*Eoin Cleary. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill
It took extra time for St Josephs Miltown to secure their place in the Munster Club SFC semi-finals.
St Josephs Miltown 1-11
Venue: Hennessy Memorial Park, Miltown Malbay
At a very windy Miltown Malbay, the on-field drama and excitement set the pulses racing and blood flowing among the 1.816 spectators.
Overheard in Miltown –
“Oh my nerves” says one supporter.
“Oh my pacemaker” responds another. #GAA ?
— Paudie McMahon (@thepmanofficial) November 10, 2019
As was the case in the county final replay, Miltown took their time to get going but their fitness shown through as they upped their challenge in extra time all the while limiting Rathgormack to a single score.
Darragh McDonagh’s absence was a factor in weakening the hosts but crucially for them, they did enough despite not playing at their best.
Just Eoin Cleary’s twenty first minute goal separated the sides at the sounding of the half-time whistle, the tight nature of the contest present from start to finish. Their lead could have been more but they spurned six scoring chances in the half while Rathgormack missed just two chances in the opening half.
Remarkably Miltown had two scorers in normal time, they were reliant on Kieran Malone and Eoin Cleary for all their tally in this period. Full-forward Cormac Murray was lively but the Clare champions failed to yield enough from his possessions. This all changed in extra time with Murray kicking two vital points to start their resurgence. Only one of their scores in eighty minutes were from frees.
Extra time was deservedly forced by the Waterford champions who certainly did not look like the side down to fourteen men with Cathal Crowch being dismissed for a second bookable offence. They outscored Miltown four points to one in the second half but were unable to sustain their fight in extra time.
Though they pushed up when down to fourteen, Rathgormack failed to mount any meaningful goal chances. For them, Jason Curry and Conor Murray impressed.
Clonmel Commercials will be the visitors to West Clare next week where an improved display is needed if David O’Brien’s charges are to make the Munster Final. Eoin O’Brien, Kieran Malone, Cormac Murray and Eoin Cleary stood out for the winners.
Scorers Miltown: E Cleary (1-05 1f), K Malone (0-04), C Murray (0-02).
Scorers Rathcormack: J Curry (0-07 4f), C Murray (0-02), R Flynn (0-01), J Power (0-01)
St Josephs Miltown: Sean O’Brien; Enda O’Gorman, Seanie Malone, Eoin O’Brien; Gearoid Curtin, Gordon Kelly, Aidan McGuane; Oisin Looney, Conor Cleary; Micheál Murray, Eoin Cleary, Kieran Malone; Brian Curtin, Cormac Murray, Graham Kelly.
Subs: Euan Reidy for M Murray (HT), Eoin Curtin for Graham Kelly (40), Micheál Murray for E Curtin (53) (Inj), Shane Curtin for O’Gorman (60), Jamesie O’Connor for Gordon Kelly (62) (Black), Graham Kelly for Reidy (FT), Enda O’Gorman for O’Connor (FT), Colin Hehir for M Murray (70), Jamesie O’Connor for Graham Kelly (74), Enda Fox for Looney (78).
Rathcormack: Padraig Hunt; Conor Walsh, Cathal Crowch, Liam Connolly; William Hahessy, Tom Walsh, Robbie Flynn; Jason Curry, Michael Curry; Billy Power, Stephen Curry, James Power; Jason Gleeson, Paul Drohan, Conor Murray.
Subs: John Kirwan for Drohan (HT), Ronan Cahill for Connolly (52), Declan Hennebury for Flynn (60), Ronan Crotty (FT), Robbie Flynn for Walsh (67), Jamie Kirwan for J Power (78).
Referee: David Murnane (Cork)