Sunday 22 July 2018

Knocknagree through to face Kerry champs in Munster Final

Munster Junior Club Football semi-final: Knocknagree (Cork) 2-16 Sliabh gCua St Mary's (Waterford) 1-7

Knocknagree brushed aside a slow start on Sunday last to set up another Cork v Kerry club provincial final in the Munster Junior Club Football Championship 2017. Dominating Waterford's Sliabh gCua St Mary's in Mallow has set up a mouth-watering clash with Kerry's Dromid Pearses at the same venue on the first Sunday of December.

After impressing all season Knocknagree came to this game as firm favourites to see off the Deise side and credit to the Duhallow men they didn't disappoint showing plenty class to dominate this one through all the key moments.

Led up front by John Fintan Daly Jnr, the victors looked clinical enough at times with six different scorers from the front eight easing the Cork champions out to a comfortable and fully deserved lead of 13 points at the break (1-12 to 0-2).

Others to impress for the victors were Fintan O'Connor, Mathew Dilworth, Eoghan McSweeney and James Dennehy who between them bagged 1-11 on the day.

Midfielder Danny Cooper also shone with a brace of tasty scores and some terrific link up play that kept his side on the front foot in the first half.

For the vanquished side full forward Jason Sheehan was impressive however his personal tally of 1-5 was never likely to be enough to derail this particular Knocknagree bandwagon. Sliabh gCua St Mary's may well have been overrun on the whole but they definitely upped their performance from their previous outing which saw them rattle off less than a half dozen points.

Knocknagree gave an exhibition for long periods of the first half but were slow to get going initially, registering three wides before managing to hit the target just shy of the 10 minute mark.

A goal from O'Connor on 13 minutes settled the Cork side's nerves as they went about dismantling a Sliabh gCua St Mary's side that had few answers.

Knocknagree really did look like a side that had genuine belief and talent at this grade which are two key components for any serious provincial title challenge.

Not content with sitting on their laurels after the interval, something manager John Fintan Daly was never likely to let happen anyway, it was more of the same early in the second half as Knocknagree pushed on again with more clinical shooting that assured them of victory however the Deise side battled well and responded to the victors second goal by Fintan O'Connor with a goal of their own from the penalty spot on 38 minutes - full forward Jason Sheehan raising the green flag.

Knocknagree clearly took their collective foot off the gas late on and didn't show anything close to the same levels of urgency they had shown early on but that will give the management something to work on for the next week or so before their date with destiny.

Losing the second half by a point will raise a little concern about the Cork sides ability to keep it going for 60 - 65 minutes however overall Knocknagree were well worth their victory and indeed the margin but like any side striving for greatness they do have work to do as they face a Dromid Pearses side that will come to Mallow as favourites to take the provincial spoils.

KNOCKNAGREE: P Doyle; P O'Connor 1-0, S Daly, G O'Connor; M Mahoney, K Buckley, D Moynihan; D Cooper 0-2, P Collins; J Dennehy 0-1, JF Daly 0-3, E McSweeney 0-3(2f); M Dilworth 0-3, C White, F O'Connor 1-4 (2f). Subs: T Cooper for P Collins (32)(inj), K Daly for M Mahoney (50), T Long for C White (51), A Sheehan for K Buckley (55), D O'Connor for E McSweeney (56), J Carroll for S Daly (58).

SLIABH GCUA ST MARY'S: D Flynn; R Gleeson, JJ Coffey, G Hallihan; D McCarthy, B McGourty, S Fitzpatrick; E Kearns 0-1, S Coffey; C Tobin, M Kearns, D Coffey; D Tobin, J Sheehan 1-5 (1-0 Pen; 4f), K Sheehan. Subs: D Whelan for G Hallinan (18)(inj), A Fitzpatrick 0-1 for J Sheehan (bs)(26)(rev ht), A Fitzpatrick for D Tobin (ht), E Walsh for S Coffey (54).

Referee: Sean Joy (Kerry).