AIB Munster Club SFC: Milltown-Malbay march on
AIB Munster Club SFC Quarter-Final
ST JOSEPH'S MILLTOWN-MALBAY (CLARE) 1-11 RATHGORMACK (WATERFORD) 0-11
By Eoin Brennan at Hennessy Memorial Park
St Joseph's Miltown's first ever home Munster Senior Club Championship tie certainly provided full value for money after taking 80 minutes to finally shake off a never-say-die Rathgormack in Hennessy Memorial Park.
Eoin Cleary's 22nd minute goal ensured that the home side would never be headed thereafter but not even a second yellow card for corner-back Cathal Crowch nearing the turn of the final quarter could derail the determined Waterford champions who managed to force extra-time with late points from Conor Murray and chief marksman Jason Curry.
St Joseph's Miltown would finally put daylight between the sides in those additional periods after the lively Cormac Murray (2), Eoin Cleary and Kieran Malone carved out their biggest advantage of the afternoon by the 71st minute at 1-11 to 0-10.
Even then however, Rathgormack refused to adhere to the script as Jason Curry's seventh point might have been followed by a dramatic equalising goal for his brother Michael at the death. However, his rushed flicked effort was repelled by goalkeeper Sean O'Brien when in truth, the Rathgormack captain had more time that he realised.
Indeed, the sides would be level on six occasions, four of those in the opening quarter as Curry's frees were equalled by Clare seniors Eoin Cleary (2) and Kieran Malone (2).
Rathgormack inched ahead for a third time in the 18th minute, inevitably through Jason Curry, only to be rocked back on their heels three minutes later when home dangerman Eoin Cleary inexplicably found himself unmarked to find the net on the home side's way to a 1-4 to 0-6 interval lead.
A further brace for Jason Curry on the restart regained parity by the two-thirds mark but Rathgormack's hopes appeared to evaporate when falling two behind to an Eoin Cleary brace after being reduced to 14.
They not only belied the odds though but actually seemed to have momentum on their side when kicking the last two points to force extra-time at 1-07 to 0-10.
However, despite restoring their full complement, the visitors would be sunk by four unanswered St Joseph's Miltown points that would prove sufficient to finally cement a Munster Senior Semi-Final showdown with Tipperary's Clonmel Commercials back on home soil next Sunday.
Scorers for St Joseph's Miltown: Eoin Cleary 1-5 (1f), Kieran Malone 0-4, Cormac Murray 0-2.
Scorers for Rathgormack: Jason Curry 0-7 (5fs), Conor Murray 0-2, Robbie Flyn andJames Power 0-1 each.
ST JOSEPH'S MILTOWN: Sean O'Brien; Enda O'Gorman, Seanie Malone, Eoin O'Brien; Gearoid Curtin, Gordon Kelly, Aidan McGuane; Oisin Looney, Conor Cleary; Micheál Murray, Eoin Cleary, Kieran Malone; Brian Curtin, Graham Kelly, Cormac Murray
Subs: Euan Reidy for M. Murray (Half-Time), Eoin Curtin for Graham Kelly (41 mins), Murray for E. Curtin (54 mins, inj), Shane Curtin for O'Gorman (60+1 mins, inj), Jamesie O'Connor for Gordon Kelly (60+3 mins, Black Card), Graham Kelly for O'Connor (60 mins), Colin Hehir for M. Murray (70 mins), Enda Fox for Looney (78 mins)
RATHGORMACK: Padraig Hunt; Conor Walsh, Cathal Crowch, Liam Connolly; William Hahessy, Michael Curry,Robbie Flynn; Tom Walsh, Jason Curry: Billy Power, Stephen Curry, James Power; Jason Gleeson, Paul Drohan, Conor Murray
Subs: John Kirwan for Drohan (Half-Time), Ronan Cahill for Connolly (53 mins), Declan Hennebry for Flynn (60+1 mins, inj), Ronan Crotty (60 mins), Flynn for Walsh (64 mins), Jamie Kirwan for J. Power (78 mins)
REFEREE: David Murnane (Cork)