Collins turns the screw to deny wasteful Newcastle West
MONALEEN had to call on all their experience and guile to secure back-to-back Limerick titles at the Gaelic Grounds yesterday.
A poor first-half display by the defending champions saw Monaleen struggle in the face of some intense pressure from Newcastle West, but in the second period Monaleen came into their own, especially in a decisive third quarter when they blitzed their challengers.
Leading 0-5 to 0-3 at half-time, that advantage had swelled to 1-11 to 0-4 with 10 minutes left, as Monaleen turned the screw in style.
Three quick second-half scores from Monaleen through Muiris Gavin (0-2 frees) and Conor Walsh pushed them 0-8 to 0-3 clear, and while Michael Quilligan did pull one back for Newcastle West, Monaleen had all the momentum.
Then came the game's crucial score -- after the impressive Jason O'Brien was fouled in the square, Ger Collins made no mistake with the resulting penalty to push Monaleen further in front, added to by a brace of O'Brien points and another Gavin free. At 1-11 to 0-4, it was all but over.
Still, Newcastle West didn't throw in the towel and despite living off crumbs for most of the second half, they hit 1-3 without reply in the last few minutes to keep this game alive, as sub Sean Neville grabbed a goal with points from Michael Quilligan, Thomas Quilligan and Jamie Lee.
But it was too little, too late for a Newcastle West side that just never turned up in the second half and didn't take their chances, especially in that opening period.
Two Ger Collins points inside the opening 90 seconds gifted Monaleen the dream start and despite having to wait until the 30th minute for their next score from Walsh, they were not made to suffer by a Newcastle West attack that prodded and probed without much reward -- their only scores in that time coming from James Kelly and Shay Lyons.
Just before half-time, Monaleen came to life, with that Walsh effort, and points from Collins and Michael Crowley, while Thomas Quilligan's left-footed effort left it a two-point game at the break. But the second half belonged to Monaleen.
Scorers -- Monaleen: G Collins 1-3 (1-0 pen), M Gavin 0-4 (4f), C Walsh, J O'Brien 0-2 each, M Crowley 0-1. Newcastle West: S Neville 1-0, M Quilligan (1f), T Quilligan 0-2 each, J Kelly, S Lyons, J Lee (1f) 0-1 each.
Monaleen -- D O'Sullivan; D Bourke, B Fitzpatrick, F Nash; E Keating, R Murray, J Hoare; P Kinnerk, B Geary; P Russell, C Walsh, J O'Brien; G Collins, M Crowley, M Gavin. Subs: S Hickey for E Keating (inj 16); P Quinn for F Nash (59); P Keating for C Walsh (60), L Kavanagh for B Geary (60).
Newcastle West -- JJ Sheehy; M O'Keeffe, D Woods, M Dowling; S Browne, S Nix, P Hannon; I Corbett, M McMahon; Stephen Kelly, S Lyons, T Quilligan; J Kelly, M Quilligan, S McAuliffe. Subs: D Woods for J Kelly (41); J Lee for S McAuliffe (47); S Neville for M McMahon (50); Shane Kelly for M Quilligan (55); C Downes for P Hannon (56).
Ref -- Michael Meade (Ballylanders)