Impressive St Patrick's put it up to the county finalists
NA FIANNA qualified for their third final of the year when overcoming St Patrick's strong challenge in this entertaining Feis Cup semi-final at Brews Hill on Saturday evening.
Considering the time of year and St Patrick's relative inactivity in recent times compared to their opponents, who had a league decider following their championship final defeat, this was a fairly competitive encounter played in damp conditions.
Both sides were close to full strength, and after racing into the lead straight from the throw-in following a Jamie Queeney point, Na Fianna looked as if they were going to stroll to victory as they led 1-5 to 0-1 on nine minutes.
Corner forward Dean Barrett scored the goal after sneaking inside the St Patrick's cover, while the Stamullen side's only score in the same period was a pointed free from Niall Mooney.
The Enfield/Baconstown combination might have had a second goal on 10 minutes, but St Pat's keeper Robert Cluskey did well to keep out a Queeney effort.
A fortuitous goal from Niall Mooney, when an effort from the left wing slipped through the fingers of keeper Shane Geraghty, got St Patrick's back in contention. They took a grip on proceedings then and points from Mooney (two frees), Daithi Whyte and Neil O'Flaherty left it level on 25 minutes. A pointed free from Queeney eventually left the south Meath side leading 1-6 to 1-5 at the break.
Niall Mooney, who posed the biggest threat to the Na Fianna defence, drew the sides level on two occasions in the third quarter and also had a goal effort blocked by Geraghty.
Conor Downey pointed a close-range free and Dalton McDonagh and Daniel Queeney added further points to leave three between the sides entering the final quarter.
St Patrick's got it back to the minimum again following pointed frees from Shane Landy and Mooney, but that was as close as they got as Daniel and Jamie Queeney pointed, and Dalton McDonagh wrapped it up for Na Fianna when converting a 57th-minute penalty.
NA FIANNA: Shane Geraghty; Diarmuid Bailey, Christy Cosgrave, John Baldwin; Michael Farley, Michael Foley 0-1, Dean Henrick; Ollie Lewis, Jamie Queeney 0-4 (2f, 1 '45); Brian Queeney 0-1, Daniel Queeney 0-3, Conor Downey 0-1 (f); Dean Barrett 1-0, Tommy Cosgrave 0-1, Dalton McDonagh 1-1 (1-0 pen). Sub: Sean Griffin for B Queeney (58).
ST PATRICK'S: Robert Cluskey; David Stafford, Kieran Lynch, Ray Russell; Shane Dowling, Darren Hagan, Barry Mooney; Cormac Sullivan, Ciaran Calvey; Andy Mooney, Niall Mooney 1-7 (0-6 f), Ronan Kearns; Donal Landy, Daithi Whyte 0-1, Neil O'Flaherty 0-1. Subs: Keith Whearty for O'Flaherty (h/t), Shane Landy 0-1 (f), for A Mooney (45), Martin McKenna for Sullivan (53), Shane McGinty for Calvey (58).
REF: Joey Curley (Moynalty)