It was October 3rd before the long awaited replay of the East Cork final of the County 'B' grade football competition against Dungourney took place, this time in Ballynoe and the Rovers were lucky to win by 2 points 1-5 to 0-6. Two weeks later it was the quarter final of the East Cork 'B' football championship with Castlemartyr the opponents in Dungourney and this game resulted in another narrow win by 1-8 to 1-4. The players were changing from hurling to football championship games on successive Sundays but luckily such was the interest that it did not have any detrimental effect. With the team through to the East Cork semi final it was on to the County 'B' campaign on Sunday October 31st in Ballyhooley.
Killavullen, the North Cork champions, were the opposition and after a very close first half the Avondhu men won by 3 goals in the end, 4-5 to 1-5. The Rovers team was: P. Mannix, T. Kearney, M. Hogan, L. Barry, J.J. Barry, A. Cahill, B. Hogan, T. Mulcahy, J.A. Murphy, H. Kelleher, B. O'Connell, P. Walsh, J. O'Dowd, D. Johnson, A. O'Flynn. Subs: K. Quinlan, P. Barry, M. O'Flynn.
It was a bad week-end overall for the club because on the previous day at Lisgoold the club had lost both the under-16 football championship final and the minor football league final. With dreams of a County title gone the team had to return to the domestic East Cork championship and in the semi final at Dungourney on November 11th Lisgoold were easily defeated by 2-10 to 0-1. In that game the team played a powerful brand of attacking football. Pat Walsh was top scorer with 2-2, other scores came from Anthony Cahill 0-1, Andrew O'Flynn 0-2, Batt O'Connell 0-2, Pat Barry 0-1, Tom Mulcahy 0-1, Dermot Johnson 0-1.
The final against Glanmire was in Glenville just a week later. The day was bitterly cold but dry and the pitch was in great condition for Mid November. In the second minute of the game Pat Walsh was pulled down and Andrew O'Flynn opened the scoring with a point from the free. Glanmire attacked strongly but vital interceptions from Liam Barry and Mike Hogan averted the danger. Tom Mulcahy and John A. Murphy were getting on top in midfield and soon the Rovers forwards piled on the pressure. Pat Barry kicked a point from the ground. Dermot 'Georgie' Johnson finished a high catch from Pat Walsh to the net but this was disallowed. A ball from Anthony Cahill to Tom Mulcahy and on to Pat Barry resulted in a point from a free by Andrew O'Flynn when Pat was pulled down. Another free 45 yards out was put over the bar by Andrew O'Flynn to leave the Rovers ahead by 0-5 to 0-0 after 15 minutes. Mick Mooney had Glanmire's first score, a point from a free in the 18th minute and from this until the break, they bombarded the Rovers defence which held firm and the score stood at 0-5 to 0-1 at the break. Glanmire had a quick point on the restart to leave just a goal in it. Then in the 4th minute a great ball from John Joe Barry to Pat Barry was passed to Andrew O'Flynn. He released it quickly to Batt O'Connell and his angled shot deceived the Glanmire goalie with John O'Dowd doing a good job in attracting the keeper's attention. The Rovers were now 1-5 to 0-2 ahead. Glanmire pointed but a sideline by Andrew O'Flynn was kicked over the bar by Batt O'Connell, 1-6 to 0-3. Pat Walsh kicked a great point to make it 1-7 to 0-3 but from the kick-out Glanmire worked the ball downfield and goaled to leave just 4 points between the sides. Glanmire attacked again but good work from Tom Kearney and Barry Hogan saw a Glanmire forward overplay and foul the ball. With 4 minutes to go Andrew O'Flynn kicked his fifth point to notch up a 5 point lead 1-8 to 1-3. Then in the 29th minute Glanmire had a point to make it 1-8 to 1-4. Soon after the whistle went and how the players and supporters rejoiced. The Rovers were 'B' grade football champions for the first time since 1981. Only Tom Kearney and Tom Mulcahy remained from that time and these two players were highly influential in each game. John Joe Barry was presented with the Cup by Jerry O'Sullivan, chairman of the East Cork Board and in his acceptance speech, John Joe thanked trainer Pat Hoskins and fellow selectors, Paudie Collins and Seamus Buckley and also the great supporters. It was a happy procession back to Rathcormac, with a big crowd waiting and a long, long night of celebrations.
