Valley Rovers looked so impressive in this third round Cork Premier IHC tie at Cloughduv yesterday.
Once they got into their stride, there was nothing Inniscarra could do to prevent this powerful, and unexpected, 24-point win. They had quality in all sectors — especially in a prolific full-forward line of Chris O’Leary, Kevin Canty and Eoin O’Reilly who contributed 2-16 between them. They had so much firepower and when right corner-forward O’Leary struck for a brace of crucial goals inside the opening 10 minutes the floodgates opened. The Innishannon side held a convincing 15-point lead at the break and with Inniscarra down to 13 by the 45th minute following straight red cards to Alan Sheehan and Kevin Burke, they had no hope of competing.
While Valley Rovers can look forward to an intriguing fourth round clash with Bandon, Inniscarra face a big ask as they prepare for a relegation final with Kilworth shorn of their suspended full-back and wing-back. Whether they can up their game for this critical tie remains to be seen, but on this occasion they had no answers. Valleys manager Joe Crowley was not at all surprised with their display despite falling to Fermoy and Carrigaline in earlier rounds.
“This is the first time all year we have had our full complement of players. We tried Chris O’Leary up front today and it worked. It took the pressure off of Kevin (Canty) as well. We trained really hard for the last four or five weeks and I always knew this performance was in the players,” he said.
It was a particularly impressive start for his side with O’Leary blasting their two opening scores to the net in the third and seventh minute. The first came after he collected from a long Willie Burke free and the second was opportunist as he whipped a ground shot past John O’Keeffe.
Even at this early stage, the combination work of the full forward trio was becoming apparent with Canty creating the opportunities, and also O’Reilly who was so consistent, in particular, from the dead ball. The Rovers could have had another couple of goals but for the alertness of O’Keeffe between the posts for Inniscarra.
Inniscarra had a decent enough opening firing two points from Colm Casey and Aidan O’Mahony. However, overall they only had a pair of points from play with only one flag to show for the entire second-half from sub Tomás O’Connor and this was registered 20 seconds after the restart. Sean O’Donoghue also had a penalty saved. They trailed 2-13 to 0-4 at the interval.
So, a tough day at the office for Ger Manley’s side. As for Valleys, it is upwards and onwards. They were equally as majestic in defence and at midfield as they were in attack. Richie Butler was introduced for the final 10 minutes and rounded off a splendid afternoon with their third goal a minute from time.
E O’Reilly (0-10, seven frees), C O’Leary (2-3), R Butler (1-0), K Canty (0-3), D Crowley (0-2), W Burke (free) and J Walsh (0-1 each).
A O’Mahony (0-3 frees), T O’Connor and C Casey (0-1 each).
W Burke; F Coughlan, N O’Donovan, T O’Brien; J Lynch, D Lynch, C Desmond; G Farrell, D Looney; F Lynch, J Walsh, D Crowley; C O’Leary, K Canty, E O’Reilly.
J Cottrell for J Lynch (BS 38-40), J Cottrell for T O’Brien (BS 42-44), R Butler for C O’Leary (52), J Cottrell for D Crowley (54), B Crowley for J Walsh (55), E Delaney for F Lynch (57), J Hurley for J Lynch (58).
J O’Keeffe; D Barry, G Burke, K Burke; A Sheehan, J O’Callaghan, C Buckley; F Olden, S O’Donoghue; A O’Mahony, C Casey, J Casey; K Rice, D O’Connell, D O’Keeffe.
S O’Callaghan for J Casey, T O’Connor for K Rice (both half-time), T Murphy for A O’Mahony (43), P Farmer for D Barry (54), T O’Regan for F Olden (55).
Mark Maher (St Finbarr’s).