Ahane and Emmets fail to hit final point

EMMETS and Ahane will meet on Sunday in the Gaelic Grounds at 7.45pm after their Limerick SHC semi-final ended level yesterday, with neither side grabbing the initiative in a scoreless final 10 minutes.

The game began in driving rain, with Ahane also enjoying a stiff breeze, but divisional side Emmets had the better of the first half. John Meskell had nudged Ahane ahead with a superb sideline cut when Emmets struck for their first goal on eight minutes.

A Paul Neenan free dropped short and Emmets corner-forward Eoin Walsh pounced on the loose ball near the square and pulled first-time to find the net.

Less than a minute later Emmets repeated the dose. Again a Neenan effort from distance fell short, this time from play, and the dropping ball caused confusion in the Ahane rearguard, with Dermot McCarthy striding past a knot of players to stroke the ball into an empty net.

The game sagged somewhat then, with both sides exchanging wides, but as the rain cleared away the fare improved. Ahane’s half-back line came into the game and began to feed dangerous corner-forward Brian Healy, who had two points, one on either side of a fine Padraig Leahy score, for Emmets.

The score was 2-3 to 0-5 when Niall Moran made ground up the centre for Ahane, hitting a fine shot which Chris Farrell saved. Niall’s brother Ollie, following up, connected with the rebound in midair and sent it towards the square, where Healy got the final touch for a goal.

Another Meskell sideline dropped in the Emmets square, causing panic until it was scrambled clear, but the divisional side finished strongly with two Neenan points, one from a free, leaving it 2-5 to 1-5 at the break.

Ahane tied the game up within three minutes of the restart, with Ollie Moran, Daniel Morrissey and Meskell rattling over the points, and they looked set fair to take over.

However, that momentum seemed to evaporate as Emmets stormed back into the game, though they couldn’t make their superiority count on the scoreboard. Emmets hit four poor wides on the run, and when Neenan worked a good goal chance on 47 minutes Tadhg Flynn saved smartly.

Eventually Ollie Moran ended the 12-minute scoring drought, edging Ahane ahead with a point, only for John Dillon to quickly tie it up again.

Neenan and Meskell then swapped points, which meant with less than 10 minutes left it was all to play for, but the game fizzled out from there to the finish, neither team managing to lay a glove on each other.

Emmets will probably be happier with the draw, given most of their players saw club action on Saturday, but whoever comes out of the replay will have to be more consistent over the hour if they are to have hopes of a county title.

Scorers for Emmets: P Neenan 0-4 (2f); D McCarthy 1-1; E Walsh 1-0; P Leahy, J Dillon 0-1 each.

Scorers for Ahane: B Healy 1-2; O Moran, J Meskell (1 sl, 1f) 0-3 each; N Moran, D Morrissey 0-1 each.

EMMETS: C Farrell (Castletown-Ballyagran); JB Murphy (Glenroe), R McCarthy (Blackrock), J Dilon (Effin); P Ryan (Dromin-Athlacca), S Walsh (Glenroe), M Keane (Staker Wallace); N Quaid (Effin), D Moloney (Blackrock); D Moloney (Effin), E O’Leary (Dromin-Athlacca), P Leahy (Blackrock); D McCarthy (Staker Wallace), P Neenan (Dromin-Athlacca), E Walsh (Glenroe).

Subs: M O’Brien for D McCarthy (blood, 15-17), M O’Brien for D McCarthy (40), D Reidy (Dromin-Athlacca) for Leahy (50).

AHANE: T Flynn; A Doherty, D Madden, J Doheny; C O’Reilly, M Carr, P Treacy; J Meskell, F Ahern; D Morrissey, N Moran, S Madden; B Healy, O Moran, R Ryan.

Subs: D Laing for Ahern (35), K Enright for Ryan (42); S O’Connor for Healy (48), P O’Connor for Madden (58).

Referee: J O’Mahony (Kildimo).

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