TWO late points from the boot of Cein McMonagle gave Clogherinkoe a dramatic late win over Longford side Newtowncashel in the opening round of the Leinster Junior Club Football Championship in Newbridge last Sunday. The victory ensures the Kildare side a home meeting with Louth kingpins Glen Emmets in the quarter final of the competition on October 28.
The Cloghs, under the guidance of Coill Dubh man Chris Byrne, have a habit of leaving things late. Just a fortnight before a goal from Ciaran Gravin some three minutes in to injury time saw the rural west Kildare club beat hotly fancied Two Mile House in the Tom Cross Transport JFC final and once again they kept their supporters on tender-hooks right up until the end.
The home side led for the majority of this provincial encounter thanks in no small part to two first half goals, however with time ticking away they were in real danger of making an early exit. In the 52nd minute Shane Merrigan split the posts for the Longford side and levelled proceedings, while a minute later
Gary Kenny gave them the lead for the one and only time when he converted a free. The visitors appeared to have the momentum but Clogherinkoe dug deep and man of the match McMonagle restored parity on the 60 minute mark and extra time looked like a real possibility. That was, of course, until McMonagle set up Daniel Grehan to score his first point of the game, before the provider turned finisher with three minute of injury time elapsed.
Clogherinkoe started this game without the services of the influential and aforementioned Ciaran Gravin who had his tonsils removed earlier in the week and at times they missed him dearly. Daniel Grehan, who was man-of-the-match in the county final wasn’t near as influential this time out, while his side went long periods of the game without scoring. If it wasn’t for McMonagle, the Cloghs would have been in serious trouble.
It was the visitors who drew first blood when Peter Foy’s cross field ball located Kieran Mulvihill and he split the posts to give Newtowncashel an early lead.
Clogherinkoe, however, soon hit the front. With just eight minutes on the clock Thomas Hickey laid possession off to Grehan and with the ‘keeper advancing, he struck low to the net to leave the score at 1-0 to 0-1.
By the midway point of the half things had got even better for the Kildare champs. A point from a free from McMonagle added to their lead and this was soon followed by a second goal. A free from Brian Gravin on the 45 metre line was flicked to the net by Robbie Dunne and it left the scoreboard reading 2-1 to 0-2.
The sides traded points soon after with Merrigan raising a white flag for the visitors and McMonagle doing likewise for the Kildare team but that was to be Clogherinkoe’s last point until the sixth minute of the second half.
Points from Shane Merrigan and Gary Kenny (free) brought Newtowncashel to within four of Byrne’s side before the break and that’s how it stayed as Longford referee Anthony Nolan signalled for the interlude.
After the turnaround Clogherinkoe’s lead was down to just the minimum when they gave away a penalty the was converted by the visitors. Kieran Mulvihill was hauled down by Clogherinkoe captain Sean McEvoy and Peter Foy fired the resultant spot kick passed Gary Ryan with his right foot to leave the score at 2-2 to 1-4.
The Clough’s finally added to their tally through McMonagle, while three minutes later the same player converted a free to ensure a three point lead for the Kildare team.
Down the other end Gary Kenny sent over a free from 43 metres out before Merrigan added one from play to leave just the minimum separating the sides in the 41st minute.
Then came the leveller from the boot of Merrigan once more and Newtowncashel were on a roll. They took the lead for the first time in this encounter soon after when Kenny popped over a free, followed by another to leave the score at 1-9 to 2-4.
However, Newtowncashel didn’t score thereafter but Clogherinkoe didn’t have the same trouble.
Four without response gave the victory and a place in the next round. Substitute Paul Lowry got in on the scoring act just seconds after coming on, while a brace from McMonagle and one from Grehan sent the Kildare team through.
Clogherinkoe, Daniel Grehan 1-1, Cein McMonagle 0-6 (3f), Robbie Dunne 1-0, Paul Lowry 0-1.
Newtowncashel, Shane Merrigan 0-4, Gary Kenny 0-4 (4f), Peter Foy 1-0 (1 pen), Kieran Mulvihill 0-1.
Gary Ryan; Declan Lowry, Sean McEvoy Conor Grehan; Thomas Hickey, Thomas Reilly, Kevin McEvoy; Brian Gravin, Daniel Grehan; Dean Hanley, Robbie Dunne, Cein McMonagle; Neil Bergin, Will Coyne, Mark Nolan. Subs: Ben Kenny replaced W Coyne HT, Brian Kelly replaced N Bergin 46 mins, Paul Lowry replaced K McEvoy 55 mins
Ger Nealion; Ronan Farrell, Conan Casey, Ronan Muldoon; Peter Foy, Padraig Farrell, Paul Egan; Ger Dennigan, James Rohan; Gary Kenny, Aidan Rowan, Niall Donlon; Kieran Mulvihill, Shane Merrigan, Derek Farrell. Subs: Keith Carberry replaced P Egan (inj) 32 mins, Kevin Coffey replaced D Farrell 42 mins, Gavin Kelly replaced K Mulvihill 56 mins, Thomas Delaney replaced N Donlon 59 mins,
Anthony Nolan (Wicklow).