Achieving their target thanks to a gritty performance and a well organised drive, victory was well deserved for there was more energy and purpose to Knocknagree play, the finer aspects saw the good epitomised by the structure which the Cork champions brought to the assignment.
Two goals in the opening half proved the springboard for success, the win secures Knocknagree a place in the decider against Westmeath’s Multfarnham.
Knocknagree were quick to establish control confirmed in the 6th min., a James Dennehy effort took a deflection off a defender into the roof of the net.
The Cork champions held a solid workrate through the O’Connor brothers, Kealan Buckley and Michael Mahoney in defence, the grafting play of Danny Cooper and Padraig Collins at midfield with Eoghan McSweeney, Anthony O’Connor and John F Daly full of running in attack.
At times, Knocknsgree shot frustrating wides only for McSweeney to shoot a pair of marvellous long range points. Naomh Colmcille got off the mark thanks to pointed frees from team captain Willie Gillespie.
However they faced an uphill task from the 25th min., Anthony O’Connor pressure turned over the ball, allowing Daly the easiest of tasks to goal, Knocknagree ahead 2-4 to 0-3 at the break.
Knocknagree continued to hold the upperhand on the restart, extending their position from points to Anthony and Fintan O’Connor. In fairness, Naomh Colmcille attempted to stem the tide on pointed frees to Gillespie and Daniel Clarke.
When danger threatened, Knocknagree repelled a number of onslaughts as McSweeney and Matthew Dilworth found the targets.
Tensions simmered during the latter stages, Naomh Colmcille’s William and Michael Lynch incurring red cards.
: J Dennehy 1-0, J F Daly 1-0, E McSweeney 0-3, F O’Connor 0-2, A O’Connor 0-2, D Moynihan, M Dilworth 0-1 each.
: W Gillesepie 0-4f, M Crossan 0-2, D Clarke 0-1f.
: P Doyle; M Mahoney, Gary O’Connor, K Buckley, K Daly, D Moynihan, P O’Connor; D Cooper, P Collins; J Dennehy, E McSweeney, F O’Connor; M Dilworth, J F Daly, A O’Connor.
: A Sheehan for K Daly(28 bc), C White for D Cooper(ht inj), T Cooper for McSweeney(56 inj), C O’Leary for Collins(61), T Long for J F Daly(61).
: J Roulstone; A Devenney, R Hegarty, G Curran; K Gallagher, C Devine, P Friel; M Lynch, D Clarke; J Fullerton, R McErlean, O Hilley; M Crossan, W Gillespie, W Lynch.
: M Friel for G Curran(ht), E Gillespie for Gallagher(37).
: J Gilmartin (Sligo).