TWO first-half goals from Cian Leonard helped Rockmount to advance into the second round of the FAI Intermediate Cup at The Farm on Saturday.
A goal from UCC’s Brian Simpson had brought his side level before Leonard added his second and, while UCC grew into the game as it went on, particularly in the second half, Rockmount were worth their win and might have added to their tally.
The three-time cup winners got the perfect start when they took the lead inside the first minute. A Luke Casey corner played short to the angle of the penalty area was met by Leonard who had escaped his marker and fired the ball with power past Callan Scully in the UCC goal.
Scully did better with Rockmount’s next attack on goal, saving Kevin O’Connell’s effort at his near post.
UCC have a lot of new faces in their line-up and one of them brought the Students level on 15 minutes. Conor Bowdren broke on the right and got his cross away, Simpson took the ball down on his chest and fired home from the edge of the Rockmount penalty area.
Rockmount’s response was clinical as Leonard got his second; he showed great control with his back to goal to flick the ball up and volley home on the turn following a delivery in from the right.
Rockmount were on top at this point, in play as well as the scoreline, and O’Connell almost made it 3-1 when he fired into the side netting following a crossfield delivery from Casey.
Simpson had an effort go wide after some good UCC play midway through the half, while Casey had a long-range effort batted away by Scully, but with just over half an hour gone, Rockmount should have made it 3-1.
Nathan Broderick picked up possession in midfield and broke forward into space. Scully left his line, inviting the chip, but the midfielder failed to get enough height on his effort and the keeper saved easily.
Leonard then had a curling effort from the right go wide at the far post as Rockmount ended the half very much in the ascendency.
UCC upped their game early in the second half and enjoyed a good spell, though without really testing Brendan O’Connell in the Rockmount goal.
Indeed, it was Rockmount who had the early chances in the half, Leonard firing over after Casey’s cross from the right was headed clear into his path.
Casey had a very good chance to kill the game five minutes later when he combined with Niall Hanley, who played a magnificent reverse pass into Casey’s path through the middle and with just Scully to beat, the young Rockmount player sent his shot over the crossbar.
Two minutes later UCC came close to a second leveller when Eoghan Vaughan’s diving header at the near post following a cross from the left was saved by O’Connell at his near post.
Vaughan and Simpson put in good performances for UCC and the latter had a couple of efforts go close, the first went narrowly over following a corner while O’Connell easily dealt with a shot from distance.
UCC finished the game well, with some good passages of play, but not enough to trouble O’Connell and Rockmount emptied the bench giving new signings Hughie O’Donovan, David Stack, and Cal Sheehy some game time as they closed out the tie.
UCC: Callan Scully, Colm Murphy, Stephen O’Connor, Jack O’Sullivan, Ethan Hurley, Greg Magner, Conor Bowdren, Brian Simpson, Eoghan Vaughan Dowie van Sindern, Alex Minihane.
Subs: Kajus Vitkeyicius for Hurley (h/t), Liam Barber for Van Sindern (87).
ROCKMOUNT: Brendan O’Connell, James O’Connell, Jack Waters, Cian O’Driscoll, Jason Sexton, Christopher McCarthy, Niall Hanley, Nathan Broderick, Cian Leonard, Kevin O’Connell, Luke Casey.
Subs: Hughie O’Donovan for Broderick (71), David Stack for Casey (78), Daniel Duggan for McCarthy (87), Cal Sheehy for Leonard (92).