As half-time approached, CBC trailed 0-8 to 0-3, after being generally outclassed. Their challenge was reignited though as star forward Tommy O’Connell’s shot squeezed past Jason Murray to leave them trailing by just two points at the break.
Though Roco’s Simon Kennefick opened the second-half scoring, four on the trot from CBC, O’Connell with three and Declan Hannon getting the other, put them ahead. John O’Sullivan levelled for Roco with his fourth point, a free, but thereafter Christians took control.
Tied at 1-7 to 0-10 on 38 minutes, CBC scored 2-9 and conceded just a solitary point from there until the 52nd minute. Robert Downey, named at midfield, was a valuable outlet at full-forward under high deliveries and it was his win from centre-back Eoin Moloney’s ball in on 40 which allowed a lay-off to Hanlon, who controlled and finished smartly.
That gave them daylight and Hanlon, O’Connell, and Downey all added further points as the game slipped away from Rochestown. O’Sullivan did have a free for them but O’Connell answered that with a wonderful point, his sixth, and then Downey netted, bundling home after Cormac Murphy provided him with possession.
The points came in a procession after that and with eight minutes left, 3-16 to 0-11 reflected CBC’s dominance, with Moloney totemic at centre-back while Mark Walsh and Shane Finn worked tirelessly.
Rochestown gave themselves a glimmer of hope as James Holland pointed and then managed to scramble the ball in for a goal. When Brian Turnbull goaled from O’Sullivan’s free, it was 3-17 to 2-12 and, as injury time dawned, O’Sullivan was fouled for a penalty, which he despatched himself, but time was never going to accommodate a comeback.
It all seemed so different in the opening period, when O’Sullivan and Dylan Ward did much to dictate the play for Roco in midfield. Having conceded the opener to Downey, they had six points in a row as the full-forward line of Turnbull, Holland and Matthew McAuliffe suggested that they might catch fire.
Even when O’Connell got his first and CBC’s second after the quarter-hour mark, it wasn’t the spark for them to gain a foothold and Ward’s second point, after a well-worked move on 24, ensured Roco stayed on top. From Jack Towmey’s pass, however, O’Connell was able to make space for a shot and the goal was a momentum-changer. Few could have expected the extent of that change, however.
T O’Connell (1-8, 4 frees, 1 65), R Downey (1-3), D Hanlon (1-2), M Walsh, C McNamara (0-2 each), J Twomey (0-1).
J O’Sullivan (1-5, 1-0 penalty, 4 frees, 1 65), B Turnbull (1-2), J Holland (1-1), D Ward (0-2), M McAuliffe, S Kennefick (0-1 each).
D Heffernan (Mallow); C Barrett (St Finbarr’s), C Power (Blarney), A Cronin (Glen Rovers); B Keohane (Ballincollig), E Moloney (Midleton), C Flynn (Na Piarsaigh); M Walsh (Cloughduv), R Downey (Glen Rovers); J Twomey (Kilshannig), C McNamara (Erin’s Own), C Murphy (Na Piarsaigh); T O’Connell (Midleton), D Hanlon (Blarney), S Finn (Midleton).
E McCarthy (Inniscarra) for Downey (53), J Corkery (Glen Rovers) for Hanlon (Blarney).
J Murray (Douglas); J Golden (Douglas), R Coleman (Blackrock), J Lyons (Nemo Rangers); J Fenton (Ballygarvan), S O’Callaghan (Blackrock), C Vaughan (Carrigaline); J O’Sullivan (Blackrock), D Ward (Douglas); S Kennefick (Glen Rovers), C Denn (Douglas), D Andrews (Shamrocks); B Turnbull (Douglas), M McAuliffe (Douglas), J Holland (Douglas).
B Powter (Douglas) for Denn, J Ryan (St Finbarr’s) for O’Callaghan, C Baldwin (Douglas) for McAuliffe (all 50), S Cormack (Blackrock) for Andrews (53).
D Kirwan (Éire Óg).