Ronan's Rathnure winner
Rathnure 1-12 Faythe Harriers 0-11
The superior firepower of Rathnure carried them to an eventual four-point victory over Faythe Harriers in this Greenstar Under-21 hurling Premier 'A' championship quarter-final in Rathnure on Tuesday.
The superb goalkeeping of James Henebery kept his side in contention through the opening 30 minutes as he made a number of superb saves.
But when the sides were deadlocked at 0-11 each five minutes from the end he was eventually beaten, when a long Ben Ronan effort took a wicked deflection, finishing in the opposite corner of the net for a score that helped the home side secure a semi-final spot.
Rathnure may have needed that late goal, but they were the more composed side throughout, in stark contrast to their opponents, who lacked any real power in front of goal.
The visitors didn't create one goal opportunity, as they were solely dependant on the free-taking of Conor Halligan to keep them in contention until that late goal decided the issue.
Playing with a strong breeze, Rathnure opened the scoring through a Rory Higgins point. While a fine Conall Clancy effort brought the sides level after three minutes, Rathnure dictated the trend of the game with points through Ciarán O'Connor (two, one free), Seán O'Connor and Seánie Redmond to lead after eleven minutes.
In that spell Harriers 'keeper Henebery saved superbly from Rory Higgins to deny Rathnure a goal, while Seán O'Connor saw a goalbound shot rebound back into play off the upright.
After Stephen Kearney, who was having a fine game in midfield, pointed from 50 metres into the breeze, Henebery once again came to his side's rescue, this time saving superbly from Eoin Higgins, getting down quickly to block a low shot at his near post.
A pointed Conor Halligan free left the minimum separating the sides at the end of the opening quarter. With the sides continuing to trade points, Rathnure led by 0-8 to 0-6 at the interval, with Henebery once again denying the home team a goal with a superb save from Seán O'Connor just on the break.
Rathnure extended their lead immediately on the resumption through a neat Ciarán O'Connor point off the wing, but two quick Conor Halligan pointed frees left the minimum separating the sides (0-9 to 0-8).
With Halligan and O'Connor continuing to trade points, a Halligan pointed free on 51 minutes left the sides level (0-11 each).
When it appeared that extra-time could be beckoning, Ronan stepped in with the game's only goal, while Michael Martin added a point just on time to secure the victory.
Rathnure: Liam Barron; Philip Redmond, Denis Maher, Micheál O'Connor; Eoin Higgins, Brian Quigley, Ben Ronan (1-0); Michael Martin (0-1), Ciarán O'Connor (0-7, 4 frees); Patrick Flynn, James Tobin, Jason Lawlor; Rory Higgins (0-1), Seánie Redmond (0-2), Seán O'Connor (0-1). Subs. - Thomas Furlong for Flynn, Aodhán Foley for Lawlor, Eoin Byrne for S. Redmond.
Faythe Harriers: James Henebery; Cormac Byrne, Danny Walsh, Stephen Cummins; Fiach O Crualaoich, Shane Wilde, Conall O Crualaoich; Jack Murphy, Stephen Kearney (0-2); Pádraig Clancy (0-1), Conor Halligan (0-7 frees), Daniel Lynch; Conall Clancy (0-1), Jack O'Leary, Seán Banville. Sub. - David Gouldson for Murphy.
Referee: Anthony Tobin (Geraldine O'Hanrahans).