A cruise for Kilanerin
Kilanerin 1-12 Rathcline (Longford) 0-6
Kilanerin coasted home on the back of a fine first-half performance to reach the AIB Leinster Club Intermediate football championship quarter-finals in Clonbonney on Saturday.
While the second-half never reached the heights of the first 30 minutes, the Wexford champions never looked like coughing up their sizeable advantage against a very limited Rathcline side.
To be fair to the hosts, they were missing their main man, Longford forward Liam Connerton. He suffered an ACL injury in his side's county semi-final but it's hard to believe he could have saved this team from defeat.
Rathcline also boasted two Longford Under-21s in Kevin Sorohan and Shane Kenny. Yet watching their team continually squander possession in the first-half and take panicked, crazy pot-shots from terrible positions in the second, they didn't even look in the same class as Wexford Intermediate 'A' champs Crossabeg-Ballymurn.
Kilanerin had a job to do, beat the side put in front of them, and they did that by taking control in the first-half against a partial crossbreeze.
It looked like referee David O'Connor might turn into their toughest opponent when he blew for an illegal handpass with Niall Hughes clear on goal in the opening minute.
The Gorey District side continued to boss possession but it took them a little while to convert their class into scores. Matty Forde tapped over the opener in the sixth minute but it was countered by a Kenny '45 at the other end.
Peter Hughes popped over after strong work by Mark Boland, but Iarla O'Sullivan rode the wind with a long-range shot in the 14th minute. Kilanerin then started to click into gear, as Bobby Hughes' left foot effort was followed quickly by a Forde free.
Dean O'Toole flashed over a half-decent goal chance in the 22nd minute before adding another point shortly after. When Forde registered his third minor after Niall Hughes was toppled, Kilanerin led by 0-7 to 0-2.
Out of nowhere, David Rooney scored a superb point for the home side, but Aidan Jones' bursting run split the Rathcline defence apart. He picked out Forde to the left of goal and, rather than shooting himself, the former All Star fed across for Peter Hughes to punch home.
Hughes crept in on Brendan Hobbs' hopeful ball over the top but blazed over the crossbar in the 28th minute, but Kilanerin still managed to take a 1-8 to 0-3 lead in at the interval.
The second-half was a different game altogether.
Shane Kenny and Kevin Chapman pointed within four minutes of the re-start, yet, despite Kilanerin losing their first-half intensity, Rathcline couldn't take advantage of their ample possession.
Bobby Hughes' 39th-minute score was his side's one and only of the first 26 minutes of the second-half, but the Longford lads could only add a 51st-minute free from Kenny as the time ticked away.
Dean O'Toole's 57th-minute score broke any resistance Rathcline had and he soon followed it with a dead-ball point.
Substitute Emmet O'Toole had the final say of the afternoon with an injury time point to see Kilanerin through to a last eight meeting at home to Kildare Intermediate winners Raheens.
Kilanerin: Tom Hughes; Aidan Jones, Brendan Hobbs, Tomás Owley; Gavin O'Toole, Colm Kavanagh (capt.), Richard Hughes; Niall Breen, Niall Hughes; Mark Boland, Matty Forde (0-3, 2 frees), Mark Gethings; Bobby Hughes (0-2), Peter Hughes (1-2), Dean O'Toole (0-4, 1 free). Subs. - Denis Jones for Owley, temp. (9-12), Tommy Boland for M. Gethings (41), Jones for R. Hughes (46), Emmet O'Toole (0-1) for P. Hughes (52), P. Hughes for Owley, temp. (53), Lee Owley for B. Hughes (59), Jim Hughes for M. Boland (60), Cathal O'Reilly for G. O'Toole, inj. (60+3).
Rathcline: David Mulvihill; Kevin Connaughton, Kevin Sorohan, Jack Rooney; Derek Casserly, David Rooney (0-1), Shane Donohue; Michael Morrissey, Shane Casserly; Iarla O'Sullivan (0-1), Aaron Madden (capt.), Ryan Fallon; Kevin Chapman (0-1), Shane Kenny (0-3, 2 frees, 1 '45), James Hanley. Subs. - Oisín O'Sullivan for Fallon (31), Niall Keane for D. Casserly (59), Michael Hanley for Rooney (60).
Referee: David O'Connor (Dublin).