Resurgent Moninne get the job done
Anchor Tours SHC - Naomh Moninne 0-13, Knockbridge 0-12
Knockbridge's 12 month hold on the Paddy Kelly Cup came to an end as a resurgent Naomh Moninne outfit produced their best performance of the competition, when they needed to, with this dramatic one point victory in the semi final played under lights in Darver last Thursday night.
The Dundalk sides victory sets up a repeat of the 2017 final when they will take on St Fechins on Sunday September 22 at a venue tbc. The two sides will also meet in the curtainraiser in the U16 Championship Final.
Moninne had built up a four point lead midway through the opening half but that lead was halved by half time as the village outfit enjoyed their best spell in the run into the break.
The sides were level on four occasions throughout a tense second half but it would be the black and amber outfit who would prevail in the end. They had some inspirational performers on the night including four of their county stars to name a few Darren O Hanrahan, Padraic Fallon, Feidhelm Joyce and top scorer Darren Geoghegan.
Knockbridge opened the scoring with a point from their stand out player David Kettle who finished their top scorer with six points from play.
Graham Harrington equalised with a point almost immediately and when he was fouled in their very next attack it presented Darren Geoghegan with the opportunity to grab the first of his ten points, all but one of them from frees.
The sides shared the next two points before Moninne opened up a four points lead on 18 minutes, 0-6 to 0-2, with three successive pointed frees from Geoghegan.
From a free awarded for a free on the ever dangerous Kettle, Shane Fennell reduced the arrears and added another on 21 minutes.
The same two players added another brace of points from play in between which Padraic Fallon added to his growing reputation with a good point from play.
From a 20 metre free awarded for a foul on Tadhg Moore top scorer Geoghegan pointed to leave Moninne in front at half time by 0-8 to 0-6.
Five minutes into the second half and Knockbridge were level again with Kettle once again grabbing both points.
The sides were tied at 0-10 points a piece on 45 minutes with the pick of the Moninne points scored by centre half Fallon.
Darren Geoghegan and Shane Fennell then exchanged pointed frees and when the experienced Ronan Byrne was adjusted by the referee to have touched the sliotar on the ground, Geoghegan struck over the resultant 20 metre free to leave his side on point to the good with ten minutes remaining.
Knockbridge were denied a goal when keeper Donal Connolly deflected a shot onto the crossbar and this miss was certainly to prove costly in the end.
A Knockbridge point from corner forward Gerry McKeown would guarantee an exciting finish to this match but some never say die defending from Moninne saw them holding out for the deserving victory which was celebrated by their supporters at the final whistle.
NAOMH MONINNE: Donal Connolly; James Murphy, Oisin Drumm, Stephen Rafferty; Daire Flanagan, Brian Carter, Mattie Fee; Darren O Hanrahan, Feidhelm Joyce; Graham Harrington (0-1), Padraic Fallon (0-2), Andrew Mackin; Tadhg Moore, Odran Loughran, Darren Geoghegan (0-10, 9 frees). Sub - Paul Challoner for D Flanagan (37 mins).
KNOCKBRIDGE: Paul Dunne; Andrew Smith, Conor Kerrigan, Stephen Kettle; Liam Molloy, Ronan Byrne, Mark Wallace; Conor Deane, James Costello; Shane Kerrigan, Peter Brennan, Shane Fennell (0-5, 4 frees); David Kettle (0-6), Gavin Kerrigan, Gerry McKeown (0-1). Sub - Sean Marry for G Kerrigan (56).
REFEREE: Noel Mullaney (Monaghan).