The Mooncoin team that won the Leinster Junior hurling title this afternoon
Mooncoin made it a second Leinster Junior hurling title in five years when they ran out 4-13 to 0-15 winners over Shamrocks of Offaly in UPMC Nowlan Park.
Patrick Walsh was the Mooncoin star on the day as he netted a hat-trick of goals in a final tally of 3-6 as the Mooncoin forward threat eventually made their class count.
Walsh’s opening half goal was key as Mooncoin maintained a one point lead at the break with Nigel Dunne the Shamrocks ace up front as he finished with ten points from placed balls.
Mooncoin had scored 17 goals in their last four games and they added three more in the second period to move clear but Shamrocks will look back on Walsh’s effort in the 50th minute with a bit of regret as it looked as if full back Conor Condron had earlier being fouled and there was only four points between the sides at the time.
Mairtin Gannon was the other goal scorer for Mooncoin but they know they will need to improve if they are to reach an All-Ireland final at the beginning of February.
The final scoreline is pretty unjust on the Shamrocks effort after they competed valiantly for over three quarters of the contest.
The Offaly club can still look back on a very successful few months and their main objective will be to get out of the Offaly Intermediate championship later in the season.
Despite Mooncoin knocking over a free within seconds of the start when Martin O’Neill fired over from distance, it was an opening few minutes that was dictated by Shamrocks.
A point from play by Shane O’Toole-Greene came between a brace of frees from the stick of former Offaly footballer Nigel Dunne as the outsiders moved into a 0-3 to 0-1 lead.
Patrick Walsh and Conor Moran then exchanged efforts before Ciaran Quilty got Mooncoin’s first point from play in the 9th minute.
Dunne then brought his tally to three points with another free but Mooncoin rallied towards the end of the first quarter.
A Patrick Walsh score brought the Kilkenny side within a point and the full forward struck for the game’s opening goal in the 14th minute when he latched onto a break from a sideline cut to fire past Niall Darcy and give his team a 1-4 to 0-5 lead at the first water break.
Dunne replied with a free for Shamrocks before three points on the bounce from Quilty, O’Neill and Patrick Walsh moved Mooncoin four points clear.
Shamrocks battled back though and after a series of frees from the super accurate Dunne as well as a point from play by Shane O’Toole-Greene, there was only a point between the teams at the break (1-8 to 0-10).
Shamrocks had the aid of a strong breeze at their backs in the second period but Mooncoin rocked them with a quickfire 1-1 with an Adam Croke point followed up by a goal for Mairtin Gannon after Patrick Walsh set up the centre forward to finish.
Nigel Dunne then added on two more frees to reduce the gap back to three points before a series of scoreless play resulted until Jim Delahunty pointed from distance and Patrick Walsh rather controversially added his second goal.
Walsh’s effort in the 50th minute came as a result of Shamrocks full back Conor Condron appearing to be fouled but referee Caymon Flynn waved play on and the Mooncoin sharpshooter made no mistake in finding the net.
That left Mooncoin with a 3-10 to 0-12 advantage at the second water break and they didn’t look back from there with Walsh completing his hat-trick in the 52nd minute after blasting the sliotar into the top corner.
Shamrocks replied late on with points from Dunne, Stephen Malone and David Molloy but it was Mooncoin’s day with Walsh adding on another two points before sub Lee Treacy rounded off the scoring.
Mooncoin will now go forward to play Salthill-Knocnacarra in the All-Ireland junior semi-final in two weeks time.
Teams and Scorers
Mooncoin- Patrick Walsh (3-6, 0-2f), Mairtin Gannon (1-0), Ciaran Quilty (0-2), Martin O’Neill (0-2, 0-1f, 0-1 65), Jim Delahunty, Lee Treacy and Adam Croke (0-1 each)
Shamrocks- Nigel Dunne (0-10, 0-10f), Shane O’Toole-Greene (0-2), Stephen Malone, Conor Moran and David Molloy (0-1 each)
Mooncoin- Eoin Purcell; Aidan Doyle, Shane Walsh, Mark Kearns; Jim Delahunty, Martin O’Neill, Cormac Daly; Conor Brophy, Sean Gannon; Ciaran Quilty, Mairtin Gannon, John Fitzgerald; Adam Croke, Patrick Walsh, Killian Hogan.
Subs: Sean O’Dwyer for S.Walsh 27 mins, Kevin Crowley for Brophy 42 mins, Oisin Henebery for Croke 56 mins, Lee Treacy for P.Walsh 59 mins.
Shamrocks- Niall Darcy; Jack Molloy, Conor Condron, Sean Cantwell; Stephen Malone, Cal Ahearne, Padraig Cantwell; Dan Heffernan, Alan Foster, Conor Moran, Daragh Minnock, Shane Heffernan; David Molloy, Shane O’Toole-Greene, Nigel Dunne.
Subs: Adrian Minnock for Heffernan 10 mins, Darren Meacle for D.Minnock 45 mins.
Referee- Caymon Flynn (Westmeath)
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