A SUPERB second-half turnaround from Monaleen set up a County Junior A Football Championship final showdown with Croom thanks to an impressive 2-7 to 0-9 victory over Kilteely-Dromkeen in Doon.
It may have been a cold Autumn evening but the football on offering, especially in the second-half, was something to warm the hearts of the healthy crowd in attendance.
But it was those who travelled out from Monaleen who left the happier of the two sets of supporters as second-half goals from the unplayable Mark O’Dwyer and Andrew Le Touche Cosgrave blasted the city side into the championship decider.
Kilteely-Dromkeen had led the Castletroy men by 0-6 to 0-4 following a cagey opening half which saw the first score from play arrive in the twelfth minute but the game came to live as the players returned for the final 30 minutes.
Mark O’Dwyer proved to be the scoring hero for Monaleen with an impressive return of 1-5 in near-perfect conditions in Doon on Tuesday night.
It was O’Dwyer who got his inspiring tally off to a start with the opening score on the game, a well-taken free in the ninth minute.
Kilteely-Dromkeen responded well and as the game opened up, Denis Ahern moved his side in to a two-point lead midway through the opening half.
A duo of scores from O’Dwyer drew the sides level again followed by Ahern’s second free of the game.
Then, Paudie Ahern scored what was arguably the point of the game as he turned his marker to reinstate the two-point margin, 0-5 to 0-3.
Ahern and Brian Carson exchanged scores to make it 0-6 to 0-4 in favour of Kilteely-Dromkeen at half-time.
Monaleen’s low-scoring first-half was a direct result of five wides, compared to just one wide from Kilteely-Dromkeen, a statistic that reduced substantially to one during a more clinical second-half for the Castletroy men.
Kilteely-Dromkeen never really got going after the break and were quickly punished for their lacklustre start to the half when Ross O’Neill’s side were awarded a penalty early on.
Mark O’Dwyer gave Matthew Corbett no chance to edge his side ahead by the narrowest of margins and Monaleen didn’t look back from here on in.
Further boosting his soaring confidence, O’Dwyer followed the penalty goal with a point from play and his third free of the evening to put three between the sides, 1-6 to 0-6.
A physically strong Kilteely-Dromkeen were tiring and the men in red and white took full advantage with ten minutes to go, a well-worked team effort that opened the margin to six points.
O’Dwyer was involved again in Monaleen’s second goal of the game, linking up well with Andrew Le Touche Cosgrave who found the net after a rebounded save to put the result beyond any doubt.
Credit to Kilteely-Dromkeen, the East Limerick men finished the game strong and two frees from Denis O’Dea and a point from play narrowed the deficit to four points but it was too little too late as Monaleen booked their spot in the Limerick Junior A Football Championship final.
MONALEEN: Mark O’Dwyer 1-5 (three frees, one penalty), Andrew Le Touche Cosgrave 1-0 Brian Carson 0-1 (one free), Lorcan Lyons 0-1
KITEELY DROMKEEN: Denis Ahern 0-5 (three frees), Denis O’Dea 0-3 (two frees), Paudie Ahern 0-1
Monaleen: James Regan Magnier; Jamie Porter, Dave Maloney, Eoin O’Shea; Aaron Kennedy, Ed Doyle, Daniel Hession; Lorcan Lyons, Andrew Le Touche Cosgrave; Darragh Neville, Niall Loughran, Brian Carson; Cian Clohessy, Mark O’Dwyer, Alex O’Donogue
Kiteely Dromkeen: Matthew Corbett; Shane Smalle, Paudie O’Keefe, James Dalaigh; Brian O’Grady, Fionn Murphy, Michael Meehan; Danny Holton, Danny Gleeson; Paudie Ahern, David Murphy, Cathal Finucane; Denis O’Dea, Denis Ahern, Brian O’Connell.
Referee: Richard Moloney (Bruff)