On a beautiful August Sunday morning, and a perfectly presented pitch in Mooncoin, the big crowd were treated to a highly entertaining Junior A semi-final.
It was a game that had a bit of everything: fine scores, great defending, some heavy hits and a dramatic finish.
Mooncoin opened the brighter. James Aylward started as he meant to continue, breaking forward from wing back to open the scoring.
By the first water break they had six different scorers on the board, helping them to a 0-7 to 0-4 lead.
After the break they threatened to pull away, opening up a 0-11 to 0-6 lead by the 25th minute.
Goal chances were appearing at either end: Shane Fennelly bore down on the Mooncoin goal a couple of times but Nicky Hennebry at full back was resolute, while Richie Power rescued Carrickshock more than once with some outstanding saves.
The last few minutes of the half belonged to Carrickshock. They sent over three unanswered points to leave just two between them at half time, 0-11 to 0-9.
The opening to the second half saw more good work from Carrickshock to finally draw level 0-12 each on 36 minutes.
However, this seemed to spur on Mooncoin again, and two points either side of a goal from the consistent dangerman Lee Treacy had them back in front by five points on 44 minutes, 1-14 to 0-12.
In such a close-run contest that looked to be enough. But Carrickshock had other ideas.
When Padraig Lennon sent over a long range effort just before the second water break it was back to a one score game, 1-14 to 0-14.
The Mooncoin defence was being stretched now, but they were holding out, with the help of a post on one occasion to keep out a superb ground strike from Jamie Power.
With just seven minutes left the margin was still three points. But the Carrickshock doggedness eventually paid off and four points in five minutes put them in front with just two minutes remaining, 0-18 to 1-14.
And still there was time for more drama. James Delahunty had just been introduced for Mooncoin and, with some slick handpassing, they worked the ball to him in a bit of space on the edge of the square.
He made no mistake and Mooncoin were back in front. Jamie Power, who was deadly from placed balls throughout, reduced it to the minimum with a pointed free in injury time.
Mooncoin fought tigerishly to win the resultant puck out and saw the game out. It was a win they just about deserved, thanks to a fine spread of scorers and plenty of hard-working defenders to keep a clean sheet.
They go on to next week’s final against Dunnamaggin who themselves had an impressive 1-21 to 2-11 semi-final victory over Thomastown.
The final will take place at UPMC Nowlan Park on Sunday afternoon with a 5pm throw-in.
Mooncoin: Donnchadh Hogan, Cormac Kinsella, Nicky Hennebry, Liam Hennebry, James Aylward (0-1), Conor Brophy, Seamus Kearns, Ethan Ryan (0-5, 0-2f), Sean O Dwyer, Adam Croke (0-2), Martin Gannon (0-1), Oisin Hennebry (0-1), Lee Treacy (1-3, 0-2f), Stephen Wall, Danny Purcell (0-1). Subs: Ryan Carroll, Sean Wall, James Delahunty (1-0).
Carrickshock: Richie Power, Jamie Barron, Oisin Carroll, Eddie Dunphy, Aaron O’Neill, Shane Power, Luke Hudson, Sean Grace, Padraig Lennon (0-4), Barry Lennon (0-2), John Power (Lismatigue) (0-2), Kieran Conway, Rory Doyle, Jamie Power (0-11, 0-8f), Shane Fennelly. Subs: Jack McGuirk, Eoin Crowley, Chris Price.
Referee: John Kennedy (Shamrocks)
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