Cashel bowed out of the county intermediate football championship at Boherlahan on Saturday as their failure to take their chances saw Mid runners-up Upperchurch Drombane go through to the final after extra time in a closely fought semi-final, 2-10 to 1-10.
Cashel looked to be heading for victory when they went four points clear entering the last quarter, but faltered in the face of a determined last quarter rally by the Mid men who scored three unanswered points in seven minutes between the 51st and 58th minutes.
Cashel failed to score in the first period of extra time and fell behind to a Paul Ryan point early in the second half. Cashel had their chances to redeem the situation but two frees reaped no reward. Then they were hit by a Gerry Ryan goal for Upperchurch in the last minute and though Ross Doyle did manage a point, time was against Cashel and the Mid runners-up went marching on to face divisional champions, Moycarkey-Borris in the final.
Upperchurch opened brightly, Paul Shanahan pointing inside a minute but they were rocked a minute later when Adrian Cummins punished slack handling in the Upperchurch defence with a well-taken goal. Colm Stapleton whipped over two Upperchurch points and Cashelâ€™s Eddie Walshe saw his drive across the face of the goal go wide, all inside eight minutes.
Lively stuff indeed but then, as Cashel began to assert themselves, with T J Connolly orchestrating things from midfield, Upperchurch hit them with a Viv Downey goal after good work by Eoin Shortt in the 16th minute.
Cashelâ€™s response was very positive. Walshe, Dylan Fitzelle and Ross Doyle each pointing to level the game by the 25th minute. Walshe was narrowly wide with a good goal chance and Cashel also went close to goaling when in a melee in the goal area, a fisted effort went wide of the posts.
But it was the West champions who were in the ascendancy and goalie Gearoid Slattery pointed a forty five for them in the 30th minute and Ross Doyle gave them a two point advantage(1-5 to 1-3) with another white flag in injury time.
All to play for in the second half. In the first minute Padraig Greene saw a goal-bound effort deflected over the bar for an Upperchurch point. The Mid men were handing possession away with some careless passing and Cashel punished them accordingly, sub Robert Anglim making an immediate impact with two points after T J Connolly had earlier raised the flag, for a four point lead in the 42nd minute.
Upperchurch brought on Paul Ryan and what a difference he made to the attack. He had a quick point, Colm Stapleton had another and though Ross Doyle kept Cashel three clear, the momentum now was with Upperchurch.
Ryan was denied a goal by a great Gearoid Slattery save but he followed up with points in the 51st and 56th minutes to leave a point in it, and when he was fouled two minutes later, Colm Stapleton showed nerves of steel as he levelled, sending the game to extra time.
The first period of extra time was marked by a lot of effort by both sides with neither taking their chances and the score staying the same, 1-9 each. Five minutes into the second half of extra time, Paul Ryan pointed for Upperchurch but Gearoid Slattery from a forty five and Ross Doyle from an acutely angled free, failed to level for Cashel. In the last minute of extra time, a great run by Andy Kinane saw his effort for a score come off the crossbar but Gerry Ryan (Red) was in the right spot to bang home the clinching goal. Ross Doyle subsequently had a Cashel point from a free but they did not have enough time to build on this, and Upperchurch went through to the final.
Cashel were left to rue lost opportunities and they seemed to run out of steam in the closing stages of ordinary time. Their failure to raise a flag until the dying seconds of extra time also cost them dearly. However, Gearoid Slattery, Paddy Morrissey, Lee Burke, TJ Connoly, Philip Taylor, Ross Doyle and Eddie Walsh all did well as did sub Robert Anglim when he came on.