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City JA Football Final ends all square

posted 19 Dec 2010, 03:42 by Unknown user

Milford v Monaleen – City Junior A Final, Sept 26th 2010

Near neighbours and rivals Milford and Monaleen made the short trip to St Patrick’s GAA grounds, Rhebogue to contest the 2010 City Junior A Final. In a repeat of the pairing from the 2009 decider, Milford were looking to avenge their defeat and win a first ever Junior A crown. On an overcast, but dry day, Milford had first use of a slight breeze and attacked the riverside goal.

The opening quarter of the match was a free-flowing affair, embellished with some good scores from play, most notably a Ger Collins point after a great run by Tony Crosse, while Monaleen skipper Ross O’Neill picked up two points to keep his side in the hunt. Both sides enjoyed periods of dominance at midfield, with Dominic Joyce making some excellent clean catches for Milford and John Bartley working hard for the holders. A fine angled effort from Milford’s John Doheny after 15 minutes levelled the scores at 0-5 apiece.

Milford dominated the following ten minutes, adding four of the next five points, with Mike Hayes, who was very prominent in defence, unlucky to see another effort rebound wide off an upright. However, the Light Blues were also indebted to goalkeeper Kevin Keenan, who made two point blank saves in the space of a minute, to keep his side on top. After Liam O’Keeffe’s neat finish from a long Dominic Joyce delivery made it 0-9 to 0-6 in Milford’s favour, Monaleen struck for a goal, drilled into the roof of the net by Diarmuid McCarthy, to tie the game up again. Despite this blow, Milford finished the half in the ascendancy, thanks to a third score from play by Doheny.

Half-time score: Milford 0-10 Monaleen 1-6

The second half begin with further Milford pressure, with the challengers’ halfbacks and midfield on top. Crucially though, just one point was added to their lead, through a Ger Collins free, with the goalposts denying Nathan McGinty and Liam O’Keeffe in the same attack. Monaleen punished their opponents lack of scoring with a run of four unanswered points (two apiece by O’Neill and Donal O’Byrne), to reclaim the lead, 1-10 to 0-11. Shortly after opening their two point lead, however, Monaleen were reduced to 14 men, as one of their recently-introduced substitutes received a straight red card from referee Mike Mann .

Another Collins free reduced Milford’s deficit to one point, but they were rocked when a long ball was calmly finished to the net by McCarthy for his and his side’s second goal. Now trailing by four points with just over six minutes remaining, Milford used their extra man to pin Monaleen into their half and began to chip away at their opponents’ advantage. Two points by Collins (the second a great team score) and one by Mark O’Keeffe left just the minimum difference between the sides, as the game ticked into injury time. Driven on by Mike Hayes and substitute Brian Kelly, Milford managed to create a final chance for Collins, who steadied himself before guiding over a superb equaliser. Referee Mann’s final whistle sounded on the kick out, to leave the two sides facing a replay in six days time.

Final-time score: Milford 0-16 Monaleen 2-10

Milford team and scorers:

Kevin Keenan, Eamonn Hawe (c), Alan Hayes, Tony Crosse, Al Dolan, Mike Hayes (0-1), John Cullinan, Kevin Grant, Dominic Joyce, Ger Collins (0-8, 0-4f), Albert O’Sullivan, John Doheny (0-3), Liam O’Keeffe (0-2), Mark O’Keeffe (0-2), Nathan McGinty

Subs: Brian Kelly for D Joyce, Luke McGinty for J Cullinan