Purple patch does the trick

R’garogue-C'town 1-13 Shelmaliers 1-7

Dave Devereux JFC at Bree

A purple patch before half-time paved the way for a Rathgarogue-Cushinstown victory in this Enniscorthy Farm Systems Junior football championship quarter-final in Bree on Saturday.

Playing with the aid of a stiff breeze, they looked to be struggling as the sides were deadlocked on two points apiece with 21 minutes on the clock, but they then outscored their opponents 1-6 to 0-1 to hold a healthy advantage at the interval.

After Bernard Furlong and Eoin Porter (free) both pointed for the New Ross District outfit inside the opening four minutes it became a real slog and Shelmaliers drew level by the midway point in the half thanks to two admirable Craig Parker frees against the elements.

Rathgarogue-Cushinstown got the ounce of luck they needed to spur them on eight minutes before the break, when Peadar Cody aimed for the posts from wide on the left, but his effort floated over the head of the goalkeeper and nestled in the corner of the net.

Ollie Bolger followed up with a point, and he came close to putting real daylight between the sides when he gathered a pass from Bernard Furlong, but saw his shot come back off the crossbar.

However, they did finish the half on a high with Bernard Furlong firing over two booming efforts and Matthew Cody, Jason Dunne and Eric Cummins adding a point apiece, with Derek Walsh replying for Shels.

Rathgarogue-Cushinstown knew it would be backs to the wall for much of the second-half, but early points from Eric Cummins and Daire Bolger (free), either side of a Craig McCabe effort, really gave them something to cling on to.

Shelmaliers dragged themselves back to within six, with three points on the trot, with two nice Derek Walsh scores sandwiching a Craig Parker free.

Jason Dunne popped over a point for Rathgarogue-Cushinstown on a rare foray forward but Shels gave themselves a glimmer of hope on 54 minutes when A.J. Lehane gathered an Eoin O'Leary delivery and rattled the net (1-11 to 1-7).

Rathgarogue-Cushinstown kept calm under pressure though, and points from Daire Bolger (free) and Matthew Cody copper-fastened their place in the final four.

Rathgarogue-Cushinstown: Mark Carroll; Neil Merrigan, Bryan Cody, Patrick Murphy; Peadar Cody (1-0), Eoin Porter (0-1 free), Eoghain Whelan; Bernard Furlong (0-3), Ollie Bolger (0-1); Daire Bolger (0-2 frees), Brian O'Neill, Tadhg Cody; Eric Cummins (0-2), Matthew Cody (capt., 0-2), Jason Dunne (0-2). Subs. - Aaron Ryan for Merrigan, Ian Kennedy for Cummins, Liam O'Shea for Dunne, Shane Delaney for Whelan, Ricky McGrath for Murphy.

Shelmaliers: Graham Lawlor Ryan; Eoin Fitzgerald, Cathal Gaul, Joe Redmond; Dan Campbell, Conor Walsh, Craig Parker (0-3 frees); Eoin O'Leary, A.J. Lehane (1-0); Willie O'Shaughnessy, Chris Gordon (capt.), Liam Rockett; Derek Walsh (0-3), Kevin O'Leary, Craig McCabe (0-1). Subs. - Chris Cowman for O'Shaughnessy, Adam Howlin for Rockett, Mark Walsh for O'Leary.

Ref: Lar Doyle (Taghmon-Camross).

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