Anthony Dunne, Colt Gaels, is tackled by Jack Conroy, Rosenallis. Pic: Denis Byrne.
Two second half goals from Míchael Kerr have booked Colt Gaels their place in the final of the SHC 'A', after they edged out Rosenallis in O'Moore Park on Saturday night.
The game start promisingly, as John Lennon had the ball sailing between the posts with a little under as minute played. However, that was one of just three scores in the opening 18 minutes of play, in what turned out to be a very disappointing first half.
Rosenallis were playing into the wind but still having much more of the play, while Colt Gaels just couldn't settle. Ronan Murray doubled the Rosenallis lead in the eighth minute, but another five minutes would elapse before Colt registered a score, their first coming from the hurl of Chris Murray, from a free.
Murray should have had his side level soon after with another close range free, but he hit the shot too low and Rosenallis 'keeper Stephen Kelly managed to prevent it going over the bar.
Colt Gaels eventually did draw level in the twentieth minute, when wing-forward James Keyes raced through the Rosenallis defence to fire over the bar from 40 yards out. Parity lasted less than a minute, however, as a wonderful point from Patrick Keating soon had Rosenallis back in front.
The pace of the game started to pick up at this stage, and Colt Gaels had their best spell of the game in the run up to half time. Chris Murray drew them level with an excellent point from a tight angle, and Michael Kerr then put them ahead for the first time with a score from the left wing.
Colm Kavanagh's long range free then found the target before Paul Ging's string run forward resulted in their fourth point in a row, as Colt Gaels now lead by three in first half injury time.
Rosenallis did manage to end that run with the last puck of the first half, as Patrick Keating's free from 25 yards left just two between the teams at the break, 0-6 to 0-4 in favour of Colt Gaels.
In a cagey start to the second half, both teams traded pointed frees in the opening minutes before Colt Gaels took control of the game. Míchael Kerr got in behind the Rosenallis defence, and his scuffed shot beat Stephen Kelly and rolled into the net.
Buoyed by that score, Colt Gaels pushed forward, and Chris Murray added a point, when his shot from 30 yards out skimmed the top of the crossbar and went over. James Keyes added another point moments later, and the men in blue and gold now found themselves seven points clear.
Rosenallis had to launch some kind of a comeback at this stage, and they did start to eat into the Colt Gaels lead, starting with a free from goalkeeper Stephen Kelly. Joseph's Keating then pointed twice, either side of a Chris Murray effort for Colt Gaels, leaving five between the sides going into the last ten minutes.
Rosenallis kept chipping away, and Simon Smith got it down to four before a Patrick Keating free left just the goal between the sides in the 55th minute. Unfortunately for Rosenallis, that was as good as it got for them, as Colt Gaels registered their second goal moments later.
It was Míchael Kerr once again who got it, in similar circumstances to the first, as he held off his marker before shooting low past Stephen Kelly. That took the wind from Rosenallis' sails, and Colt Gaels saw out the game from there, with Patrick Keating's late goal a mere consolation for Rosenallis.
Scorers: Patrick Keating 1-4 (0-3 frees), Joseph Keating 0-2, Stephen Kelly (free), John Lennon, Ronan Murray, Simon Smith 0-1 each.
Team: Stephen Kelly; Ciaran White, Marcus Redmond, Ruaidhri C Fennell; Fiachra C Fennell, Thomas Keating, Cormac White; Brian Fitzpatrick, Jack Conroy; Joseph Keating, Cathal C Fennell, Walter Murphy; Ronan Murray, John Lennon, Patrick Keating. Subs: Simon Smith for C C Fennell (4 mins, inj), Donnagh Callally for Murphy (56 mins), Enda McEvoy for Ciaran White (61 mins), Niall Doolan for J Keating (61 mins)
Scorers: Míchael Kerr 2-1, Chris Murray 0-5 (0-2 frees), James Keyes 0-2, Colm Kavanagh (free), Paul Ging 0-1 each.
Team: Stephen Sinnott; Gerard Doolin, Shane Mullins, Anthony Dunne; Brian Murphy, Colm Kavanagh, Niall Brennan; Paul Ging, Gearoid Parkinson; Chris Murray, Kevin Bergin, James Keyes; Darren Brennan, Brian McDermott, Michael Kerr. Subs: Henry Keyes for D Brennan (53 mins, inj), Cian Moffitt for McDermott (54 mins), Colin Ryan for Kavanagh (blood sub, 54 to 58 mins), Colin Ryan for Kerr (63 mins)
Referee: Kieran Bowe (Rathdowney-Errill)