PIHC: Valley Rovers pip Watergrasshill in last five minutes

Quarter-final against Kilworth is next up after Cormac Desmond's late goal proved decisive
PIHC: Valley Rovers pip Watergrasshill in last five minutes

Valley Rovers' William Hurley shows his delight after winning a free against Watergrasshill during the Co-op Superstores Cork PIHC at Páirc Uí Rinn. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Valley Rovers 2-15 Watergrasshill 1-16

VALLEY ROVERS are into the knockout stage of the Cork PIHC but they had to do it the hard way against a tenacious Watergrasshill side at Páirc Uí Rinn on Saturday, coming from a four-point deficit with five minutes remaining to win by two.

Key to this victory was sub Cormac Desmond’s 56th-minute goal. It lifted the spirits of a very wasteful Innishannon outfit as further points followed from Chris O’Leary (his ninth), Desmond again and William Hurley and Valley were over the line and into a quarter-final clash with Kilworth.

No wonder Valley boss Noel O’Donovan was almost speechless afterwards. “I really don’t want to say much about the match. Watergrasshill have always been tough opponents for us, no different tonight. Yes, we dug it out but I don’t want to say anything else.”

Valley Rovers' Cormac Desmond turns to celebrate his goal against the dejected Watergrasshill defence. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Valley Rovers' Cormac Desmond turns to celebrate his goal against the dejected Watergrasshill defence. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Despite a dream start, when Chris O’Leary’s long delivery was grabbed by Eoin O’Reilly who found the net in the very first minute, Valley were very wasteful subsequently and this kept Watergrasshill very much in the contest.

Valley soon got a taste of what was to come when excellent Watergrasshill centre-back Kevin O’Neill set up Cork All Ireland U20 winner Seán Desmond for a fine 13th-minute goal and it was the East Cork outfit who led after the first water break 1-5 to 1-2.

Seán Óg O’Regan’s accuracy from placed balls and a super point from Desmond in the 17th minute kept Watergrasshill in the ascendency at half time when leading 1-10 to 1-4 but Valley will have bemoaned shooting 10 wides.

Valley Rovers upped the ante in the second half, with the hard-working Chris O’Leary now operating around midfield and in the space of five minutes the deficit was down to three following two more O’Leary points and another from Eoin O’Reilly.

However, Watergrasshill were in no mood to cave in here and mainly through the accuracy of Shane Ôg O’Regan they were still in the driving seat at the second water break leading 1-13 to 1-9 and playing like a winning team despite losing both their opening games.

That lead soon went to five when this time Paddy O’Regan fired over a free. But that’s as good as it got as suddenly Valley sprung into action and played their best hurling. Subs Adam Kenneally, who had a big influence on the contest, and Colm Butler also got on the scoreboard but it was another sub Desmond who landed the killer blow with his late goal and Valley were through despite shooting 16 wides.

Watergrasshill now face a relegation dogfight with Aghada.

Scorers for Valley Rovers: C O’Leary 0-9 (0-6 f, 0-1 65), E O’Reilly 1-2, C Desmond 1-1, A Kenneally, C Butler, W Hurley 0-1 each.

Watergrasshill: S Óg O’Regan 0-9 (0-8 f), S Desmond 1-1, P O’Regan 0-3 (0-2 f, 0-1 65), G Kelly Lynch 0-2, B Fenton 0-1.

VALLEY ROVERS: W Burke; S O’Leary, T O’Brien, J Lynch; D Murphy, J Cottrell, D Lynch; G Farrell, S O’Regan; C O’Leary, M O’Leary, W Hurley; E O’Reilly, K Canty, R O’Sullivan.

Subs: A Kenneally for O’Regan (24), C Butler for O’Sullivan (36), C Desmond for M O’Leary (50).

WATERGRASSHILL: D O’Callaghan; J Bowen, A Ricken, S Field; D O’Farrell, K O’Neill, B Fenton; A Cronin, J McCarthy; C Cronin, P O’Regan, S O’Regan; S Óg O'Regan, G Kelly Lynch, S Desmond.

Subs: C Roche for Cronin (45), P O’Leary for Kelly Lynch (54), C Healy for P O’Regan (55).

Referee: Ian McCarthy (Bandon).

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