Battle all the way for Valleys


Battle all the way for Valleys

Valley Rovers produced a competent second-half display to set up a final meeting with Kerry kingpins Ardfert on November 30.

Rovers looked well on course for a comfortable victory in the first-half as midfielder Gary Farrell’s well-taken ninth minute goal helped to establish a five-point lead, 1-3 to 0-1, with less than 12 minutes on the watch.

But Na Piarsaigh roared back into contention to level matters at 1-4 apiece six minutes before half-time, with corner-forward Kieran Daly cutting in along the endline before slamming a rising drive past Alan Quirke.

Rovers boss Ger Slyne agreed: “A super game of football. People were talking about Na Piarsaigh being predominantly hurling but to me that’s a joke. They had some super footballers there – very quick forwards, got great long-range scores, very good in the back line. They were as good as we’ve met all year.

“In the semi-final of the Munster championship, to get a test like that is as good as 10 training sessions.”

After Daly’s goal, impressive corner-forward Fiachra Lynch responded with a point to edge Rovers 1-5 to 1-4 clear at half-time and they opened the second-half with an Eoghan Delaney point.

Na Piarsaigh, who were held scoreless for a 15-minute spell in the first-half, struggled to get points on the board after half-time, managing just one in the second-half before three late scores brought them back to within touching distance.

But Rovers, who had assured performances from corner back and captain Noel O’Donovan, and Kevin Canty at midfield, held out for a deserved win.

Slyne acknowledged that Ardfert will provide stiff opposition.

Slyne predicted: “Again, it’s going to be a huge battle.

“We believe they’re a very strong team – won a great Kerry championship.

“We’re going to have our hands full again but at this stage of the year, every game is going to be tough.

Goalkeeper Quirke, a 2010 All-Ireland senior medallist with Cork, insisted Rovers were ready for a massive test, with memories of a shock defeat against Cratloe five years ago still fresh in his mind.

He said: “We weren’t expecting anything else to be honest – apparently they have a big tradition of winning county championships in hurling and football and this is effectively their home field.

“We’re very happy with the win – we went to Cratloe four or five years ago (2009) and got a good chasing up there.

“We learned our lesson that day – you don’t take anybody lightly.

“It’s great to be in a Munster Club final – it’s a big occasion for the club and the parishes down there. We look forward to it and we’ll give it a good shot.”

Scorers for Na Piarsaigh: K Daly 1-1, E Hogan 0-3 (2f), A Costello (f), E Egan (f), R McKenna & A Dempsey 0-1 each.

Scorers for Valley Rovers: F Lynch 0-4, G Farrell 1-0, J Cottrell 0-2, K Canty, E Delaney, H O’Donovan (f), M Power & E Manning 0-1 each.

NA PIARSAIGH: B Donnelly; A Finnegan, C Coady, D McLaughlin; M Buckley, K Nolan, P Hodnett; W O’Donoghue, E Kehilly; B Shannon, A Costelloe, E Hogan; E Egan, R McKenna, K Daly.

Subs: A Dempsey for McKenna (44), P Kennedy for Hodnett (48), R Sheehan for Egan (52), N Shannon for Costelloe (59).

VALLEY ROVERS: A Quirke; N O’Donovan, J Lynch, J Lyons; D Crowley, D Lynch, T Cummins; K Canty, G Farrell; D Murphy, J Murphy, E Delaney; J Cottrell, H O’Donovan, F Lynch.

Subs: B Murphy for Lyons (23), E Fallon for J Murphy (42), E Manning for Lynch (51), S Manning for Farrell (56), M Power for D Murphy (57), R Butler for Cottrell (60).

Referee: E Walsh (Kerry).

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