Mount Sion 2-18 An Rinn 0-8
The freedom of any town or city is not handed out lightly, but on Friday last for 60-plus minutes at Fraher Field it looked as if Waterford senior hurler Eoin McGrath had been granted autonomy over the ground where All-Irelands have been played in the past.
The Mount Sion midfield general was magnificent in all he did, covering every blade of grass. His performance was faultless – other than perhaps not taking all the scoring chances afforded to him.
A few weeks back if the Waterford team was picked to play Limerick in the championship the centre-field pairing would be a bit of a forgone conclusion, but having seen a number of recent games, including this one, McGrath might well come into the reckoning for a starting place ‘i lár na páirce’ come June 17th.
Cynics might claim that McGrath’s man-of-the-match performance came against a poor An Rinn side, but the club from the Deise Gaeltacht, like all other teams put out 15 players, and only a week earlier they ran the Munster champions De La Salle very close.
That said, in truth this game was over as a contest inside 10 minutes, as Martin O’Neill with a brace, Ken and Eoin McGrath and Ross O’Keeffe all rifled over unanswered points.
Martin O’Neill and Eoin McGrath added two more before An Rinn opened their account with a 17th-minute free struck by Padraig Ó Murchadha. Tony Browne pointed from play for the Monastery men before An Rinn’s best player, ace footballer Liam Ó Lionáin, pointed.
A single effort by Ian Power and Ken McGrath had Mount Sion comfortably in front coming up to the break and it was up to Padraig Ó Murchadha to score the last point of the opening 30 minutes to leave An Rinn trailing 0-12 to 0-3 at the break.
Ring made a substitution at the break, replacing Paddy Ó Catháin, who had been playing well in the first half from this reporter’s perspective, with Liam de Grás coming in as an outfield player and Nicolas Ó Lionáin going between the posts.
County minor Martin O’Neill gave the city side a fantastic start after the turnaround, scoring 1-2 inside four minutes. However, Mount Sion remarkably went 20 more minutes without scoring, something that on another day could have cost them very dearly.
In that period An Rinn, courtesy of Liam Ó Lionáin, Padraig Ó Murchadha and Mike Ó Toibin, put points on the scoreboard. But with six minutes to go, Brian Cusack pointed for Mount Sion and five minutes later the city side scored a second goal.
Following a good build-up, Ross O’Keeffe saw his chance trickle over the line following a fumble by the An Rinn keeper.
Either side of Mount Sion’s second goal Mike Ó Toibin and Padraig Ó Murchadha pointed for the winners, but additional white flags in stoppage time from Eoin McGrath, Ian Galgey and Ross O’Keeffe copper-fastened Mount Sion’s victory.
Mount Sion: I O’Regan; I Power, M Gaffney, K Flynn; T Browne, O Whelan, C Ryan; P Hammond, E McGrath; R O’Keeffe, K McGrath, J Phelan; M O’Neill, S Ryan, A Kirwan. Subs: J O’Meara for Ryan, I Galgey for Phelan, B Cusack for O’Neill, K Stafford for Flynn, J Cleere for Browne.
Scorers: M O’Neill 1-5, R O’Keeffe 1-4, E McGrath 0-3, K McGrath 0-2, T Browne. I Power, B Cusack, I Galgey 0-1 each.
An Rinn: P Ó Catháin; F Ó hAodha, S O hArtaigh, S O Lionáin; D Ó hArtaigh, N Ó Murchadha, C Ó Murchadha; É Breathnach, S Ó Ceallaigh; M Ó Toibin, P Ó Murchadha, T Ó hUallacháin; L Ó Lionáin, P Ó HArtaigh, N Ó Lionáin. Subs: L de Grás for P Ó Catháin, P Ó Liatháin for Ó hAodha.
Scorers: P O Murchadha 0-4, L Ó Lionain, M Ó Tobin 0-2 each.
Referee: D O’Leary (Erin’s Own)