IFC Round 4 Replay: Rockchapel 4-5 Aghabullogue 2-9
Rockchapel's ability to bounce back after losing out in last year's IFC Final to Bandon were answered on Saturday as the men in maroon saw off a pretty good Aghabullogue side at Mourneabbey last Saturday evening.
The victors, and for that matter the vanquished, had to deal with savage weather conditions but the Duhallow still managed to fight from the first to the final whistle against a side that looked to have their number seven days earlier.
"Aghabullogue were great, really tough and really fast," Rockchapel manager Denis Casey said on the full time whistle.
"They had some very fast players and that was a struggle for us but we managed to get through and I couldn't be more delighted.
"I think it would be fair to say that both teams played better today than the last day. Both sides were patchy the first time around but today they all fought from the start to the finish in pretty awful conditions.
"We knew that every score would be crucial and we talked about that. This one was always going to go down to the wire as these are two good sides. There was only two points between them over the two games so that will show you just how tight it was."
Four goals and five points is an unusual enough score line but Casey was clear that his side needed all the green flags and need to be more tuned in when they manage to goal.
"We conceded a goal straight after the first one and again when we got the fourth goal Aghabullogue were able to come up the pitch and score another goal. That kind of knocked the good out of those two but credit to the lads they kept at this one all the way and thankfully for us came away with the win."
Led on the pitch by a terrific full-forward display from Seamus Hickey, the Duhallow men looked a lot more comfortable this time round hitting the net for the first time with just five minutes on the clock.
Eamonn O'Callaghan and Kevin Collins at the heart of the back six also showed well as Sean O'Sullivan, David Thompson and Matthew Bradley all battled hard for the opposition.
Hickey's first three pointer, came less than a minute after Aghabullogue opened the scoring with a Michael Bradley point. Hickey's early strike was cancelled out three minutes later when David Thompson finished a penalty to the bottom corner to level things up.
The sides traded punches for the next 15 minutes with Aghabullogue leading at the turn, 1-4 to 1-3. William Murphy's goal two minutes into the second half sent Rockchapel back in front, a lead they wouldn't let slip again.
Again the men in green scored next however Rockchapel now knew the way to goal and goaled for the third time when Hickey got on the end of a brilliant Daniel Curtin long ball.
Second half substitute Brendan Cahill got his name on the scoresheet with 1-1 after another piece of magic from Hickey set the number 17 up for a tap in.
Bradley, Aghabullogue's best player, brought the gap down to just three points with less than 10 minutes remaining when he bagged his side's second goal but Rockchapel were not ging to let this one slip and they held out for what really was a deserved win.
Next up is a clash with Mitchelstown in the last eight, a game that will again test this particular bunch of talented footballers.
ROCKCHAPEL: C Murphy; N O'Callaghan, E O'Callaghan, B O'Sullivan; C Aherne, K Collins, Daniel O'Callaghan; DJ O'Callaghan, C Kepple; J O'Callaghan 0-1, J Forrest 0-1, D Curtin; L Collins 0-1, S Hickey 2-1, W Murphy 1-0 Subs: B Cahill 1-1 for J Forrest (40), DJ O'Sullivan for J O'Callaghan (50), J Doody for D Curtin (51)
AGHABULLOGUE: J Buckley; P Ring, D Merric, A Hogan; J Corkery, R Dennehy, M Long; D Moynihan, M Bradley 1-4 (2f); M Twomey, E O'Sullivan, N Barry-Murphy 0-1; D Thompson 1-3 (3f), S O'Sullivan, J Corkery 0-1 Subs: N Buckley for E O'Sullivan (45), P Twomey for M Twomey (53), M Dineen for D Merric (57)
Referee: A O'Connor (Ballygarvan)