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Rock still have a chance

County IFC Round 4: Aghabullogue 1-12 Rockchapel 1-9

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Aghabullogue's Niall Barry-Murphy holds off Rockchapel's Mark Long during the first half of last Saturday evening's drawn County Intermediate Football Championship clash between the sides. Photo by Eric Barry

Aghabullogue's Niall Barry-Murphy holds off Rockchapel's Mark Long during the first half of last Saturday evening's drawn County Intermediate Football Championship clash between the sides. Photo by Eric Barry

Aghabullogue's Niall Barry-Murphy holds off Rockchapel's Mark Long during the first half of last Saturday evening's drawn County Intermediate Football Championship clash between the sides. Photo by Eric Barry

corkman

A terrific battle between Aghabullogue and Rockchapel in Mallow last Saturday night ended in what looked like a highly unlikely raw after the Rock fought back from what looked like an impossible position.

The second of a football double header at the superb venue looked like it would be very much a damp squid after the thrills and spills of the opener between Ballydesmond and Mitchelstown, but these sides produced all the drama one could hope for from a fixture at this or any grade.

Rockchapel's full forward Seamus Hickey and half-time substitute Brendan Cahill bagged the vital second half goals for their side during a period of domination that looked like it would ultimately be successful. However, Aghabullogue, to their credit, rallied again and scraped a draw with an injury time John Corkery point.

Rockchapel manager Donal Casey was as much in shock at the final whistle as anyone after his side battled back from nine points down to draw in this IFC Round 4 fixture.

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"I don't know what to say really. We were talking at half time and it looked like some of the boys had nearly thrown in the towel but we reminded them that the breeze was strong enough and we had a couple of half chances so we felt there was a chance.

"It was important that we held them without a score early in the second half so they wouldn't get further ahead and we did that. We said its three goals, that is what it was and we had goal chances so we needed to keep going. We felt if we got one goal back and a couple of points we were in with a chance and that is what happened."

Right from the off it was clear to see that the men in green and white were well up for the tie as they cut through Rockchapel seemingly at will however far too many wides in the opening 30 meant that Rockchapel were down but not out at the turn. (1-08 to 0-2).

A brilliant finish from corner forward David Thompson on 21 minutes was the highlight of the opening period.

The second half saw Hickey, Liam Collins and Daniel Curtin all coming to the fore for the Rock with Cahill's scrambled goal looking like it would be crucial on 50 minutes.

For Aghabullogue the work put in by wing back Mark Long and Mathew Bradley in the middle and Corkery up front can't be overstated as all three, particularly Bradley, worked their markers hard. Niall Barry-Murphy also proved to be a real thorn in the Rockchapel rearguard's side as he repeatedly attacked from every quarter.

Next Saturday afternoon in Mourneabbey both sides will again get the chance to progress and while both will feel they have a great chance, all concerned will need to put in a better 60 minute display.

AGHABULLOGUE: J Buckley; P Ring, D Merrick, A Hogan; J Corkery, R Dennehy, M Long 0-1; D Moynihan, M Bradley 0-6 (1 '45'); M Twomey, E O'Sullivan 0-2f, N Barry-Murphy; D Thompson 1-0, P Finnegan 0-1, J Corkery 0-2. Subs: N Buckley for M Twomey (50), S O'Sullivan for E O'Sullivan (54), B Casey for P Finnegan, D Twomey for M Long (both 58)

ROCKCHAPEL: C Murphy; N O'Callaghan, E O'Callaghan, D Carroll; M O'Keeffe; K Collins, D O'Callaghan; D O'Callaghan, C Kepple; J O'Callaghan, J Forrest, D Curtin 0-2; L Collins 0-4 (3f), S Hickey 1-2, W Murphy. Subs: B Cahill 1-0 for J O'Callaghan (half time), DJ O'Sullivan 0-1 for C Kepple, S O'Domain for J Forrest (both 43), J O'Sullivan for M O'Keeffe (59)

Referee: John O'Leary (Mallow)


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