Midfielder Jack Clifford inspired Coláiste na Sceilge to victory over a fancied St Francis College, Rochestown, in an epic Corn Uí Mhuirí round 2 contest played in Farranfore.
It was a gripping clash between two evenly matched sides but Coláiste na Sceilge displayed better teamwork with four competitive games under the belt, including a run to the Kerry Colleges O’Sullivan Cup final. It was Rochestown’s first competitive outing of the year and it showed as they were guilty at times of a lack of cohesion which led to costly turnovers.
Alongside Clifford's dominance at midfield with Kain O’Shea, Alex Coffey was a colossus at centre-back. Rochestown troubled the Kerry side early on with Bryan Hayes and William Buckley kicking points but the pace of William Galvin forced Rochestown to cough up soft frees and O’Shea had levelled the contest by the sixth minute. Hayes then kicked two superb points from the right wing and the Cork side led 0-4 to 0-2 at the water break.
Coláiste na Sceilge were denied a goal in the 17th minute when last year’s Cork minor keeper Mikey O’Connell somehow turned a Donagh O’Sullivan shot around the post and things looked bright for Rochestown when Seán Brady drove through the middle and buried the ball in the Sceilge net.
But the Kerry side hit back with two Ian O’Sullivan points and then a goal scored by Kieran Corcoran, who beat O’Connell to a Breece O’Sullivan centre, ensured the sides retired level at 1-4 apiece at half-time.
Again Rochestown appeared to have gained the initiative when Conor O’Donovan was taken down for a penalty in the 35th minute and though Cian O’Sullivan made a double save from Adrien Thibaut's spot-kick, Evan O’Connor drilled the loose ball home. But Sceilge responded within two minutes with a brilliant Corcoran goal to level the contest again.
Points from Ian O’Sullivan and Corcoran saw Colaiste Na Sceilge lead 2-6 to 2-4 at the water break.
By the 50th minute, Rochestown were back in front thanks to a goal from another penalty by Thibaut but again the lead was short-lived as Galvin found the net and late points from O’Shea and Corcoran ensured the victory.
K Corcoran 2-2, W Galvin 1-0, K O’Shea 0-3 frees, I O’Sullivan 0-3, 2 frees.
S Brady, A Thibaut (pen), E O’Connor 1-0 each, B Hayes 0-3, W Buckley 0-2 frees, P Harding 0-1.
C O’Sullivan; Z Fayen, C O’Donoghue, Sam O’Driscoll; Oisin O’Sullivan, A Coffey, T Kelly; J Clifford, K O’Shea; B O’Sullivan, E Daly, W Galvin; I O’Sullivan, K Corcoran, D O’Sullivan.
S Kennedy for Z Fayen (44), B Egan for B O’Sullivan (44), B O’Donoghue for E Daly (55), J Clifford for C O’Donoghue (inj 60).
M O’Connell; D Buckley, S Cummins, C Murphy; A Thibaut, B McCarthy, T O’Brien; C Buckley, K Lyons; W Buckley, S Brady, C O’Donovan; M Murray, E O’Connor, B Hayes.
P Harding for M Murray (h-t), A Buckley for C O’Donovan (inj 35), O McAdoo for C Murphy (44), B Kelliher for T O’Brien (53), M O’Sullivan for B Hayes (60).
M Murphy (Tralee).