Raheny will face Ballyboden St Enda's in the quarter-final of the Dublin Senior One Football Championship on Sunday after they edged out St Oliver Plunkett's/Eoghan Ruadh in a tense Group Four encounter at Parnell Park last night.
Delayed by 10 days due to a confirmed case of Coronavirus within the Raheny squad, this was a free-flowing contest that saw the sides on level terms on no fewer than six occasions. Five in-a-row hero Brian Fenton led the way throughout for the winners, contributing a handsome final tally of 1-3.
Gareth 'Nesty' Smith (1-4) and Bernard Brogan (0-3) did their part for Plunkett's, who were reduced to 13 players during the dying embers of the play. Raheny discovered an extra gear in this juncture, however, and can now look forward to a last-eight showdown with the defending champions.
Requiring a double digits win in order to extend their championship journey, Plunkett's fell to behind to a Seán Grenham point inside the opening 60 seconds of the contest. They quickly restored parity through the evergreen Smith and the former Cavan footballer turned provider for their next score in the third minute.
A superb diagonal pass by Brogan found its way into the arms of Smith and he transferred across for Cillian Hayes to palm comfortably into the opposition net. A Dublin underage star before switching allegiances to the Breffni county, Smith subsequently stretched the Plunkett's lead to four with another fine point from play.
However, Paul Dempsey's Raheny hit top gear towards the end of the first-quarter. Supplementing a brace of Fenton efforts, Cian Ivers, Gavin Ivory and Grenham split the posts to move Raheny into the ascendancy. While Brogan cancelled out their advantage with a trademark point, Plunkett's suffered a set-back at the opposite end.
Following a neat one-two with raiding corner-back Darren Byrne, the outstanding Fenton flicked home for a well-crafted goal. The pace was taken out of the game after the first water break and a Smith score in stoppage-time left Plunkett's just two in arrears (1-6 to 1-4) at the interval.
Tye Adamson was on hand to reduce their deficit on the resumption, before Raheny grabbed their second goal through Seán McCarthy. It was turning into an end-to-end affair and Smith fired Plunkett's back into contention with a coolly-converted penalty on 35 minutes.
Fenton and fellow Sky Blues star Brian Howard added points for Raheny but with Brogan and Smith in scoring form, the sides were inseparable (2-8 apiece) midway through the half.
Although the game was now finely poised, the introduction of James O'Kane provided Raheny with an extra spark. He joined Ivory in kicking a brace of late points with David Shatwell also adding his name to the scoresheet.
Seán Bugler offered Plunkett's some hope with a two-point salvo, but following the dismissals of Smith and full-back Rory O'Connor for straight red card offences, their campaign ended in a third straight defeat.
Scorers - Raheny: B Fenton 1-3, G Ivory 0-3 (1 '45'), S McCarthy 1-0, S Grenham, J O'Kane 0-2 each, C Ivers, D Shatwell, B Howard 0-1 each. St Oliver Plunkett's/Eoghan Ruadh: G Smith 1-4 (1-0 pen), B Brogan 0-3 (2f), C Hayes 1-0, S Bugler 0-2, T Adamson 0-1.
RAHENY: C Heapes; D Shatwell, S Byrne, D Byrne; R Real, S McMahon, B McHugh; B Fenton, B Howard; D Keogh, E Keogh, S McCarthy; S Grenham, C Ivers, G Ivory. Subs: A Kelly for E Keogh (h-t), J Lyons for Grenham (41), J O'Kane for McCarthy (52), M Grenham for D Keogh (53).
ST OLIVER PLUNKETT'S/EOGHAN RUADH: G Broughan; S Moran, R O'Connor, M McManus; D Brogan, J O'Donoghue, S O'Connor; C Dunleavy, S Bugler, T Adamson, G Smith, C Hayes; L Fleming, N Walsh, B Brogan. Subs: C Breslin for Dunleavy (22), A Keating for McManus (37), S McWeeney for Fleming (57).
Referee: P Faughnan (St Patrick's, Palmerstown).