A wet afternoon militated against the open play favoured by both sides and their coaches accepted that considerable improvement is essential to advance beyond the quarter-final. Rockwell now look forward to a home game against Castletroy, while Glenstal take on PBC in Cork.
Rockwell were stronger and looked better suited to the unfavourable conditions. However, they contributed to their difficulties by lying deeper in attack than appeared to make sense while being ushered across the pitch by the well-organised Glenstal defence.
Glenstal went into the game under a cloud after the recent passing of team manager Brother Matthew Corkery, in whose memory a minute’s silence was observed before the kick-off. But they put on a display which they could well be proud of.
They weren’t helped when centre Ian Kenny was sent to the bin by referee Shane Kerins midway through the second half. However, with Rossa Dooley, Tom Ryan and Ian McCarthy forming an outstanding back-row and Kevin Lynch also in excellent form in the second-row, they gave as good as they got. With out-half Luke Bradley and full-back and captain Sean Gleeson also contributing handsomely, they came close to pulling off a major upset.
Nevertheless, Rockwell just about deserved their victory if only for the imaginative nature of the way they snatched the game’s only try. After 18 minutes, out-half Aidan Moynihan found Steve McMahon with a precise cross kick and the winger plucked the ball out of the air and the arms of opposite number Eoin Hurley and dived over.
In spite of their captain Sean McCarthy, forward colleagues James Maxwell and Sonny Dwyer and centres Rob Jermyn and Cillian Kiely’s endeavours, Rockwell failed to push on. Instead, Glenstal matched them all over and a penalty by Luke Bradley minute reduced the arrears to two points.
And that’s how it remained until the 67th minute when Bradley lined up another shot at goal from close on 40m.
However, Glenstal cheers were stifled when the ball dropped an agonising foot under the crossbar, leaving a very relieved Rockwell to play out the remaining time without undue anxiety.
ROCKWELL: D Johnston; A Lynch, R Jermyn, C Kiely, S McMahon; A Moynihan, D McGagh; J McCormack, D Mulcahy, J Maxwell, S McCarthy (capt), D Foley, J Feehan, S O’Dwyer, A Butler.
Replacements: S McNulty for Mulcahy (47), R Lyons and C Ryan for McCormack and Feehan (both 68).
GLENSTAL: S Gleeson (capt); E Hurley, A Boland, I Kenny, R Shanahan; L Bradley, A Devereux; D Higgins, C McCarthy, K Grennan, K Lynch, M O’Riordan, I McCarthy, R Dooley, T Ryan.
Replacement: H Connors for Hurley (39).
Referee: S Kerins (IRFU).