Mitchelstown progress at expense of Rock in County Championship
LAST weekend Mitchelstown booked their place in the last four of the IFC after a hard fought win over a Rockchapel side that have impressed many with their tenacity and never-saydie attitude this season.
“The Rock” were looking to make it back to back showpiece appearances this year after making it all the way to the final last time out however it may well be safe to say they may have felt beaten here before they ever got on the pitch – reason being is that it was hard to ignore just what Mitchelstown were bringing to the table.
That said there is no doubting the commitment shown by all on the pitch as this one really was a dog fight to the end.
Both sides got to this stage the hard way requiring quarter-final replays to advance, and in both cases, particularly Rockchapel, progression looked like a near impossibility before late surges saved the day.
Heading into this one it would have been fair to say that the men in red and black were the favourites and credit to them they justified their favouritism by advancing to the next round.
Shane Beston is usually the first name to come to the lips when talking about Mitchelstown these days, however, on this day it was much more about the collective for the victors than it was about their main man.
Cathal O’Mahony showed he has an eye for goal early on in this one when he bagged a three pointer inside the opening 15 minutes. The influential attacker could have had a second soon after however on this occasion it was the post that kept Rockchapel in the game.
The Duhallow men hit back with three points of their own before Jason O’Callaghan fired home a goal that would change everything heading into the break Mitchelstown led 1-4 to 1-3.
Rockchapel had the bit between their teeth as the sides kicked off again with O’Callaghan again finding the net, this time to lead.
Having seen plenty of Mitchelstown this year so far the best way to describe them is they are kind of like a racehorse that just seems to get bored half way through a race.
Mitchelstown have all the talent and hunger required but for some reason they just seem to leave teams back at them when they should be out of sight.
Mitchelstown missed loads of chances in this one and would have been made to pay if Rockchapel had some more forwards confident enough to take on the ball and score. Three scorers just isn’t enough at the latter stages of a competition as competitive as the IFC.
Mitchelstown hit back with seven of the next eight points to again take control and, while the men in wine stayed with them all the way to the end, it is fair to say that on class levels alone the result here was fair.
Rockchapel deserve great credit for the way they stuck to their guns all season and rarely panicked when the chips were down while for the winners, a serious step up in performance is required if this Mitchelstown side are even considering seeing off a Cill na Martra side that will not let Mitchelstown away with any lack of focus.
Big game ahead. MITCHELSTOWN: L Hanna; M Maher, F Herlihy, L Finn; G Carroll, P Molloy, S Fox; S Walsh, D Dineen 0-2; P Magee, S Cahill 0-1, M Walsh 0-4 (2f, 2.45); C O’Mahony 1-2, S Beston 0-1, L Keane Subs: D Reidy Price 0-1 for Keane (ht), S O’Sullivan for Fox (ht), L O’Flynn for Magee (41), K Roche for Beston (54), J Cott for O’Mahony (56), O Burke for Herlihy (BC) (61) ROCKCHAPEL: C Murphy; D O’Callaghan, E O’Callaghan, B O’Sullivan; N O’Callaghan, DJ O’Callaghan, K Collins; J Doody, C Kepple; J O’Callaghan 2-0, J Forrest, C Aherne; L Collins 0-4 (3f), S Hickey 0-2, W Murphy Subs: DJ O’Sullivan for Forrest (45), M O’Keeffe for Aherne (48), J O’Sullivan for Kepple (58), Forrest
for K Collins (60) (BC)
REFEREE: P O’Driscoll (Bride Rovers)
Rockchapel’s Den Joe O’Callaghan gets by Mitchelstown’s Sean Walsh during the second half of last weekend’s County Intermediate Football Championship Quarter-final in Charleville Photo by Eric Barry