Ireland boys see the light
GAA: AIB Leinster Club IFC - Dundalk Young Irelands 0-13 Tullogher-Rosbercon 0-6
When stepping into the darkness it's always wise to tread with caution until your eyes adjust.
That's how Dundalk Young Irelands approached this Leinster semi final and they were fully vindicated as they measuredly picked apart Tullogher-Rosbercon to reach the Leinster Junior final.
Semi finals, after all, are just for winning.
The unknown quantity the Kilkenny Intermediate champions possessed was given due respect, nearly too much at times, and throw in the Wexford venue to confuse things further, the Irelanders set about their work in their usual methodical defensive fashion.
A late Peter Nixon injury just before the referee was about to throw in the ball didn't even throw them off their steely focus.
Happy to let the Kilkenny side have possession and size them up early on, Cian O'Donoghue (brace) and Dermot Mone shot them into a 3-0 lead after some impressive defending and snappy build up play.
Kilkenny hurling star Walter Walsh was a marked man all afternoon and when he got turned over it lifted the Louth champions allowing Jordan O'Donoghue to get in on the act with a free as the Irelanders looked very comfortable with 11 minutes played.
Mone then spurned a goal chance before the Louth champions completely took their foot off the gas, their next score would not come for another 17 minutes.
Shane Ryan and Jason Shiely pulled back two points before Shiely saw red harshly after an altercation with his marker Derek Maguire.
The intensity of the game suddenly lifted and Tullogher-Rosbercon's own Cian O'Donoghue made it a one point game. The narrowness of the lead was mainly down to that over respect the Irelanders provided and slow build up play.
Oisin McCabe did find the range just before half time to make it 5-3 going in at the break as conditions underfoot was beginning to make the game even more attritional.
Jordan O'Donoghue's booming point upon resumption realigned the focus his manager and father Adrian would have laid at the break.
Lively Johnny Lynch started an impressive second half display with a quick point and a Mone double stamped an air of inevitability on the game 9-3.
The Kilkenny champions did reply with three in a row from Walsh-now moved to the square to escape the shackles of Irelanders midfielder John McLoughlin-O'Donoghue free and Shane Ryan's second.
However, despite Jordan O'Donoghue black card in the middle of that period,the Irelanders never panicked and saw the game out as they started. Four Counter-attacking scores and missed goal chances.
Lynch again, a long range Derek Maguire free, Mone's fourth and the rounded off by a Dean Maguire point who along with Jordan O'Donoghue was guilty of missing goal chances as they couldn't fully exploit the space they were provided on the day, they might need them the next day. Leinster Junior Final day.
Tullogher-Rosbercon: Eoin Ryan; Declan Grennan, Sean Murray, Terence Croke; Billy Ryan, Pat Hartley, Kevin Hennessey; Donnacha O'Connor, Walter Walsh 0-1; Tarek O'Connor, Jason Shiely 0-1f, Shane Ryan 0-2; Conor Hennessey, Cian O'Donoghue 0-2 (1f), Brendan Lawler. Subs: Richie Aylward for B Ryan (57), Tony Conway for T Croke (57), Peter Meggs for T O'Connor (63), Edmund Culliane B Lawler (63).
Dundalk Young Irelands: Fergal Sheekey; Stephen Bellew, Ciaran Murray, Peter McCourt; Cian O'Nairaigh, Derek Maguire 0-1f, Oisin McCabe 0-1; Sean McLoughlin, Derek Rogers; Jordan O'Donoghue0-2 (1f), Johnny Lynch 0-2, Cian O'Donoghue 0-2; Mark Savage, Dermot Mone 0-4, Dean Maguire 0-1. Subs: Aidan Sheekey for D Rogers (34), Shadam Azeeze for S Bellew (34), Aaron Rogers for O McCabe(44), Kevin Keelan for J O'Donoghue BC (47) Aaron Murray for C O'Donoghue (57).
Referee: David O'Connor (Dublin).