Last year’s Junior title winners Legan Sarsfields sprang a big surprise when they knocked a fancied Cashel side out of the Intermediate Football Championship, winning by a solitary point in the Round 3 clash at Leo Casey Park in Ballymahon on Sunday evening last.
This was a must win game for Cashel and they were looking good to qualify for the semi-finals when holding a comfortable four points lead with about five minutes remaining. But Legan were thrown a lifeline when they grabbed a gift goal. Paul Ross sent in a long kick that was saved by the Cashel keeper Ger Neilon but the ball broke loose and was scrambled into the net by Paddy O’Neill to change the course of the game.
It proved to be a shattering blow for Cashel who were eventually pipped at the post in what was a demoralising defeat for last year’s beaten finalists, although their cause was certainly not helped when chief marksman Gary Kenny sustained a thigh injury early in the game and was eventually forced to retire at half-time.
But Cashel appeared to have done enough to make it through to the knock-out stages, only to panic in the tense closing stages as Legan got the crucial goal to snatch the victory that earns them a semi-final clash against neighbouring rivals Ardagh on Sunday September 8th.
Moving Paul Ross to midfield proved to be a shrewd switch by the Legan mentors and the Sarsfields showed a lot of character to win the game.
Cashel led by 0-7 to 0-5 at half-time and should have been further ahead. They continued to squander scoring chances in the second half and have really only themselves to blame for their unexpected exit and must now face Sean Connolly’s in a relegation play-off.
LEGAN SARSFIELDS: Ian Moran; Kevin Moran, Joe Keogh, Stephen Doherty; Darragh Flynn, Shane Cox (0-3, frees), Noel O’Neill; Niall Flood, Cormac Hanlon; Barry Tierney, John Slowey, Kieran Murphy; Paddy O’Neill (1-0), Paul Ross (0-3), Ollie Hogan (0-2).
Subs used:- Kevin Quaine and Damian O’Neill.
CASHEL: Gerard Neilon; Ronan Farrell, Conan Casey, Ronan Muldoon; Keith Carberry, Padraig Farrell, Mel Farrell; Luke Casey, Gerard Dennigan (0-4, 2 frees); Gary Kenny (0-2, 1 free), Aidan Rowan (0-2, 45’s), Mark Egan; Niall Donlon, Shane Merrigan, Mark Staunton (0-1 free).
Subs used:- Casey Weafer for M Egan (injured); Gavin Kelly for G Kenny (injured); Shane Bannon (0-1) for N Donlon.
Referee: Fergal Kelly (Ballymahon).
Intermediate Championship Semi-Finals
Carrickedmond v Rathcline - Sunday September 1st
Legan Sarsfields v Ardagh St. Patrick’s - Sunday September 8th
Cashel v Sean Connolly’s
Ballymore v Kenagh