Stellar Sinnott saves Rathgarogue/Cushinstown
Rathgarogue/Cushinstown 1-7 Blackhill Emeralds 1-6
Wexford champions Rathgarogue/Cushinstown covered their goals in perspex and wrapped their goalkeeper Nicky Sinnott in teflon as they denied Blackhill Emeralds six goal opportunities during their slender All-Ireland JFC semi-final win.
Level five times over the course of a fraught encounter, Rathgarogue recovered from a slow start only for Tadhg Cody to kick a 56th-minute winner in Newbridge.
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A Bernard Furlong goal gave the Wexford side the impetus needed as man of the match Daniel Martin Courtney kept his side competitive.
Despite the Monaghan side's dominance of a low-scoring first half, surviving four goal chances meant Furlong's 29th-minute goal gave Rathgarogue a three-point lead. On two occasions Peadar Cody and Patrick Murphy performed heroics to deny Philip Donnelly and Tommy Geehan open goals.
But Jason Finnegan struck with a Blackhill injury-time goal, leaving the sides level 1-2 apiece at half-time.
Relying on Sinnott's heroics to deny Donnelly and Andrew Burns at vital stages, Daire Bolger's three second-half frees gave Rathgarogue a two-point lead in the 51st minute.
However, the Ulster champions levelled the game through Burns and Thomas Courtney by the 55th minute.
But Cody's winner clinched the one-point result for the Wexford champions.
Scorers - Rathgarogue/ Cushinstown: D Bolger 0-4f; B Furlong 1-0; D Martin-Carroll, J Dunne, T Cody 0-1 each. Blackhill Emeralds:- J Finnegan 1-0; P Donnelly 0-3f; D Daly (f), T Courtney, A Burns 0-1 each.
RATHGAROGUE/CUSHINSTOWN - N Sinnott; P McGrath, P Cody, P Murphy; B O'Neill, E Porter, B Cody; D Martin-Carroll, M Cody; B Furlong, D Bolger, T Cody; E Cummins, R Murphy, J Dunne. Subs: A Ryan for Cummins (46); O Bolger for McGrath (51).
BLACKHILL EMERALDS - M Slevin; R Courtney, D Courtney, T Courtney; J Daly, S Courtney, A Courtney; H Byrne, E Daly; P Donnelly, G McArdle, T Geehan; J Finnegan, C Courtney, M Geehan. Subs: A Burns for Daly (h-t); P Finnegan for J Finnegan (52); J Daly (BC, 64).
REF - B Judge (Sligo)