Famous first for Monageer
Club’s second string see off Fethard in tight replay
A new name was added to the Enniscorthy Farm Systems Junior 'B' football championship roll of honour in Taghmon on Sunday when Monageer-Boolavogue survived a scare deep into added time to eventually see off a Fethard side seeking a first title since 2000 in a keenly-fought replay.
Monageer-Boolavogue 2-10 Fethard 2-8
It was a special occasion for the victors as their second string had never contested a county final before, and it saw a notable double completed as their Junior 'A' hurlers also collected the silverware at Cloughbawn's expense last month.
Indeed, only neighbours Shamrocks stood between them and three titles in 2016 as their football firsts also reached the Junior decider.
A goal in first-half added time made the world of difference to Monageer-Boolavogue, with John O'Loughlin cleverly flicking a Laurence Murphy delivery into the path of corner-forward Paudie Cooney who beat Mark Hanton from close range.
That score put them into a 2-4 to 1-4 lead, and a solo point from Dean Fenlon 90 seconds later left four between the sides at the change of ends.
Seán Murphy had given the eventual winners a third-minute lead from a free, but they fell behind on the next Fethard attack when Darren Foley's point attempt fell short but the experienced Robert Swan was on hand to palm it to the net.
Monageer-Boolavogue responded with a carbon copy goal in the eighth minute though, with a Seán Murphy kick landing around the square where marauding wing-back Diarmuid Breen rose highest to direct it past Mark Hanton.
Seán Foley equalised from a '45 after Colin Hawkins made a good save to deny Damian Browne, but a brace of Murphy frees left Monageer-Boolavogue 1-3 to 1-1 clear by the 19th minute.
The first-half was an open affair, with just eleven frees awarded in all (six for Fethard) as referee Paddy Brady did a good job of making sure that players looking for handy ones weren't rewarded.
Damian Browne narrowed the gap to one with a left-footed point after fine work by full-forward partners Darren Foley and Robert Swan, but they nearly conceded another goal just under a minute later.
Diarmuid Breen bombing forward from defence has been a feature of the Monageer-Boolavogue victory march, and on this occasion his piledriver really tested Mark Hanton who turned it over the bar. It was a fine save from the netminder who manned the posts from the start after coming in near the end of the drawn game, freeing up Seán Foley to play outfield where his dead-ball kicking yielded four points.
That Hanton stop gave Fethard a lift, and they drew level with points from Foley (free) and Damian Browne before 1-1 was conceded in first-half added time to leave them behind by 2-5 to 1-4.
It was a tougher, more rugged contest on the re-start, with the grand total of 31 frees awarded (16 to Monageer-Boolavogue) in complete contrast to what had gone before.
It was remarkable too that just one wide was kicked after the break, and that came after a mere 25 seconds by Fethard midfielder Daniel Johnston. It was only their third in all, while Monageer-Boolavogue were even better with just a single stray kick from Paudie Cooney early in the second quarter.
Fethard resumed with Darren Foley on the left wing and Ciarán Dwyer at full-forward, but that plan was abandoned quickly after the leaders added early points from Dean Fenlon and Seán Murphy (free) for a 2-7 to 1-4 advantage.
Dwyer kicked a neat point from the left after a Damian Browne pass, and Seán Foley then knocked over a free after a rampaging run by full-back Evan Rowe. However, before that placed ball was converted, referee Brady dismissed Darren Foley on a straight red card for something that happened off the ball, and he was a major loss.
Monageer-Boolavogue seemed to alternate between experienced duo Stephen Murphy and Peadar Lacey as their free man, but they still had work to do when another Seán Foley free reduced the deficit to a goal at the end of the third quarter (2-7 to 1-7).
It was frantic stuff for the remainder of the regulation time plus nearly six and a half added minutes.
Seán Murphy restored the four-point gap from a free before Tommy Breen landed a monster of a score from long range after another wily campaigner, Colm O'Loughlin, had the vision to pick him out with a quick crossfield pass after a foul (2-9 to 1-7).
Ciarán Dwyer (free) and John O'Loughlin exchanged points, with the latter score leading to the dismissal of Fethard full-back Evan Rowe - who had already been booked - after arguing with the umpire that the ball had crossed the endline beforehand.
That left Fethard down to 13 men and they seemed dead and buried when the first involvement of Monageer-Boolavogue substitute Denis Walsh saw him earn a penalty in the 58th minute. Seán Murphy's kick from the spot wasn't up to scratch though, and Mark Hanton made a comfortable save.
Moments later a brief row flared up, and when the dust settled the leaders were down to 14 men as Laurence Murphy ended up on the line, while Fethard also lost Daniel Johnston to a black card.
The latter was replaced by team captain John Rice who lobbed a free into the goalmouth in the fourth added minute, and when it was spilled Damian Browne was on hand to force it home.
It left Monageer-Boolavogue to endure an anxious period before the final whistle sounded as Fethard are renowned for never giving up, but the seasiders were thwarted in their attacking efforts as the long-time leaders held out.
Special mention on the losing side should go to wing-back Nathan Hayes as he played the full game just 24 hours after also lining out for the complete 80 minutes including extra-time in the Wexford People Minor Premier final which was played on the other Taghmon pitch. Cillian Molloy and Michael Barden also played a part in both games, but not to the same extent time-wise as Hayes who deserved better reward for his dedication to the cause.
Monageer-Boolavogue: Colin Hawkins (capt.); Noah Rossiter, Stephen Murphy, Paddy Walsh; Shane Gahan, Peadar Lacey, Diarmuid Breen (1-1); Tommy Breen (0-1), Laurence Murphy; Mark Walsh, John O'Loughlin (0-1), Seán Murphy (0-5 frees); Paudie Cooney (1-0), Colm O'Loughlin, Dean Fenlon (0-2). Subs. - Michael Rossiter for Cooney (41), James Breen for D. Breen (49), Denis Walsh for Fenlon (57), Peter Mernagh for T. Breen (60), Michael Ivory for J. O'Loughlin (60+2), also Adam Dunne, Daire Walsh, Graham O'Reilly, Bryan Dwyer, John Murphy, Keith Swaine, Daire Turner.
Fethard: Mark Hanton; Seán Sutton, Evan Rowe, Francis Barden; Nathan Hayes, Brian Donohoe, Conan Murphy; Daniel Johnston, Peter Mullan; Seán Foley (0-4, 3 frees, 1 '45), Ciarán Dwyer (0-2, 1 free), Jean-Luc Tubritt; Damian Browne (1-2), Darren Foley, Robert Swan (1-0). Subs. - Cillian Molloy for Sutton (HT), Michael Barden for Swan (42), Andrew Whelan for S. Foley (51), John Rice (capt.) for Johnston, black card (60+2), also Shane Tubrid, Tommy Power, Diarmuid Bird, James Dillon, Niall Roche, Colm Ryan.
Referee: Paddy Brady (Réalt na Mara).