MSL soccer: Cian Leonard hits hat-trick as Rockmount drive on in Donie Forde Trophy

MSL soccer: Cian Leonard hits hat-trick as Rockmount drive on in Donie Forde Trophy

Rockmount’s Cian Leonard scores with a superb header against Cobh Wanderers, during their Donie Forde Trophy quarter-final at the Old Church Stephen Ireland Astro in Cobh. Picture: David Keane

Cobh Wanderers 1

Rockmount 5

A four-goal blitz in 10 first-half minutes, three of them from striker Cian Leonard, set Rockmount on the road to victory in their Donie Forde Trophy quarter-final clash with Cobh Wanderers at the Stephen Ireland Astro in Old Church on Friday evening.

The visitors held that advantage until half-time and added to their tally late in the second half with Cobh grabbing a consolation almost immediately.

The hosts did show an improvement in the second half, but there was doubt that they were second best throughout this tie.

Rockmount have lost just once in all competitions this season, a Keane Cup final defeat to College Corinthians, who they will face in the third round of the FAI Intermediate Cup next Saturday, and with plenty of big-game players on the bench in Cobh, this performance gave manager Eddie Kenny plenty of food for thought ahead of their trip to Castletreasure.

Rockmount took the game to their hosts from the start with an all-action, high-tempo display. They came close to an opener after just two minutes when a Danny Aherne free from the right found Jason Sexton at the far post, but the defender could only get the slightest of touches on the ball and he couldn’t direct it on target.

Rockmount applied all the early pressure and a loose pass by Cobh defender David Sloane, across his goal outside the penalty area, gave Niall Hanley an opportunity, but he mishit his shot and the ball went harmlessly wide.

 Rockmount's Cian Leonard is congratulated by team-mate Kevin O'Connell after scoring his third goal against Cobh Wanderers. Picture: David Keane
Rockmount's Cian Leonard is congratulated by team-mate Kevin O'Connell after scoring his third goal against Cobh Wanderers. Picture: David Keane

The visitors broke the deadlock on 15 minutes, a terrific finish by Leonard who rose high, just inside the penalty area, to head Aherne’s delivery back across the goal and beyond Shane Hallahan in the Cobh goal.

A minute later it was 2-0, the impressive Nathan Broderick combined with Leonard on the edge of the penalty area, Hallahan saved the midfielder’s shot, but the rebound fell invitingly for Leonard who obliged from 10 yards.

Four minutes Leonard completed his hat-trick when he raced on to a through ball and fired past the Cobh keeper.

The contest was all but over at that point and Leonard had the ball in the net again a minute later after some terrific play by Broderick on the right; this time though, the striker was ruled offside.

Rockmount wouldn’t be denied a fourth, however, and a minute later Jason Sexton broke forward from defence, beat a couple of defenders before being fouled 20 yards from goal.

Dead-ball specialist Aherne stood over the ball and drilled a shot low past the wall, beating Hallahan at his near post.

Rockmount were showing no signs of letting up and continued to pose all of the questions going forward.

Just after the half-hour mark, a good move involving Broderick, Leonard, and Kevin O’Connell saw the latter get a shot off, but it lacked power and Hallahan saved easily.

Four minutes later Aherne fired well over after more good work by Broderick, while shortly before half-time a David Stack corner was met by Leonard on the angle of the penalty area, but his shot was blocked and flew over for another corner.

 Rockmount's Cian Leonard completes his hat-trick against Cobh Wanderers. Picture: David Keane
Rockmount's Cian Leonard completes his hat-trick against Cobh Wanderers. Picture: David Keane

Cobh needed a response in the second half and they made a couple of changes at the break, while Rockmount would go on to empty their bench in the second period.

There was a considerable improvement from the home side in the second period, though Rockmount had dropped the tempo a little, yet still created some good chances.

Cobh came close to pulling a goal back on the hour mark when Peter Nolan fired over after good play by the home side, while 10 minutes later George Keating did well near the corner flag on the right to escape two Rockmount defenders before driving a low shot that needed a Kenneth Hoey interception which went over for a corner.

At the other end, Hallahan made a good save from Hanley after a Broderick cross while the latter also forced the Cobh keeper into a block.

Hoey had to intervene again to deny Cobh, this time blocking an Ian Stapleton shot in the box, while Kevin Foster O’Reilly also had an effort deflected for a corner; followed by good work from Stuart O’Rourke who put Keating in, but Rockmount keeper Brendan O’Connell saved at his feet.

It was Rockmount who scored next though; Eoin Murphy drilling the ball into the net having started the move himself.

Cobh were well beaten, but they did have the last say when O’Rourke, who had a good game for the home side, got on the end of a cross from the left to score.

COBH WANDERERS: Shane Hallahan, Diarmuid Kearney, Peter Nolan, David Sloane, Gary Collins, Ross McCarthy, George Keating, Michael O’Rourke, Stewart O’Rourke, Kevin Foster-O’Reilly, Tom Noonan.

Subs: Ian Stapleton and Eoin Hastings for Sloane and Noonan (half-time), Dave Curran for Hastings (67 inj).

ROCKMMOUNT: David Browne, David Stack, Kenneth Hoey, Adam Crowley, Jason Sexton, Christopher McCarthy, Nathan Broderick, Danny Aherne, Cian Leonard, Niall Hanley, Kevin O’Connell

Subs: Brendan O’Connell and Cian O’Driscoll for Browne and Sexton (both 66), Cal Sheehy for Leonard (70), Eoin Murphy and James O’Connell for Kevin O’Connell and Aherne (both 75)

Referee: Anthony Buttimer.

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