MITCHELSTOWN qualified for their second final in three years when they defeated Glenbower Rovers in the semi-final at Pairc Uí Rinn on Saturday night last.
In recent weeks Glenbower Rovers certainly benefited greatly from games played in the Imokilly JAFC, while they also defeated Belgooly in the quarter-final two weeks ago whereas Mitchelstown hadn't a competitive outing since their quarter-final victory over Kilmichael nearly two months ago.
On Saturday night the East Cork side certainly made the better start and set the early tone when David Cahill and Kieran Lane kicked over rapid points. Mitchelstown after a sluggish start quickly got up to the required pace.
Shane Beston was denied a goal scoring chance when the Glenbower Rovers keeper Shane Scully was forced to make a vital save off the line. Over the next couple of minutes James Sheehan and Shay Lyons traded a point each before Mitchelstown gradually stamped their authority on proceedings.
The Avondhu champions created most of the chances for the rest of the half but nevertheless Glenbower Rovers with limited possession also threatened when going forward. The sides were level at the end of the first quarter when Shane Beston and Dave Dineen kicked over points while in the 17th minute 'Town' were denied a second goal scoring opportunity when good work by Jamie Finn and Shane Cahill saw Jason Cott gather possession only to see his effort at goal cleared off the line by Glenbower Rovers wing back Conor Murphy.
At the otherend Kieran Lane and Seamus Harnedy impressed at midfield and they added a point each that saw the Killeagh outfit edge two points in front by the 20th minute. Despite being two points clear Glenbower Rovers found scores hard to come by for the rest of the game as they added just three more points over the next 40 minutes.
In the meantime Mitchelstown worked the short passing to great effect with Michael Maher, Sean Coughlan, Fionn Herlihy, Stephen Fox, Pat Molloy and Owen Burke influential figures in the back line.
In attack their forwards made inroads and by the 28th minute they were back on level terms when Michael Walsh (free) and Jason Cott had points. In injury time they took lead they would not surrender when Shane Beston pointed a free as they held a 0-6 to 0-5 interval advantage.
On the changeover the Mitchelstown challenge continued to gather momentum with Shane Cahill at full-forward turning in a marvellous display on the edge of the square. In the 32nd minute a sweeping movement started when Michael Maher made a vital clearance off the goal line saw Michael Walsh link up well with Shane Cahill who kicked over a sublime point.
Moments later a movement involving Luke Hanna, Sean Coughlan, Dave Dineen, Eoin Burke saw Shane Beston add another point as the North Cork outfit moved into a 0-8 to 0-5 lead,. Cahill added another very good point in the 44th minute as Mitchelstown moved 0-9 to 0-5 ahead.
Glenbower Rovers continued to find scores hard to come by and had to wait till the 47th minute to register their first score in this period when Timmy Murphy set up Kieran Lane for a well taken score. The East Cork side refused to yield and another point by Lane in the 54th minute put them in with a realistic chance of reaching the final when just two points adrift 0-9 to 0-7.
However, it was Mitchelstown that lifted the siege in the closing moments and they finally saw off their opponents challenge when Shane Beston and wing back Pat Molloy kicked over rapid points that helped secure their place in the final.
MITCHELSTOWN: L Hanna, S Coughlan, F Herlihy, M Maher, E Burke, S Fox, P Molloy 0-1 L O'Flynn, D Dineen 0-1, M Walsh 0-1, J Sheehan 0-1 S Beston 0-4 (0-2f) J Cott 0-1, S Cahill 0-2, Jamie Finn. Subs Anthony O'Brien for James Sheehan, Padraigh Donegan for Jason Cott, Joseph O'Sullivan for Jamie Finn
GLENBOWER ROVERS: S Scully, T Murphy, P McGrath, A Keniry, C Murphy, C O'Brien, J Dullea, S Harnedy 0-1, K Lane 0-5 (0-4f) C Fogarty, S Lyons 0-1, B Collins, S Long, D Cahill 0-1, J O'Connor. Subs B Barry for P McGrath, S Murphy for J O'Connor, J Kelleher for C Fogarty, M Murphy for A Keniry, A Keniry for T Murphy
Referee: James Dorgan (Nemo Rangers)