Thirteen-man Fr O’Neill’s held out against 14-man Tooreen to book their place in the All Ireland intermediate club hurling final against Tullaroan following a dramatic and hard-fought four-point victory in Bord Na Móna O’Connor Park Tullamore today.
But the win came at a huge cost for the winners with Fr O’Neill’s joint captain Mark O’Keeffe and Billy Dunne receiving straight red cards in the 36th and 41st minutes. Tooreen lost Kenny Feeney to a red card two minutes from the end of normal time.
The Cork and Munster champions were forced to work extremely hard with Declan Dalton in particular impressing with 10 points. The Mayo side left to rue some wayward shooting.
Fr O’Neill’s set down a marker with Paudie McMahon raising a white flag a mere 19 seconds into the action. Points from Mark O’Keeffe and Dalton (2) followed as Fr O’Neill’s held a four point to nil advantage.
Shane Boland opened Tooreen’s account from a free in the 10th minute. By the 20th minute the Rebel outfit had opened up a 0-7 to 0-3 advantage. Both sides guilty of poor shot selection in a cross-field wind.
The gap was seven points approaching the interval when Dalton landed his fifth point and his third from play. But, Tooreen, who opted for two inside forwards, scored frees from Feeney and Shane Boland to leave the half time score, 0-10 to 0-5. All of the Tooreen points came from placed balls.
Tooreen restarted with a Feeney point but their inaccuracy continued to be a problem. However, the Fr O’Neill’s sendings off left them with a numerical advantage. And they did manage to cut the gap to two points with five minutes of regulation left to play.
Tooreen had a goal disallowed but Kenny Feeney found the net in the 54th minute. Feeney was then sent off and with at least eight minutes of stoppage announced, Fr O’Neill’s, helped also by the contribution of their bench, got over the line.
D Dalton (0-10, 0-7 frees), M O’Keeffe and K O’Sullivan (0-2 each), P McMahon, E Conway, B Dunne, L O’Driscoll and C Broderick (0-1 each).
S Boland (0-6 frees), K Feeney (1-2, 0-2 frees), G Nolan, C Freeman, D Huane and F Boland (0-1 each).
C Sloane; M Millerick, P Butler, G Millerick; J Barry, D Harrington (Joint-Capt), T Millerick; J Millerick, K O’Sullivan; M O’Keeffe (Joint-Capt), R Cullinane, P McMahon; E Conway, D Dalton, B Dunne.
L O’Driscoll for E Conway (45), C Broderick for J Millerick (49), J Hankard for R Cullinane (54), S O’Connor for J Barry (55).
S Lenehan; G Nolan, S Coyne (Capt), C Finn; C Henry, M Morley, D Kenny; C Freeman, D Huane; S Kenny, F Boland, S Regan; S Boland, K Feeney, E Delaney.
L Lavin for D Huane (25), J Cassidy for S Kenny (55), B Morley for E Delaney (59), D Harrison for B Morley (64 inj).
Chris Mooney (Dublin).