The Rovers team was: P. Mannix, T. Kearney, M. Hogan, L. Barry, B. Hogan, A. Cahill, J.J. Barry, J.A. Murphy, T. Mulcahy, P. Barry, B. O'Connell, P. Walsh, D. Johnson, A. O'Flynn, J. O'Dowd.
After the disappointment of the Killavullen game great credit was due to the team for coming back with such a great display. The first leg of the double was complete.
After the result in the County 'B' hurling championship game against Lisgoold the Rovers were indeed cautious when the teams met again in the quarter final of the East Cork 'B' championship at Dungourney. Since the teams had last met the Rovers defeated Russell Rovers by 3-11 to 1-5 while Lisgoold were involved in the County campaign. The Rovers were behind by 1-4 to 1-1 at half time. The second half was very exciting with the Rovers coming from behind to win by 4-8 to 3-7. Pat Barry who had started as goalie, came outfield in the second half and scored a goal. This win put the hurling team into the semi final against Carrignavar. This game was played in Lisgoold just a week after the footballers had lost to Killavullen. It was exactly 3 months since the Rovers had beaten Carrignavar in the County 'B' hurling championship by 2-10 to 2-4. On this occasion in Lisgoold the game was a close enough affair and the Rovers were winners in the end by 0-5 to 0-4 to qualify for the East Cork 'B' grade hurling final for the first time since 1975.
Just six days after the 'B' grade football final, the hurling team were in action in a vital league game against Lisgoold at Rathcormac. The winners would qualify for the league final. After a poor performance in the first half, the Rovers got well on top in the last quarter to win by 1-12 to 2-2. The Rovers scorers were: Tom Mulcahy 0-5, Dermot Johnson 1-0, Kieran Fitzgerald 0-3, Pat Barry 0-1, John A Murphy 0-1, Pat Walsh 0-1, Mike Hogan 0-1. The following Sunday, December 5th, was the day of the East Cork Convention in Carrigtwohill but Lisgoold was the venue for all Rovers followers as the bid for the 'B' grade double was made. A highly impressive Midleton side were the opposition. This was a game that had everything. There was a large crowd present and for the first Sunday in December the pitch was in excellent order. To capture the tension and excitement of the game it is worth recalling the account of the game in the Avondhu the following week: “Words cannot adequately describe the scenes at Lisgoold last Sunday when a historic 'B' grade junior double was completed as our hurlers gained a one-point victory over Midleton in a classic encounter.”
Forget that this was winter, forget that this was the first Sunday of December and forget that there was no dust flying in the square. This was hurling at its best, played with passion and fury, skill and determination, some great scores, some near misses but in the final analysis it was hunger and will to win that brought us glory. The statistics will tell us that this was Midleton's third team but once that whistle sounded it was fifteen against fifteen and team against team. Even neutrals and Midleton followers will agree that we deserved to win, but oh how close we came to losing it. A great save by Martin O'Flynn, a missed Midleton free and raw courage in the last few minutes brought us the Eamonn Fleming cup for the third time in our history. In comparison to the previous Sunday conditions were almost summer-like, a grand mild day with little or no wind. Despite the fact that the weak winter sun never broke through the day held up fine and bright for the duration of the game. We had a dream start John Murphy was fouled on the wing and Tom Mulcahy opened the scoring with a point. A similar score from John Murphy saw us open a two point lead. Midleton then had two attacks which yielded nothing. In the ninth minute Kieran Fitzgerald floated in a lovely line ball. Pat Barry tried to get to it but it fell right for Dermot Johnson an he finished it to the net to see us ahead by 1-2 to 0-0. A super point by Pat Barry, we were really settling down very well and with all our players prepared to run at the Midleton team they simply had no answer.
