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Rower show ruthless edge to book final spot

Kilkenny champions Rower Inistioge defeated their Antrim counterparts Clooney Gaels, Ahoghill 1-14 to 0-7 in their All-Ireland Intermediate Club Hurling Championship semi-finals in Navan.

Trailing 0-6 to 0-7 at half-time after playing into a strong wind, the Rower went ahead within 30 seconds of the restart, and from then on there was only going to be one winner.

The Antrim champions played well in the opening half and with Gerard Graham accurate from frees and PJ O'Connell adding a couple of beauties from play they opened up a 0-7 to 0-4 lead after 20 minutes. However they failed to add to their tally despite a succession of chances and the Kilkenny men closed to within a point.

A fantastic goal from Rower Inistioge corner-forward Ciaran Ryan inside the opening minute of the second-half proved a killer blow from which Clooney Gaels never recovered.

It put the Kilkenny men back in front and from here on the size of the winning margin was the only thing in question. The Gaels men battled bravely but they could make no inroads against a solid Rower defence in which Kieran Joyce was on top form.

The Rower meanwhile kept picking off their points as they safely booked a final place.

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