VALLEY Rovers rallied impressively to get the better of Kiskeam to an entertaining County Premier Intermediate Football Championship quarter final at Coachford last Sunday.
Though dominating the opening half, Kiskeam turned to play against the elements and held little or no answers to the superior firepower of Rovers. After winning the county Under 21 title seven days previously, the Innishannon side produced a performance brimful of positive fare, not least midway through the second half when they turned the screw and pilfered a sequel of scores.
Kiskeam couldn't be faulted for effort nor application, contributing to crisp and enterprising play during the opening 30 minutes. However a physically stronger Valley Rovers operated at a different wavelength for the second period, limiting Kiskeam to just a pair of points, good enough to secure a place against Macroom in the penultimate hurdle. From a cracking first half, Kiskeam tore into the fray, Billy Dennehy on target with a free. Valleys held their own, Fiachra Lynch and Darragh Murphy answering Rob Carroll's effort before Rovers nudged ahead from John Cottrell.
With the football top quality, Kiskeam prospects received a massive boost in the eight minute Michael Herlihy and Niall Cronin linking up for Mike Casey to be illegally halted. And from the resultant penalty, Dennehy tucked the ball low past county 'keeper Alan Quirke.
Such a score pushed Kiskeam into overdrive, defenders Sean Lenihan, Den Joe Casey and AJ O'Connor full of energy with Mike Casey and Eamonn O'Mahony working effectively in the centre. Up front, Cronin set up the accurate Carroll for a point and Kiskeam might well had a second goal , Dennehy and Carroll involved only for Cronin to be denied on a surperb save by Quirke. Rovers moved to the opposite end, Cottrell seeing his effort taken off the line by defender DJ Casey.
With Lynch moving from full forward to midfield, Rovers came more into the fray, a barren 24 minute spell broken on a Murphy point., that score cancelled out by Dennehy for Kiskeam to lead 1-5 to 0-4 at the short whistle.
Backed by the elements, Rovers proceeded to move with menacing purpose, Hughie O'Donovan and Kevin Canty pointing. Kiskeam did stem the tide briefly, Carroll raising a white flag. However Rovers fond a new urgency, holding a solid work ethic through gritty defending by David Lynch and Mike Power while Fiachra Lynch dominated midfield for O'Donovan and Canty thrive on possession upfront.
Following a John Lyons point, Rovers hit the front, Canty winning a penalty that allowed Lynch nail the spotter past Anthony Casey.
In full flow, the momentum remained with Rovers, adding on points to Cottrell and Lynch. That contrasted to Kiskeam, finding it difficult to create any degree of an opening. The flow was very much with an impressive Rovers, adding on points yet Kiskeam had a lone consolation effort from David Scannell that heralded a disappointing second half performance from the Duhallow side.
VALLEY ROVERS: A Quirke; N O'Donovan, D Lynch, T Cummins; J Lyons 0-2, M Power, D Crowley; K Canty 0-2, C O'Donovan; H O'Donovan 0-2(0-1f), D Murphy 0-2, E Fallon; J Cottrell 0-3, F Lynch 1-2(1-0p), J Murphy Subs: J Lynch for Power (26), E Delaney 0-1 for Fallon (42), R Butler for D Murphy, B Murphy for Crowley 60)
KISKEAM: A Casey; AJ O'Connor, J Dennehy, DJ Casey; P O'Leary, D Linehan, S Linehan; M Casey, E O'Mahony; D Fitzgerald, M Herlihy 0-1, R Carroll 0-3; D Scannell`0-1, B Dennehy 1-2(1-0p 0-1f), N Cronin Subs: T O'Sullivan for Fitzgerald (48), G Casey for Carroll (54, injured)
Referee: S O'Leary (Mallow)