Some poor shooting from both sides led to Rhode taking a narrow 0-6 to 0-4 lead at the interval, a very low tally considering the benign conditions in Tullamore.
“We got over the blitz that they threw down at the start of the game and I thought we were in with a great chance at half-time,” said Edenderry manager Peter Brady.
“We had a little bit of a breeze behind us, the boys were lifted and everything was great. Then we got the first three attacks, we kicked two very bad wides and the other chance was blocked. So in that quarter instead of us getting three, they got three. That’s a six-point swing against you and you don’t do that against Rhode. You have to get everything.”
A fortuitous goal for sub Mark Young after 46 minutes brought Edenderry back into contention but the absence of captain Richie Dalton due to a black card offence shortly before that goal proved crucial as Rhode controlled their own kick-outs and squeezed the life out of the tie.
Paul McPadden kicked the third of his three second-half points to put them five clear with seven minutes to play and while Edenderry picked off two scores from placed balls as normal time expired to bring about a tense period of added time, Rhode were able to drop plenty of players back and they easily prevented their opponents from getting a clear sight on goal.
Centre-back Brian Darby, who collected his seventh Offaly SFC title yesterday, paid tribute to players at both ends of the age spectrum afterwards.
“Brains really came to the fore for us. Generals like Alan McNamee were sweeping back, giving instructions, while even younger lads like Paul McPadden and Eoin Rigney were colossal.
“Edenderry had no fear today, they had nothing to lose in the last 15 minutes and really went at it but, having said that, we stuck to our guns, followed the game plan and got there in the end.”
Rhode now advance to meet St Patrick’s of Louth in the Leinster club championship in two weeks’ time, a renewal of hostilities between the two clubs after St Pat’s upset Rhode in Tullamore two years ago.
Rhode have lost three club Leinster finals in the last decade and while manager Pat Daly said that his side had been concentrating fully on Edenderry, he conceded his club were always conscious of giving themselves a chance at adjusting that record, while highlighting how difficult the game would be for both sides in the light of Eamon Carroll’s tragic death.
“In fairness the boys have had runs at Leinster before, we’ve left a few behind.
“People say that we don’t look at it, but we have one eye on it. I know it’s going to be a tough game because Pat’s will travel down here and they’ll be incredibly motivated after the tragedy that happened in their club.
“It’s a hard place for us to be in and it’s a hard place for them.”
Scorers for Rhode: N McNamee 0-7 (3f), P McPadden 0-3, N Darby 0-2, A Sullivan 0-1.
Scorers for Edenderry: M Young 1-0, D Kelly 0-3 (2f), S Doyle 0-2 (1f), A Mahon, S Moriarty (45) 0-1 each.
RHODE: K Garry; J Kavanagh, E Rigney, J McPadden; C Heavey, B Darby, E Byrne; A McNamee, C McNamee; D Garry, P Sullivan, N Darby; P McPadden, A Sullivan, N McNamee.
Subs: G O’Connell for D Garry (24), R McNamee for P McPadden (60).
EDENDERRY: B Quinlan; S Marshall, S Pender, C Byrne; D Hanlon, S Guing, S Cullen; R Dalton, D Kelly; K McGuinness, C Hurley, B Malone; S Moriarty, A McDonnell, S Doyle.
Subs: A Mahon for Marshall (15), M Young for Malone (38), O Lawton for Dalton (bc, 42), C Farrell for Hurley (50), D Nolan for McGuinness (53).
Referee: Damien Brazil.