De La Salle ended Lismore’s 46-year stay in the senior ranks with a 1-18 to 1-12 triumph in Saturday night’s Waterford SHC relegation play-off at Fraher Field.
The Blackwater outfit won two county titles during the 1990s and made their last final appearance in 2009.
Jake Dillon posted 10 points (eight frees) for the winners, who led from start to finish. Eddie Meaney’s introduction proved significant as his goal on 55 minutes secured De La Salle’s top flight status, after Lismore threatened a revival in the second period. Maurice Shanahan did all in his power to try and keep Lismore away from the intermediate grade with a personal tally of 1-9.
Before a large attendance, De La Salle raced five points ahead within the first quarter (0-6 to 0-1). Shanahan shot three points for Lismore before Ray Barry spurned a great goal chance. But the winners tacked on five unanswered points, with Eddie Barrett on target three times to see them 0-12 to 0-3 ahead at the midway stage.
Four minutes into the second half, Shanahan belted in a close-range free to resuscitate Lismore’s challenge. The Waterford attacker struck three points in succession, including a free deep inside his own half, as they closed to within two points entering the last quarter (0-15 to 1-10). Dillon edged De La Salle further ahead with a free before substitute Meaney made an immediate impression.
The county minor scored a quickfire 1-1 to record a famous win. In the Waterford SFC, Brickey Rangers and Gaultier both qualified for the quarter-finals, courtesy of narrow fifth-round victories. Conor McGrath registered six points from play as the Brickeys edged past 13-man St Saviours by the minimum at Fraher Field (0-15 to 1-11). Saviours edged a lively opening half 1-6 to 0-8. Keelan Cassidy pounced for a goal on 16 minutes after Kieran Murphy’s initial attempt was blocked. McGrath sent over four points at the other end in response.
The sides were level five times in the second half but there was a fiery finish as John Paul Jacob and Anthony Jacob were both dismissed. Saviours now slip into a relegation play-off versus De La Salle. JJ Hutchinson hit 0-9 as Gaultier also progressed to the last eight with 0-14 to 0-12 win against An Rinn at Stradbally. The Easterners edged the first half exchanges by 0-8 to 0-7. Hutchinson banked 0-5 of that total as he inspired his team to a second win of the campaign. An Rinn will remain senior next season.
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