Fourteen man Borris-Ileigh produced a storming second half display to reach the last four when they defeated Roscrea in a disappointing quarter final meeting at MacDonagh Park last Sunday.
Playing without the injured Philip Maher and Declan Maher, Borris-Ileigh looked very much at odds in the first half as they struggled to keep wind assisted and a wasteful Roscrea team within reach of them and the half time break was what they needed as Roscrea led 1-6 to Borris-Ileigh 0-8.
Once the second half began, the scenario changed completely. A goal by team captain, Mark Bourke after two minutes and over the next eighteen minutes or so they outscored Roscrea by twelve points to one. Even with Martin Maher sent off after 46 minutes there was no stopping the maroons as they had their name in the semi final post long before the game was over.
Roscrea will look back on this game as one they could have won. They were well on top in the first half with Jo Carroll keeping a close eye on the threat from Conor Kenny while it was fifty-fifty between Darren O’Connor and Brendan Maher who was Borris-Ileigh’s star player by far.
At midfield, Jason Fitzgerald did Trojan work but his free taking midway through the half would let him down. Infact Fitzpatrick got Roscrea off to a positive start with David Buckley putting them two in front after seven minutes. A quick response from Conor Kenny got Borris off the mark but Roscrea doubled their account through a brilliantly struck lineball and a free by Fitzpatrick once again.
A Brendan Maher free and a similar score from close in by Conor Kenny left the minimum between the teams. Roscrea responded well. A lengthy puckout by Daryl Ryan reached the Borris twenty metre line for Ethan Flynn to gather. With much to do he managed to make room before sending a low shot past Jack Bourke. Bourke might have done better.
However Borris replied when Dan McCormack fired a rocket for goal but Joe Carroll saved at the expense of a sixty five which Brendan Maher converted on twenty minutes. Three minutes later Jason Fitzpatrick replied with a free but the Borris defence were beginning to take control and up front, they secured four unanswered points, (three frees) from the stick of Brendan Maher to level before Fitzpatrick gave Ros the lead for the final time with an injury time free.
The second half was two minutes old when Conor Kenny got free of Joe carroll to score a goal after a lengthy clearance by Martin Treacy. Four unanswered points followed two from Conor Kenny (one free) followed by a brilliant lineball by Brendan Maher before Maher added a free from half way. Roscrea managed to register their first score of the half on 40 minutes thanks to a Tommy Fitzgerald whose intentions were to blast for goal.
However the pendulum swung back in Borris-Ileigh’s favour and three more points had them out of sight. Even the dismissal of Martin Maher following an altercation with David Buckley failed to take from Borris-Ileigh’s well toned side as Paddy Stapleton, Thomas Fahy, Brendan Maher, Mark Bourke, Dan McCormack and Conor Kenny steered the maroons into the last four with Brendan Maher’s tally reaching 0-12 while team captain, Mark Bourke reaped 1-3 and Conor Kenny’s total reaching four.