Gusserane save their best for Tara Rocks tie
Gusserane supporters were left pinching themselves as their team saved their best performance of the season for Saturday's quarter-final against Tara Rocks.
Gusserane 3-23 Tara Rocks 1-13
It was for real alright, as the underdogs won the tie at Hollymount with 16 points to spare, running up a cricket score in the process.
They served a warning that they meant business when John Roche obliged Rocks keeper Aaron Redmond to make a smart save within seconds of throw-in.
By the time the referee brought proceedings to a close, they had beaten Redmond three times and popped 23 points over the luckless net-minder's bar.
Midfielder and free taker Mark Rossiter left the pitch shortly before the end to a rowdy and well deserved ovation after contributing mightily in all sectors of play.
And the only fly in the winners' ointment was the dismissal of defender Shane Cullen, shown a straight red card which left the winners short-handed for the closing 10 minutes. The O'Rahilly's romp into the semi-finals had to survive a few early scares as Brendan Hobbs shaped up well for the Gorey district team along the left flank.
Hobbs helped tee up Patrick Fortune for a 5th minute goal which proved to be the high point of the afternoon for his side.
After that, it was all downhill to the half-way mark for the Rocks as the eventual winners amassed 2-12 in a purple patch which extended for 16 glorious minutes.
The first goal came from Pauric Conway, the result of some scintillating teamwork and the second followed shortly afterwards as Conway opened the way for Sean Ryan to convert.
Free ranging Ryan was a persistent thorn in the side of the opposition throughout and his second major of the afternoon - with Fintan Ryan providing the telling pass - underlined that there was no rescuing the Tara Rocks cause.
The favourites, playing in jerseys borrowed from Oulart, were out-fought and out-gunned.
On 50 minutes, Brendan Hobbs went down in pain after a disagreement with Shane Cullen was concluded with a pull which led to a shemozzle.
It took at least four minutes for Cullen to be dismissed, for an over-exuberant Rocks pitch invader to be put outside the fence, for Hobbs to regain full health and for order generally to be restored.
The incident did not put much of a dent into Gusserane's canter to the tape, with Mark O'Neill having the last word as he scored from a free to cap a fine individual display and a memorable team effort.
Gusserane O'Rahilly's: Micheál Ryan; Kenneth Cahill, Robert Browne, Jack O'Connor; Liam Dillon, Paul Wall, James Redmond; Adrian Redmond (0-3), Mark Rossiter (0-9, 4 frees, a 65); Fintan Ryan (0-1), Graeme Cullen, John Roche; Mark O'Neill (0-6, 1 free), Sean Ryan (2-3), Pauric Conway (1-1). Subs: Robert Browne for Roche 50 minutes; Sean Kinsella for Rossiter 59; Eoin Foran for Ryan 61 minutes.
Tara Rocks: Aaron Redmond; Gary Owley, Damien Tobin, Shane Tobin; Liam Fitzpatrick, Colin Breen (0-1), Martin Sheehan; Niall Breen (0-1) Mossy Owley (0-1); Declan Breen (0-5 frees), Joe Bolger, Craig Kenny; Gearóid O'Sullivan (0-1), Brendan Hobbs (0-2), Patrick Fortune (1-0). Subs: Lee Owley for Kenny 30 minutes; Rhys Owley (0-2) for S Tobin 30 minutes; Wayne Farrell for O'Sullivan 45 minutes.
Referee: Mick Lanigan.