Monageer reach decider
Monageer-Boolavogue had just that little bit too much guile as they manoeuvred past Kilmore in Bellefield on Saturday and into the Junior 'A' hurling championship final.
Monageer-Boolavogue 2-11 Kilmore 1-10
With a strong blend of experienced hurlers who have played at a higher level in recent years, and a smattering of young talent that might well make the step up to Intermediate in the future, Monageer-Boolavogue have the perfect mix for success.
They don't panic either, as their first four scores were all immediately followed by at least one wide, sometimes two on the bounce, but they quickly put the misses behind them and set about building a lead.
Monageer-Boolavogue had something to hold on to after those first four scores. Colm O'Loughlin and Declan Kelly both had points on the board when they combined for the opening goal.
The experienced O'Loughlin collected a Morgan Gahan's breaking puck-out and handpassed in to Kelly who fired low past Nicholas Whelan to edge his side 1-3 to 0-4 ahead.
They might have been a tad lucky to be in front at that stage. Gahan had made a crisp save from Tom White while Philip Sutton had sent an audacious overhead pull whistling across the face of goal and narrowly wide in the opening quarter.
Monageer-Boolavogue still led by two at the interval (1-5 to 0-6) but quickly set about padding it. Diarmuid Fenlon picked off a couple of points and James Sweeney's close-range pull to the net, after Whelan had twice saved from Kelly in the build-up, gave the Enniscorthy District side a commanding 2-7 to 0-6 lead.
The advantage got as large as eight, double-scores at 2-10 to 0-8, when O'Loughlin popped over his fourth point in the 47th minute.
Paddy Byrne went as close as anyone to narrowing the gap significantly in normal time when his shot clipped the crossbar and went over with seven minutes remaining.
Monageer-Boolavogue still led by 2-11 to 0-10 heading into injury-time but Kilmore made the margin of their defeat a little narrower when Stevie Cousins drilled a 20-metre free through a crowded goal-line, off a defender's hurl and the post, to the net.
Alas, it was too little, too late for Kilmore as their opponents advance to face Cloughbawn in the decider.
Monageer-Boolavogue: Morgan Gahan; Patrick Walsh, Liam Gahan, Robbie Donnelly; Seán McCabe, Patrick Breen (capt.), Ray O'Brien; Seán Roche, Ian Hawkins; Stephen Lacey, Colm O'Loughlin (0-4), Diarmuid Fenlon (0-5, 2 frees); James Gahan (0-1), Declan Kelly (1-1), James Sweeney (1-0). Subs. - James Donohoe for McCabe, inj. (35), Diarmuid Breen for Kelly (48), Adrian O'Dowd for Sweeney, inj. (55), Ed Rowsome for Gahan (60+3).
Kilmore: Nicholas Whelan; Denis Kelly, Stevie Cousins (capt., 1-0 free), Martin Frayne; Aaron Kielty, Paddy Byrne (0-1), Rory Cardiff; Robert Cousins, Robert Barden; Thomas Byrne (0-1), Mark Sinnott, Aaron Goff (0-6, 5 frees, 1 '65); Tom White (0-1), Philip Sutton (0-1), Shane Goff. Subs. - Paul Murphy for Sutton, temp. (21-23), Murphy for Sutton (31), Tommy Cousins for White (41), Paddy Scallan for R. Cousins (51).
Referee: Eddie O'Sullivan (Ballyfad).