St Francis College, Rochestown were relatively easy victors as they booked their place in next Wednesday’s O’Callaghan Cup final against Gaelcholáiste Mhuire. There have been more than a few curtain-calls for the venue but there will be no more encores and Cormack’s 65 with the final puck denied team-mate Diarmaid O’Mahony the honour of recording the last score.
It would, perhaps, have been fitting had Midleton CBS won, given they were playing in red and white, but Rochestown’s black was more in keeping with the notion of mourning. That said, it was in keeping with a good Irish funeral, as the good memories were called to mind.
The ghosts of those great events were here. Kerry’s Munster final replay win shortly after the 1976 opening, Tadhgie Murphy’s winner in the rain against the Kingdom in ’83 and Cork responding to Tipp’s ‘return to Hell’s Kitchen’ in ’85 – something which saw the venue go without big hurling games for a time.
The uncovered stand will require a new name when rebuilding is complete, but given how cold it was in the shade, it made sense to witness proceedings with the aid of unimpeded sunlight for the last time.
Rochestown meant business, with a 10th-minute goal from Cormack putting them 1-4 to no score ahead and an excellent finish from Seán Powter on 25 helped them to a 2-6 to 0-2 half-time lead.
By three-quarter stage, 11 points separated the teams before a mini-rally from Midleton, with Tom Millerick getting a late point. Referee Diarmuid Kirwan also had the ‘honour’ of brandishing the last red card, Midleton’s Brendan McCarthy the recipient for two bookings.
“We tried not to think about the occasion,” said Rochestown manager Diarmaid Fahy, “it was all about getting to the final. Now we can look back with pride at it though.”
On leaving, last person seen was the man with the most stories to tell, ubiquitous groundsman Tommy Lynch. As it always was.
Rochestown scorers: C Cormack 1-4 (0-1 65), S Powter 1-1, D O’Mahony, J O’Sullivan, P Lynch, L O’Sullivan 0-2 ea.
Scorers for Midleton CBS: J Looney 0-4 (three frees), T Millerick 1-0, K O’Sullivan, J McDonnell, K Broderick, K Moynihan 0-1 ea.
ROCHESTOWN: A Cullinane (Douglas); D Murphy (Douglas), D Griffin (Carrigaline), N Walsh (Douglas); D Kelliher (Cobh), J Cashman (Blackrock), C Sheehan (Douglas); E O’Brien (Douglas), J O’Sullivan (Blackrock); C Cormack (Blackrock), D O’Mahony (Douglas), D Stack (Carrigaline); P Lynch (Blackrock), S Powter (Douglas), L O’Sullivan (Blackrock).
Subs: J Holland (Douglas) for J O’Sullivan, K O’Donovan (Nemo Rangers) for Stack (both 55), M McAuliffe (Douglas) for L O’Sullivan (60).
MIDLETON CBS: S O’Flynn (Carrigtwohill); J Sherlock (Cloyne), I Cahill (Cloyne), B Cashman (Carrigtwohill); S Smyth (Midleton), D Harrington (Fr O’Neills), C Beausang (Midleton); K O’Sullivan (Fr O’Neills), T Millerick (Fr O’Neills); J McDonnell (Aghada), B McCarthy (Carrigtwohill), R Denny (Kiltha Óg); J Looney (Aghada), D Landers (Killeagh), B Dunne (Fr O’Neills).
Subs: K Broderick (Fr O’Neills) for O’Sullivan, S O’Connor (Fr O’Neills) for Cashman, L Dineen (Midleton) for Denny (all half-time), K Moynihan (St Colman’s) for McDonnell (41), K Treacy (Killeagh).
Referee: D. Kirwan (Éire Óg).