well with two points from midfield.

A slight breeze favoured Rochestown in the first-half and while the Cahir sod was heavy in parts, the rain thankfully stayed away. The sides were level at 0-2 apiece before Cashman’s long ball evaded the Thurles cover and Dolan nipped in to finish smartly from close range in the 11th minute.

At half-time, Rochestown were 1-7 to 0-5 clear but Thurles opened the second-half with three unanswered points to cut the deficit back to two. Ciarán Cormack responded with a Rochestown point in the 41st minute, their opening score of the second-half, before Thurles hit back again through Ronan Heffernan.

Points from Dolan (free) and Ward pushed Rochestown 1-10 to 0-9 in front and while Cormack could have put the result beyond any doubt eight minutes from time, Thurles corner- back Enda Heffernan pulled off a diving block.

Twice down the home straight, Thurles reduced the gap to three points but they could never fashion a genuine goal chance and brilliant late points from Dolan and Kingston sealed a landmark win.

Heffernan, Brendan Larkin and Chris McCullagh enjoyed solid outings for Thurles CBS and while Mikey Connors picked off three points from play, there was a general lack of firepower, aggression and ball winning ability in the Thurles attack. Some of the ball going into the Thurles forwards was not ‘forward friendly’ either but Rochestown had players capable of out-muscling their opponents.

Scorers for St Francis College, Rochestown: M Dolan 1-6 (0-5f), S Kingston 0-3, A Ward 0-2, C Cormack & L O’Sullivan 0-1 each.

Scorers for Thurles CBS: M Connors & J Woods (3f) 0-3 each, L Moloney 0-2 (1f), M Stakelum, R Heffernan & R Long 0-1 each.

ST FRANCIS COLLEGE, ROCHESTOWN: G Connolly; D O’Connor, J Cashman, D Kelleher; D Griffin, N Cashman, D Long; D Meaney, A Ward; C Cormack, C Kingston, S Kingston; P Lynch, M Dolan, C Sheehan.

Sub: L O’Sullivan for Sheehan (46).

THURLES CBS: G Ryan; R Nally, C Ryan, E Heffernan; B Larkin C McCullagh, J Skehan; M Stakelum, R Heffernan; N Heffernan, T Tierney, B McCarthy; M Connors, L Moloney, J Woods.

Subs: R Long for N Heffernan (53), R Teehan for Woods (54), E Fanning for Tierney (56).

Referee: T O’Sullivan (Waterford).

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