The opening 30 minutes pointed towards a fairytale success for a club more accustomed to hurling crowns in recent seasons. Boosted by a cracking Liam Costello goal in the 18th minute along with points from James Hickey and Mickey Lyons, Adare were 1-5 to 0-4 ahead at the interval as Monaleen fumbled and stumbled around the pitch.
Only the free-taking of Gavin (3) and a Jason O’Brien effort kept the city outfit in touch.
Even winning manager Ger Lawlor admitted that many of his charges were fearful the game was slipping away from them as they gathered in the dressing room. Lawlor admitted: “We were nervous in the first half and we made an awful lot of mistakes – basic mistakes like giving away the ball. Their goal was from a mistake. But we had a bit of a chat at half-time. Some lads were sniping at one another and blaming one another. But we said we were good enough to win it and we stuck to our plan to get the ball in fast and it worked out. We got the goal off Jason (O’Brien) and Cormac (Joyce Power) kicked two great points that brought us back into it.”
Monaleen were a different force on the restart. Inspired by half-back trio Eoin Keating, Barry Fitzpatrick and sub Padraig Quinn, they began to eliminate the errors, suffocate the Adare attack, and crucially found their scoring touch at the other end. Excellent points from Jason O’Brien and Cormac Joyce Power and a great point from a free from a very acute angle by Muiris Gavin had them level (1-5 to 0-8) before the game’s turning point in the 49th minute.
Monaleen midfielder Brian Geary found himself in oceans of space as Adare had lost their shape throughout the pitch. He flighted a long ball into O’Brien, who had dropped in behind the defence. He calmly rolled the ball past Barry Toomey for a goal which changed the complexion of the tie.
Monaleen defended brilliantly in the closing stages while Adare, who failed to score in the second half, were guilty of four terrible wides in the closing stages. Gavin landed his fifth point of the afternoon in the final minute to seal another title for Lawlor’s side.
“Our backs were brilliant in the second half,” Lawlor continued. “Finbarr Nash was outstanding, Darren Burke did very well as did Barry Fitzpatrick. Padraig Quinn did very well when he came in for Jack (Hoare) and he is normally a half-forward but played wing back for Limerick minors. A lot of people give out about Monaleen saying we have lads from everywhere. We don’t. We had 13 lads out there today who were born and bred in Monaleen and we came out to the west to beat a west team. And we did that.”
Scorers for Monaleen: J. O’Brien 1-2, M. Gavin 0-5 (frees), C. Joyce Power 0-2.
Scorers for Adare: L. Costello 1-0, J. Hickey 0-3 (frees), M. Lyons and C. Fitzgerald (free) 0-1 each.
MONALEEN: D. O’Sullivan; D. Bourke, P. King, F. Nash; E. Keating, B. Fitzpatrick, J. Hoare; B. Geary, P. Kinnerk; P. Burrell, L. Kavanagh, C. Joyce Power; M. Gavin, J. O’Brien, M. Crowley.
Sub: P. Quinn for J. Hoare (29).
ADARE: B. Toomey; C. Cribbin, D. Mordan, M. Clifford; W. McNamara, S Lavin, F. Kelleher; P. Keane, J. Hickey; D. Sheehan, D. Lavin, C. Fitzgerald; L. Costello, M. Lyons, N. Mulvihill.
Subs: W. Griffin for P. Keane (6); D. Sexton for W. Griffin (55), P. Lavin for W. McNamara (59).
Referee: D. Enright (Dromin/Athlacca).