Last season’s defeated finalists trailed by the minimum at the interval following a hugely competitive opening 30 minutes from Charleville CBS, but Rochestown stormed clear after the restart making their superiority count on the scoreboard 15 points to 1-6.
Charleville, enjoying the breeze, went four points to one clear but St Francis College fought back to draw level. Paddy O’Loughlin and Jack Barry were two big performers for the CBS while Brian Turnbull and John O’Sullivan went on to bag seven first half points between them for the Roco side. But, when Barry netted right on the brink of half-time following a move initiated by Tom Hanley, the north Cork outfit led 1-6 to 0-8 at the change of ends.
But Rochestown were inspired in the second half.
A run of three unanswered points immediately upon the resumption stated their intent — and only for a truly fantastic save from Cian Collins in the Charleville goal, the margin would have been greater. Another five points were added as they coasted 0-16 to 1-7 in front with the fourth quarter left to play.
All of the Charleville momentum seemed to have evaporated as Rochestown continued to raise their game. Tighter defending, along with a massive work-rate from midfielders John O’Sullivan and Daniel O’Flaherty made sure there was a plentiful supply of ball going forward.
At the other end, the CBS only managed their second point of the half from Tommy Cronnolly on 48 minutes.
Again, St Francis College reeled off the next four points courtesy of a brace each from Ciarán Cormack and Rodhraí Crowley to stretch the gap to nine points as the fourth quarter petered out.
With five minutes remaining, Shane Kingston and O’Sullivan raised white flags to leave the scoreline, 0-22 to 1-9. Sean Griffin and Turnbull traded flags as the game entered its final couple of minutes.
Despite a strong finish from Charleville CBS that saw points from Barry and Cronnolly and a late goal from Liam Barrett, Rochestown had done enough to book their place in the last eight.
B Turnbull (0-10, eight frees), J O’Sullivan (0-5), C Cormack (0-3, one free, one 65m), S Kingston and R Crowley (0-2 each), D O’Flaherty (0-1).
J Barry (1-4, one free), L Barrett (1-0), P O’Loughlin (frees) and T Cronnolly (two frees) (0-3 each), T Hanley and S Griffin (0-1 each).
D O’Mahony (Blackrock); R Ó Colmáin (Blackrock), N Walsh (Douglas), K O’Donovan (Nemo Rangers); D Murphy (Douglas), J Cashman (Blackrock), M McAuliffe (Douglas); J O’Sullivan (Blackrock), D O’Flaherty (Tracton); E O’Brien (Douglas), C Cormack (Blackrock, Capt), R Crowley (Blackrock); S Kingston (Douglas), S Powter (Douglas), B Turnbull (Douglas).
J Golden (Douglas) for B Turnbull, J Holland (Douglas) for K O’Donovan (both 58).
C Collins (Charleville); J Callaghan (Charleville), F Cagney (Charleville), D Hawe (Newtownshandrum); PJ Herr (Effin), P O’Loughlin (Kilmallock, Capt), J Geary (Newtownshandrum); D Guiney (Newtownshandrum), T Cronnolly (Bruree); T Hanley (Ballyhea), J Barry (Charleville), A Fitzgerald (Bruree); L Barrett (Ballyhea), S Griffin (Newtownshandrum), J Meade (Charleville).
N Crowley (Ballyhea) for A Fitzgerald (45).
Diarmuid Kirwan (Cork).