O'Connell hat-trick seals final berth for Saints
Duhallow JBFC Group 2 semi-final - St Johns 5-10, Rockchapel 2-3
A tidy haul of a first half hat trick of goals from Pat O'Connell laid the platform for St John's victory over Rockchapel in the Duhallow JBFC Group 2 semi-final at Ballydesmond.
Dictating matters for long stretches, there was no disputing that St Johns were the better balanced where in attack, they had more to offer. Boosted by a virtuoso performance from full-forward O'Connell underlined the sharper intensity of the victors.
Rockchapel couldn't match the intensity that St John's brought to every line yet they improved on the turnover to create a number of chances.
That said, Rockchapel resisted for large portions of the opening half through the solid contributions of James Forrest and Joseph Cahill with points delivered by Micheal Geaney and Tony Collins.
For a spell, the exchanges were closely contested, St. Johns substitute Jamie Kelleher delivered back to back points. However, St Johns raised serious questions approaching half-time, unpicking the Rockchapel defensive lock with three goals in a five minute spell from full-forward O'Connell.
Enjoying a 3-6 to 0-2 advantage at the break, St Johns resumed in full throttle, Denis Kelleher and the O'Keeffe brothers defended with discipline as Kevin Sheehan and John Mahony put down a marker at midfield.
And at times, St Johns utilised possession to good effect in attack with Peter O'Sullivan adding a fourth goal. In fairness, Rockchapel managed to claw their way back into the contest.
They made a desperate bid to restore some stability and a brief purple patch yielded a pair of goals from Cahill. Still, there remained a certain inevitability about the outcome and St Johns closed the game out with a late goal from O'Mahony to rubberstamp a place to their second divisional final and a meeting against Ballydesmond.
St JOHNS: H Sheehan; P O'Keeffe, D Kelleher, D O'Keeffe; S Kelleher, C Lane 0-1, P Rohan; K Sheehan, J O'Mahony 1-0; D Corkery, A Sheehan, N Corkery; P O'Sullivan 1-1, P O'Connell 3-1, J Ring 0-1 Subs: J Kelleher 0-4, J O'Sullivan 0-2, K Kelly, D Cullinane, T Sheehan, J Cullinane
ROCKCHAPEL: C Casey; D Murphy, J Cahill 2-0, M Daly, M Doody, P Stack, J J Stack, M Stack 0-1; J Forrest, C Aherne; M Geaney 0-1, R O'Sullivan, P Collins, T Collins 0-1, D Stack Subs: J O'Callaghan for D Stack
Referee: J Hartnett (Boherbue)