Scoring spree after break guides Rathgarogue-Cushinstown to win
Rathgarogue-Cushinstown went on a scoring spurt of 1-6 after the interval to shake off the attentions of Geraldine O'Hanrahans and book their place in the New Ross District Under-21 football Roinn 1 championship final in Cushinstown on Friday.
Rathgarogue-Cushinstown 2-12 Geraldine O'Hanrahans 1-9
The sides were tied at 1-6 apiece at half-time but the hosts really put the foot on the accelerator in the 20 minutes after the turnaround, pulling clear by matching their first-half tally without being breached at the other end.
Garrett Browne set the tone for the second period with two fine scores, and when it was followed up with a Tadhg Cody point and a 38th-minute goal from Paddy Murphy, it already looked game, set and match with over a third of the contest to play.
There was nothing to separate the sides early on, with points from Dylan Egan and Robbie Vallejo (free) being cancelled out by Tadhg Cody and Aaron Ryan, although Rathgarogue-Cushinstown pounced for a goal in the tenth minute.
Jason Dunne fired a long delivery into the danger zone and Daire Bolger took his time before sliding the ball beyond goalkeeper Dean Katus.
A Bolger free extended the lead to four, but the New Ross outfit hit back with points from Ned Connors and Michael Cleere, before a Danielius Niekis goal edged them in front in the 21st minute.
Jack Foran saw his effort blocked, but Niekis was on hand to stroke the ball to the net off the ground.
The home side edged back in front thanks to a free from Daire Bolger and a stylish Paddy Murphy point with the outside of his boot, but Dylan Wickham and Robbie Vallejo slotted over either side of another Bolger free to leave it all square at the break.
However, Rathgarogue-Cushinstown were a side on a mission after the resumption and after two quickfire points from Garrett Browne and a Tadhg Cody score, a Paddy Murphy goal put the game to bed.
Murphy gathered a handpass from Browne without breaking stride, and he confidently fired the ball to the back of the net.
Rathgarogue-Cushinstown's tails were up and substitute Shane O'Connor contributed two scores, one a sublime effort from wide on the right, either side of a Tadhg Cody point to stretch the lead to 2-12 to 1-6.
Geraldine O'Hanrahans did manage to register the final three points through Robbie Vallejo, Diarmuid Kehoe and Enda Kenny, but Rathgarogue-Cushinstown marched on to the District decider.
Rathgarogue-Cushinstown: Fionn Slattery; Ricky McGrath, Ian Kennedy, John O'Keeffe; Paddy Murphy (1-1), Bryan Cody, Liam O'Shea; Tadhg Cody (0-3), Jason Dunne; Eric Cummins, Daire Bolger (1-3, 0-3 frees), Aaron Ryan (0-1); Barry Murphy, Garrett Browne (0-2), John James Carroll. Subs. - Peter Aspel for O'Keeffe, David Thorpe for Carroll, Shane O'Connor (0-2) for Cummins, Jack McGrath for Murphy, Barry Murphy for Dunne.
Geraldine O'Hanrahans: Dean Katus; Gavin O'Leary, Enda Kelly (0-1), Kyle Grangel; Barry Kelly, Dylan Egan (0-1), Michael Cullen; Seán Duffin, Danielius Niekis (1-0); Michael Cleere (0-1), Jack Foran, Ned Connors (0-1); Robbie Vallejo (0-3, 2 frees), Adam Fitzgerald, Dylan Wickham (0-1). Subs. - Diarmuid Kehoe (0-1) for Connors, Jack Power for Fitzgerald.
Referee: Fintan Whyte (St. James').