Before Christmas, the school won the O’Callaghan Cup, the top schools hurling title in Cork, and last week reached the Dr Harty Cup semi-finals. A clash with Coláiste Chríost Rí in Cork football final, the Simcox Cup, awaits, too.
Despite not scoring a point until the 39th minute, Sceilge had come to within two points in the last minute of normal time.
When their midfielder Mark Sugrue launched a delivery into Diarmuid Keating, it was a chance to win the game but, though he did well to create space for a chance, Rochestown’s Seán Powter made a heroic block on the line. It was the last big play of the game.
Rochestown selector Liam Sheehan knew that his team might have been denied, but he was satisfied with a well-executed second-half performance. “It was nip and tuck all the way through,” he said.
“We kept it and worked the scores in the second-half, fellas used their heads whereas, in the first-half we tried to force it a bit. We’re just delighted to get over the line.”
The first-half was strange. Rochestown showed great incision at times but six wides hampered them. Though limited to just four attacks of substance, Coláiste na Sceilge mined two goals from them and at half-time they trailed by two, 1-5 to 2-0.
While Shane Kingston, the shining light in the Rochestown attack, had opened the scoring, O’Dwyer struck for a third-minute goal after good work by Keating and Darren Casey. Ultimately, it would prove to be the only time they would lead.
Though Brian Sugrue was getting through a lot of work at midfield, the Kerry side were back on the back foot for much of it. While Sceilge full-back Anthony O’Driscoll stood out, a Kingston free was followed by an Evan Ryle goal for Rochestown, the attacker profiting after Liam O’Sullivan had cut through the cover.
By the 17th minute, it was 1-4 to 1-0, but Sceilge stayed in touch thanks to their second goal. Sugrue launched the ball into Casey, who used his pace to good effect, and his ball across allowed Anthony Cournane an easy finish.
A Kingston free — his fourth point — ensured a Rochestown response and they should have pushed further clear, but three turnovers in the latter stages of the half failed to yield anything.
Rochestown eased four points clear early in the second-half, Kingston with two more frees as well as having a shot off the crossbar. While Sceilge sub Jack Daly finally got their first point, a Rochestown replacement, Daniel Meaney, had two good points and brought composure around the middle.
The switching of Seán Powter onto Casey had limited the Sceilge attacker’s creativity, but points from Cournane (two) and Sugrue left them in touching distance. It was as close as they came and Rochestown can continue to dream.
Scorers for St Francis College, Rochestown: S Kington 0-6 (four frees), E Ryle 1-0, D Meaney 0-2, B McAuliffe 0-1.
Scorers for Coláiste na Sceilge: A Cournane 1-2 (two frees), A O’Dwyer 1-0, M Sugrue, J Daly 0-1.
ST FRANCIS COLLEGE, ROCHESTOWN: P Lynch (St Michael’s); N Walsh (Douglas), N Quirke (Carrigaline), D Murphy (Douglas); D Kelleher (Cobh), D Griffin (Carrigaline), S Powter (Douglas); E O’Brien (Douglas), L Dineen (Douglas); L O’Sullivan (St Michael’s), S Kingston (Douglas), E Ryle (Carrigaline); B McAuliffe (Douglas), M McAuliffe (Douglas), C Cormack (St Michael’s).
Subs: D Meaney (St Michael’s) for Murphy (half-time), K O’Donovan (Nemo Rangers) for Ryle (33, black card), C Sheehan (Douglas) for B McAuliffe (46), J Holland (Douglas) for Cormack (49), B Flahive (Douglas) for M McAuliffe (58), S Collins (Douglas) for O’Sullivan (60).
COLÁISTE NA SCEILGE: E O’Sullivan (St Michael’s/Foilmore); S O’Connor (Dromid Pearses), A O’Driscoll (Skellig Rangers), A Curran (Renard); B Murphy (Skellig Rangers), B Sugure (Renard), G O’Sullivan (Dromid Pearses); M Sugure (Renard), S Lynch (Valentia); A O’Dwyer (Waterville), D O’Donoghue (Dromid Pearses), B O’Connell (St Michael’s/Foilmore); D Casey (St Mary’s), A Cournane (St Mary’s), D Keating (Skellig Rangers).
Subs: J Daly (St Michael’s) for Lynch (half-time), K Farrelly (Dromid Pearses) for O’Dwyer (34, black card), N Brennan (St Michael’s) for O’Donoghue (50, injured).
Referee: D O’Mahony (Tipperary).