WITH 41 minutes on the clock Monasterevan had the chance to add a fifth point from a free. Midfield man Lenny Havens stood forward with that free just right of the posts. It looked like a formality. It wasn’t however. Agonisingly Havens put it wide and with the next attack Kerry side Finuge went down the other end and split the post to open up a 0-6 to 0-4 lead. That was the turning point and thereafter the team from Kerry were on their way in to the All Ireland final. Monasterevan were out, writes Ruth Chambers.
AIB All Ireland Intermediate Club Football Championship Semi Final
What a journey this Monasterevan team has been on though. Losing last Sunday was bitterly disappointing but on reflection the team and all connected with it will realise that 2012 was the stuff of fairytales. A Kildare Intermediate Football Championship title, followed by a provincial title and exiting to a team from Kerry, that included Eamonn Fitzmaurice and Paul Galvin in their starting XV, was no great shame at all.
Last Sunday’s final at the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick was far from a vintage one. Low scoring, coupled with poor shooting and Monasterevan’s defensive style didn’t make for pretty viewing but that mattered little to either side.
The Kildare champs made their two obligatory changes to the team named in the match day programme. Christy Dempsey started in place of Cormac Brady, while Wayne Fitzpatrick started in place of Gavin Holligan. Fitzpatrick, who lined out for the Kildare VEC team in the Leinster final on Friday, showed flashes of his brilliance but he alone in attack couldn’t carry the can for the side in blue.
Throughout there wasn’t that much between the teams, that was until Finuge somewhat pulled away towards the end. At the interval the team’s were deadlocked on three points apiece and it was Monasterevan that drew first blood after the turnaround to assume the lead but it was short-lived. Finuge, despite some terrible shooting, had more firepower in attack and a much improved second half showing from Kerry boss Eamonn Fitzmaurice, was key to their victory.
Indeed it was the Kerry champions that drew first blood in this penultimate round encounter when Paudie Galvin, brother of Paul, got forward to split the posts but a superb point from the boot of David Maher restored early parity.
Monasterevan were guilty of some poor shooting in the opening half and Finuge enjoyed the better of the exchanges. They took the lead with seven minutes on the clock when Maurice Corridan sent over a free after Paul Galvin was impeded and indeed soon after they should have been further ahead had it not been for a super save from Colin McCabe from a Michael Conway shot on goal.
Another converted free from Corridan left Finuge leading 0-3 to 0-1 with 17 minutes played but Monasterevan bounced back before the break. Wayne Fitzpatrick sent over a 45 metre kick in the 26th minute to leave just the minimum in it before he scored a mightily impressive point from play from some 45 yards out to leave the half time score at 0-3 to 0-3.
Monasterevan pounced first in the second period when Paul Kelly and Havens combined with the latter firing over to give the Kildare men a 0-4 to 0-3 lead but that lead didn’t last long. A lovely point from the right courtesy of Eamonn Fitzmaurice left the sides level once again. That lead was extended to two soon after when Fitzmaurice pulled away from Paul Kelly before fisting the ball over Colin McCabe’s cross bar to leave the score at 0-5 to 0-4 and then game the aforementioned miss from what looked like a routine free.
Havens had the chance to level proceedings but his effort, which he kicked off the ground, went wide and immediately the team from Kerry went on the attack and added a point courtesy of James Flaherty to leave the score at 0-6 to 0-4.
With ten minutes remaining it was, once again, a one point game when Havens split the posts but that actually turned out to be Monasterevan’s last score of the game.
Finuge, despite some atrocious shooting, did manage to add to their tally. Points from Paudie Galvin, Maurice Corridan and James Flaherty completed the scoring and left the Kerrymen with four points to score at the final whistle and ensured them a place in the All Ireland final.
Finuge, Maurice Corridan 0-3 (2f), Paudie Galvin 0-2, Eamonn Fitzmaurice 0-2, James Flaherty 0-2.
Monasterevan. Wayne Fitzpatrick 0-2 (1 45’), Lenny Havens 0-2, David Maher 0-1.
Cillian Fitzmaurice; Chris Allen, Trevor McKenna, Declan McCarthy; Paudie Galvin, Pat Corridan, Conor Fitzmaurice; Michael conway, Maurice Corridan; Paul Galvin, John Griffin, Stephen Power; James Flaherty, Eamon Fitzmaurice, Raymond Galvin. Subs: Enda Galvin replaced Raymond Galvin 49 mins, Fergus Fitzmaurice replaced S Power 58 mins, Ricky Heffernan replaced J Flaherty 61 mins.
Colin McCabe; Tristan Kennedy, John Dempsey, David Maher; Paul Kelly, Mark Cornish, James Gorry; Lenny Havens, Eoin Stapleton; Shane O’Loughlin, Anthony Kavanagh, Christy Dempsey; Mark kelly, Wayne Fitzpatrick, Gary Kelly. Subs: Gavin Holligan replaced S O’Loughlin 28 mins, Cormac Stapleton replaced G Kelly 30 mins, Shane O’Loughlin replaced M Kelly 50 mins, Cormac Brady replaced C Dempsey 59 mins.
Liam Devenney Mayo).