Loughmore-Castleiney finished 0-21 to 2-11 victors over Roscrea at Templemore, but both Roscrea goals came in the last five minutes — from Jason Fitzpatrick and a Tommy Fitzgerald free — when the game was well out of their reach.
Loughmore asserted their authority from the start and ought to have been more than 0-11 to 0-5 clear at the break. Three good goal chances went abegging but with Noel McGrath calling the shots and John Meagher a tower of strength at the heart of their defence, they looked the part.
Two Roscrea points from county minor Sam Conlon and Davin Flynn at the start of the second half appeared the start of a Roscrea comeback, but in eight minutes Loughmore fired over five unanswered points to open a nine-point lead and they never looked like losing it.
They were 0-20 to 0-10 ahead when Fitzpatrick fired in Roscrea’s first goal in the 57th minute. They then had Denis Moloney red-carded before Fitzgerald blasted a free from 20m to the net in injury time.
Apart from John Meagher and Noel McGrath (who scored 0-11), Loughmore had big games from Aidan McGrath, John McGrath, Tommy Long, Evan Sweeney and Joseph Hennessy. Roscrea’s best were Daryl Ryan in goal, Darren O’Connor, Diarmuid Fitzgerald, Liam England and Sam Conlon.
The bottom fell out of beaten North finalists’ Silvermines’ season when they were swamped by a steadily improving Éire Óg, Nenagh, 1-21 to 0-8 at Cloughjordan. The newly promoted IHC champions were overrun in the first half, at the end of which Nenagh led 1-14 to 0-1. Michael Heffernan got the Nenagh goal just before the break after Kevin Tucker shot eight first-half points.
Three points at the start of the second half raised Silvermines’ hopes but then Nenagh shot three of their own, and long before the finish, the fair-sized attendance was heading for the exits. Michael Heffernan, who scored 1-4, and Tommy Heffernan, who got 0-4 from play, were other key men for Nenagh.
Orrie Quirke, Ronan Sherlock and Cathal Gleeson fought hard for Silvermines.
The remaining fourth round games — Toomevara v Clonoulty-Rossmore and Borrisoleigh v Carrick Swans — will be played at Holycross on September 7. The winners will join Loughmore-Castleiney and Nenagh to face the four divisional champions; Drom-Inch, Kildangan, Killenaule and Éire Óg, Anacarty in the quarter-finals.
Meanwhile, JK Brackens qualified for the preliminary quarter-final round of the SFC thanks to a 0-15 to 1-6 win over Mullinahone at Templetuohy.
This puts the Templemore lads into the hat with Éire Óg Annacarty, Kilsheelan and Thomas MacDonaghs. Aherlow Gaels, Clonmel Commercials, Loughmore-Castleiney and Moyle Rovers had already qualified for the county quarter-finals. Mullinahone are facing into a battle to avoid relegation to the IFC.