Trailing at half-time (0-6 to 0-7), having played into a strong wind, the Rower went ahead within 30 seconds of the restart and there was only going to be one winner.
The Antrim champions played well in the opening half and with Gerard Graham accurate from frees and PJ O’Connell adding a couple of points from play opened a 0-7 to 0-4 lead after 20 minutes. However they failed to add to their tally despite a succession of chances and, driven on by excellent wing forward Michael Grace, the Kilkenny men closed to within a point at the break.
A fantastic goal from Rower Inistioge corner-forward Ciarán Ryan on the restart fired the Kilkenny men. The Gaels men battled bravely but they could make no inroads against a solid Rower defence in which Kieran Joyce was in top form. They had one goal chance midway through the half when Dominic Neeson was through on goal, but the midfielder failed to connect properly. The Rower, meanwhile, kept picking off their points as they safely booked a final place in Croke Park on February 8.
Scorers for Rower Inistigoe: M Grace 0-6 (2f/1 65), C Ryan 1-1; D Lyng 0-2; K Joyce 0-1 (1f); P Tierney 0-1; C Joyce 0-1; J Cashin 0-1.
Scorers for Clooney Gaels: G Graham 0-3 (3f); PJ O’Connell 0-2 (1f); D Graham 0-1; D Neeson 0-1.
ROWER- INISTIOGE: L Tierney, E Doyle, S Cummins, J Doyle, R Galavan, K Joyce, T Leahy, S Grace, J Lyng, , M Grace, D Lyng, P Tierney, C Bolger, T Murphy, C Ryan.
Subs: J Cashin for T Murphy (47); P Sheehan for C Bolger (53); C Joyce for P Tierney (54).
CLOONEY GAELS: P Graham, E Brady, F Neeson, C McGlone, F O’Neill, D Graham, N O’Connell, D Neeson, M Graham, G Graham, T McGlone, S O’Connell, E Graham, PJ O’Connell, D Graham.
Subs: J Downey for M Graham (39); S O’Connell for E Brady (43); O Neeson for G Graham (50).
Referee: Shane Hourigan (Limerick).