Goal scorer Lee Treacy in action for Mooncoin during their victory over Dicksboro
It was a 39-year wait for victory, which made the offering pleasing enough in itself, but the near amazing route taken to success added to the delight and almost led to the roof being lifted off the stands at Nowlan Park.
A brace of goals within 90 seconds of each other with a little over two minutes remaining ultimately carried Mooncoin to a stunning victory in this terrific Kilkenny minor hurling Roinn A championship final at Nowlan Park on Sunday.
Ten minutes from the end Dicksboro were looking their 11th Roinn A success squarely in the face after flying midfielder and free taker, Liam Moore punished a foul on Cian Rowe to drill them a comfortable 2-12 to 0-12 ahead.
Mooncoin, to their credit, had been chasing hard throughout the half, even if the scoring returns didn’t reflect their dogged efforts. But in the final straight they produced an explosion of effort and scores to upend the opposition as they snatched their eight championship win, and first since 1979.
The charge to victory started with a point from Sean O’Dwyer. Then on 53 minutes the bungle of talent that is Lee Treacy caught the ball from a long free by the mighty Aidan Doyle, and he made space to the right at the country end to plunder a goal (2-12 to 1-13).
On roared Mooncoin. Treacy nabbed the next point, a great effort that prompted an even greater cheer as the huge Mooncoin following lit up the old house.
With 57.50 showing on the clock James Delahunty got a high shot off at the target, and when the goalie tried to take down the ball it got away from him.
Sub Darragh Murphy nipped in to force the sliotar into the net. Mooncoin were in front for the first time since the second minute, 2-14 to 2-12.
The cheers had barely died down when match star, Killian Hogan, won a ball in midfield and lashed it forward. There to take it from the sky to the right of goal was Lee Treacy.
He was in such hot form he couldn’t miss. He didn’t!
“When we went in two goals down at half-time we knew we had the heart to come back,” insisted the outstanding Killian Hogan, a driving force in midfield. “We kept hurling, kept hurling. Eventually things came right.
“This is the stuff of which dreams are made. This was the first time for some of our players to play in Nowlan Park, and there was a fear the occasion might get to them. It didn’t,” beamed the Kilkenny minor star.
Team captain Cormac Kinsella added: “We were training for three weeks with nothing but this match on our minds. The big finish didn’t surprise. This teams never gives up. Our season has been all about hard work and determination.
“At half-time it was hard to see a way back. But the four team officials told us to put that half behind us because it was 30 minutes to glory. The players believed. They (selectors) believed in us and we believed in them.
“That was our season. Every team we played we believed we could beat them,” he said when he explained the journey began in the snow last January. “This group never won anything before but this year we knew we were going to do something special.”
Drama such as this brings out the best in a rural parish. The whole of Mooncoin was smiling on Sunday evening. And games such as this show us again the gift hurling can be to us all.
Dicksboro conceded the first score, a point from a free by Killian Hogan following a chop on the hurley of Mairtín Gannon. The losers replied through nice stick man, Aran Treacy Murphy before the same player and Hogan traded points.
When Michael Clifford got to the end of a delivery from Treacy Murphy in the 10th minute and a defender fell as he turned, the Dicksboro No. 13 won a metre of space to unleash a piledriver from close range. The net shook (1-2 to 0-2).
The losers moved along nicely after that with David Conway, Liam Moore, Treacy Murphy, Cian Rowe and Michael Clifford all hurling very well.
When Clifford bagged a second goal just on half-time after a defender missed an attempted pull on a ground ball, he fired the ’Boro into an interval lead of 2-7 to 0-7.
Mooncoin shot out of traps in the new half. After only 25 seconds Killian Hogan made a powerful break from midfield and set up a chance for Lee Treacy, but his rocket of a shot was turned away brilliantly by goalie Brian Manogue.
Mooncoin went close again on 33 minutes. This time Treacy got in a deep cross from the right, but Mairtín Gannon arrived a split second late to get to the end of it with the goal at his mercy.
Still, with Hogan hurling the proverbial blinder, and Aidan Doyle not too far behind, while Cormac Kinsella, Sean O’Dwyer, Ryan Carroll and Lee Treacy were also in top form, Mooncoin dominated.
Their scoring returns of four points from O’Dwyer, Oisín Henebery and Hogan (2) didn’t flatter them as they kept the opposition scoreless until the 43rd minute.
Dicksboro badly needed their first score of the half, a great effort from a bad angle virtually on the right sideline by Michael Clifford because they had just missed a handy free and the pressure was mounting.
They added a quick second point through Aran Treacy Murphy to up the divide to 2-9 to 0-11 as they regained their composure.
Hogan and Liam Moore traded minors after that before young Moore completed a hat-trick of points during a five minute spell to leave it at 2-12 to 0-12 with 10 minutes remaining.
For Mooncoin the glory run was only beginning. For Dicksboro, the scoring well had run dry. The Michael Joyce memorial cup was moving from its St John’s Park home to a new residence in Mooncoin.
SCORERS: Mooncoin - Lee Treacy (2-2); Killian Hogan (0-7, four frees); Sean O’Dwyer (0-3); Darragh Murphy (1-0); James Delahunty, Oisin Henebery (0-1 each).
Dicksboro - Michael Clifford (2-1); Liam Moore (0-5, one free); Aran Treacy Murphy (0-4); Cian Rowe, Kevin Fitzpatrick (0-1 each).
Mooncoin - Donnacha Hogan; Daniel Fewer Ward, Cormac Kinsella (capt), Pauric Delahunty; Ryan Carroll, Aidan Doyle, James Aylward; Killian Hogan, Daniel Cleary; Sean O’Dwyer, James Delahunty, Oisín Henebry; Lee Treacy, Mairtín Gannon, Adam Croke. Sub: Darragh Murphy.
Dicksboro - Brian Manogue; Colm O’Grady, David Conway, Conor Egan; Tom Carroll, Pádraic Moylan, Keith O’Connor; Liam Moore, Colm O’Hara; Aran Treacy Murphy, Cormac Kennedy, Cian Rowe; Michael Clifford, David Delahunty, Kevin Fitzpatrick. Subs: Liam Hennessy, Oisín Timmons, Luke Morrissey.
Referee - Conor Everard (Graigue-Ballycallan)
For more on Kilkenny People sport read here.
Subscribe or register today to discover more from DonegalLive.ie
Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.
Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.