Iarla O'Sullivan on the attack for Rathcline in breaking away from Ardagh/Moydow defender Conor Carroll. Action from the Intermediate Football Championship semi-final. Photo: Declan Gilmore
Rathcline produced a strong second half display in their win over Ardagh/Moydow at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park on Saturday evening last to reach the Intermediate Football Championship Final for the second time in the space of three years.
Rathcline . . . 3-12 Ardagh St Patrick’s/Moydow Harpers . . . 0-13
Although the Lanesboro outfit had the comfortable margin of eight points to spare in the finish, just the minimum (1-8 to 0-10) separated the sides when Daryl Carrigy fisted the ball over the bar for the amalgamation midway through the second half.
Rathcline then suffered a significant setback when Liam Connerton was stretchered off in the 47th minute after sustaining a serious knee injury but they pushed on to fire over three fine points in a row through James Hanley, Shane Kenny and Ryan Fallon before they struck the killer blow in the 56th minute.
Fallon blasted a shot into the back of the net after the Ardagh/Moydow keeper Michael Lenehan made another point-blank save to stop a close range shot from Iarla O’Sullivan and also denied Shane Casserly in pulling off a terrific save to deflect the ball over the bar in the 43rd minute.
With the commanding Shane Donohue a driving force at centre-half-back on the changeover, Rathcline ran out fairly emphatic winners in the end in adding a further 1-1 to their tally, the goal coming from a penalty converted by Shane Kenny in stoppage time with the same player also accounting for the point as the ball hopped over the bar.
Ardagh/Moydow grabbed three late consolation scores with midfielder Paddy Keenan, defender Ciaran Kelly and chief marksman Killian Farrell (free) on target and were left to rue the kicking of some costly wides in the first half and particularly the three bad misses just before the break.
The amalgamation still managed to hold a slender 0-8 to 1-4 lead at half-time with four of the points (two frees) coming from Killian Farrell, a brace from Thomas Farrell with Paddy Keenan and Finn Hartmann also on the mark.
Hartmann had a goal attempt cleared off the line by Jack Rooney in what was a very lucky escape for Rathcline in the early stages of the game, just after Liam Connerton had sent the lively Iarla O’Sullivan (always a threat) racing through for a cracking goal in the 4th minute.
The Rathcline points in the first half were registered by Aaron Madden (forced to retire injured in the 19th minute), Shane Kenny and two from Liam Connerton (free and play), the second of which was a close attempt for a goal in the 28th minute.
Ardagh/Moydow faded out of contention on the changeover with Killian Farrell firing over a free in the third quarter whereas Rathcline tacked on four points through Liam Connerton (two frees), Ryan Fallon and Shane Casserly as they gradually got on top.
After the Daryl Carrigy point for the amalgamation in the 44th minute, Rathcline pulled right away to outscore the opposition 2-4 to 0-3 during the remainder of the match and now meet Sean Connolly's in the Gerry Hennessy Cup decider on Sunday 24 September.
RATHCLINE: David Mulvihill; Jack Rooney, Kevin Chapman, Kevin Sorohan; David Rooney, Shane Donohue, Derek Casserly; Shane Kenny (1-3, goal from penalty), Shane Casserly (0-1); Iarla O’Sullivan (1-0), James Hanley (0-1), Ryan Fallon (1-2); Aaron Madden (0-1), Liam Connerton (0-4, three frees), Ronan Clyne.
Subs:- Oisin O’Sullivan for A Madden (injured, 19 mins); Niall Keane for L Connerton (injured, 47 mins); Kevin Connaughton for K Chapman (black card, five minutes into stoppage time).
Blood sub:- N Keane for J Hanley (37 mins); J Hanley back on for N Keane (43 mins).
ARDAGH ST PATRICK’S/MOYDOW HARPERS: Michael Lenehan; Ciaran Kelly (0-1), Niall Keenan, Oisin Mac an Bheatha; Conor Carroll, Gareth Dennigan, John Shea; Paddy Keenan (0-2), Seamus Shortt; Thomas Farrell (0-2), Killian Farrell (0-6, four frees), Gerard Farrell; Aaron McTiernan, Daryl Carrigy (0-1), Finn Hartmann (0-1).
Sub:- Paddy Ganley for S Shortt (58 mins).
Referee: Gerard Egan (St Mary’s Granard).