On Saturday night, St Saviours snatched the last quarter-final place in Group 1 with a 1-16 to 2-5 win over Ardmore in Carraiganore. The winners raced into a four points lead after a quarter hour but Clinton Hennessy’s penalty left Ardmore just one point adrift (0-7 to 1-3) at the interval. A John Gartland goal early in the second half levelled matters before Ardmore goalkeeper Sean Barron saved Adam Brophy’s penalty and two subsequent attempts were also blocked. Brian Power finally found a way past Barron with 15 minutes remaining to settle the contest. The city side have stayed afloat in the top flight via a relegation play-off for the last three seasons but took a giant leap forward with this result.
Gaultier were plunged into the relegation decider on scoring difference after losing to Clashmore in Kill (1-11 to 2-7). JJ Hutchinson stole the show with 1-4 but he missed a free in second minute of injury time that would have guaranteed their survival. Hutchinson’s first half penalty handed Gaultier a 1-2 to 0-4 lead after an error ridden 30 minutes. Clashmore showed more invention on the turnover and John Prendergast planted a superb strike in the top corner on 37 minutes. Gaultier regained the lead when Ian Power palmed to the net after 44 minutes but a composed Clashmore seized control and three points from Aidan Trihy guided them home.
Title favourites Stradbally completed their unbeaten march through the group phase as a dominant second half display dismissed Kilrossanty at Fraher Field (2-15 to 1-7). Stradbally shaded a lively opening half by 2-4 to 1-6. Their first major came in bizarre fashion after four minutes as Mark Prendergast was credited with an own goal. Kilrossanty scored a strange goal of their own on 27 minutes when Patrick Cunningham’s lofted ball deceived Stradbally stopper Oliver Costelloe. Paddy Kiely swiftly mended the damage for the Reds before the break and they pressed on after the interval.
Yesterday, in Group 2, 2012 intermediate champions Ballinameela drew with An Rinn in Bushy Park to pin down a place in the next phase (0-11 to 1-8). Jim Curran kicked the vital leveller into the wind with eight minutes left to push them through. A goal from John Stack put them two points up at half time (1-6 to 0-7) and in a tense finish, Curran pinched the draw required. The Nire fended off a late burst from Rathgormack to prevail 0-12 to 1-5 at Stradbally. Shane Walsh came off the bench to strike three points to keep their rivals at bay after Jason Gleeson’s goal gave Rathgormack a glimmer of hope. Ballinacourty blew Brickey Rangers away 1-20 to 0-6 to finish with maximum points from five games and consign their opponents to the relegation play-off. In the sunshine at Fraher Field, Brickeys galloped into a 0-4 to 0-1 lead after 11 minutes. They failed to register a score for the next 33 minutes however as Ballinacourty started to slice through at will and Jason O’Brien swatted the ball to the net on 21 minutes following a sideline from Michael O’Hallloran. Patrick Hurney impressed with five points.
Quarter-finals (September 21-22): Stradbally v Ballinameela, Clashmore v An Rinn, Ballinacourty v St Saviours, The Nire v Kilrossanty.
Relegation Play-Off: Gaultier v Brickey Rangers.