AN all-Cork FAI Intermediate Cup final was thwarted when Ringmahon lost their semi-final 1-0 at home to Donegal side Cockhill Celtic.
However, there was joy for fellow MSL side and cup holders Rockmount who booked their place in the final following a superb 2-0 win away to Lucan United.
I caught up with their captain and goalkeeper Brendan O’Connell who was thrilled with their win.
It will be his third Intermediate Cup final appearance and he is hoping he can make it two wins from three.
The 37-year-old was relieved after Sunday’s win at Lucan where goals from Cian Leonard and Luke Casey helped to secure their place in the decider.
O’Connell is delighted with the way Rockmount’s season is going so far, but he knows there’s no silverware gauranteed and they will be stepping up a gear in the coming weeks as they bid to create history by winning back-to-back league and cup doubles.
“We’re thrilled to be in another cup final; obviously we’re not getting carried away, but we feel there’s no point in getting to a final unless we win it and that’s what we’ll be working towards,” O’Connell said.
“It was a great win against Lucan in terrible conditions. I do believe the fantastic support we had from the Rockmount faithful helped us a lot.
“Lots of family and friends travelled and we really appreciated their support and encouragement on the day.
“The final is on April 23 and We’re expecting a very tough game. “Any team that can go to Ringmahon, who are an excellent team, and win are a really good side, so we will have to be at our absolute best to compete.
“We have had tough games en route to the final; Carrigaline away, Usher Celtic away, and Killbarrack at home; all very good teams, so it was a hard route but one we hope will stand to us.
“To win back-to-back finals would mean absolutely everything, but we are under no illusions.
We will have to be at our best to have any chance in the final and that will be the aim.
“We are not looking too far ahead. We’re going to keep our heads down and take it game by game.”
Tonight will mark another special occasion for the Glanmire man as he is one of three nominees for Intermediate Player of the Year.
The winner will be announced at the Aviva tonight before the Ireland and Latvia game.
O’Connell won the award in 2011 and he is grateful to be a nominee once again.
“I just want to thank everyone who got me to this stage. On the pitch I have been very fortunate to play with so many brilliant teammates; from when I first played with UCC in the MSL to the present day with Rockmount.
“My goalkeeping coach, Derek Clarke, has been brilliant, working with me over the past 12 years, working hard with him on a weekly basis.
His sessions are great, he is always researching and looking at different ways to improve the sessions and he keeps it fresh and challenging.
“I won the intermediate player of the year in 2011 and would be thrilled to be honoured again.
“The other nominees are Lee McColgan of Cockhill Celtic and Killester’s Darren Chambers. It’s great to be there this evening and it would be fantastic for my family to see me pick up the award again.
“However the focus now is on the rest of the season and helping my team to pick up some silverware."
With over 70 caps at amateur level, O’Connell is happy with Rockmount’s season overall but knows there’s still a lot of work to do, and apart from the Intermediate Cup, there is plenty still to play for.
“Our season is going well so far. But we’re keeping our heads down and taking it game by game.
“We know that we have the opportunity to create history, but we are taking it game by game not getting carried away with ourselves.
“I believe we have the team and management to do so well, and we hope our great run can continue through hard work and determination.”