Walsh steps in to grab late Nire winner

An injury-time intervention from sub Shane Walsh guided The Nire past Kilrossanty (1-16 to 1-15) in a gripping quarter-final on Saturday night.

The sides were level 11 times before Walsh struck the winner a minute into added time. Paul Whyte had an opportunity to equalise from a 45 metre free but his effort landed short and The Nire defence snuffed out the danger. The inter-county forward spearheaded Kilrossanty’s charge throughout and posted 1-6.

The sides couldn’t be split at half time (eight points each) and both enjoyed periods of supremacy in an action packed second period.

Darren Guiry’s thunderous goal on 36 minutes helped The Nire into a four point lead but John Kiely’s charges refused to yield.

Whyte and Joey Veale replied and the former finished calmly to the net with nine minutes remaining to send them two points clear (1-14 to 1-12). The Nire held their nerve and summoned Walsh from the bench with three minutes left to plot an escape.

An Rinn celebrated a historic win as they defeated Clashmore (1-10 to 0-8) to reach the semis for the first time. After losing three quarter-finals in a row, they cut loose in the final stages. Ten minutes from time, Liam Ó Lonáin burst through the Clashmore rearguard and whipped a scorching shot to the top corner. They were tied at eight points apiece (level seven times) at the close of the third quarter until that moment of magic from Ó Lonáin.

Holders Stradbally sailed smoothly through the last four for the 15th year in succession. Robert and Shane Ahearne combined for 1-7 to beat Ballinameela by 1-13 to 1-3.

Jim Curran netted a consolation penalty for the losers.

Ballinacourty got over a stubborn St Saviour’s challenge at Carraiganore (0-14 to 1-5). An early Stephen Whelan strike gave St Saviour’s hope and the sides were level at the interval (0-5 to 1-2).

Courty eventually wrestled control in the last quarter.

Gaultier preserved their senior status as they came from four points down to defeat Brickey Rangers by 2-13 to 2-9 in the relegation play-off at Stradbally. JJ Hutchinson scored 2-5 for the Eastern side.

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