On Sunday last Rathcline made the long three hour journey to Killurin in Wexford to take on Glynn-Barntown in the Leinster Club Intermediate Football Championship quarter-final and were unlucky to lose by a single point with the absence of Liam Connerton a major blow - the influential county player ruled out with a hand injury.
The crucial score of this tight contest came midway through the second half as Michael Doyle won primary possession in midfield from a kick out and set Robert Tierney off on a gallop up field and with the Rathcline defence cut open he delivered a pass into substitute Sean Carmody who fired the ball to the net.
The weather conditions were pitch perfect and Rathcline were facing a big task against the Wexford outfit who won their first round game against the Louth champions convincingly.
But it was the Longford Intermediate champions who set the pace early on and claimed the first point of the game after just thirty seconds. Wing-back James Carroll carried the ball out of defence and set up Kevin Chapman who coolly slotted over from thirty yards out.
Both teams exchanged scores with Wexford senior footballer Michael O’Regan equalising through a 45’ after three minutes.
Rathcline were the livelier outfit during the early stages of the game and they led 0-5 to 0-3 after twenty minutes with the other scores coming from James Hanley (free); a nice, high looping shot from Ronan Clyne and a super strike from Shane Kenny.
It is worth noting that Kenny showed leadership beyond his years and he was a constant threat with his direct running and link-up play and ended up with the impressive total of six points (four frees) to his credit.
The Wexford champions upped the ante in the closing stages of the first half, hitting four unanswered points to leave it all square at the break, 0-6 to 0-6.
Rathcline were first to seize the advantage at the start of the second half when Shane Kenny hit a long ball into James Hanley who fisted over the bar from an acute angle to put the visitors back into the lead.
Glynn-Barntown began to take hold of the game midway through the second half but they were met with fierce resistance in the form of resolute defending from Michael Morrissey, James Carroll and County Minor Kevin Sorohan.
Sorohan won a well-earned free at the halfway line after a super interception from Morrissey in the full-back-line. Following on from this free, Shane Kenny saw his superb strike soar over the bar from 45 metres out.
The crucial only goal came in the 46th minute when Glynn-Barntown rattled the back of the Rathcline net after continuous pressure. This proved to be a serious dent in the Rathcline momentum and gave the hosts the lead they subsequently never surrendered.
The Lanesboro lads continued to battle hard and responded quickly with another point from Shane Kenny but they could not reach the levels of intensity with which they had played during the earlier stages of the game.
Having said that, Rathcline played with a steely determination and brought this game to the wire, closing the gap to a point, but they couldn’t manufacture that so hard sought after equalising score.
GLYNN-BARNTOWN: Nigel Donohoe; Nigel Usher, Robert Tierney, Eoin Raftery; Alan Cowman, John Leacy, Cian Neville; Michael Doyle, Brendan Doyle; Matthew Joyce, Michael O’Regan, Barry Doyle; Ian Moran, Craig Doyle, Robert Dempsey.
Subs:- Sean Carmody for Barry Doyle; Aaron Kehoe for I Moran; Murtagh Joyce for Brendan Doyle.
RATHCLINE: David Mulvihill; Garth Reilly, Michael Morrissey, Blaine Fallon; James Carroll, Shane Donohoe, Kevin Sorohan; Derek Casserly, Shane Kenny; Kevin Chapman, David Rooney, Barry Clarke; James Hanley, Ronan Clyne, Michael Hanley.
Subs:- Shane Casserly for G Reilly (34 mins); Oisín O’Sullivan for M Hanley (60 mins); Iarla O’Sullivan for B Clarke (64 mins).
Referee: David Moore (Laois).