Hatzer goal clinches win
Dublin 4-9 Astoria Gaels 3-10
The intermediate semifinal was a game where Dublin seemed to have enough done, but Astoria clawed back and went into the lead late in the second half.
Dublin, though, clinched the contest with a Peter Hatzer goal with time running down. They now move on to meet the winners of the other semifinal between Donegal and Kerry.
Dublin opened the game in storming form. They had a point after one minute from Hatzer, and then followed it with a volleyed goal from Shane Carty when Paul McDaid flicked the ball into his path.
Alarmingly it was to be Dublin’s last score for some 23 minutes. Astoria made a brilliant push and it got them into the lead. Sam Yore did a lot of positive work at center back which served as a platform.
Their first chance was a Pakie Downey shot that Alan Reilly stopped, but it was followed by a Robbie Moran free over the bar for a foul on Liam Farrell.
A Yore catch in the middle of the field started the next move. The ball was moved into the corner to Downey. The big man soloed in on goal and attempted a fist point. The ball came back of the upright and Downey reacted quickest to volley the ball to the net and a draw at 1-1 each.
Moran followed with three points from frees over the next 12 minutes to create an Astoria advantage.
The game was stopped with 10 minutes left for a skirmish that developed with a Dublin player very lucky to be still on the field for a kick to Moran. Striking or attempting to strike has the same punishment. On this day, however, he didn’t even receive a yellow.
Dublin finally had their third score when Hatzer slotted over after 27 minutes, but Mark Dobbins cancelled that out with a long range score.
The sides swapped scores as the game wound down to its break with Astoria still sitting on a three point lead, 1-6 to 1-3.
It was all Dublin in the opening 12 minutes of the second half. They reclaimed the lead by scoring 2-3 in that period.
The first goal arrived after two points from Carty. Hatzer was the finisher as he was at the end of a seven player move taking the last pass from Niall Coughlin and firing to the net.
After Mulvanny and Loughnane scores, Coughlin had the second Dublin goal and third of the game. The ball arrived into the Gaels defensive end; they had two opportunities to clear but failed and Coughlin punished them by finding the net. It left his side in a 3-7 to 1-6 lead with 18 minutes remaining.
Astoria started their comeback almost immediately. Shane Sweeney, was fouled for a penalty, and Sean Kelly (the Gaelic Park specialist for the job), made no mistake.
Moran followed with a pointed free after Downey was fouled. Downey then had their third goal, a brilliant effort when Dobbins set him free.
When Nester Allen and Downey again added points, Astoria were sitting on a 3-9 to 3-8 lead with time winding down.
The one two punch of Coughlin and Hatzer had one last miracle left for the Dubs on a weekend when their under-21s in Ireland lost to Galway in the All-Ireland final. The full forward set Hatzer free and he fired to the net to again put his side in front with time elapsing.
Astoria had two last chances to force a result. The first was a Moran close range free that was pushed over by a wall of defenders.
Astoria won the resulting kickout, and the Dublin keeper Alan Reilly drove the ball out over the sideline with the final buzzer sounding.
Sweeney took the final kick which landed far from the target, but in fairness it would have been a wondrous effort to have had any chance of going over.
Dublin hung on for the win, and they can be very thankful to a number of players. Alan Reilly made a couple of very important stops at critical times. He takes the man of the match award on their strengths.
Donal McGlynn and Barry McKiernan impressed at the back, while Andy Gray and Keith Moran both had good contributions in the middle.
Peter Hatzer and Niall Coughlin were excellent up front, with Conor Hunter also having some valuable contributions off the bench. Look for him to start in the final. Fergal Mulvanny also did well as a substitute.
For Astoria, back to the drawing board. Sean Kelly, who came on after 10 minutes, Sean Munnelly and Sam Yore, who had an excellent first half, were the best of the backs. Midfield came second but Robbie Moran kicked well from frees. Pakie Downey was the only consistently dangerous forward.
Astoria Gaels: 1 Pa Ryan, 2 Alan Foley, 3 Eugene O’Hagan, 4 James O’Brien, 5 Eoghan Kyne, 6 Sam Yore, 7 Sean Munnelly, 8 Robbie Moran (0-6), 9 Brian Geraghty (0-1), 10 Derek McKenna, 11 Mark Dobbin (0-1), 12 Liam Farrell, 13 Shane Sweeney, 14 Pakie Downey (2-1), 15 Nester Allen (0-1). Subs: Sean Kelly (1-0).
Dublin: 1 Alan Reilly, 2 Sean McGrath, 3 Adam Keaney, 4 Colm Larkin, 5 Barry McKiernan, 6 Donal McGlynn, 7 Robbie Carter, 8 Andy Gray, 9 Keith Moran (0-1), 10 Paul McDaid, 11 Shane Stenson, 12 Shane Carty (1-2), 13 Peter Hatzer (2-2), 14 Niall Coughlin (1-0), 15 Eoin Loughnane (0-1). Subs: Conor Hunter (0-1) Fergal Mulvanney (0-2).