Walker rocks as Rochestown capture Senior Cup
St. Francis College, Rochestown 1-0 Rice College, Westport
Gordon Walker (86)
Gordon Walker was the hero for St. Francis College, Rochestown with a dramatic late winner to capture the Bank of Ireland FAI Schools Dr. Tony O’Neill Senior Cup in a narrow 1-0 victory over the ten men of Rice College, Westport in the National Final at Home Farm FC, Whitehall this afternoon (March 22).
It a was a historic day for the Cork School who have picked up the National Senior Cup for the first time ever and next week will aim to complete a double when their Junior side face St. Eunan’s College, Letterkenny in the Tom Ticher Cup Final as the same venue.
The closely contested decider appeared to be heading for extra time when Walker struck the decisive score against the run of play with four minutes remaining.
Substitute Ross Slevin set up the goal when he picked out Walker on the right of the Rice College area with a clever pass.
The unmarked Cobh Ramblers midfielder then took a neat touch before firing in a low drive past a helpless ‘keeper Patrick O’Malley.
Ironically Rochestown have once again rescued an important game with a late goal after David O’Sullivan’s 88th minute winner in their semi-final win over St. Aidan’s CBS, Whitehall earlier this month.
This defeat was hard on the Mayo side who even after going a man down in the first minute of the second half when midfielder Cian McAllister was sent off following a second yellow card they went on to dominate most of the game.
Following that set back they still looked the more likely side to open the scoring after creating the bulk of the chances.
Jack Murphy hit the side netting from a close range indirect free kick, Emmet Rowley’s pile driver tested Rochestown ‘keeper Matthew Collins and Paul Doyle was narrowly wide with his long range effort.
Rochestown defended well with centre backs David Nason and James Sheehan outstanding but they seemed unable to mount any worthwhile passing movements relying on hopeful long balls forward that never quite worked out.
Only a couple of well delivered corners from Rory Doyle looked like yielding anything for the Cork boys.
Walker headed just wide from one of them while later Ross Slevin saw his half volley cleared off the line by Eoin Conway.
Later Slevin put another shot over the bar from Mark O’Connell cross.
The first half action had been even enough, Rice College had chances but a Peter Corcoran shot was well saved by Collins and after Paul Doyle was set up by Rowley he put his effort well over.
At the other end O’Sullivan played in O’Connell but his strike was well wide.
While the winning goal eventually came in a rare Rochestown attacking move it came close to being cancelled out in the final minute when Kevin Kilkelly burst into the Rochestown box but Rob Slevin was on hand to clear the danger with a brilliant saving tackle and the Bank of Ireland Dr. Tony O'Neill Senior Cup was safely on its way to Cork.
Player of the Match
There was some consolation for the Westport side as playmaker Paul Doyle was awarded the accolade for his fantastic performance for Rice College that afternoon.
RICE COLLEGE, CASTLEBAR | Paddy O’ Malley, Michael O’ Brien (Captain), Eoin Conway, Pat Lambert, Brian O’ Malley, Cian McAllister, Jack Murphy, Killian Kilkelly, Emmet Rowley, Paul Doyle, Peter Corcoran
SUBS | Cian Dunne, Luke Tunney for Rowley (80), John Keane, Rory Brickenden, Cian Kennedy, Gareth Jordan, Darragh Lavelle-Fabby, Daniel McGovern, Oísin Moran, Jack Carney, Keith Carolan-Joyce
TEACHERS | Brendan Clarke & Colin McConway
ST. FRANCIS COLLEGE, ROCHESTOWN | Matthew Collins, Ger O’Mahony, James Sheehan, David Nason, Rob Slevin, Donagh Gribbon, Seán Hillard (Captain), Gordon Walker, Mark O’Connell, Dave O’Sullivan, Padraig Hickey
SUBS | Rory Doyle, Ross Slevin for Hickey (66), Niall Brennan, Andrew Hickey, Mark Donlon, Dónal McGrath, Stephen Griffin, Stephen Fox (injured)
TEACHERS | Eoin O’Flaherty & Nevin Connick
REFEREE: Mark Whelan (Dublin)
ROLL OF HONOUR