Naomh Eanna paid the price for some slack defending as they fell to an eventual seven-point defeat to an impressive Gusserane O'Rahilly's outfit in this entertaining Greenstar Under-20 football Premier championship quarter-final in Páirc Uí Shíocháin, Gorey, on Sunday.
Naomh Eanna were good value for their 0-4 to 0-2 lead at the end of the opening quarter, but the concession of a needless penalty which hauled their opponents right back into the game proved decisive as it handed the visitors the initiative and they never relinquished it for the remainder of the game.
The home side opened impressively with early points from Charlie McGuckin and a Jack Doran free, but the Gusserane response was swift as they quickly got back level through Gavin Sheehan (free) and Dylan Ryan after eleven minutes.
Naomh Eanna had looked the more dangerous through this opening spell but squandered goal chances when both McGuckin and Nathan Byrne delayed efforts on goal from a few metres, with the recovering defence somehow managing to deny them.
After 13 minutes they saw a Jack Doran goal attempt beaten away by 'keeper Mark Flynn but, from a few metres, Nathan Byrne blazed over the bar. Minutes later a Doran pointed free had his side leading by 0-4 to 0-2.
Nine minutes before the break an Oisín Foran point kept Gusserane in contention.
The concession of a needless foul out to the right of the large square, when Foran was fouled by two defenders as the ball seemed to spin away to safety, saw referee John Carton spread his arms and award a penalty.
That was neatly tucked away by Eoin Ryan five minutes before the break, while just on the interval Oisín Foran got on the end of a long delivery to find the net from close range, leaving his side with a 2-3 to 0-4 interval lead.
After Kevin O'Donohoe had extended his team's lead within minutes of the re-start, Naomh Eanna had sufficient opportunities to reduce the deficit, but wayward finishing and their tendency to overplay their attacking moves proved costly as they kicked four successive wides.
Points from Nathan Byrne and Jack Doran finally gave them brief hope as they reduced the deficit to 2-4 to 0-6, but within minutes a Dylan Ryan goal helped to restore the Gusserane advantage and they subsequently went on to control the final quarter.
With Gavin Sheehan dominant in midfield, Gusserane were never going to allow the initiative slip, and with the same player kicking over an excellent long-range point, they impressively marched on to the semi-final.
Gusserane: Mark Flynn; Donal Kinsella, Jamie Sheehan, Stephen Whelan; Eoin Codd, Tommy Ryan, Paddy Sinnott; Gavin Sheehan (0-2), Emmet Cullen; Evan Kiely, Eoin Ryan (1-0), Ben Whitty; Kevin O'Donohoe (0-2), Oisín Foran (1-2), Dylan Ryan (1-1). Subs. - Ian Ryan for Sinnott, Conor Twomey for Kiely, Ian Stafford for O'Donohoe, Micheál Hennessy for Whitty, Aaron Wall for D. Ryan.
Naomh Eanna: Cian Browne; Oran Fitzpatrick, Seán Dowling, Micheál Kennedy; Evan O'Dwyer, David Christie, Seán Delaney; Jack Cullen, Eoin Molloy; Jack Doran (0-6, 5 frees), Charlie McGuckin (0-1), Daragh Canavan; Aaron Byrne, Kevin Budeanu, Nathan Byrne (0-2). Subs. - Caellum Travers for A. Byrne, Paddy Dwyer for Molloy, Larry Cullen for Canavan, Mikey Cushe for Budeanu, Cian Kenny for N. Byrne.
Referee: John Carton (Monageer-Boolavogue).