INPHO/Ryan Byrne Kilmacud Crokes and Oulart-The-Ballagh players battle for possession.
# Reaching The Last 4
Semi-final places secured in Leinster Club SHC
Oulart-The-Ballagh, Rathdowney-Errill and Kilcormac-Killoughey were left toasting quarter-final wins in the eastern province yesterday.

Oulart-The-Ballagh (Wexford) 1-13
Kilmacud Crokes (Dublin) 1-12

Nicky Kirwan converted a 59th minute free to secure a dramatic success for Oulart-The-Ballagh after a thrilling quarter-final encounter in difficult conditions in Parnell Park.

Kirwan kept his nerve to fire over the placed ball that had been awarded after attacker Garreth Sinnott had been fouled to secure a notable success for Oulart-The-Ballagh, beaten Leinster Club SHC finalists for the past two years.

Kilmacud Crokes played their part in a brilliant encounter and had drawn level at 1-12 apiece in the 55th minute when Sean McGrath, a member of the Dublin U21 setup that reached last year’s Bord Gáis Energy All-Ireland decider against Galway, found the net when he kicked home after Ross O’Carroll floated in a delivery.

But in a tight and tense finale it was Kirwan who proved the hero as he grabbed the winning score and Kilmacud Crokes, crowned Dublin senior champions recently for the first time in 27 years, were unable to tie the teams despite their efforts in the closing stages.

The game was keenly contested in the first-half with Oulart-The-Ballagh just shading matters to forge a 0-3 to 0-2 lead by the 7th minute and a 0-6 to 0-5 lead by the 20th minute.

They nearly got in for a goal in the 21st minute as well but Matthew Collins in the Kilmacud Crokes goal pulled off an outstanding save to deny Oulart-The-Ballagh attacker Nicky Kirwan.

Yet Kirwan did crucially raise a green flag on the stroke of half-time as he rifled home a penalty after he was fouled himself. That strike enabled the Wexford champions to lead by 1-8 to 0-8 at the break.

By the 40th minute Oulart-The-Ballagh had surged six points clear, 1-11 to 0-8, and when Conor O’Leary raised a white flag with a stylish point eight minutes later, they were still in command with a 1-12 to 0-10 advantage.

However Kilmacud Crokes then launched a brilliant recovery. McGrath, who grabbed 1-7 overall, was their leading light in attack and after notching a brace of points, he then got ahead of Wexford defender Keith Rossiter to put the ball in the net with five minutes remaining.

A potential replay looked on the cards but Oulart-The-Ballagh conjured up the match-winner to set up a Leinster semi-final meeting on November 25th with the winners of next Sunday’s Kilkenny county final between Ballyhale Shamrocks and Dicksboro.

Oulart-The-Ballagh’s Nicky Kirwan scores the first goal of the game from a penalty. Pic: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Rathdowney-Errill (Laois) 1-12
Clonkill (Westmeath) 0-12

Rathdowney-Errill claimed the club’s first ever victory in the Leinster Club SHC with a three-point win in O’Moore Park in Portlaoise yesterday afternoon.

The Laois champions had lost out in their previous opening round ties in 2006, 2008 and 2010 but they made amends with young attacking star Ross King, who shot 0-8 overall, grabbing the last three points of the game to secure their victory.

Rathdowney-Errill lead by 0-7 to 0-4 at the break after leading by 0-7 to 0-2 at one stage during the opening-half. Along with King, they had other points by John Purcell, Enda Maher and Jimmy Corrigan in the first-half.

Clonkill started the second-half impressively with the 2008 All-Ireland intermediate club champions drawing level at 0-7 apiece early in the second-half thanks to scores by Andrew Mitchell and Brendan Murtagh.

Rathdowney-Errill made a decisive burst when they grabbed the only goal of the game midway through the second-half from John Purcell. Yet Clonkill again recovered and a Brendan Murtagh point had the teams level once more at 1-9 to 0-12 with two minutes remaining.

But is was Ross King, who shot 1-18 over the course of the drawn and replayed Laois county senior final against Clough-Ballacolla, who proved the hero when he fired three late points in succession to clinch victory for Rathdowney-Errill.

Kilcormac-Killoughey (Offaly) 1-11
Mount Leinster Rangers (Carlow) 0-9

Kilcormac-Killoughey marked their first appearance in the Leinster Club SHC with a quarter-final victory over Mount Leinster Rangers in Dr Cullen Park yesterday afternoon.

Kilcormac-Killoughey, built on their historic recent county final triumph in Offaly, to get the better of a Mount Leinster Rangers team who had last February been celebrating victory in the All-Ireland club intermediate championship in Croke Park.

The teams were tied at 0-7 apiece at the interval but Ciaran Slevin, who shot 1-9 in the Offaly county final, maintained his scoring trends and he had chalked up 1-7 by the time Kilcormac-Killoughey lead by 1-9 to 0-8 during the second-half.

They closed out the game from there to set up a provincial semi-final showdown with Laois side Rathdowney-Errill on November 18th when both clubs will be bidding for a first ever place in the Leinster Club SHC final.

2012 Leinster Club SHC team-by-team guide