Their defence conceded a lot of frees and 65's. By the 16th minute Tom Mulcahy had put over two more frees to leave us ahead by 1-5 to no score. We had a few more good goal chances but Mike Hogan, Pat Barry, John Murphy, Pat Walsh and Kieran Fitzgerald all had opportunities which yielded nothing. Then in the seventeenth minute a rare Midleton attack saw Muiris Quirke score a good goal to bring Midleton right into the game. The next five minutes were scoreless with Tom Kearney, Barry Murphy and Batt O'Connell all making good clearances as Midleton grew in stature. A Tom Mulcahy free put six points between the sides again in the twenty third minute. Liam Barry broke up a good Midleton attack and cleared to Ml. Walsh who put the ball into the attack. It was noticeable at this stage that the Midleton backs were getting much tighter in their marking. A Ml. Carlton free in the twenty sixth minute yielded Midleton's first point. Two minutes later a great move involving Anthony Cahill, James Murphy and Pat Walsh ended with a magnificent point from play - a truly inspirational score. So at the break we were ahead by 1-7 to 1-1. Six points was a good lead but if we had been more accurate it could have been a 10 or 12 point lead. Obviously after the ferocity of our play in the opening quarter we were bound to slacken a little. At the break Pat Hoskins stressed that we had nothing won yet and thirty minutes of hard hurling still remained. Whatever Kevin Hennessy said to his team at the break, (most of it couldn't be printed here) it certainly had the desired effect.
From the throw in they tore into the game like a different team. With a minute and a half Ml. Carlton had shot 2 points from frees. Jerry Wallace and Eamonn Crotty started coming forward repeatedly to give a plentiful supply of ball to their forwards. Our backs were under pressure of all sorts but Martin O'Flynn, Tom Kearney and Barry Murphy threw everything in the way of Midleton's onslaught. Liam Barry had to leave the field with a leg injury and was replaced by Alan Broderick. Further Midleton points reduced our lead to just a point with twelve minutes gone. A Pat Barry point followed by a beauty from Dermot Johnson after he evaded five Midleton backs relieved the pressure on us, and put us 3 points up again. The play was fast and furious at this stage with positional switches all over the field. Corner-back Tom Kearney was often seen at centre field, Anthony Cahill often passed midfield as the two teams were locked in a titanic struggle for supremacy. As time ticked away Midleton came again and got two super points from Muiris Quirke and Austin Butler. Pat Barry was fouled out on the wing and Tom Mulcahy made no mistake with the free to see us ahead 1-10 to 1-8 with five minutes to go. Mike Hogan, Kieran Fitzgerald and Dermot Johnson combined in a good movement but the sliotar was cleared downfield. Crotty added to it but Alan Broderick booted it out to Batt O'Connell whose clearance went to John Murphy but Midleton held out again. A free from MI. Carlton left the scores at 1-10 to 1-9. Seconds later Carlton was off target when an equaliser seemed certain. As Tom Kearney went to clear the ball he was heavily tackled by a Midleton player. Play was held up for two and a half minutes as Tom was attended to before he left the field looking very shaken. Cormac Howard came on as a sub as the game entered time added on. Midleton players swooped like magpies on the ball but then the sweet sound of Michael Hegarty's whistle was heard. Unbridled joy was demonstrated by everyone concerned. East Cork Board PRO, Billy Cody presented the Eamonn Fleming Cup to Tom Mulcahy. Tom then thanked the team trainer, Pat Hoskins, selectors Tony Walsh and Tom Barry and all the members of the panel who had put so much work into winning this title.
The team that lined up in Sunday's final was: Martin O'Flynn, Barry Murphy, Liam Barry, Tom Kearney, Batt O'Connell, Anthony Cahill, Michael Walsh, James Murphy, Kieran Fitzgerald, Tom Mulcahy (Captain), Mike Hogan, Pat Walsh, Dermot Johnson, John A Murphy, Pat Barry. Subs: Alan Broderick, Cormac Howard. The other members of the panel were: Maurice Kearney, Denis Mulcahy, Denis Ahern, John Joe Barry, Joe Murphy, Andrew O'Flynn, Joe Barry, Barry O'Riordan, John O'Dowd, Edmond Hoskins, Terry Broderick.
Eventually the happy throng got back to Rathcormac. Later the team went to Fermoy Golf Club for a lovely meal before the celebrations which continued well into Monday. Yes indeed, it was a wonderful achievement and bearing in mind the results of 1991 and 1992 all the more memorable. Tom Kearney was the sole survivor from the 1975 'B' grade winning team and Tom's displays in both hurling and football all during 1993 were inspirational for many of the younger players on the squad. Alan Broderick who came on as a sub was born the year after Tom won his first 'B' grade medal! A glorious year for the club finally came to an end on Sunday December 12th when selectors Pat Hoskins, Tony Walsh and Tommy Barry saw their team defeat Aghada in the League Final at Rostellan by 2-15 to 0-5.