The Rower-Inistioge had to show a teak tough attitude and serious concentration before getting the better of beaten finalists of last season, Dicksboro in this minor hurling Roinn A semi-final.
A chilling wind blew in off the river Nore at Thomastown on Saturday, but the Rower gave the cold shoulder to their more fancied rivals to clinch a place in the final against O’Loughlin Gaels in Nowlan Park on Sunday week.
Two goals during the closing half from Sean Grace (44th minute) and David Kelly (55th minute) made all the difference as the Rower registered one score more than the opposition to shade the issue.
There was little or nothing between two evenly balanced sides for most of the game. The trend was set early when Paddy Cahill (D) and Darragh Joyce (RI) swopped points from frees.
The ’Boro took up the running in the 15th minute when Paddy Cahill snatched their second score, another free, before extending their advantage in the 20th minute (0-3 to 0-1). The winners hit back for two points from David Kelly, one from play, to leave the minimum between the teams almost on the break.
Dicksboro finished on a high and after Paddy Cahill shot another minor, Stephen Farrell struck for a point in the third minute of additional time to give them an interval lead of 0-5 to 0-3.
The scoring rate improved seriously after the break as the hurling opened up. Cahill picked off another score to double Dicksboro’s advantage.
There was an exchange of scores before the losers had another from Cahill to edge 0-8 to 0-4 clear by the 36th minute.
The Rower were only winding-up, however. Theri 5th, 6th and 7th scores arrived from Kevin Mur phy, Darragh Joyce and Ciaran Ryan before Sean Grace snatch their first goal. That left the score at 1-7 to 0-9, which was the first time the Rower were in front.
Dicksboro got back to parity when Shane O’Brien pointed. The Rower met fire with fire, and back-to-back points from David Kelly and Sean Grace lifted their spirits hugely. The hopes soared when David Kelly got through for the second goal five minutes from the finish.
That vital score left Dicksboro chasing from 0-10 to 2-9 behind. When Richard Leahy nicked the next point for the Rower, it more or less game over for the city side.
The Rower saw the game out with authority, and held the opposition on a tight rein to get through to the final.
Scorers: Rower-Inistioge - David Kelly (1-3, 0-2 frees); Sean Grace (1-1); Darragh Joyce (0-2); Cathal Bolger, Kevin Murphy, Ciaran Ryan (0-1 each); Richard Leahy (0-1, free). Dicksboro -Paddy Cahill (0-7, six frees); Shane O’Brien (0-2); Stephen Farrell (0-1, free); Robbie Fitzpatrick (0-1).
Rower-Inistioge - Shane Foskin, Kieran Meaney, John Murphy, Diarmuid O’Brien, Pat Lyng, Ciaran Ryan, Shane Ryan, Richard Leahy, Darragh Joyce, Cathal bolger (capt), William Allen, Tony Whelan, David Kelly, Sean Grace, Kevin Murphy. Subs - Dylan Kehoe for D. O’Brien; Diarmuid O’Brien for D. Kelly.
Dicksboro - Daragh Holohan, Mark Slater, Dylan Scott, Jim Dollard, Thomas Carroll, Even Cody, Conor Doheny, Cory Cahill, Robbie Fitzpatrick, Robbie Murphy, Stephen Farrell, Paddy Cahill (capt), Jamie Byrne, Kevin Kenny, Shane O’Brien. Subs - Thomas Kenny for J. Byrne; Mark Cudmore for C. Delaney.
Referee - Raymond Byrne.