St Loman's complete another turnaround to book Leinster final place
St Loman's 0-13 Simonstown Gaels 1-8
THE doughty men of St Loman's are fast proving themselves the comeback kings of Leinster club football.
Two weeks ago, they were six points down away to Mullinalaghta entering the home straight – and won it.
This afternoon in TEG Cusack Park they went one better, recovering from a disastrous seven-point deficit to deservedly overcome Simonstown Gaels, the back-to-back Meath kingpins.
The reward for Luke Dempsey's three-in-a-row Westmeath champions is qualification for their first ever AIB Leinster club SFC final – against Moorefield of Kildare on December 10.
In a game of wild oscillations, Simonstown soared seven clear in the first quarter - all this after Loman's could have goaled from their first attack, Ronan O'Toole fisting wide from beyond the far post.
Back came the visitors with a Paddy McKeever free and then a Nathan O'Brien point that should have been a goal ... his rising effort was initially flagged wide only for the linesman's intervention.
The Navan men weren't waiting long that a green flag, however. Again the livewire O'Brien was pivotal, cutting in from the left corner before finding Niall Kane, who in turn fed Mark McCabe for a point blank finish in the 11th minute.
Further points from Brian Conlon and skipper McKeever, an inspirational solo effort, left them 1-4 to 0-0 ahead.
By then Loman's had spurned another goal chance, Ciaran Kilmurray flashing wide on the turn.
But Ken Casey's 17th minute score kickstarted a run of four unanswered points – and even though O'Brien and Seán Tobin replied for Simonstown, a John Heslin brace (from play and a free) cut the half-time deficit to a goal, 1-6 to 0-6.
Loman's lost Seán Flanagan to a black card during a barren ten minutes on the resumption.
However, a Heslin free reignited the hosts who should have found the net from the next play, with Shane Dempsey's inviting goal attempt clipping the bar on the way over.
But they eventually drew level in the 43rd minute, Heslin nailed a difficult free from the left corner, and then followed up with three more scores from lively sub Conrad Reilly, Paul Sharry and another Heslin free, this time off his weaker left.
A run of six unanswered points from Loman's was finally ended by Shane O'Rourke, and then Conor Sheridan made it a one-point game in the 54th minute.
But Loman's replied with the final point – from another hugely impressive sub, Kieran Lynam – and then resisted some injury-time goalmouth pressure to book their place in the decider.
SCORERS - St Loman's: J Heslin 0-6 (5f), P Sharry (1f), S Dempsey 0-2 each, K Casey, C Reilly, K Lynam 0-1 each. Simonstown: M McCabe 1-0, N O'Brien, P McKeever (1f) 0-2 each, B Conlon, S Tobin, S O'Rourke, C Sheridan 0-1 each.
ST LOMAN'S: J Daly; N O'Toole, S Flanagan, G Grehan; G Glennon, P Dowdall, J O'Toole; P Sharry, C Kilmurray; K Reilly, R O'Toole, D Windsor; K Casey, J Heslin, S Dempsey. Subs: K Lynam for Kilmurray (29), C Reilly for Flanagan (BC 37), G Hickey for Windsor (51), D Whelan for N O'Toole (60), B O'Loughlin for Casey (65).
SIMONSTOWN: R Burlington; S Gallagher, S Moran, N McMahon; B McGrath, B Conlon, N Kane; S O'Rourke, J Kilcullen; S Tobin, S Kenny, M McCabe; N O'Brien, C Sheridan, P McKeever. Subs: M Gardiner for McMahon (46), J Lyons for Kenny (46), N O'Brien for Kilcullen (51), M Brennan for Sheridan (55), S Barry for Tobin (58).
REF: F Kelly (Longford).