Adamstown throw it away
Monageer-Boolavogue 1-10 Adamstown 1-9
Twenty-one. That was the answer to the question everyone was asking at the end of Saturday evening's proceedings at Hollymount where Monageer-Boolavogue squeaked a one-point Group B win over Adamstown in the first round of The Courtyard Ferns Intermediate hurling championship.
Yes, the wasteful losing side racked up 21 wides over the course of the hour's play, eleven of them in the first-half followed by ten in the second, compared with just eight posted by their more efficient opponents.
In the second minute, Adamstown's Tony French lofted his first shot off target and, in the fourth minute of added time at the end, the same player was seen hammering the ground with his hurl in frustration as the final effort wobbled off course and the chance of a draw disappeared.
In between, though the wide roving full-forward will not want reminding of it, the same player hit six other wides on an evening when he still managed to finish his side's leading scorer with a performance which had everything good - except accuracy.
Six of his colleagues were also guilty of misses as the team failed to capitalise on the fact that their rivals were obliged to play with 14 men for the last 35 minutes.
With a tricky breeze whisking around the ground, sharpshooting was not so easy, as the eventual losers extravagantly demonstrated with their scattergun performance of the first-half when they had the wind at their backs.
Monageer-Boolavogue were never behind at any stage and their cause was boosted by a 24th-minute goal from the hurl of Mark Gahan who was gifted the chance by a glorious pass from half-back Mick Sweeney.
However, they appeared to be put on the back foot shortly afterwards when Chris Daly's mistreatment of French drew a second yellow card as he was sent to the line.
Never mind seemed to be the attitude of his team-mates who made light of being short-handed, though they did concede a goal shortly after the dismissal as Harry Cosgrave swooped in from the left wing to put the re-jigged Monageer-Boolavogue defence into a spin.
One behind at the break, the trailing side lapsed gradually deeper into arrears thanks to the mighty long-range free-taking of goalie Seán Murphy and the close-in placed ball technique of Mark Walsh.
The wides continued to mount at the road end of the pitch and Murphy's wonderful sprawling save to deny Michael Furlong was probably the key moment.
Adamstown did enough straight shooting over the 'keeper's bar to pull level twice in the closing quarter but Monageer-Boolavogue's Brian O'Loughlin hoisted the decisive free over the bar at the other end in stoppage time before the final wide of the day left them ahead by the minimum.
Monageer-Boolavogue: Seán Murphy (0-2 frees); Liam Gahan, Chris Daly, Graham O'Reilly; Mick Sweeney, Tommy Breen, Niall O'Reilly; Stephen Murphy, Ian Hawkins; Damien Fenlon, Brian O'Loughlin (0-1), Shane Gahan; Mark Gahan (1-4, 0-2 frees), Colm O'Loughlin, Mark Walsh (0-2). Subs. - Laurence Murphy (0-1) for Damien Fenlon (30), Pádraig Flynn for B. O'Loughlin (42), Diarmuid Fenlon for Walsh (45), Peter Mernagh for M. Gahan (49).
Adamstown: Paul Delaney; John Whelan, James Breen, Ian Bradley; Seán Barden, Shane O'Gorman, Brendan Furlong; Johnny Connors, Michael Furlong (0-1); Liam Stafford (0-2), Lorcan French (0-2 frees), John French; Harry Cosgrave (1-0), Tony French (0-4), Barry Power. Sub. - Paudie Barden for Whelan (35).
Referee: Mick Lanigan (Shelmaliers).