WHAT a year it has been for Monasterevan. A Keogh Cup, a Kildare Intermediate Football Championship title and a Leinster crown. The final piece of the jigsaw, an All Ireland title, didn’t materialise after they were beaten by Kerry side Finuge at the semi final stage at the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick last Sunday afternoon, writes RUTH CHAMBERS.
Manager Paschal Kellaghan, pictured, was dejected afterwards. So too were his players. They wanted a shot at the national title so badly but Finuge edged them out. Their experience told in the end. That was the real difference between the sides but that didn’t make the pill less bitter.
“I’m gutted to be honest because the game was definitely there for the taking but we didn’t take it. With twelve minutes to go we had a chance to equalise and unfortunately we missed it and they went down the other end and scored a point straight away. At that stage they (Finuge) kind of closed up shop, they caught us on the counter attack twice, got two more scores and pushed on. Against a team like that you can’t really go behind too much because they’ll just close the game out.
“They (Monasterevan) are a good team. They have won a Keogh Cup, a championship and a Leinster titles but today seems like the end of the world. They still had a very, very good year but at the same time Finuge were there for the beating and I wouldn’t fancy them to go on and win an All Ireland to be honest. Maybe they will though,” remarked Kellaghan.
Kerry manage Eamonn Fitzmaurice returned to the starting line up for Sunday’s semi final and although he had a quiet opening half, his experience really told in the second and he was the difference between the two teams.
“We went a point up five minutes in to the second half against the breeze and I thought we looked very comfortable. Unfortunately a bad kick out out a small but of pressure on us and Fitzmaurice scored. For ten or 15 minutes after that Fitzmaurice dominated around the middle, winning dirty ball and breaks and used all his experience. That put us under pressure and it just wasn’t meant to be today,” added the Monasterevan manager.
He added: “With the quality of their forwards and midfielders, if you give them any chance they’ll punish you. These boys won the All Ireland junior title in ’05 and to win a Kerry championship then means they are fairly decent. We did make a lot of unforced errors at crucial times though.”
Monasterevan don’t have much time to turn things around and get back to business at local level. The early season competitions start in just over a fortnight’s time, followed by the Senior Football League and 2013 will be a crucial one for the Blues. In saying that Kellaghan insists his team now need a break but he will be the man to lead them in the senior ranks.
“We’re senior next year and Kildare has one of the most competitive championships in the country so we have to turn around now and freshen this group of players up. Where the club has come from since this time last year is amazing. Twelve months ago the guys were low in confidence and they hadn’t won a championship since ‘77 at senior and an intermediate since ‘73 so that puts it in to perspective. It has been a great year and I hope the people of Monasterevan are very proud of the players.
“I’m committed to Monasterevan for another year and I’m proud to do it. I think I owe it to the club and this group of players and I’m delighted to be staying,” he insisted.