St Joseph's Miltown (Clare) 1-11 Rathgormack (Waterford) 0-11
Last year's finalists St Joseph's Miltown returned to the last four of the Munster Senior Club Football Championship but only after receiving a stern extra-time evaluation from Rathgormack in Hennessy Memorial Park, Miltown Malbay this afternoon.
In an inch-tight endurance battle that was level on six occasions, it was only in extra-time that more than a kick of the ball separated the sides after the back-to-back Clare champions converted four successive points to ensure a semi-final showdown with Tipperary's Clonmel Commercials back on home soil next Sunday.
Up to that juncture, the pendulum could have swung in either direction as despite an Eoin Cleary goal in the 22nd minute, the hosts simply couldn't shake off their stubborn Waterford opponents who were led superbly by midfielder Jason Curry.
Clare senior duo Eoin Cleary and Kieran Malone matched Curry's frees as the sides swapped points on four occasions in the opening quarter. Cleary somehow found himself unmarked inside the 20 metre line to gather a Seanie Malone delivery over the top and billow the net on Miltown's way to a 1-04 to 0-06 interval lead.
Jason Curry's unerring accuracy finally reeled in their hosts by the two thirds mark. However, despite the double blow of a second yellow card for Cathal Growth along with conceding two Eoin Cleary points, a never-say-die Rathgormack simply refused to accept their perceived fate as Conor Murray and inevitably Jason Curry deservedly forced extra-time.
While Rathgormack were back to their full compliment, it was St Joseph's Miltown that found an extra gear in the additional periods to tack on four unanswered points, two from the lively Cormac Murray, at 1-11 to 0-10 by the 71st minute.
That said, Rathgormack still had a glorious opportunity to send the tie to penalties after Jason Curry's seventh point was almost followed by an injury-time goal for his brother Michael Curry.
However, the captain snatched at the chance for a relieved St Joseph's Miltown to finally prevail.
St Joseph's Miltown: Sean O'Brien; Enda O'Gorman, Seanie Malone, Eoin O'Brien; Gearoid Curtin, Gordon Kelly, Aidan McGuane; Oisin Looney, Conor Cleary; Micheál Murray, Eoin Cleary (1-05, 0-01f), Kieran Malone (0-04); Brian Curtin, Graham Kelly, Cormac Murray (0-02)
Subs: Euan Reidy for M. Murray (Half-Time), Eoin Curtin for Graham Kelly (41 mins), Murray for E. Curtin (54 mins, inj), Shane Curtin for O'Gorman (60+1 mins, inj), Jamesie O'Connor for Gordon Kelly (60+3 mins, Black Card), Graham Kelly for O'Connor (60 mins), Colin Hehir for M. Murray (70 mins), Enda Fox for Looney (78 mins)
Rathgormack: Padraig Hunt; Conor Walsh, Cathal Crowch, Liam Connolly; William Hahessy, Michael Curry,Robbie Flynn (0-01); Tom Walsh, Jason Curry (0-07, 0-05f): Billy Power, Stephen Curry, James Power (0-01); Jason Gleeson, Paul Drohan, Conor Murray (0-02)
Subs: John Kirwan for Drohan (Half-Time), Ronan Cahill for Connolly (53 mins), Declan Hennebry for Flynn (60+1 mins, inj), Ronan Crotty (60 mins), Flynn for Walsh (64 mins), Jamie Kirwan for J. Power (78 mins)
Referee: David Murnane (Cork)