Though shorn of key players, included the suspended Maurice Shanahan, Lismore battled bravely before Eddie Barrett’s injury-time point ended their championship dreams.
From the outset, Lismore threw caution to the wind and Dan Shanahan’s 18th-minute goal eased them into a five-point lead (1-6 to 0-4). But De La Salle bossed the rest of the half and a string of points including, two each from John Mullane and teenager Shane McNulty, helped them to a 0-12 to 1-7 advantage at the break.
Lismore were level within two minutes of the restart when Ray Barry twice pointed, but the winners hit six unanswered points between the 35th and 43rd minutes and looked in control.
But within 60 seconds, this absorbing battle was turned on its head again as Lismore banged home a brace of goals to draw level — Dan Shanahan set up Barry for the first before John Prendergast slammed home the equaliser.
Again the winners edged clear with three points on the trot only for substitute John Heneghan to peg Lismore back yet again with his side’s fourth goal a minute into added time. But Barrett held his nerve and his late point edged De La Salle into the last four and left Lismore shellshocked.
Scorers for De La Salle: J. Dillon (0-7, 0-3 frees); S. McNulty (0-4); J. Mullane (0-3); B. Phelan (0-3, 2f, 1 “65’’); J. Keane (0-2); J. Kennedy (0-2); E. Madigan, P. Nevin, E. Barrett (0-1) each.
Scorers for Lismore: R. Barry (1-8, 6f); D. Shanahan (1-1); J. Prendergast, J. Heneghan (1-0) each; C. O’Gorman, P. Prendergast (0-1) each.
DE LA SALLE: S. Brenner; O. Keevers, I. Flynn, S. Daniels; B. Phelan, K. Moran, E. Madigan; E. Barrett, D. Twomey; P. Nevin, J. Mullane, J. Kennedy; J. Keane, J. Dillon, S. McNulty.
Subs: D. Greene for Nevin (44); A. Farrell for McNulty (53).
LISMORE: S. Barry; M. Fitzgerald, D. O’Gorman, S. Heaphy; S. Barry, E. Bennett, S. O’Keeffe; P. Fennessy, J. Prendergast; P. O’Keeffe, P. Prendergast, D. Howard; R. Barry, D. Shanahan, C. O’Gorman.
Subs: J. Heneghan for P. O’Keeffe (ht).
Referee: Maurice Condon, Clashmore.