ROCKCHAPEL got their show back on the road by overcoming Glanmire in round 2 to a closely fought County Intermediate Football Championship at Killavullen last Tuesday evening.
Showing an appetite that was lacking against Fermoy first time out, last season's county junior champions moved with impressive intent and shook off any negative vibes that might be attached to the first hurdle disappointment.
Without ever reaching epic status, an intriguing clash emerged where the closeness of the scores had a vocal attendance on tenterhooks. Indeed, tensions boiled out on the field, none more so than in the closing minutes with two Glanmire players sent to the line.
Trailing by three points, the loss of pivotal figures, centre-back Timmy Leahy and midfielder turned full-forward Michael Cussen crushed Glanmire's hopes of a late uprising. Indeed, Rockchapel made the most of their numerical advantage on shooting a trio of prompt points in the latter stages to put daylight between the pair. Rockchapel coach Seamus Cooper didn't conceal his delight on the progress of a new look side compared to last season owing to injury, emigration, retirement and suspension.
"Down five players, our aim was foremost to retain our intermediate status. Its a big improvement that contrasted to the Fermoy game where we gave away sloppy goals. We've a few weeks to work prior to our next round where the side should be better prepared," said the Rathmore man.
Though Glanmire wrestled the opening score from a James O'Sullivan point, Rockchapel warmed to their task and reeled off points to Ian Guiney (2) and Liam Collins. In fairness, Glanmire discovered a spark and proceeded to gather control thanks to the aerial supremacy and magnificent fielding by Cussen at midfield, well supported by Killian Burke.
And in defence., Brian Murphy, Declan O'Connell and Leahy stood out. However, some impressive approach work was undermined by below par finishing, Glanmire's six wides compared to a solidarity one for Rockchapel. Still Glanmire raised the only green flag in the 20th minute Leahy and Aaron O'Mahony combining for David O'Brien to flash a terrific drive to the net. That score only served to stir Rockchapel into a positive mode, Conor Murphy and Collins on target to allow the Duhallow side lead 0-6 to 1-2 by the interval.
After Guiney added to the Rockchapel tally soon after the restart, the standard of fare dropped as did the scoring rate. Rockchapel battled with trademark grit, none more so than in defence with a full back line of Michael Doody, Philip Murphy and Batt Curtin the pillars of strength. Elsewhere John Doody, Daniel Curtin and Collins worked effectively out the field.
At times, Rockchapel were left to rue missed chances before points to the Murphy brothers secured a 0-9 to 1-2. Glanmire waited to the 52nd min to open their second half account from a Declan O'Connell free. Cussen had moved to full forward in a bid to secure a reprieve yet the frustrations of Glanmire earned Leahy a second yellow and Cussen a straight red for indiscretions.
With 15 playing 13, Rockchapel made the most of their numerical advantage to finish on the ascendency on points to Guiney in addition to substitutes Eamon O'Callaghan and Conor Ahene.
ROCKCHAPEL: T Collins; M Doody, P Murphy, B Curtin; N O' Callaghan, D J O'Callaghan, M Stack; J Doody, C Kepple; D Curtin, C Murphy 0-2, W Murphy 0-2; I Guiney 0-4(0-2f), L Collins 0-2, S Hickey Subs: E O'Callaghan 0-1 for Kepple (50), C Aherne 0-1 for C Murphy (57)
GLANMIRE: B O'Connell; B Murphy, D O'Connell 0-1f, D Murphy; C Harrington, T Leahy, A O'Mahony; M Cussen, K Burke; E McEvoy, J Cussen, J O'Sullivan 0-1; B Kelleher, C Cummins 0-1, D O'Brien 1-0 Subs: D Molden for J Cussen (inj 18), J Leopold for Kelleher (HT), S Conlon for Molden (40), A Garvey for Harrington (46)
Referee: J Larkin (Douglas)