Robert Emmetts 1-15
Thomas McCurtains 1-8
By Damian Dolan
At McGovern Park, Ruislip
Richie Murphy’s frees propelled Robert Emmetts into the McAleer & Rushe Collins Cup semi-finals with victory over last year’s intermediate champions, Thomas McCurtains, at Ruislip on Sunday.
Although McCurtains were on the front foot for much of this game, Emmetts’ greater clinicalness decided it. Or more to the point, Murphy’s six second half frees decided it.
Kevin McMullan’s side now join Brothers Pearse and Kilburn Gaels, who accounted for holders St Gabriels, in the last four.
Fr Murphys and Sean Treacys will battle it out on Wednesday (29 May) for the final spot.
McCurtains couldn’t have asked for a better start – Conor Cormack spinning off his man, before bouncing off another blue shirt and firing low past Michael O’Laocha. We’d played 32 seconds.
Owen Chawke, playing against his former club, added to McCurtains’ lead with a free.
Emmetts had been slow to start, despite having the breeze at their backs. It would take them time to master the elements. Ten first half wides was testament to that.
But from nothing Emmetts were back in it. Benny McCarry plucked a ball out of the air and then teed up Conor Campion to strike first time past Shane Kelly.
Campion thought he had another three minutes later when he redirected McCarry’s ’65 to the net, only for it to be ruled out for a square ball.
Sean Costello had a half sight of goal, only to be crowded out as O’Laocha came off his line quickly.
An error by O’Laocha then nearly let Cormack in, after the Emmetts ‘keeper failed to pick a ball up cleanly, and a foul conceded by a scrambling Emmetts defence was popped over the bar by Chawke.
After McCurtains’ bright start, Emmetts then began to edge ahead without ever really hitting top form. Campion fired over as his monopoly of Emmetts’ scoring continued.
Dean Corrigan’s carry created a goal chance for Pathai O’Lone, but he was crowded out by O’Laocha before he could get his shot away.
Emmetts would edge ahead as the half progressed – nothing pretty – and they held a 1-6 to 1-2 lead at the break.
Again Cormack gave McCurtains the perfect start – firing over a point after 11 seconds – and with the wind behind them the east Londoners were the ones forcing the pace.
Sean Murphy and Sean Corrigan continued to drive their side on, but Murphy would soon begin to find his range.
Chawke got McCurtains back to within three, only for Murphy to twice fire over from placed balls.
McCurtains then enjoyed a purple patch. Building up a head of steam they hit three scores in a row to get within just two, but that was as close as they got.
Murphy duly rattled off three consecutive frees. McCurtains just couldn’t stem the frees which Murphy gratefully despatched over the bar.
They may have hit ten wides in the first half, but Emmetts didn’t register a single one in the second.
Having weathered the McCurtains’ storm, Emmetts were able to see the game out.
Robert Emmetts: Michael O’Laocha; Paul Manix, Walter Holohan, Dan Kinney; Neil Clancy, Killian Burke, Conor Campion (1-2); Martin Fitzpatrick, Sean Madigan; Jonathan McCarthy, Richie Murphy (0-7f), Liam O’Malley; Cian Lordan, Benny McCarry (0-4), Sean Lordan (0-2).
Thomas McCurtains: Shane Kelly; John O’Donohue, Ciaran McCauley, Jack Breen; Liam O’Brien, Kieran Dowling, Craig Doyle; Dean Corrigan, Sean Murphy (0-1); Owen Chawke (0-4, 2f, 1’65), Sean Costello, Mark Russell; Stephen Cronin, Conor Cormack (1-2), Pathai O’Lone. Subs: R Irish (0-1) for O’Lone, Harry Corkery for Cronin.
Referee: Vincent Staunton.