All the ingredients looked in place for a classic clash with glorious sunshine, a superbly prepared pitch and heaving crowds.
Sadly that excitement was quickly extinguished as a superbly drilled Rossa side, with two goals in a three-minute spell, ran out the easiest of winners.
Even winning manager Shane Crowley was surprised by the ease of victory.
He admitted: “We expected a far tougher game from Clon even with their injury problems, but the save from the penalty by Ryan Price probably knocked the wind out of their sails, and gave us the momentum to drive on.
“One of the most pleasing aspects of our game was our work rate. I have to say the lads, every one of them, worked their socks off.
“The pressure (of facing into a relegation battle) is off now and we’ll enjoy the break both physically and mentally because there was a certain about of anxiety going into a game of this magnitude.”
Rossa owed much to their county senior player Donal Óg Hodnett who dominated midfield and Kevin Davis who was superb at right corner forward.
Hodnett covered huge swathes of the pitch while Davis contributed five points and set up a goal for wing back Mark Collins.
Clon were hugely disappointing. With three West Cork U21 titles in a row under their belts, much was expected of them, but apart from Fionn Coughlan, Jack O’Mahony and Barry O’Mahony — he came on as a sub and contributed five points — they offered little in terms of resistance and have a lot of work to do to avoid the dreaded relegation battle.
To be fair to them, their cause wasn’t helped by the loss of their county player Tom Clancy with an ankle injury just before half time, and a penalty miss early in the second half at a time when they were aided by the wind.
With Kevin Davis running riot in attack, Rossa scored at will against a very porous defence.
Goals from Mark Collins and rocket from Páidí Crowley had them 2-9 to 0-6 in front at half-time, and only the crossbar denied young Davis another.
With the wind to their backs Clon made a decent start to the second half and won a penalty after Jonathan Leahy was taken down, but the Skibb netminder Ryan Price saved well from Leahy.
With it went Clon’s chance of turning the game around.
With Hodnett ruling the roost around the middle, Rossa proceeded to knock over the points with ease, and Clon were grateful for the final whistle when it eventually came.
K. Davis 0-5 (0-3 frees); D. Shannon 0-4; P. Crowley 1-1; M. Collins 1-0; R. Long, S. Carmody, C. McCarthy, D. Ó Hodnett, T. Hegarty 0-1 each.
B. O’Mahony 0-5 (0-3 frees); T. Anglin 0-2; T. Clancy, D. O’Regan, J. Mahony 0-1 each.
R. Price; R. Hodnett, P. Nealon, J. Keohane; M. Collins, J. O’Sullivan, D. Hazel; D. Óg Hodnett, S. Carmody; R. Long, T. Hegarty, P. Crowley; C. Crowley, D. Shannon, K. Davis.C. McCarthy for R. Hodnett (black card, 35); D. O’Brien for R. Long (45); S. Crowley for C. Crowley (50); S. O’Brien for S. Carmody (56); E. O’Donovan for S. Crowley (black card, 60).
P. O’Regan; C. Sheehy, F. Coughlan, L. Lyons; T. O’Connell, T. Clancy, M. Sheehy; S . Nagle, S. White; G. Murray, D. O’Regan, G. Barry; J. O’Mahony, T. Anglin, S. McEvoy.D. Murphy for T. O’Connell (16); B. O’Mahony for D. O’Regan (22); B. O’Shea for S. Nagle (black card, 25); C. O’Donovan for T. Clancy (half time); J. Leahy for G. Barry (half time); P. O’Sullivan for C. Sheehy (35).
C. Lane (Banteer).