Mighty comeback from Monageer
Six points adrift at the interval, Monageer-Boolavogue turned in a remarkable second-half, with substitute Mark Gahan firing over a glorious winning point off the sideline in additional time to help them edge out a shocked Fethard in this Top Oil Intermediate 'A' hurling championship semi-final at Innovate Wexford Park on Saturday.
M'geer B'vogue 1-15 Fethard 1-14
After a lack-lustre first-half dominated for the most part by a sprightly Fethard side, the second 30 minutes were packed with drama and a stirring Monageer-Boolavogue revival, culminating in that last-gasp winning score to give them a third successive final appearance.
Fethard will be wondering where it all went so wrong. Having been the better side through the first-half, at the end of which they led by six points, perhaps they took their foot off the pedal, allowing the opposition to gradually get a grip.
Once the momentum slipped away from them, they were hurling on the back foot and paid a costly penalty in the end.
Midfielder Mark Wallace was to shine through that first-half along with Daire Barden and Kieran Dwyer. The sides were level at 0-2 each after five minutes but Fethard through the accuracy of Wallace (free) and two fine individual Dwyer efforts went into a 0-5 to 0-2 lead after ten minutes.
With the game looking like slipping away from them, the Enniscorthy District side hit back for a fine Tommy Breen 16th-minute goal to put them 1-3 to 0-5 in front. Despite this setback, the Fethard response was positive and with some intelligent hurling they came back for a Wallace pointed free, and a splendid Bryan Power 18th-minute goal which helped them to a 1-10 to 1-4 interval lead.
There was more of a clinical edge to the hurling of Monageer-Boolavogue on the resumption.
With Patrick Breen beginning to dominate at centre-back, and substitute Mark Gahan making an impact in attack, they gradually reduced the deficit as Colm O'Loughlin and Niall O'Loughlin fired over quick points.
By the end of the third quarter they were remarkably on level terms (1-11 each) as they began to storm all over their opponents in what was now a titanic struggle.
Monageer-Boolavogue were now putting together some good phases of play as Mark Gahan and Mark Wallace exchanged points, leaving the sides level on 1-13 each with five minutes remaining.
Three minutes from the end a Wallace pointed free had Fethard back in front, but two minutes into additional time a huge Niall O'Reilly 80-metre free left the sides level again, with the game now looking like heading for a draw.
Monageer-Boolavogue never gave up in their search for victory though.
With the game now three minutes into additional time, substitute Mark Gahan fired over a wonderful 50-metre point from out on the terrace sideline for what turned out to be the match-winning score.
Monageer-Boolavogue: Seán Murphy; Niall O'Reilly (0-1 free), Stephen Murphy, Chris Daly; Dean Fenlon, Patrick Breen, Mick Sweeney; Mark Walsh, Damien Fenlon; Matty Dunne, Tommy Breen (1-2), Colm O'Loughlin (0-2); Pádraig Flynn (0-1), Niall O'Loughlin (0-4, 1 free), Bertie Gahan (0-2). Subs. - Laurence Murphy for Damien Fenlon, James Gahan for B. Gahan, inj., Mark Gahan (0-3) for Walsh.
Fethard: Robert Swan; Richard Waters, Kevin Rowe, Daniel Mullan; Michael Roche, Daire Barden, Martin Power; Graham O'Grady, Mark Wallace (0-9, 7 frees); Bryan Power (1-0), Joe Sutton, Mikie Dwyer (0-1); Chris Molloy, Chris Colfer (0-1), Kieran Dwyer (0-3). Sub. - John Tubritt for M. Power.
Referee: Dan Crosby (Kilmore).