RATHNURE 4-12 KILMESSAN 1-9 BOOSTED by three early goals in this AIB Leinster Club SHC clash at Navan, Wexford champions Rathnure progressed to the semi-final with predictable ease against Meath's Kilmessan who had Stephen Clynch sent off in second half injury time.
Trailing by 1-6 to 3-5 at the interval, the Meath champions were dealt a fatal blow after 50 minutes when they conceded a fourth goal, which was the softest of the lot, as the visitors' top scorer Richard Flynn netted directly from a 55-metre free.
That put the men in black and amber ahead by 4-5 to 1-7 and it was only a matter of playing out time after that with Clynch seeing red after a brief melee broke out late on during a rare Kilmessan attack.
Without the services of their star man Paul Codd, Rathnure played against a strong breeze in the first half but got off to a perfect start when Sean O'Neill dashed in from right wing and passed to Brendan O'Leary who volleyed to the net after 50 seconds.
Kilmessan retorted with a similar score after five minutes from Nicky Horan who slammed the ball to the net from a close-range free which was brought forward following a late tackle.
However, the visitors started to pull away when O'Neill centred for man of the match Robbie Codd to claim his side's second goal and O'Neill then rounded David Donnelly before slotting to the net as his side went 3-3 to 1-2 in front.
SCORERS - Rathnure: R Flynn 1-5; R Codd 1-4; S O'Neill 1-1; B O'Leary 1-0; J O'Connor 0-2. Kilmessan: N Horan 1-3; G O'Neill, S Clynch, M Reilly, L Maguire, J Keena, J Horan 0-1 each.
RATHNURE - J Morrissey; A O'Connell, S Somers, D Guiney; J Somers, M O'Leary, R Guiney; N Higgins, J O'Connor; T Hogan, M Byrne, B O'Leary; S O'Neill, R Codd, R Flynn. Subs: A Codd for O'Neill, A Ronan for B O'Leary, C Byrne for Hogan, S Murphy for D Guiney.
KILMESSAN - M Brennan; P McGovern, D Donnelly, J Horan; C Keena, A O'Neill, R Donnelly; S Stephens, G O'Neill; S Clynch, M Reilly, L Maguire; J Keena, M Horan, N Horan. Subs: P Farrell for Stephens, J Battersby for Maguire, J Byrne for J Horan.
REF - E Morris (Dublin).
ATHLEAGUE 1-15, TOOREEN 2-9
THREE extra time points by Kevin Regan, Padraig Cuddy and Mervyn Connaughton guided Athleague (Roscommon) into a Connacht Club SHC final against Galway champions Portumna after they overcame a gallant Tooreen (Mayo) side in Castlerea on Saturday.
Scorers - Athleague: K Regan 0-6, P Cuddy 0-4, M Connaughton 0-3, S Regan 1-0, A Cunniffe 0-2. Tooreen: A Freeman 0-4, D Greally and A Hession 1-0 each, M French 0-2, S Ganley, S Hunt and R Robinson 0-1 each.