ONE of the most amazing games ever seen at Semple Stadium produced an incredible finish as Clarinbridge midfielder Eanna Murphy scored a match-winning goal at the end of extra-time to send his team through to the AIB All-Ireland club hurling final.
An extra 20 minutes was needed to settle a tie that was level 10 times and it was fitting that the game should have such a late twist as Murphy hit the winning goal in the second minute of stoppage time in front of 4,000 spectators.
De La Salle, beaten All-Ireland finalists in 2009, had appeared on course for the final when they led by two points as the clock ticked down.
De La Salle full-back and captain Ian Flynn was the unfortunate culprit as he flicked an Alan Kerins shot into the path of Murphy, who made no mistake from close range.
The first period of extra-time was in keeping with the hour that had preceded it as the two sides traded goals within the space of a minute.
Mark Kerins buried a 65th-minute penalty for his second goal of the game as Clarinbridge moved 2-19 to 0-22 in front but De La Salle's next attack saw them level as supersub Eoin Madigan finished the ball to the net.
Heading into the final minute of normal time, De La Salle led by 0-20 to 0-17 before the experienced Kerins brothers turned a classic tie on its head. Mark went for goal from a 20-metre free and found the narrowest of gaps with a scorching drive high to the net.
That majestic strike tied the game before younger brother Alan nailed a superb long-range point to put the Galway side ahead by a point, 1-18 to 0-20.
There was precious little time for De La Salle to respond but with the very last puck of the regulation hour, Bryan Phelan sent over a free from the halfway line to level proceedings for the eighth time.
After a sluggish start, Clarinbridge had the better of the first half. They settled with a run of six unanswered points and led 0-11 to 0-8 at the break.
A brace of John Mullane points tied the scores at 0-6 apiece and the All Star forward, who scored 0-11, was unlucky not to find net in the 19th minute as he drilled a shot over the bar when well placed.
The sides were level four times in the opening half but approaching half-time, Clarinbridge tacked on three unanswered points to assume control. Kerins added another free after popping over a 26th-minute score before centre-back David Forde stormed forward to raise an 11th white flag of the half for the Galway men.
In first-half stoppage-time, Mullane had the chance to cut the gap to just two points but he missed a free 30 yards out.
Clarinbridge had the better of the opening exchanges in the second half and by the 40th minute, they still held the whip hand, leading by 0-14 to 0-10.
But De La Salle came roaring back into contention with a run of six unanswered points to move 0-16 to 0-14 in front. Mark Kerins, passed fit to play after recovering from illness, stopped the rot for Clarinbridge with a 49th-minute free to leave the game heading for a dramatic conclusion.
Scorers -- Clarinbridge: M Kerins 2-5 (1-4f, 1-0 pen), A Kerins 0-6, E Forde 0-5, E Murphy 1-0, P Coen 0-2, S Forde, S Burke, B Daly, D Forde 0-1 each. De La Salle: J Mullane 0-11 (6f), E Madigan 1-3, B Phelan (0-2f, 0-1 '65'), J Dillon 0-3 each, D Twomey, J Keane 0-2 each, P Nevin, K Moran, L Hayes 0-1 each.
Clarinbridge: L Donoghue; C Forde, B Burke, P Callanan; J Cannon, D Forde, M Donoghue; B Daly, E Murphy; S Burke, M Kerins, S Forde; E Forde, A Kerins, P Coen. Subs: A Armstrong for S Forde (58).
De La Salle: S Brenner; D Russell, I Flynn, M Doherty; B Phelan, K Moran, S Daniels; C Watt, D Twomey; P Nevin, D Greene, J Mullane; J Keane, E Barrett, J Dillon. Subs: E Madigan for Watt (35), L Hayes for Twomey (70), Twomey for Dillon (78).
Referee: J McGrath (Westmeath).
Sunday Indo Sport