Monageer stay on course
Monageer-Boolavogue are two steps from glory in the Top Oil Intermediate 'A' hurling championship after they controlled the dangerous Rathnure challenge in their quarter-final clash at Farmleigh on Saturday.
Monageer-Boolavogue 3-13 Rathnure 0-15
The anxiety of so many falls at the final hurdle is there for all to see amongst Monageer-Boolavogue's regular following crowd. The result of this clash was never really in doubt after the victors flashed three majors past Liam Barron in the first-half.
That didn't halt the exasperated cries from the stands after each Rathnure point in the second-half. Panic can be contagious but maybe the most impressive thing about this result is that the players never wavered; they have been through the agonising losses in recent years and the fact that they kept their cool, as their opponents attempted to chip away at their lead, bodes well for the coming weeks.
Monageer-Boolavogue burst into a 2-5 to 0-1 lead after 18 minutes and were able to keep their opponents at arm's length thereafter. The closest the Blackstairs boys got was five but they always played second fiddle.
When Damien Fenlon and Pádraig Flynn hassled and harried the Rathnure defence into coughing up possession so that the latter could net, Monageer-Boolavogue were on their way. A second major soon followed when Fenlon found Matty Dunne close to goal and the corner-forward hit the rigging.
Trailing by ten early in the second quarter, Rathnure strung four points in a row together, with Colin Flynn on target twice, to cut the gap to two goals. That became three just before the break when Colm and Niall O'Loughlin linked up and the latter flicked home a classy finish.
Not much impression had been made on the 3-5 to 0-5 advantage in the third quarter but Rathnure did later put together a string of points, three in two minutes from James Tobin, Syl Barron and Rory Higgins, to close the gap to five with eight minutes left.
However, it was a goal that Rathnure really needed and the rock-solid Seán Murphy never came close to giving it up. In the end Niall O'Loughlin scored a classy line ball and Larry Murphy pointed as Monageer-Boolavogue booked their semi-final spot.
Monageer-Boolavogue: Seán Murphy; Niall O'Reilly (capt.), Stephen Murphy, Chris Daly; Dean Fenlon, Patrick Breen, Mick Sweeney; Mark Walsh (0-1), Damien Fenlon (0-1); Mark Gahan, Tommy Breen (0-2), Colm O'Loughlin; Pádraig Flynn (1-1, 0-1 free), Niall O'Loughlin (1-7, 0-5 frees, 0-1 line ball), Matty Dunne (1-0). Subs. - Larry Murphy (0-1) for M. Walsh, inj. (27), James Gahan for Flynn (51).
Rathnure: Liam Barron; Denis Maher, Shane Barron, Aodhán Foley; Dermot Reddy, Teddy O'Connor (capt.), Matty Creane; James Tobin (0-1), Syl Barron (0-4, 3 frees); Stephen Furlong (0-1), Billy Conran, Rory Higgins (0-3); Anthony Westnott, Nigel Higgins (0-3), Colin Flynn (0-3, 1 free). Subs. - Richard Murphy for Foley (23), Brendan Flynn for Reddy (30+2), Trevor Hogan for Westnott (33), Alan Ronan for Furlong (37).
Referee: Damien Donovan (St. John's).