A swirling gale, sporadic rain showers and soft underfoot conditions at Charleville made for a testing afternoon for the students of Nenagh and Rochestown, and it was the Cork school who adapted with far greater ease over the hour. Eleven first-half wides paints the picture of Nenagh’s shooting troubles and Rochestown’s greater economy to this regard, thanks to snipers Cormack and Kingston, ultimately told.
The pair contributed 1-7 of their team’s 3-9, and, indeed, it was Cormack’s goal strike on 41 minutes that would prove most crucial in the outcome, establishing as it did a five-point cushion for the winners. Supported by the elements in the second period, the Cork school were never in danger of being reeled in thereafter. Nenagh’s Ciarán Kelly blasted an injury-time free to the net, but it was a case of too little, too late.
Rochestown selector Humphrey Canty said victory had realised their minimum goal for 2015 — to return to the penultimate round.
“It is great to get back to the semi-final. I really hope we can at least go one step further than last year,” he said.
“Goals were always going to have a big bearing on the game, given the weather conditions. Our third goal arrived at a crucial stage and knocked Nenagh back.
“The wind factor was also huge and the fact that we were ahead at half-time gave us great encouragement. Nenagh hit a lot of wides in the first half when they had the elements. It was important we weren’t wasteful after the break and fair play to the lads, they were very efficient.”
Goals hadn’t been an issue for the Cork school during the group stages and this contest was but 20 seconds old when Liam O’Sullivan, set up by Cormack, pulled to the net. Nenagh absorbed the early setback and responded with a major of their own on six minutes, Anthony Walsh finishing, at the second attempt, a sweeping move involving Ruadhran Mulrooney and Conor Gill.
A Walsh free subsequently stretched their advantage, but then arrived Rochestown’s most productive spell of the tie — 1-3 pilfered without reply in an impressive nine-minute burst.
Cormack (free), a beauty on the run from Kingston and a John Cashman effort completed the overtaking movement, accentuated by a Paddy Lynch goal, the right boot employed to devastating effect. Both Rochestown goals, it must be noted, were of an avoidable nature, stemming from poor defending on the part of the Nenagh full-back line.
Walsh and Andy Loughnane rallied for the Tipperary school, but their spells of dominance had been rendered useless by a wides tally that had climbed into double figures by the break.
Cormack’s second-half goal, the Blackrock forward storming past five blue shirts to create the opening, moved the winners 3-4 to 1-5 clear. A string of points in the final quarter from Kingston (0-2), Sean Power and Cormack (0-2, 0-1 free) closed out the matter.
“The majority of these lads will be out training on Friday night for next week’s Corn Úí Mhuirí quarter-final, so from several perspectives was it crucial this game was played today and that we got the win,” said Canty.
Scorers for St Francis College, Rochestown: C Cormack (1-4, 0-3 frees); P Lynch, L O’Sullivan (1-0 each); S Kingston (0-3); J Cashman, S Power (0-1 each).
Scorers for Nenagh CBS: A Walsh (1-3, 0-3 frees); C Kelly (1-2, 1-2 frees); A Loughnane (0-2); J Clearly (0-1).
ST FRANCIS COLLEGE, 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 (Blacrock); S Kingston (Douglas), D O’Mahony (Douglas), P Lynch (Blackrock); S Power (Douglas), L O’Sullivan (Blackrock), C Cormack (Blackrock).
Subs: D Meaney (Blackrock) for O’Mahony (HT), L Dineen (Douglas) for J O’Sullivan (44 mins), M McAulliffe (Douglas) for L O’Sullivan (50), D Stack (Carrigaline) for Lynch (56).
NENAGH CBS: M Daniels (Silvermines); B Flynn (Nenagh Éire Óg), G O’Connor (Nenagh Éire Óg), J Quigley (Kildangan); E Corcoran (Silvermines), D Peters (Kilruane MacDonaghs), C Kelly (Kildangan); J Cleary (Kilruane MacDonaghs), A Loughnane (Kildangan); J Cahalan (Nenagh Éire Óg), R Mulrooney (Portroe), C Gill (Burgess); A Hayden (Silvermines), R Byrne (Burgess), A Walsh (Nenagh Éire Óg).
Subs: J Morris (Nenagh Éire Óg) for Quigley (25 mins), J Quigley for Peters (HT), A Dunne (Burgess) for Byrne (44), K Nealon (Burgess) for Hayden (58), J Kennedy (Templederry) for Quigley (60).
Referee: D Fox (Clare).