A 56th minute point from Cian Foley secured a narrow, hard-earned win for favourites St Brendan's over luckless Colaiste na Sceilge in Saturday's tense Corn Uí Mhuirí quarter-final in Cromane.
The South Kerry side were attempting to beat the Sem for the second time having surprised them in the O’Sullivan Cup semi-final last November.
But the Sem survived this stern test thanks to two first-half goals, with the second of them on the stroke of half time from sub Charlie Keating a decisive score. St Brendan's could never get to grips with Colaiste Na Sceilge ’s well-organised defence with twelve players behind the ball at times with the fullback line of Josh O’Sullivan, Cian O’Donoghue and Sam O’Driscoll curbed the threat of the Sem's inside danger men Cian McMahon, Alex Hennigan and William Shine.
Man of the match Donagh O’Sullivan tormented the Sem defence but the South Kerry side missed their star midfielder, Jack Clifford.
St Brendan's were guilty of poor shooting and sloppy play up front under pressure. Kain O’Shea gave the South Kerry lads the lead but St Brendan's responded with a William Shine free and a punched point by Alex Hennigan. The score that divided the sides at the water break was a Sem goal in the 12th minute from Liam Randles.
But Colaiste na Sceilge stormed into the game in the second quarter with two Kain O’Shea’s frees after Donagh O’Sullivan had been fouled, to close the gap to a single point. But in typical St Brendan's fashion, they struck for a goal when needed most and it was Keating of Dr Crokes who clinically finished to the net to make it a 2-4 to 0-4 half time lead.
Colaiste na Sceilge thundered back into the game and two goals from Donagh O’Sullivan and Kieran Corcoran put the game in the melting pot at the water break, 2-7 to 2-5.
With Donagh and Ian O’Sullivan pulling the strings, they added points from Kain O’Shea and Ian O’Sullivan to level the contest as the Sem missed two kickable frees. But just when it a shock looked on the cards, Cian McMahon took a quick free to the inrushing Cian Foley who fired over the winning point.
: L Randles and C Keating (1-0 each), A Hennigan, C McMahon (frees) and C Foley (0-2 each), L Crowley and W Shine (f) 0-1 each.
: K O’Shea (0-4 frees), D O’Sullivan and K Corcoran (1-0 each), I O’Sullivan (0-3, 2frees).
ST BRENDAN'S: A O’Sullivan; C Lynch, R Colleran, H Byrne; D Fleming D O’Callaghan, J Kelleher; L Randles, K O’Sullivan; M Moriarty, C Foley, L Crowley; C McMahon, A Hennigan, W Shine.
: C Keating for M Moriarty (16), M O’Shea for L Crowley (52), D Cronin for A Hennigan (58).
: C O’Sullivan; J O’Sullivan, C O’Donoghue, Sam O’Driscoll; S Kennedy, Oisin O’Sullivan, T Kelly; K O’Shea, A Coffey; B O’Sullivan, D O’Sullivan, W Galvin; I O’Sullivan, K Corcoran, E Daly.
Subs: O Breen for B O’Sullivan (27), P Mangan for T Kelly (h/t).
E Walsh (Rathmore)