Duhallow 0-16 Valley Rovers 0-15
DUHALLOW are through to the semi-finals of the Bon Secours Cork Premier Senior Football Championship as they narrowly defeated Valley Rovers 0-16 to 0-15 in Páirc Uí Rinn on Sunday evening.
A late surge by the divisional side - they trailed by three points in the 56th minute - was enough to see them through to the last four of the competition where they will meet the winners of the showdown between Nemo Rangers and Ballincollig, which was postponed over the weekend.
Rovers settled into the game the quicker of these two sides and they grabbed the opening score inside the first minute thanks to Fiachra Lynch, who impressed throughout for his side.
Duhallow finally settled into the match and by the sixth they were ahead following points from Seamus Hickey of Rockchapel and a free from Donncha O’Connor of Ballydesmond.
The men from Innishannon responded well to that setback and by the water break at the midway point in the first half they had claimed three unanswered scores themselves - the pick of the bunch coming from Chris O’Leary to lead 0-4 to 0-3.
The pendulum of this last-eight clash continued to swing one way and then the next as Duhallow raised four white flags on the bounce to regain the initiative.
But they would be outscored four points to two before the half time break, with Lynch again finding his range twice for Valley while John Fintan Daly did likewise for the Black and Orange to ensure they were locked at eight points apiece at the interval.
At the start of the second half, these two spirited squads went blow for blow and point for point on three occasions to remain level at 0-11 to 0-11 heading into the fourth quarter.
But it was at this juncture that it appeared that the Duhallow players’ extra games in previous days was going to come back to haunt them as Rovers - led by Lynch - grabbed three without reply to earn the biggest advantage of the night with 56 on the clock.
But Duhallow refused to give in. Rovers were dealt a blow when Johnny Kiely was shown a black card but a couple of excellent points from substitute Jerry O’Connor helped Duhallow, who later saw Kevin Cremin dismissed for a second bookable offence, snatch five overs in succession.
A John Cottrell free set up a nervous finale but Duhallow hung on to progress to the last four with this one-point win.
Scorers for Duhallow: D O’Connor 0-5 (0-2 f), M Ellis, J O’Connor 0-3 each, P Walsh, E McSweeney, F O’Connor, S Hickey, D Moynihan 0-1 each.
Valley Rovers: F Lynch 0-5 (0-2 f, 0-1 mark), T O’Brien, B Crowley 0-2 each, J Cottrell (f), E Delaney, E O’Reilly, C O’Leary, A Walsh Murphy, J Walsh 0-1 each.
DUHALLOW: P Doyle (Knockagree); J McLoughlin (Kanturk), B Daly (Newmarket), M Mahoney (Knocknagree); S Hickey (Millstreet), K Cremin (Boherbue), D O’Mahony (Knocknagree); A Ryan (Newmarket), M Ellis (Millstreet); C O’Callaghan (Dromtarrife), E McSweeney (Knocknagree), F O’Connor (Knocknagree); D O’Connor (Ballydesmond), J F Daly (Knocknagree), S Hickey (Rockchapel).
Subs: J O’Connor (Boherbue) for J F Daly (11), P Walsh (Kanturk) for A Ryan (38), D Cashman (Millstreet) for F O’Connor (40), D Moynihan (Ballydesmond) for E McSweeney (56).
VALLEY ROVERS: C Desmond; D Muckian, T O’Brien, A Lyons; J Kiely, I Crowley, A Walsh Murphy; K Canty, C O’Leary; R O’Sullivan, E O’Reilly, J Walsh; E Delaney, F Lynch, B Crowley.
Subs: T O’Brien for R O’Sullivan (21), J Cottrell for E Delaney (45).
Referee: Cormac Dineen (Douglas).