Stunning late goal helps the Rocks overcome Kilcoole
IHC: Arklow Rocks 2-10 Kilcoole 0-13
A stunning late goal from midfielder Conor Doyle put the finishing touches to a fine victory for the Arklow Rocks against a Kilcoole side who had walloped them earlier in the year in the league.
There was still plenty of work to be done after Doyle's major, but it was at the other end of the field as Kilcoole threw the kitchen sink at the Rocks defence to try get the goal that would salvage a share of the spoils from this entertaining IHC clash in Joule Park Aughrim.
But the Rocks were in a stubborn humour as was apparent all evening as they had worked their socks off and put their bodies on the line, with Jimmy Dignam, Eamonn Doyle and Martin Gilbert leaving nothing on the field of play and Charlie Monaghan coming to the rescue after a late Ronan Keddy shot.
Kilcoole players and supporters were adamant that a late goalmouth scramble had resulted in the ball crossing the line, but referee John Keenan was having none of it and he sounded the final whistle to the delight of the Rocks who had recorded a 2-10 to 1-13 victory.
The Arklow men are without the service of TJ Byrne this year and while the talented hurler is certainly a loss there is still plenty of scoring power on this team with Chris Kavanagh, Paddy Mellon, Cian Doyle, John Cush, Jason Redmond and Tony Kinsella all gracing the scoreboard during this battle.
It was obvious there was going to be very little between these two sides from early on as they kept in touch with each other from the off, the half-time score of Rocks 1-6 to Kilcoole 0-7 should suggest a tense but energetic opening 30 minutes.
The aptitude for goals proved to be one of the main differences on this occasion and the Rocks raised their first green flag as early as the sixth minute when corner-forward Chris Kavanagh fired home to the back of the Kilcoole net after a long Charlie Monaghan ball saw Kilcoole goalkeeper Chris O'Carroll come under severe pressure and the ball spilled to Kavanagh who made no mistake. O'Carroll would have to leave the field after the goal with Oisin Curry taking his place.
The Rocks led by 1-1 to 0-1 at this early stage; Ronan Keddy opening the scoring in the fourth minute and Jason Redmond answering immediately with a sweet score.
The Arklow men brought a real tenacity to this game and it was as if Kilcoole were not prepared and were always just a little on the back foot.
Points were exchanged for the next while with Conor Doyle, Eoin Keddy, Paddy Mellon (65) and Ronan Keddy all finding the target to leave it 1-3 to 0-3 for the Rocks at the end of the first quarter.
Cian Doyle bagged the point of the game for the Rocks with 17 on the clock. He won possession from a Kilcoole move and drove the ball over the bar for an uplifting score.
The same man was found guilty of fouling Brian Short in the next move and Luke Evans drove over from 65 out to leave just three points between the sides before Rocks centre back Tony Kinsella walloped over after 19 to increase the gap yet again.
It was all Rocks at this stage. Paddy Mellon robbed Shane Evans and flicked over the bar, but Kilcoole were always looking capable throughout this game even if they never hit the highs they certainly can achieve, but they enjoyed something of a purple patch late on with points from Eoin Keddy, Gary Coady and Luke Evans (free) to leave just two between the teams at the break.
Kilcoole had made some fairly major positional switches in that first half. Brian Short had been withdrawn to the centre half position, corner-forward Jim Keddy had taken up home in the half forwards and corner-back Shane Evans had headed north to the corner-forward position.
From the start of the second half, the Rocks management switched Jason Redmond and Kevin Reilly.
The men from the Goosebank enjoyed the much better of the starts to the second half and they were level with five minutes through Gary Coady and Ronan Keddy and they would lead by two after 13 as the county star started to find his feet on the hard ground of Joule Park Aughrim.
It was 16 minutes before the Rocks would score in the second half, that coming from a free from Paddy Mellon after a foul by Vinnie Quigley.
Luke Evans (free) and Ronan Keddy pointed either side of a John Cush effort as the Rocks seemed to find and extra gear and they levelled through another Cush point and a wonderful Cian Doyle point from out under the stand with 24 on the clock in the second half.
Two wayward shots from the Rocks preceded the mighty strike from Conor Doyle to give the Rocks a three-point lead, but you knew Kilcoole were going to retaliate and that they did. Luke Evans went wide from a free, Ronan Kedy's shot as blocked by Charlie Monaghan and Eamonn Doyle and Martin Gilbert somehow thwarted that last attack as time ran out for Kilcoole who really believed that the ball had crossed the line.
Not a classic by any stretch of the imagination but a good win for the Rocks nonetheless.
Scorers - Arklow Rocks: Conor Doyle 1-1, Chris Kavanagh 1-0, Paddy Mellon 0-3 (1f), Cian Doyle 0-2, John Cush 0-2, Jason Redmond 0-1, Tony Kinsella 0-1. Kilcoole: Ronan Keddy 0-6, Luke Evans 0-4 (1f), Gary Coady 0-2, Eoin Keddy 0-1.
Arklow Rock Parnells: Olagh Redmond; Jimmy Dignam, Eamonn Doyle, Martin Gilbert; Charlie Monaghan, Tony Kinsella, Cian Doyle; Shane Mellon, Conor Doyle; Sean Somers, Paddy Mellon, Kevin Reilly; Chris Kavanagh, John Cush, Jason Redmond. Subs: Danny Curran for J Redmond; Tyrone Byrne for S Somers.
Kilcoole: Chris O'Carroll; Shane Evans, Ciaran Doyle, Michael O'Brien; Patrick O'Brien, Vinnie Quigley, Dara Keddy; Luke Evans, Eoin Keddy; Glenn Dunne, Ronan Keddy, Brian Short; James Cahill, Gary Coady, Jim Keddy. Subs: Oisin Curry for C O'Carroll, John O'Brien for S Evans.
Referee: John Keenan (Aughrim.