Leinster IFC semi-final: 17/11/13
Geraldines 1-17 (20) St Fintans (Wexford) 2-13 (19) (After extra-time).
A 20 metre free from midfielder Michael Rogers, a minute from the end of extra time, saw the Geraldines win a dramatic Leinster IFC semi final against Wexford champions St Fintans, at Piercestown on Sunday afternoon.
At various stages, the Blackrock-Haggardstown side looked as though they were going to win this tie with a bit to spare, but Fintans refused to lie-down, and after dominating the second half to force the game to extra-time, the home side looked the better placed going into the extra 20 minutes.
However Eamon Mc Eaneaney’s dressingroom teamtalk appeared to work the oracle, and they came out revitalised, scoring 4 points on the bounce to re-establish a 4 point cushion.
But Fintans, thanks to a goal from Countyman Joey Wadding at the end of a goalmouth scramble, were soon back to within a single point, and a replay was looking possible when Kevin Day equalised in the first minute of the second extra time period.
But was the Gers who had the final say, when Rogers converted that pressure free, with time almost up.
In truth, it should never have come down to the final minute of the eighty.
Inspired by the superb Shane O’Hanlon (1-9), the Gers bossed the first half of normal time, and a goal from the free-scoring full forward on the stroke of half-time, had the Louth champions deservedly ahead at the break, 1-8 to 0-5.
But on the turnaround, Fintans enjoyed their best spell of the game, and 5 points without reply had them back to within a point.
But the Gers soon kicked-on again, and 2 more O’Hanlon frees, coupled with a Michael Rogers point, saw them restore their 4 point advantage entering the closing ten minutes.
But then with two minutes left, Gers keeper Nathaniel Cooney fluffed his clearance close to goal, and there was Fintans wing-forward Niall Moore to pounce on the loose ball, for the goal that gave his team an unexpected lifeline.
Glen Traynor responded with a point at the other end, but in injury time, Thomas Power sent over 2 frees to level up the scores, and send the tie to extra time.
The momentum appeared to have swung in the Wexford side’s favour, but it was the Gers who reacted better on the re-start, and despite the concession of that Wadding goal, they did just enough to make it over the finish line, thanks to Michael Rogers’ late intervention.
The Gers can now look forward to a home date with Dublin champions St Olafs in the Final on Sunday week, Dec 1st.
It’s the second year in succession that a Louth team has reached the Intermediate Final.. 12 months ago, the O’Connells lost-out at the final hurdle to Monasterevin.
Best for the Gers were Shane O’Hanlon, Michael Rogers and Tiernan Hand (before his retirement through injury)
Nathaniel Cooney; Sean Watters, Nicky Mackin, Tiernan Hand; James Craven, Gerard Hoey, Kevin Pepper; Stephen Reidy, Michael Rogers 0-3; Sean Thornton, Johnny Breen 0-1, Paddy Hoey; Glen Traynor 0-2, Shane O’Hanlon 1-9, B Hamilton 0-1. Subs: Sean Callan for Sean Watters, Brendan Connolly for Tiernan Hand, Josh Arrowsmith 0-1 for Johnny Breen, Dara Hamill for Sean Thornton, Liam Boyle for Glen Traynor.