St Brigid’s, chasing a fourth successive championship, had a one-point win over St. Faithleach’s, who were reduced to 14 men for the last 11 minutes.
A goal by Eddie Egan had the champions 1-3 to 0-2 ahead after 15 minutes but, with Ciarán and Diarmuid Murtagh impressing up front, Faithleach’s trailed by just 1-5 to 0-6 at the interval.
The challengers got within one point of Brigid’s but, with Frankie Dolan and Senan Kilbride on target from frees, Faithleach’s couldn’t draw level. Their chance looked to be gone when Enda Kenny was sent-off in the 49th minute. Brigid’s edged four ahead with points from Niall McInerney and Cormac Sheehy. However, a tremendous injury-time goal by Ciaran Murtagh ensured a nervous finish for the champions.
In the semi-finals Brigid’s will renew their rivalry with neighbours and former kingpins Clann na nGael, who overcame Elphin by five points with Donie Shine scoring 2-7 of their 2-9.
Shine goaled from play in the fifth minute and then added 1-7 from placed balls. The sides were level at 1-1 each after 25 minutes before Shine tagged on 0-3 by half-time. Elphin reduced the gap to one by the 40th minute but a goal from a penalty by Shine in the 47th minute clinched victory for Clann.
Castlerea St. Kevin’s set up a quarter-final with St. Aidan’s after a 1-12 to 0-12 victory over Kilmore.
Kilmore led 0-8 to 0-5 at half-time but Ger Heneghan’s 43rd minute goal was the decisive score. In the relegation play-off group, Strokestown walloped Kilbride 5-20 to 0-4.