Hawkins saves day
Monageer-Boolavogue reach final
Monageer-Boolavogue captain Colin Hawkins secured their place in the Enniscorthy Farm Systems Junior 'B' football championship final in Bellefield on Sunday when he saved an injury-time penalty from Réalt na Mara's Dylan Sweeney in a dramatic finish to a sub-standard game.
Monageer-Boolavogue 2-9 Realt na Mara 2-6
It was a tale of three spot-kicks in all, with the accuracy of Seán Murphy from two efforts earlier in the second-half proving crucial for the Enniscorthy District men who were playing their first competitive game since August 19.
However, they shouldn't have been relying on Hawkins to make that last-gasp save, because Réalt na Mara were gifted a goal that ought to have been disallowed in the early stages.
Somehow midfielder Seamus Doyle got away with the most blatant of double hops before his shot deflected into the net via a defender in the second minute.
Monageer-Boolavogue had taken the lead earlier, from rampaging wing-back Diarmuid Breen after a mere 13 seconds, but they struggled to make full use of the strong wind in their favour.
Indeed, they had amassed eleven wides by half-time when their 0-7 to 1-1 lead didn't look particularly convincing. Breen also punched a breaking ball over the bar for their second point, and Mark Walsh brought them level in the 19th minute.
Colm O'Loughlin, moved from centre-back to full-forward, edged the reds in front before Walsh's second score was cancelled out by a well-struck Lar Kinsella free into the wind.
And although Monageer-Boolavogue added further points before the interval from a Paudie Cooney free and Dean Fenlon, those wides included goal chances wasted by Peadar Lacey and Colm O'Loughlin, while another attempt for a white flag from Cooney came back off the post.
Réalt na Mara netminder Kiran Gigi made a superb save to deny John O'Loughlin in the 34th minute, with the latter managing a point seconds later before Monageer-Boolavogue pounced for their first goal.
Gigi pulled off another excellent stop, this time from Tommy Breen, but his good work was undone by a defender who picked the ball off the ground in the square. Seán Murphy stepped up to the penalty and tucked it into the corner on the netminder's left side (1-8 to 1-1).
Réalt na Mara did rally well after that blow, with Dylan Sweeney (two frees) and Oisín Willoughby pulling back points as the game entered the last quarter.
Incredibly though, the failure to put a toe under the ball again led to a second penalty in the 48th minute, and Murphy finished it in the exact same spot to leave Monageer-Boolavogue ahead by double scores (2-8 to 1-4).
They should have closed the game out after Mark Walsh added a point, but they didn't score from the 49th minute onwards.
Dylan Sweeney pulled back two points, the first from a free and the second from the rebound after Lar Kinsella went for goal following another foul close to the posts.
Eight added minutes were played in all, and just 15 seconds of that period had elapsed when the seasiders were given real hope when another free was lobbed in and broke to Oisín Willoughby who drove it home (2-9 to 2-6).
It was frantic stuff thereafter, with Réalt na Mara wing-back Harry Byrne red-carded after an off-the-ball incident before substitute Billy Conroy burrowed his way through to earn a penalty.
After a delay of nearly three minutes to treat his injury, Dylan Sweeney stepped up in a bid to force a replay, but netminder Hawkins was having none of it as he dived low to his left to make the save that sealed a final joust with Fethard.
Monageer-Boolavogue: Colin Hawkins (capt.); Noah Rossiter, Paddy Walsh, Paudie Cooney (0-1 free); Shane Gahan, Colm O'Loughlin (0-1), Diarmuid Breen (0-2); Tommy Breen, Laurence Murphy; Mark Walsh (0-3), John O'Loughlin (0-1), Seán Murphy (2-0 pens.); Peadar Lacey, Stephen Murphy, Dean Fenlon (0-1). Subs. - Michael Ivory for Cooney, inj. (54), Graham O'Reilly for J. O'Loughlin (55), Daire Walsh for Stephen Murphy (59), Adam Dunne for M. Walsh (60+2), John Murphy for Seán Murphy, inj. (60+5).
Réalt na Mara: Kiran Gigi; Dara Cahill, Philip Doyle, James Sugrue; Harry Byrne, Fergus Lacey (capt.), John Doyle; Lar Kinsella (0-1 free), Seamus Doyle (1-0); Raymond Cahill, Mikey Burke, Oisín Willoughby (1-1); Oisín Dunbar, Dylan Sweeney (0-4, 3 frees), Eddie Doyle. Subs. - Billy Conroy for R. Cahill, inj. (17), Mark Doyle for Sugrue (HT), Karl Sweeney for Lacey, inj. (60).
Referee: Stephen Burke (Volunteers).