ST FINIAN'S regained their Junior A status but it was a close run thing, with championship newcomers St Maurs pushing them all the way at the Ridgewood complex on Sunday morning.
Finians were without some key players including captain Jason Merriman, but showed their experience in the end with their two corner forwards, Johnny Walsh and James Shelley getting the vital touches in each half to secure the win. Walsh latched on to a long ball to find the back of the net inside the first minute but after Jack Roche had opened the Maurs account, Chris Nevelle then sent over a terrific long distance score off his left side.
Some good work from Dermot Crowe then to set up Jack Higgins for the equalising score and with Eoghan Ryan commanding under the high ball, Maurs were certainly making a good go of things. Nonetheless the Finians half forward line were kept Maurs pressed back and with Dominic Harris shooting over a series of scores from the dead ball, the home side went in at half time leading 1-5 to 0-3. The two teams exchanged a free apiece and with Mikey Butler excelling in the number five shirt for Finians, the Swords men were proving very hard to break down.
However, Maurs turned the game on its head with two goals in the space of a minute. First Eoghan Conway kicked the ball past Gene Griffin on 40 minutes before a quick ball in from Nevelle saw Michael Coen drive home an unstoppable shot a minute later to make it 2-4 to 16. Harris and Nevelle then exchanged frees before Philip Glennon's long ball in from the left was touched home deftly by Shelley.
And from there Finians never looked back with Shelley scoring two crucial points under pressure as Finians booked their place in the decider. ST FINIANS: Gene Griffin, Aaron Cullen, Declan Murphy, Alan Lawton, Mikey Butler, Colm MacBradaigh, Vincent Foley, David Hattie, Dominic Harris 0-7 (0-5f, 0-2 '65'), David Gantley, Barry Kavanagh, James Shelley 1-2, Ciaran Drumm, Johnny Walsh 1-0. Subs: James Hammond for Gantley, Phil Glennon for Walsh ST MAUR'S: Craig Harford, Philip Cavanagh, Colin Lawlor Eoghan Ryan, Daniel Butterly, Ian Casey, Peter Balfe, Dermot Crowe, Jack Roche 0-1, Chris Nevelle 0-6 (0-4f), Jack Higgins 0-1, Michael Coen 1-0, Ray O'Keefe, Eoghan Conway 1-0. Subs: Jason Herbert for Higgins, Joe Fox for Crowe.