Rhode (Offaly) 1-12 Simonstown Gaels (Meath) 1-09
Rhode narrowly held on in the face of a late surge from Simonstown Gaels at O’Connor Park this afternoon, securing their place in the last four of the Leinster club football championship at the expense of the Meath champions.
Shane O’Rourke’s sending off for Simonstown with just over 20minutes to play, after his father Colm was sent from the sideline in the first half, appeared to set the stage for the highly fancied Offaly side to dominate the final quarter.
But Paschal Kelleghan’s men failed to find the form that they displayed in their crushing win over Gusserane O’Rahilly’s in the previous round, eventually squeezing home thanks to a late punched point from Niall McNamee, his fifth of the afternoon.
Not much was expected of the Meath club after they won their first ever crown in the Royal County a fortnight ago but they burst out of the blocks in the early stages.
Some high energy football rocked Rhode back on their heels, with Brian Conlon utterly dominant at centre back and Sean Tobin kicking some superb points to put Simonstown 0-4 to 0-1 in front.
Rhode recovered well, however, and a couple of inspirational scores from Brian Darby and Niall McNamee gave them a 0-6 to 0-4 interval lead in a contest littered with yellow cards.
Shane O’Rourke received his second such sanction after 39 minutes for a high tackle on Stephen Hannon and Rhode initially took full advantage of their extra man, edging four points in front.
Conor McNamee’s blasted close range goal appeared to put the result to bed, but a penalty from Eanna Donoghue opened the door for a comeback.
Points from Tobin and Michael Brennan heightened the tension in the crowd of 2,097 people but Rhode just about held on to set up a clash with Sean O’Mahonys in a fortnight’s time.
Rhode: K Garry; B Darby (0-01), E Rigney, J Kavanagh; N Darby (0-01), S Sullivan, J McPadden; A McNamee, C McNamee (1-01); S Hannon, P Sullivan, A Sullivan (0-01); P McPadden (0-01 free), R McNamee, N McNamee (0-05, 0-01 free).
Subs: D Garry (0-02) for P McPadden (38), G O’Connell for P Sullivan (45), C Heavey for N Darby (57), G McNamee for R McNamee (60+2)
Simonstown Gaels: R Burlingham; S Gallagher, N McMahon, S Moran; M O’Rourke, B Conlon, N Kane; S O’Rourke, C Sheridan; J Lyons (0-01), S Kenny, M McCabe; E Donoghue (1-01, 1-00 pen, 0-01 free), S Tobin (0-05, 0-02 frees), P McKeever (0-01).
Subs: B McGrath for M O’Rourke (HT), M Brennan (0-01, ’45) for Lyons (41), S Barry for Sheridan (52), C Nash for Kenny (55)
Referee: Patrick Maguire (Longford)