ST OLIVER Plunkett's/Eoghan Ruadh stumbled forward into the fourth round of this year's Dublin SFC thanks to a hard-earned 1-11 to 1-8 victory over Raheny at Parnell Park last night.
Raheny were always going to find things tough against a side boasting no less than five members of Dublin's 2011 All-Ireland winning squad, and their cause wasn't helped by the loss of a number of panellists who were unavailable due to their attendance at a wedding in Malta.
When Plunketts scored 1-5 inside the opening 10 minutes, it looked as though it would be a long night for Ciarán Whelan's side. But, in a superb second half performance, they battled their way back into the tie and will feel aggrieved that they didn't turn their long periods of possession into more scores.
The winners started at a frantic pace. Bernard Brogan played in his brother Alan for the opening score inside 30 seconds. The evergreen David Henry responded for Raheny through a free.
But it only offered brief respite as Declan Lally, Conor Walsh, Bernard Brogan and Gareth Smith all split the posts while, in between, Lally was at the end of a flowing move to tap home the opening goal of the evening.
The Dublin 5 men finished the half strongly, however, as points from Gavin Ivory, Eoghan Keogh and another Henry free left them trailing at the break, 1-6 to 0-4.
Bernard Brogan and Conor Walsh hit two quick-fire scores upon the restart as Plunkett's attempted to reassert their superiority. But Raheny refused to wilt.
A brace from Henry along with another effort from Ivory brought them to within five points entering the closing stages. They were thrown a further lifeline when Ivory was hauled down in the small square.
Philip Brogan did brilliantly to save Henry's penalty, but the wing-forward made no mistake as he smashed home the rebound to set up a grandstand finish.
But just as he has done so often in the past, Bernard Brogan kicked a wonderful point on the turn at a critical stage before Smith slotted a free to seal the win.
SCORERS - St Oliver Plunkett's/ER: D Lally 1-1, B Brogan 0-4 (2f), C Walsh 0-3, G Smith 0-2 (1f), A Brogan 0-1. Raheny: D Henry 1-4 (0-3f), G Ivory 0-2, E Keogh, E Delaney 0-1 each.
ST OLIVER PLUNKETT'S/ER: Philip Brogan; R O'Connor, S Lyons, M Brides; P Curtin, R McConnell, D Lally; C Dunleavy, E O'Sullivan; D Kelly, C Walsh, A Brogan; G Smith, P McNulty, B Brogan. Subs: Paul Brogan for Curtin (ht), L Fleming for O'Sullivan (45).
RAHENY: J O'Donoghue; P McCabe, D Shatwell, R Real; Seán Swords, G Bennett, D O'Brien; C Murphy, P O'Higgins; D Henry, E Keogh, Stephen Swords; E Delaney, G Ivory, D Carroll. Subs: P Reid for O'Brien (15), S Collins for Carroll (51).
REF: T Dennehy (Naomh Mearnóg).