it may not have been a classic but try telling that to Monasterevan who claimed the Hugh Campion Cup and the Joe Fox Tool & Plant Hire IFC with a four point win over a Raheens side who were right in there with a chance mid-way through the second half, writes TOMMY CALLAGHAN.
And then what often happens in a tight and extremely tense game a goal pops up out of nothing and the game is effectively done and dusted.
That was certainly the case in this one as both sides were striving for the vital break through in a game that there was never any more a few points separating the sides when Monasterevan edged ahead with a Wayne Fitzpatrick ‘45’ on 45 minutes.
Just four minutes later substitute Shane Kevins gained possession, off-loaded to centre back Mark Cornish who hit a long hopeful ball into the Raheens square. Shane Power seemed to have control of the ball as his keeper, Liam Power, also came to collect, the ball, however, fell lose and there was Monasterevan’s Mark Kelly with the deftest of touches to knock it over the goal line.
It effectively killed the game as Raheens never recovered from that goal and Monasterevan deservedly went on to clinch the title and a return to the senior ranks come 2013.
The game had been a real cat and mouse affair, Monasterevan failing to score a point from open play throughout the entire game, all their scores, apart from the vital goal, coming from three different free takers but at the end of the day it matters little what way the scores are compiled.
Monasterevan lined out with Wayne Fitzpatrick taking his place in the full forward line despite being on the losing end of the Minor ‘B’ final which ended just 40 minutes or so before the start of the intermediate; Christy Dempsey also started the game as Raheens lined out as expected with no late changes.
It was the Caragh boys, playing in their first senior final since they lost to Carbury in the SFC final of 1985, who opened with a fine Alan Igoe free kick after just 35 seconds.
The Blues levelled it up on five with Leonard Havens combining with Anthony Kavanagh and a late tackle by David Fitzpatrick saw Paul Kelly knock over the resultant free.
A minute later Kavanagh was again fouled and this time Leonard Havens applied the finishing touches to give his side the lead.
Monasterevan were having the best of the early exchanges as Raheens were continuously penalised for fouling and on the 8th minute it was the turn of goal keeper, Colm McCabe, to step up to a 43m free to increase the lead to two.
Wayne Fitzpatrick attempted to add another but a brilliant block by John Lawler denied the minor star who earlier had scored seven points in the Minor ‘B’ final loss to St. Laurence’s.
Raheens then had their best spell of the game. Dunleavy and Fitzpatrick gained some supremacy around the middle and the half back line mopped up any lose ball that came either way.
Cathal Carr broke up a Monasterevan forward move and set up John Jennings who made no mistake and a few minutes later the sides were level, this time Alan Igoe calmly knocking over a 45m free.
The Caragh boys kept up the pressure and with a quick free saw Stephen Riordan gained possession, despite being outnumbered and fired over a great point to take the lead 0-4 to 0-3 after just fourteen minutes.
That lead was pushed to two after David Fitzpatrick made a brilliant catch was fouled and Igoe split the posts from 40m.
John Jennings received a yellow card following a hefty challenge on James Gorry and two minutes later Fitzpatrick saw yellow for a challenge on Leonard Havens and Colm McCabe once again made his way from his goal keeping duties to leave just one between the sides after 21 minutes.
Alan Igoe had two between them again, this time following an off-the-ball foul by Tristan Kennedy on Noel Byrne.
Raheens, however, were punished time and time again by referee Cawley and paid the price for their over exuberance and when Mark Kelly got on the end of a Wayne Fitzpatrick cross field kick, he was again fouled and once again Leonard Havens converted to leave just a point between the sides.
Tom Earley picked up a yellow as he ‘stopped’ Shane O’Loughlin, however, the no. 10 resumed before Liam Power came to Raheen’s rescue with a brilliant catch.
Cathal Carr was next into the referee’s book in a game it has to be said that could certainly not be described as dirty by any manner or means. Monasterevan who had the last say of the half, Leonard Havens again knocking over a free after Mark Kelly had got inside Shane Power who then fouled.
And after a very eventful half the sides had it all to do when they resumed at 0-7 apiece.
The Blues attacked right from the throw-in. Pat Courtney gained possession but was deemed to have over carried and Leonard Havens popped over his fifth free of the game to regain the lead.
Alan Igo was next in the match official’s book before Cathal Carr was fouled some 45m out.
Shane O’Loughlin made it into Referee Cawley’s book before Alan Igo’s mis-kicked free was gathered by Ross McMahon and he duly popped it over the level up the sides after 35 minutes.
Igoe was off target with a 40m free as both sides strove for supremacy.
Noel Byrne set up Alan Igoe but a brilliant two man block by Gary Kelly and James Gorry denied the Caragh centre forward. Both Monasterevan’s players required attention having clashed with Kelly forced off with a nose injury.
Ten minutes later and the sides remained deadlocked then midway through Monasterevan were awarded a ‘45’. Wayne Fitzpatrick effort was brilliantly fetched by David Fixtzpatrick who was forced over the end line and this time Fitzpatrick made no mistake to give his side a one point advantage.
Soon after that the goal arrived and effectively killed off the game as Raheens seemed to run out of steam and their shooting became a little erratic.
Tom Earley picked up a yellow (second?) for a foul on Shane O’Loughlin as did Graham Waters before Leonard Havens finished the scoring with a pointed free as the game ended Monasterevan 1-9 Raheens 0-7.
The honours probably went where they belong with Monasterevan well on top in the second half, a half in which Raheens scored just a single point which tells its own story.
Despite little between the sides for long periods Raheens rarely threatened the Monasterevan goal, failing to get their inside men any decent ball.
Monasterevan with Leonard Havens in the middle full back John Dempsey and Mark Cornish all outstanding did just about enough to claim the title and bring a long wait for success at this level finally to an end.
For Raheens Graham Waters had a fine game, as did John Lawler while Tim Dunleavy also did well: Alan Igoe had a fine first half as did Cathal Carr but overall they found the Monasterevan simply too difficult to unlock.
Monasterevan, Leonard Havens 0-6 (6 frees), Mark Kelly 1-0, Colm McCabe 0-2 (2 frees), Paul Kelly 0-1 (free)
Raheens, Alan Igoe 0-4 (4 frees), Ross McMahon 0-1, Stephen Riordan 0-1, John Jennings 0-1.
Colm McCabe; Tristin Kennedy, John Dempsey, David Maher; Paul Kelly, Mark Cornish, James Gorry; Leonard Havens, Eoin Stapleton; Shane O’Loughlin, Anthony Kavanagh, Christy Dempsey; Mark Kelly, Wayne Fitzpatrick, Gary Kelly. Subs: Shane Kevins for Gary Kelly (42 minute); Gavin Holligan for Wayne Freeman (59 minute), Cormac Brady for Shane O’Loughlulin (60 minute).
Liam Power; Shane Power, Pat Courtney, John Lawler; Darren Earley, Graham Waters, Tom Earley; David Fitzpatrick, Tim Dunleavy; John Jennings, Alan Igoe, Cathal Carr; Ross McMahon, Stephen Riordan, Noel Byrne.