Pictures: Malcolm McNally
All-Ireland Intermediate Hurling Club Championship QF
ROBERT EMMETTS 0-5
LONDON'S Robert Emmetts have been knocked out of the All-Ireland Intermediate Hurling Club Championship at the quarter-final stage after failing to rise to the challenge of Galway's Abbeyknockmoy at the Irish TV Grounds in Ruislip on Saturday.
The Connacht champions ran out comfortable winners on a bright but breezy afternoon in London, earning a five-point winning margin having controlled the game from start to finish.
Emmetts, who were missing injured club captain Martin Fitzpatrick, had Player-of-the-Year contender Tadhg Healy sent off for sparking an ugly melee 12 minutes into the second-half, while Eoin Chawke missed a late penalty.
The London champions, who won this competition in 2007, never looked like winning, although the game was there to be taken control of early on as the two sides felt each other out for the first five minutes, registering a wide apiece courtesy of Ronan Cooley from distance for Abbey and Chawke from a free for the hosts.
Paul Flaherty produced the game's first score from a free on eight minutes after Emmetts veteran Fergus McMahon was penalised, but Chawke evened up the score with a '65 moments later.
Other than that, Emmetts weren't really making the most of having the wind behind them, and after falling behind to Brian O'Donnell's fine solo-run and point on the run, they never recovered.
Paul Flaherty added another free for the Galway side, who were then forced into the first of two first-half substitutions through injury as referee Colm Lyons allowed a physical encounter to flow.
Liam McCarthy came on for Danny Mullins on 25 minutes while Paul Flaherty was withdrawn with a knee injury on the stroke of half-time. In between those two changes, Garvey pointed with the aid of the post from an acute angle, sending Abbey into the break leading 0-4 to 0-1.
As well as a three-point deficit, Emmetts also had the breeze and a blinding sunlight to play against in the second-half, and that may have contributed to Chawke's uncharacteristically wayward shooting as he put wide from the first free following the restart.
Coleman Maher made him pay soon after with a solid run and point from open play, the first score of the second period, though McMahon cancelled that out with a long-range free for Emmetts.
Manager Kevin McMullan was then forced into his first change as Emmetts goalkeeper Sean Ryan had to be replaced with Mark Traynor on 38 minutes.
A fine point from Rory Costello brought the London side back to within two points of Abbey at 0-5 to 0-3, but Abbey never looked rocked, and Garvey pointed from a free to restore their three-point lead.
That was followed up with a fantastic point on the spin from Brian Flaherty, increasing Abbey's lead back to four.
Then came the red card, with Healy flattening an opponent with a shoulder charge in the back, igniting a scuffle between both sets of players. Once the referee restored order, Healy received his marching orders and Emmetts' task became a whole lot harder.
With just 15 minutes to go, the 14 remaining Emmetts players made a brave effort, with Chawke responding to another free from Garvey with his only point from play.
McMullan made one final throw of the dice as Cathal Keogh made way for Danny Buckley, which was countered by Abbey's management duo of Brian Cooley and Gerry Farragher, who brought on Craig Kennedy for Padraig O'Donnell.
Sean Finn then scored Emmetts' best point of the match from a tight angle, but again Abbey had an answer as Brian O'Donnell popped over another at the opposite end.
That took the score to 0-10 to 0-5 in favour of Abbey with three minutes remaining, and that's how the game would finish, although there was still time for Emmetts to try and produce a grandstand finish.
A penalty was awarded for overcarrying, but Chawke's form in front of the posts continued to desert him, as his low drive at goal was well saved by a fully stretched Molloy. Despite a barrage of late frees, Emmetts couldn't get close to troubling Abbey, who will go on to face Creggan Kickhams of Antrim in the semi-final in January.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Fionnán Garvey: The livewire corner forward scored one of the points of the game from a tight angle in the first-half, and proved an adequate deputy free-taker after Paul Flaherty's injury.
Robert Emmetts: E Chawke 0-2 (1 '65), F McMahon 0-1 (f), S Finn 0-1, R Costello 0-1.
Abbeyknockmoy: Paul Flaherty 0-2 (2 fs), F Garvey 0-4 (3 f), Brian O'Donnell 0-2, C Maher 0-1, Brian Flaherty 0-1.
Robert Emmetts: S Ryan; M Conroy, P Horkan, S Griffey; S Finn, F McMahon, P Breen; M O'Laochdha, T Healy; C Keogh, M Dwyer, E Chawke; D Roberts, R Costello, D O'Regan. Subs: M Traynor for Ryan (38, inj), D Buckley for Keogh (45).
Abbeyknockmoy: D Molloy; T Farragher, J Culkin, R Cooley; Trevor Mullins, Brian Flaherty, C Mulry; Paul Flaherty, D Rooney; E Blade, C Maher, Danny Mullins; Brian O'Donnell, Padraig O'Donnell, F Garvey. Subs: L McCarthy for Danny Mullins (inj, 25), S Ruane for Paul Flaherty (inj, 29), C Kennedy for Padraig O'Donnell (53).
Referee: Colm Lyons (Cork)
We were very disappointing and didn't show up at all, compared to the semi-final and final [of the London Senior Hurling Championship] when we played really well. Our backs played as good as Abbey's did, but our forwards didn't show up. We over-played the ball far too many times and took the wrong options. In general, they were much stronger, physically. The way they held us off, I think our lads were a bit stunned. But nothing was lost here, everything was gained. We're back on top of the ladder in London, and everyone wants to beat us now.
Kevin McMullan, Robert Emmetts manager