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Moninne strike unbelievably late to deny Fechin’s in Louth hurling league final

Naomh Moninne 3-15 St Fechin’s 1-20

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Naomh Moninne captain Darren Geoghegan at the presentation of the senior league trophy by County Board chairman Peter Fitzpatrick on Thursday night. Picture: Louth GAA

Naomh Moninne captain Darren Geoghegan at the presentation of the senior league trophy by County Board chairman Peter Fitzpatrick on Thursday night. Picture: Louth GAA

Naomh Moninne captain Darren Geoghegan at the presentation of the senior league trophy by County Board chairman Peter Fitzpatrick on Thursday night. Picture: Louth GAA

Six months into the new year, the hurlers of Naomh Moninne and St Fechin’s finally got the opportunity to contest their 2021 league final and it was certainly worth the wait as both sides produced a thrilling encounter in Darver last Thursday night.

The Dundalk side found the net in the game’s very first attack as midfielder Andrew Mackin took a pass from his county colleague Darren Geoghegan before firing by the ’keeper from close range.

The sides then exchanged pointed frees before three unanswered points by David Stephenson (2) and Peter Fortune had Fechin’s back on level terms after nine minutes, 1-1 to 0-4.

Ciarán Walsh was denied a second Moninne goal by a good save from John Crosbie. A long-range, pointed free from Stephenson had his side in front for the first time on the quarter hour.

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The black and amber outfit then grabbed three points in a row from the sticks of Mark Gahan, Ultan McEnaney and Geoghegan (free) to lead by two.

Fechin’s went one better, grabbing four unanswered points, including two from corner-forward Seán Kerrisk.

Gahan and Kerrisk then exchanged good points from play before an injury-time free by Stephenson had Fechin’s leading at the break by 0-11 to 1-5.

They extended their lead to four with a good point from Hodgins straight from the throw-in.

Moninne responded with a Geoghegan point from a 65-metre free added to almost immediately by a point from full-forward Dylan Carey, set-up by half-back Stephen Rafferty.

Fechin’s then opened up a considerable lead with five unanswered points from five different players in as many minutes.

Firstly, Seaghan Conneely fired over one handed, which was added to in quick succession by scores from Hodgins, substitute Michael Byrne, Fortune and Paddy Lynch, 0-17 to 1-7.

To their credit, Moninne responded with quick points by Geoghegan and Ciarán Walsh. They then had ’keeper, Donal Connolly, to thank for keeping them in the game when he saved well to deny Conneely.

Fechin’s appeared on course for victory on 43 minutes when a Donal Ryan point had then six to the good.

However, over the next 10 minutes, that lead was reduced to two as Moninne displayed their never say die attitude.

A Gahan point was almost followed by a goal as Carey's close-range effort crashed off the crossbar.

Despite this setback, they added good points from Geoghegan, James Murphy and Gahan again to trail by two, 0-18 to 1-13, on 53 minutes.

All this good work appeared to be undone when a Stephenson point was followed almost immediately with Fechins’ only goal, scored from close range by Kerrisk.

Few would have predicted what ensued over the closing minutes of this entertaining encounter.

Carey netted the Dundalk side’s second goal from close range before the sides exchanged late points to leave Fechin’s three in front in added-time.

Unbelievably, a third Moninne goal – scored by Gahan – tied up matters and with extra-time looming, they were awarded a free for a foul on McEnaney who punched the air both in determination and delight.

It was left to the ever-reliable Geoghegan to fire over what turned out to be the winning point, one which was greeted with great celebration by Moninne supporters.

Afterwards, the Paddy Rice Cup was presented to captain Geoghegan by County Board chairman Peter Fitzpatrick.

NAOMH MONINNE: Donal Connolly; Tadhg Litchfield, Darren O’Hanrahan, Chris Lennon; Stephen Rafferty, Diarmuid Murphy, James Murphy 0-1; Andrew Mackin 1-0, Mark Gahan 1-4; Ultan McEnaney 0-1, Darren Geoghegan 0-6 (6f), Seamus Mulhall 0-1; Stephen Ryan, Dylan Carey 1-1, Ciarán Walsh 0-1. Unused sub: James Shevlin.

ST FECHIN’S: John Crosbie; Cormac McAuley, Oisín Byrne, Paddy Reddy; Danny Morgan, Donal Ryan 0-1, Conor Mathews; David Stephenson 0-7 (5f), Peter Fortune 0-2; Barry Devlin, Seaghan Conneely 0-1, Seán Hodgins 0-2; Paddy Lynch 0-3, Ross Berkery, Seán Kerrisk 1-3. Subs: Michael Byrne 0-1 for Berkery, Josh Murtagh for Devlin, Luke Black for Hodgins.

REFEREE: Martin Dawson (Meath).


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