Valleys just get over the Hill after a gritty league final

Valleys just get over the Hill after a gritty league final
Valley Rovers' Jack Walsh crashes the ball to the Watergrasshill net past Denis O'Farrell. Picture: David Keane.

Valley Rovers 1-15 Watergrasshill 2-11

WATERGRASSHILL and Valley Rovers had to deal with a very greasy ball in the RedFM Division 3 league final at Blarney yesterday but the honours went to the Innishannon team by the narrowest of margins.

Katie Malone of Red FM, presents the cup to Valley Rovers captain Noel O'Donovan, along with Des Cullinane representing Cork County Board. Picture: David Keane.
Katie Malone of Red FM, presents the cup to Valley Rovers captain Noel O'Donovan, along with Des Cullinane representing Cork County Board. Picture: David Keane.

They had topped the table in the group stage with nine wins from 10 games with the ‘Hill in second place with six wins.

Light rain fell throughout what was a hard-fought encounter with the victory deservedly going to Valley Rovers.

They were the better team for the most part and the Hill were chasing the game for long stretches but they battled away to the bitter end, securing two late goals which made for a very nervous finish where the winners were concerned.

Watergrasshill lined out without their Cork U20 star Shane O’Regan (Óg) although their top scorer was a different Shane O’Regan who ended the game with a tally of 1-9.

Valley Rovers were the better-balanced side, having more options up front and in Jack Walsh, Kevin Canty and Chris O’Leary they had three players who contributed handsomely on the scoresheet.

The experience of David Lynch and Noel O’Donovan was always evident and the victory was a timely boost for them before they face Cloyne in the PIHC.

There was little or nothing to separate the sides in the opening sequences and it was 0-3 apiece after 10 minutes.

In that period the accuracy of O’Regan for the ‘Hill and O’Leary for Valley Rovers was very telling before Valley Rovers took a firm grip on the proceedings thereafter.

They put up seven unanswered points on the board from O’Leary, Canty, Pa Hurley and Adam Kenneally to lead by 0-10 to 0-3 entering the end of the half.

However, the ‘Hill reinvented themselves in the final few minutes and three points on the trot from Anthony Cronin, O’Regan and Eoin Barry made things much more manageable for them as they went in for the half-time break It was 0-10 to 0-6 at that juncture and everything to play for when they came back out.

And when they did it was Valley who were back on the scoreboard with a fine point from Jack Walsh and when the same player struck for a fine goal shortly afterward they looked to be well in control.

Watergrasshill were largely dependent on O’Regan to secure their scores but they kept at it and were rewarded with a goal in the 55th minute when the aforementioned O’Regan applied the finish.

Suddenly, it was a three-point game and in the melting pot as we approached the final minutes. Chris O’Leary, however, eased the nerves in the Valleys dugout with another point and it looked done and dusted for them going into stoppage time with a four-point advantage.

But the East Cork team were not done yet and they raised a second green flag courtesy of Aidan Foley which had just the bare minimum dividing the sides.

But time ran out for them and Valley had a nice piece of silverware to take home to Innishannon before they face Cloyne in a make or break, second-round tie in the championship in a few weeks.

Scorers for Valley Rovers: C O’Leary 0-8 (0-5 f), J Walsh 1-2, K Canty 0-3, P Hurley, A Kenneally 0-1 each.

Watergrasshill: S O’Regan 1-9 (0-8 f), A Foley 1-0, A Cronin, E Barry 0-1 each.

VALLEY ROVERS: W Burke, A Sheehan, D Lynch, E Delaney, A Walsh, N O’Donovan, W Hurley, C Butler, C Desmond, J Walsh, K Canty, A Kenneally, P Hurley, R O’Sullivan, C O’Leary.

Sub: D O’Shea for C Butler.

WATERGRASSHILL: D O’Callaghan, K O’Keeffe, A Ricken, P Cronin, K O’Neill, S O’Callaghan, B Fenton, A Cronin, P O’Regan, E Barry, S O’Regan, E O’Reilly, J McCarthy, D McCarthy, S Desmond.

Subs: D O’Riordan for P O’Regan, A Foley for O’Reilly.

Referee: P Lyons, Ballinhassig.

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