Having lost to Fermoy and Carrigaline, the Innishannon side’s season turned with a dismantling of Inniscarra and they carried that momentum on, never trailing after moving in front in the 17th minute.
They had the the better of play early on too only for wides to hamper them, but three points in a row, one each from the full-forward line of Kevin Canty, Eoin O’Reilly and Chris O’Leary, put them 0-6 to 0-4 in front.
A 0-10 to 0-7 half-time advantage swelled upon the resumption as the same trio added one each in the six minutes after the restart and when Kevin Canty goaled in the 47th minute – converting the rebound after James McSweeney saved counterpart Willie Burke’s penalty – the lead was 1-15 to 0-10 and the outcome was good as decided.
“We knew it’d be a dogfight, Bandon-Valleys games are always like that,” said Valleys manager Joe Crowley afterwards.
“We hurled well and we got the scores at the right times, the goal sealed it for us. They didn’t really penetrate our full-back line so the goal was always going to be important.”
In that full-back line, Fearghal Coughlan was excellent while David Lynch led a dominant half-back line and Gary Farrell put in a fine shift at midfield, allowing plenty of early ball into the attack. It took a while for that possession to translate itself to the scoreboard, with Bandon’s greater economy – no wides in the first quarter – keeping them in contention in the opening stages.
James O’Donovan put them 0-4 to 0-3 ahead in the 14th minute after a well-worked move involving Eoghan O’Donovan and Darren Crowley, but it was the last time they led and young corner-forward O’Reilly really came to the fore for Valleys between then and half-time. By the break, he had five points and only a clearance off the line from full-back James Walsh denied him a goal.
O’Leary, with his sights recalibrated after some poor frees, got his fourth in the 29th minute to make it 0-10 to 0-5. Bandon did give themselves hope as Mark Sugrue and Darren Crowley were on target and they were unlucky not to have another as Ronan Crowley was blown for a perceived pick off the ground before he sent the ball over the bar.
Bandon rejigged at half-time, with Darren Crowley moving to midfield and James O’Donovan going to full- forward while Jonathan Mulcahy was introduced, but it was Valleys who hit the ground running, O’Leary with a free behind his own 65 before Canty and O’Reilly put them six ahead, 0-13 to 0-7.
Adam Murphy responded for Bandon as he profited from Donough Lucey’s quick free, but Valleys were always able to summon a riposte of their own, with wing-forward Fiachra Lynch dropping back under Bandon puck-outs to good effect.
While O’Reilly wasn’t able to generate as much space as in the first-half, Canty was coming into his own and he pointed after winning Burke’s puck-out before Darragh Crowley was unlucky to see his shot go just over rather than under the crossbar.
That made it 0-15 to 0-8 and even though Bandon had two Darren Crowley frees, time was running out. A goal was needed but it came at the other end. Kevin Canty was hauled down for a penalty after a powerful run, and though McSweeney saved well from Burke, Canty was on hand to pull home the rebound.
The remainder of the game was a mix of frees by Crowley and O’Leary and a few minor melees, with the result never in question. Kanturk now await Valleys in the quarter-final, with Lynch hoping that Rovers continue their upward surge.
“Losing the first round might be an advantage!” he laughed.
“We’ve had four games and we’re going well now. You have to praise the senior footballers too, they won the first round in May and we’ve been hurling nearly every week since. We’ll just hope to drive on now.”
C O’Leary (0-7, two frees, one 65); K Canty (1-4); E O’Reilly (0-5, three frees); D Looney, D Crowley, D Murphy (0-1 each).
D Crowley (0-8, seven frees); A Murphy (0-2), J O’Donovan, M Sugrue, R Crowley (0-1 each).
W Burke; F Coughlan, N O’Donovan, T O’Brien; C Desmond, D Lynch, J Lynch; G Farrell, D Looney; D Crowley, J Walsh, F Lynch; E O’Reilly, K Canty, C O’Leary.
J Cotrell for F Lynch, D Murphy for Looney (both 46), R Butler for O’Reilly (57).
J McSweeney; P Crowley, J Walsh, M McNamara; C Dullea, D Lucey, J Harrington; E O’Donovan, P Murphy; D Crowley, J O’Donovan, M Sugrue; R Crowley, J Hickey, A Murphy.
J Mulcahy for Murphy (half-time), D Ryan for McNamara (59).
D Daly (Brian Dillons).