St Loman’s chances looked bleak when they trailed by 1-4 to no score after 15 minutes, but in very difficult, wet and damp conditions, the cut back the deficit to three by half-time, 0-6 to 1-6, and then they dominated the second half to run out narrow winners.
Simonstown hit the ground running and points by Nathan O’Brien, Brian Conlon and two from Padraig McKeever, as well as an 11th-minute goal by Mark McCabe, saw the Meath champions lead by 1-4 to 0-0.
Eventually, Loman’s settled and points from Ken Casey, Paul Sharry and Shane Dempsey cut the deficit and, while Nathan O’Brien and Sean Tobin increased the Gaels lead, three points by Heslin left Loman’s trailing by just three at the break.
With man of the match Paddy Dowdall excelling, Loman’s then dominated the opening stages of the second half, scoring six points without reply, as Dempsey, Sharry, Heslin (3) and a truly inspirational point by sub Conradh Reilly propelled the Mullingar side into a three-point lead by the 50th minute.
Points for Gaels by Shane O’Rourke and Conor Sheridan set the scene for a dramatic finish, but a fisted point by influential sub Kieran Lynam gave Loman’s a two-point cushion and they played out the tense final minutes to reach their first ever Leinster final.
However, Simonstown Gaels manager Colm O’Rourke had no complaints about the defeat.
“The boys fought hard and we have no complaints and Loman’s got good scores in the second half to win it.
“I thought we played some great football in the first half, but instead of being five or six up, we were just three up at the break. “
St Loman’s now face Moorefield of Kildare in the Leinster final on Sunday, December 10, a club Luke Dempsey led to two senior county titles in his time as manager there.
J Heslin (0-6, 5 frees); P Sharry (1 free), S Dempsey (0-2 each); K Casey, C Reilly, K Lynam (0-1 each).
M McCabe (1-0); P McKeever (1 free), N O’Brien (0-2 each); B Conlon, S Tobin, S O Rourke, C Sheridan (0-1 each).
J Daly; N O’Toole, S Flanagan, G Grehan; G Glennon, P Dowdall, J O’Toole; P Sharry, C Kilmurray; K Reilly, R O’Toole, D Windsor; K Casey, J Heslin, S Dempsey. Subs used: K Lynam for C Kilmurray (29 mins), C Reilly for S Flanagan, black card, 37 mins), G Hickey for D Windsor (51 mins), D Whelan for N O’Toole (59 mins), B O’Loughlin for K Casey (60+3 mins).
R Burlington; S Gallagher, S Moran, N McMahon; B McGrath, B Conlon, N Kane; S O’Rourke, J Kilcullen; S Tobin, S Kenny, M McCabe; N O’Brien, C Sheridan, P McKeever. Subs used: J Lyons for S Kenny (47 mins), M Gardiner for N McMahon (47 mins), N O’Brien for J Cullen (51 mins), M Brennan for C Sheridan (55 mins), S Barry for S Tobin (58 mins).
Referee: Fergal Kelly (Longford).