CLUB ROUND-UP: Ballyboden pushed all the way before claiming Leinster semi-final spot
TWO of the fancied sides in the Leinster club football championship, Ballyboden St Enda’s and Portlaoise, brushed with disaster before finally claiming their place in the provincial semi-finals.
Dublin champions Ballyboden were pressed all the way by Louth title holders, St Patrick’s, in Drogheda even though Colm Basquel scored a first half goal for the visitors.
Inspired by former All Star Paddy Keenan, the Louth title holders stayed in contention all through. Had the referee allowed a goal Keenan scored direct from a free – he ruled that the free had to be taken away – it might have been a different outcome.
In the end two late Conal Keaney points secured a four-point win for Ballyboden who will meet St Loman’s in the provincial semi-final. The Westmeath title holders travelled to Aughrim and comfortably overcame the challenge of Rathnew.
Perennial title contenders Portlaoise also had a close escape at home against Sarsfields who actually hit three more scores than the Laois champions. However, goals win games and Portlaoise’s brace saw them through by a single point.
Longford champions Emmet Og Killoe enhanced their growing reputation in this competition when they dumped out Meath title holders Navan O’Mahonys. Portlaoise and Killoe will now meet for the second time in four seasons in the provincial semi-final.
Meanwhile, defending All-Ireland and provincial title holders Corofin from Galway powered their way into their second consecutive Connacht final when they hammered Sligo side St Mary’s. The other semi-final was a much closer affair but three first-half goals for Castlebar Mitchels paved the way for their four-point win over Roscommon side Clann na nGael.
The final between Corofin – who are managed by the soon to be Mayo senior boss Stephen Rochford – and Castlebar is a repeat of the 2013 provincial semi-final in which the Mayo side scored a shock win. They subsequently went on to contest the All-Ireland club final against St Vincent’s the following March.
Waterford hurling champions Ballygunner eased away from Cork’s Glen Rovers in the second half of their Munster semi-final even though Patrick Horgan goals for the visitors. Ballygunner had seven points to spare at the finish as they reached their first final since 2009.
Newly crowned Dublin champions Cuala fashioned arguably the most impressive win of the day when they hammered Offaly champions Coolderry by 14 points in Tullamore to reach the semi-final.
Offaly senior player Brian Carroll was red carded as the visitors ran amok. Cuala will have home advantage in next Sunday’s semi-final against Kilkenny’s Clara. Clonkill (Westmeath) and Wexford’s Oulart The Ballagh meet in the other semi-final.
Connacht club SFC semi-finals
Castlebar Mitchels (Mayo) 3-8; Clann na nGael (Roscommon) 0-13 Corofin (Galway) 4-14; St Mary's (Sligo) 2-6 Leinster club SFC quarter-finals Portlaoise (Laois) 2-5 Sarsfields (Kildare) 0-10 Emmet Og, Killoe (Longford) 0-11 Navan O'Mahonys (Meath) 1-6 St Loman’s (Westmeath) 2-10; Rathnew (Wicklow) 1-6 Ballyboden St Enda's (Dublin) 1-8 St Patrick's (Louth) 0-7 Leinster club SHC quarter-final Cuala (Dublin) 1-23; Coolderry (Offaly) 0-12 Munster club SHC semi-final Ballygunner (Waterford) 0-19 Glen Rovers (Cork) 1-9