Regrets but no ribbons for Pobalscoil Corca Dhuibhne and Rochestown College

Pobal Scoil Chorca Dhuibhne (Kerry) 1-10 St Francis College, Rochestown (Cork) 1-10
Two of the best college football teams in the country saddled up for Saturday’s Corn Uí Mhuirí final in Killarney, but neither really got out of the starting gate.

Not that either school had a duty of entertainment. Finals are for winning. But even if Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne or Rochestown College had managed to breast the tape first, the celebrations might have dulled that sense of disappointment one feels leaving the cinema when the movie hasn’t matched the stellar reviews.

Rochestown mentor Liam Sheehan felt it was their worst display of the season, and though that was exaggerated, one understood the sentiment.

It were mostly borne of frustration, because the Cork school — denied a Harty Cup final victory last weekend by Thurles CBS — had chiselled out a one-point lead heading into injury time that they hardly deserved.

They should curse the indiscipline of one of their forwards who needlessly fouled a Dingle defender when the ball had travelled upfield — the resultant free from where the ball landed was expertly and nervelessly pointed from 35m by Gaeltacht’s Seamus Ó Muirceartaigh for the draw.

The replay is slated for next weekend, but the where and when is still to be decided. What is certain is that both managements have plenty of work to do from the DVD.

If Rochestown’s gutsiness is to be lauded, Dingle’s structure and ball skills were superior. When they went 1-7 to 0-5 in front six minutes after half-time, it was reasonable to expect they’d kick on.

Pobalscoil had profited from a generous slice of luck with their first-half goal, Kerry U21 panellist and wing back Tom O’Sullivan’s kick deflecting over the Rochestown keeper in the 15th minute. Even then the sloppy turnover that presented them with possession was indicative of Rochestown’s inability to retain the ball around midfield, quite often under little pressure.

Their manager Liam Ó Murchú pointed out after that the players have only returned to the big ball last week after a fortnight preparing for the Harty final. It’s a legitimate excuse, because they looked anything but comfortable in possession.

However, they are nothing if not game and when Shane Kingston, their go-to forward, popped a point, and Evan Ryle added another, they were back to within a score (1-7 to 0-7) with 41 minutes gone.

The slice of fortune they required arrived with 12 minutes left, a Daniel Meaney effort for a point dropping short for Ciaran Cormack to fist in off the underside of the crossbar. Level game.

Cue Corca Dhuibhne’s one true glimpse of the poise that carried them to All-Ireland success last year and to three Corn Ui Mhuirí before that — Aidan O’Connor, Tom O’Sullivan and particularly Brian Begley — another in with Darragh Ó Sé’s Under 21 panel — surged forward from half-back to reclaim the initiative. Points from Ger Brosnan and Conor Geaney (free) followed.

The sense that Rochestown’s self-belief was ebbing was underlined by a couple of missed frees from Kingston, but with four minutes remaining he popped an easy one to reduce it to 1-9 to 1-8.

Rochestown introduced Liam Dineen at wing back, and he won a vital kick-out to set up the attack that produced Kingston’s equalising point.

Briefly, we saw the intensity — from their talisman Sean Powter — that has brought Rochestown so far this season. A marauding attack up the wing concluded with Powter clipping over what should have been a winner.

In truth, neither side done enough Saturday to lift the blue riband of Munster colleges football.

So whose regret is greater? Rochestown will hardly be as negligent with the ball. But one wonders when does the mental fatigue of some many big games in a short timeframe begin to weary players. Were they to keep winning in football and hurling, they could be occupied up to the middle of March.

Dingle have less dual code complications, ergo they should be fresher. They were profligate in front of goals, and their free-taking also left something to be desired. If their relief at getting a replay was greater, so too will be their determination not to fritter away winning positions next Sunday.

Scorers for PS Chorca Dhuibhne: C. O Geigheannaigh (0-5, three frees); Tom O’Sullivan (1-1), S O Muirceartaigh (0-2, one free), M O Gormain, G Hici O Brosnachain (0-1 each).

Scorers for Rochestown: S Kingston (0-6, 3 frees); C Cormack (1-1), S Powter, E Ryle, L

O’Sullivan (0-1 each).

PS CHORCA DHUIBHNE: L de Bhailis (Dingle); C Ó Suilleabhain (Dingle), T ‘Leo’ Ó Suilleabhain (Dingle), C Ó Murchu (Gaeltacht); A Ó Conchuir (Dingle), B O Beaglaoich (Gaeltacht) T. Ó Sullivan (Dingle); P Mac an tSithigh (Dingle), M Ó Conchuir (Dingle); G Hicí Ó Brosnachain (Dingle), S Ó Muirceartaigh (Gaeltacht), M Ó Gormain (Gaeltacht); C Ó Geigheannaigh (Dingle) S Ó Garbhai (Gaeltacht), C Ó Bambaire (Dingle).

Subs: B Mac an Bradan (Renvyle) for Mac an tSitigh (44).

ROCHESTOWN COLLEGE: P Lynch (St Michael’s); D Kelleher (Cobh), N Quirke (Carrigaline), D Murphy (Douglas); N Walsh (Douglas), D Griffin (Carrigaline), S Powter (Douglas); E. O’Brien (Douglas), E Ryle (Carrigaline); L O’Sullivan (St Michael’s), S Kingston (Douglas), D Meaney (St Michael’s); B McAuliffe (Douglas), M McAuliffe (Douglas), C Cormack (St Michael’s).

Subs: K O’Donovan (Nemo Rangers) for M McAuliffe (43); L Dineen (Douglas) for Kelleher (48); C Sheehan (Douglas) for O’Sullivan (57); J Holland (Douglas) for B McAuliffe (57).

Referee: R Moloney (Limerick)



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