Cummins goal seals the deal
Cushinstown through to final
Rathgarogue-Cushinstown took a giant step in their quest to complete a New Ross District Under-21 Roinn 1 championship double when they proved too strong for neighbours Adamstown in this football semi-final played under the floodlights on their own patch on Saturday.
Rathgarogue-Cushinstown 2-9 Adamstown 1-4
Already crowned hurling victors in August prior to losing the county decider to Rathnure, the winners now await the outcome of the clash between Taghmon-Camross and Gusserane before knowing their next opponents.
Although they were shaping up as likely winners for a long time, they couldn't afford to relax until Eric Cummins coolly slotted home their decisive second goal in the 54th minute.
It was a slick score in the 'Gooch' Cooper mould, as the wing-forward collected a pass from the impressive Aaron Ryan and opted to place the ball in the corner of the net as if completing a pass rather than blasting it.
That score left Rathgarogue-Cushinstown with a double scores lead (2-8 to 1-4), and Ryan added his fourth point from play before the finish while Adamstown were foiled in their attempts to grab a consolation goal.
County Minor hurler Liam Stafford fired one low effort across the square and wide, while Paudie Barden tried his luck from a close-in free but too many bodies blocked the flight path.
The home side opened brightly with points from Aaron Ryan and Daire Bolger (free), but they fell behind in the space of 60 seconds midway through the first quarter.
Adamstown full-forward Rory Browne utilised a Seamus Darby-like nudge to collect a Harry Cosgrave delivery and fire over, and the latter provided the assist again after a Paudie Barden centre before Browne picked his spot in the corner of the net to establish a 1-1 to 0-2 lead.
It was telling to note though that Adamstown didn't score again from play, and therein lay their problem as the excellent Rathgarogue-Cushinstown defence shut up shop.
The eventual victors needed less than three minutes to regain a lead they would never lose thereafter, with Daire Bolger knocking over a free before Garrett Browne set him up for a well-taken goal (1-3 to 1-1).
Fourteen scoreless minutes followed, with the sides sharing a mere two more points before the break courtesy of Paudie Barden (free) and Aaron Ryan.
Eoin Porter, able to commit fully now as the Wexford Youths season is over, soloed forward for a stylish point on the re-start before the prolific Ryan chipped in with his third from a Tadhg Cody pass.
Barden and Bolger swapped scores from frees, but Adamstown didn't score again after the former made it 1-7 to 1-4 in the 42nd minute.
Tadhg Cody restored the four-point gap, with Jack Curtis going close to grabbing an Adamstown goal before that strike from Eric Cummins which ensured the hosts went home the happier.
Rathgarogue-Cushinstown: Fionn Slattery; Ricky McGrath, Ian Kennedy (capt.), Liam O'Shea; Eoin Porter (0-1), Bryan Cody, Paddy Murphy; Jason Dunne, Tadhg Cody (0-1); Aaron Ryan (0-4), Daire Bolger (1-3, 0-3 frees), Eric Cummins (1-0); Shane O'Connor, Garrett Browne, Barry Murphy. Subs. - John O'Keeffe for B. Murphy (47), David Thorpe for O'Connor (60), Jack McGrath for Ryan (60).
Adamstown: Seán Barden; James O'Shea, Daniel Thorpe, Stephen English; Michael Boland, Johnny Connors, Jack Curtis; Paudie Barden (capt., 0-3 frees), Liam Stafford; Andrew French, Harry Cosgrave, James Furlong; Laurence Roche, Rory Browne (1-1), Rory Foran. Subs. - John Dunleavy for English, inj. (4), Michael Foley for Foran (50), Donal Cosgrave for Furlong (50), Paudge Kavanagh for Roche (58), J.P. Furlong for Thorpe (60+3).
Referee: John Tobin (Geraldine O'Hanrahans).