Dylan O’Connell reports from Turner’s Cross
Rockmount won their very first Munster Senior Cup title on Tuesday evening, beating four in a row chasing Cork City 2-0 at Turner’s Cross.
Eoin Murphy and Dean Leahy scored in extra time of a game watched by Rockmount’s most famous son, Roy Keane.
Rockmount’s performance was clearly fuelled by their recent experiences in the competition. Billy Cronin’s side were dogmatic in their defensive duties to limit the Cork City attack.
It was the kind of drive which can only be attributed to that feeling of defeat that can only come with four cup final losses in this competition.
This rigidity did nothing but inspire Cork City. Cian Bagary and Ricardo Dinanga were excellent in pushing and pulling through the box, but every time Rockmount’s defensive stance kept the game scoreless, often by the finest of margins
The closer the game got to half time, this became more and more obvious as Daire O’Connor and Corey Galvin tested Brendan O’Connell with attempts from range.
City dominated possession but Rockmount were still able to force chances. Murphy was excellent in carrying their attack, but his attempts on goal were easily caught by Liam Bossin in goal.
Niall Hanley played a similar role for the club and was handed an excellent chance when the ball hopped perfectly in front of goal for him.
In the second it took for the striker to ready himself and connect, Bossin steadied himself and grabbed the ball, denying the striker the slightest touch.
Conditions took a turn for the worst in the second half with a fresh drizzle washing over the Munster FA’s flagship stadium.
For City, whose playing style under Neale Fenn is best summarised by close control of the ball and neat passing play, this would not have been welcome.
Ten minutes into the second half, this was nade obvious when Galvin paused to steady himself, which allowed time for James O’Connell to crunch the forward and win back possession.
As the rain poured, there were fewer and fewer opportunities for either team. Galvin and O’Connor repeatedly made space but each time Jason Sexton and Kenneth Hoey were quick to close it down.
Rob Slevin did attempt an excellent long range shot that O’Connell palmed away and, though the second half was slow, as is the case with most finals, City forced an abundance of chances.
A low shot by Bagary looked to have finally beaten the Rockmount defence, but a low save from O’Connell put the ball out for a throw in.
Rockmount broke through Cian Driscoll, who cut down the left side to face Bossin in goal. In a moment which surely changed the game, Slevin powered in to block the winger and clear the ball.
As normal time drew to close, the experienced legs of Cork City who were carrying the game. Rockmount’s rigid 4-5-1 was tightened in the face of the Rebel Army’s attack.
Kargbo was defiant in these opening moments, repeatedly running and creating space until the final moment of normal time.
Extra-time saw the fresher legs of Cork City take full control of the game. Dale Holland had a weak effort minutes from the restart which trickled wide.
But eight minutes into extra time, Murphy opened the scoring, cutting inside and curling the ball into the top corner, well past the dive of Bossin.
City had a flurry of chances late on to draw the game and each time the Rockmount back four held firm in the face of the pressure on their goal.
Leahy sealed the result in what was virtually the last kick of the game after he lobbed Bossin from inside his own half.
The goal, as it trickled into the back of the Shed End, caused a roar on the sidelines as they clinched their very first Munster Senior Cup.
Rockmount: Brendan O’Connell, James Carson (Dean Leahy 90), Kenneth Hoey, Jason Sexton, Cian Driscoll, James O’Connell, Eoin Murphy (Eoin Murray 120), Danny Aherne, Kevin O’Connell, Niall Hanley, Daniel Duggan (Joe Meaney 72).
Booked: Kenneth Hoey, Eoin Murphy, Danny Aherne.
Cork City FC: Liam Bossin, Rob Slevin (Charlie Flemming 60), Daire O’Connor (Sean Kennedy 67), Corey Galvin (Dale Holland 60), Ronan Hurley, Issa Kargbo, Edward McCarthy, Ricardo Dinanga, Cian Bargary, Luke Desmond (Sean McGarth 60), Jake O’Brien.
Subs not used: David Harrington (gk), Jack Waters, Evison Shllaku-Rramani.
Booked: Issa Kargbo, Jack McCarthy.
Referee: Kevin O’Sullivan.
Extratime.com Player of the Match: Brendan O’Connell (Rockmount).