It took Abbeylara quite some time to assert their superiority over Granard but they gained complete control on the changeover in pulling right away to win with considerable ease in the finish at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park on Sunday evening last.
A lot more intensity was expected in this local derby but it turned out to be a rather tame affair as Abbeylara gradually got their act together in the second half, shooting nine points in a row to put the issue beyond all doubt.
Maurice O’Connor’s side can now look forward to a last four showdown against Clonguish on Saturday September 12th in their quest to qualify for the senior football championship final but cannot afford a repeat of a very poor first half performance against St Mary’s.
Were it not for a fine point-blank save from keeper Damien O’Connor, who prevented Darren Gallagher from scoring a goal in the 25th minute, Abbeylara would have trailed at half-time but ended up on level terms (0-4 to 0-4) despite kicking a total of six wides.
In that same attack David Hynes fired the breaking ball over the bar, at which stage Granard led by 0-4 to 0-2 with their other scores coming from Darren Gallagher (free), Stephen Lynch (free) and Liam Sullivan.
A brace of frees converted by Robbie Smyth was the best Abbeylara could manage but they got a fortunate break in the 26th minute with a disputed point from Arthur O’Connor, a shot which looked wide but the score was allowed to stand.
Soon after Nigel Rabbitte landed a cracking point to level matters whereas St Mary’s missed a couple of good chances and it all went wrong for them in the second half as their challenge collapsed.
Direct from the throw-in wing back Colm P Smyth surged forward to fire over a point and while Granard replied with a Darren Gallagher free, it was complete one-way traffic thereafter as the slicker Abbeylara outfit exposed gaps in the opposing defence to embark on a scoring blitz.
Jason Kelly had the goals at his mercy when he blasted the ball over the bar in the 35th minute and a further eight points followed - three from Conor Berry, a brace from Robbie Smyth (free and play) with Colm P Smyth, Nigel Rabbitte and Jason Kelly also on target.
Berry and Rabbitte were particularly prominent in the destruction of St Mary’s, who lacked the scoring power to pose a serious threat with seven of their ten points total coming from frees.
Trailing by 0-14 to 0-5, whatever slim hope they had of staging a dramatic comeback was dashed when David Hynes shot over the bar when a goal was there for the taking in the 51st minute.
To their credit, the gallant losers battled it out to the bitter end and were rewarded with four consolation scores in the closing stages of this disappointing quarter-final clash from frees converted by Darren Gallagher, substitute Glen Kelly (2) and David Hynes.
With the damage done, Abbeylara could afford to relax a little and added just two more points to their emphatic tally through Jason Kelly and Robbie Smyth and were denied a goal when Bernard Crawford had a shot well saved by the Granard keeper Eoin Mallon in the 57th minute.
ABBEYLARA: Damien O’Connor; Barry Smyth, Fergal Battrim, Cian Brady; Brian Smyth, Michael McHugh, Colm P Smyth (0-2); Arthur O’Connor (0-1), Derek Smyth; Jason Kelly (0-3), Conor Berry (0-3), Nigel Rabbitte (0-2); Bernard Crawford, Robbie Smyth (0-5, three frees), William Crawford.
Subs:- Kieran Mulvihill for W Crawford (39 mins); Barry McKiernan for J Kelly (55 mins); Mickey O’Connor for D Smyth (60 mins); Eamon Gallagher for Brian Smyth (stoppage time); Cormac Smyth for C Brady (stoppage time).
ST MARY’S GRANARD: Eoin Mallon; Eoin Higgins, Thomas Gallagher, Vinny Nally; Paul Smyth, Alan Neilon, Mark Tully; Charlie Martin, Liam O’Rourke; Stephen Lynch (0-1, free), Brian Sheridan, Darren Gallagher (0-3, all frees); Liam Sullivan (0-1), Derek Sheridan, David Hynes (0-3, one free).
Subs:- Kevin McGauran for V Nally (half-time); Declan Hynes for D Sheridan (39 mins); David Blessington for A Neilon (43 mins); Timmy Jackson for M Tully (46 mins); Glen Kelly (0-2, frees) for C Martin (50 mins).
Referee: John Hughes
(Killoe Emmet Og).