Raheens advanced to their first Intermediate semi-final in three years, defeating Rathangan after extra time in Naas last Saturday evening, writes Eoin Beatty.
Joe Fox Plant and Tool Hire Intermediate Football Championship Quarter Final Replay
These sides couldn’t be seperated in Hawkfield the week previous as Eoin Kennedy’s last gasp point forced a replay, which on the night, was a fair outcome.
The last time the men in saffron and blue reached the last four was in 2009 when they were beaten by eventual runners up, Kilcullen by 5 points.
Only a mere 11 months ago, Raheens found themselves battling for Intermediate survival and they did so by the skin of their teeth, overcoming Ballykelly in the relegation semi final. But now in 2012, since the arrival of Richie Connor and his selectors, John Delmer and Larry Malone, the future seems bright.
As for Rathangan, the last time they tasted Intermediate Championship success was back in 2001 as they ran out three point winners at the hands of Eadestown in the final to ensure silverware.
Both teams began the game brightly with Alan Igoe opening the scoring and Alan Broughan equalising with a free kick just 2 minutes later.
Judging by the last meeting between these sides and the first ten minutes of this game, it had the makings of an enthralling encounter.
Over the entirety of the clash, neither team did manage to break away from their opponents and it was point for point.
Shane Power and Ross McMahon nudged Raheens into a 2 point lead but that was once again soon to be cancelled out by points from Brian Flood and Broughan respectively.
The first goal of the game came on the 22 minute mark as Raheens full forward Stephen Riordan was hauled down inside the penalty area by no fewer than three players leaving referee Mick Spencer no choice but to award the penalty. Noel Byrne stepped up to the mark to send the keeper the wrong way and fire the ball low into the bottom corner.
Raheens now seemed to have the upper-hand and were playing most of the football, but right on the stroke of half time, against the run of play, Rathangan themselves had the ball in the back of the net as Brendan McMullen calmly slotted underneath Liam Power to leave a solitary point between the pair at the interval with the scores standing at 1-6 to 1-5 in favour of Raheens.
The second half never really picked up from the first and although it was an intriguing game with an electric atmosphere there was very little scoring done as the game finished 1-9 apiece at the end of full time. The pick of the scores came from the ever reliable boot of Alan Igoe at centre forward for Raheens.
Following 6 minutes of injury time played due to a head collision between Brian Flood and Ross McMahon in the centre of the pitch, the full time whistle went and extra-time was on the cards for these sides for the second time in the space of a week.
Raheens outscored their opponents by 2 points to 1 in the extra 20 minutes with scores from Noel Byrne and John Jennings.
Rathangan’s point came in the last 5 minutes of the game as Davy Connell broke through on goal but perhaps tired legs proved a major factor as he opted to fist the ball over the bar rather to shoot for goal.
Raheens however did have endure a nervy last few moments as Rathangan piled men forward in search of that all important equaliser but to no avail.
Liam Power, Pat Courtney, Andrew Earley, John Lawler, Darren Earley, Graham Waters, Gareth Byrne, Shane Power (0-1), Tim Dunleavy, John Jennings (0-1), Alan Igoe (0-4 2f), Cathal Carr (0-1), Ross McMahon (0-1), Stephen Riordan (0-1), Noel Byrne (1-2). Subs: Cian Conlon for Andrew Earley, David Fitzpatrick for Shane Power, Tom Earley for Gareth Byrne.
Joe Lyster, Michael O’Connell, Stephen Dunne, Thomas O’Connell, John Mulpeter, Aidan Kennedy, Bernard Flanagan, Brian Mahon, Diarmuid O’Donoghue, Brendan McMullen (1-1), Brian Mullally (0-2), David Donnelly (0-1), Brian Flood (0-1), Davy Connell (0-1), Alan Broughan (0-4 3f). Subs: Niall Brouder for Stephen Dunne, Nicky Conlon for David Donnelly, Mark Kenna for Brian Mahon.