Sean O'Mahony's (Louth) 1-08 Sarsfields (Kildare) 0-08
Louth’s Sean O’Mahony’s held off a brave late fightback from 14-man Sarsfields in Drogheda this afternoon to book their place in the AIB Leinster Club SFC semi-finals.
Alan Craven’s side looked set to cruise into the last four when Stephen Fisher’s goal seven minutes into the second half gave them a 1-6 to 0-2 lead before Gary White was sent-off six minutes later.
However, the visitors fought back to cut the gap to a single point with two minutes to go before the O’Mahony’s finished with two late points to secure the victory.
The first half was a tempestuous affair, with most of the major talking points involving numerous scuffles, with White fortunate to escape sanction for an elbow that ended O’Mahony’s full forward Conor Crawley’s afternoon prematurely.
In terms of the action it was a battle of the free takers for the most part, with Conor Finnegan twice giving the Sean O’Mahony’s the lead only for it to be cancelled out on each occasion by Ray Cahill.
Finnegan’s third free of the afternoon restored the Dundalk side’s lead on 26 minutes before substitute David Dowling fired over the game’s first point from play in the third minute of stoppage time to leave it 0-4 to 0-2 at the break.
Either side of four Sarsfields wides, O’Mahony’s doubled their advantage within five minutes of the restart courtesy of another Finnegan free and a point from Stephen Kilcoyne.
Then came their goal on 37 minutes. Con Kavanagh passed straight to Finnegan, who picked out Dowling. He in turn released Fisher through on goal to fire past Andy O’Brien to open up a seven-point advantage.
A tough task then went from bad to worse for the Kildare side when White was shown a straight red card on 43 minutes for a headbutt on Conor Martin right in front of referee David Gough.
To their credit, John Crofton’s side refused to throw in the towel, with two points from half-time substitute Alan Smith, two frees from Cahill and one apiece from Ben McCormack and Conor Hartley reducing the deficit to the minimum with two minutes remaining.
However, Ben McLaughlin’s point steadied the ship for the O’Mahony’s, with Kilcoyne making sure of the win in stoppage time as they booked a semi-final spot at home to Rhode in two weeks’ time.
Sean O’Mahony’s: B Traynor; J Connolly, R Byrne, M Clarke; K Murphy, J O’Brien, L Dullaghan; C Martin, S Brennan; C Finnegan 0-4, 4f, K McLaughlin, S Fisher 1-0; B McLaughlin 0-1, C Crawley, S Kilcoyne 0-2. Subs: D Dowling 0-1 for C Crawley 18; N McLaughlin for K McLaughlin, 43; P O’Brien for N McLaughlin, 51 (BC); B Mackin for J Connolly 59.
Sarsfields: A O’Brien; C Duffy, S Ryan, D McDonnell; C Tiernan, G White, C McInerney Aspell; C McDonnell, C Kavanagh; R Fitzgibbon, R Cahill 0-4, 4f, C Hartley 0-1; D Nea, B McCormack 0-1, R Connor. Subs: A Smith 0-2 for R Connor, HT; J Healy for C Duffy, 37; C Costigan for D Nea, 45.
Referee: D Gough (Meath).