Fighting spirit as champions retain crown
Senior Hurling League Final: Knockbridge 2-21 Nh Moninne 3-13
Holders Knockbridge had to come back from seven points down to see off county champions Naomh Moninne and retain the Paddy Rice Cup in this Louth Senior Hurling Final, played in good conditions at Dowdallshill on Thursday night.
A goal from centre half Peter Brennan on seven minutes had the village outfit leading by 1-3 to 0-2 before a Stephen Rafferty goal and a good Darren Geoghegan point from the right wing tied up matters at 1-3 apiece on 14 minutes.
Geoghegan then fired past keeper James King from the left of the post and a subsequent good point from older brother Ronan had Moninne four in front.
Full forward John Martin then managed to block down King's goal-line clearance for the Dundalk side's third goal on 26 minutes and they went seven clear when defender Diarmuid Murphy fired over from inside his own half.
However, a brace of Shane Fennell points and an opportunist goal from Liam Molloy had Knockbridge trailing by 3-6 to 2-7 at half-time.
Brian Brady's side extended their lead on the resumption with points from play from Darren Geoghegan and Philip Englishby. But between the 35th and 41st minutes Knockbridge out-scored their opponents by four to one, with scores from David Kettle, Sean Marry, Conor Deane and Shane Fennell - 3-9 to 2-11.
The sides shared the next two points as Moninne still led by one with a quarter of an hour remaining. Midfielder James Costello tied up matters with a good point and this score drove on his colleagues as they ran up the next six points - including two each from Fennell and team captain Andrew Smith.
That left the scoreboard reading 2-19 to 3-10, but the black and amber outfit halted this run of scores when Darren Geoghegan took his personal tally to 1-5 with a pointed free.
His side did manage late points from substitute Ultan McEneaney and Diarmuid Murphy, but Knockbridge sealed the win with a further brace of Fennell points as he finished top scorer in this final with 12 points.
Afterwards, the Paddy Rice Cup was presented by County Board chairman Des Halpenny to Knockbridge captain Andrew McCrave.
Knockbridge: James King; Ronan Mulholland, Conor Kerrigan, Stephen Hoey; Gerard McKeown, Conor Deane 0-1, Andrew Smith 0-2; Shane Kerrigan, James Costello 0-1; David Kettle 0-2, Peter Brennan 1-0, Robert Wallace; Sean Marry 0-2, Liam Molloy 1-1, Shane Fennell 0-12 (7f). Sub: Ciaran Deane for R Wallace (40min).
Naomh Moninne: Donal Connolly; Donal Lee, Chris Lennon, Paul Challoner; Mattie Fee, Oisin Drumm, Diarmuid Murphy 0-2 (1f); Darren O Hanrahan, Feidhelm Joyce; Darren Geoghegan 1-5 (0-1f), Padraic Fallon, Ronan Geoghegan 0-3; Philip Englishby 0-1, John Martin 1-1, Stephen Rafferty 1-0. Subs: David Yore for R Geoghegan (48min), Stephen Ryan for S Rafferty (54), James Murphy for O Drumm (57), Ultan McEneaney 0-1 for D Geoghegan.
Referee: Kevin Brady