Niall McNamee puts Rhode on final path

Rhode (Offaly) 0-12 Sean O’Mahony’s (Louth) 1-5: Niall McNamee fired Rhode into their fifth Leinster final in 11 seasons as the Sean O’Mahony’s fairytale was finally halted in Drogheda.

The Faithful star hit eight points and oozed class, as Rhode set up a repeat of the 2014 provincial decider against St Vincent’s.

The first five points all were all from frees as McNamee and Conor Finnegan engaged in a private shoot-out. But Rhode carried the greater threat from play and the hosts would have been content to reach the 20-minute mark just a point in arrears, 0-3 to 0-2. But McNamee lofted over the first score from play and he added another free in injury-time to make it three points without reply, and chisel out a 0-5 to 0-2 lead at half-time.

Crucially, Rhode repeated the trick straight after the break, plundering three more points in quick succession. McNamee opened the scoring before laying on a second for Brian Darby, and he converted another free to make it 0-8 to 0-2.

O’Mahony’s big break came on 40 minutes when Conor Crawley was pulled down by Alan McNamee, but Stephen Fisher’s tame penalty was easily saved by Kenny Garry. O’Mahony’s did rescue a point from the situation as Finnegan broke their duck from open play, making it 0-8 to 0-4. After Paul McPadden had extended Rhode’s lead to five, they passed up two glorious goal chances. Then McPadden was on target again to cancel out a Stpehen Kilcoyne free and Rhode had further points from Niall and Ruriri McNamee. Depsite his earlier miss, Fisher didn’t shirk taking a second penalty, and this time he found the bottom corner to make it 0-12 to 1-5.

But O’Mahony’s made no headway thereafter and their manager Alan Craven summed up their afternoon:

“They’re a super outfit and our centre-half who was doing the man-marking job on Niall McNamee said if there’s a better footballer in the game then he’s retiring.’

Rhode boss Pascal Kellaghan knows the Dublin champions will be a big step up. “Two years ago we were well beaten by St Vincent’s, so we’ve a lot of work to do.”

Scorers for Rhode:

N McNamee 0-8 (5f), P McPadden 0-2, R McNBamee, B Darby 0-1 each.

Scorers for Sean O’Mahony’s:

C Finnegan 0-4 (3f), S Fisher 1-0, S Kilcoyne 0-1f.

RHODE:

K Garry; S Sullivan, E Rigney, J McPadden; C Heavey, B Darby, N Darby; A McNamee, C McNamee; S Hannon, R McNamee, P McPadden; P Sullivan, D Garry, N McNamee.

Subs:

G O’Connell for S Hannon (51), G McNamee for C Heavey (59), D Kavanagh for P Sullivan (59), E Byrne for P McPadden (60+).

SEAN O’MAHONY’S:

B Traynor, K Murphy, R Byrne, M Clarke; L Dullaghan, J O’Brien, J Connolly; C Martin, S Brennan; C Finnegan, K McLaughlin, S Fisher; S Kilcoyne, C Crawley, B McLaughlin.

Subs:

D Dowling for B McLaughlin (41), B Mackin for J Connolly (48), N McLaughlin for S Kilcoyne (55), P O’Brien for M Clarke (60+).

Referee:

J Hickey (Carlow).

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

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