Knocknagree were pushed to the wire before eventually getting the better of St Vincent’s in a thrilling Premier Intermediate football championship clash at Donoughmore.
The city side gave their all but when the Knocknagree substitute Gearoid Looney got on the end of a good assist from David O’Connor with ten minutes remaining, his opportunist goal finally killed off the Vincent’s challenge.
The Saints got the perfect start in the second minute when a superb move ended with Anthony O’Callaghan billowing the back of the net.
Knocknagree responded on their next possession with a superb Eoghan McSweeney point that was quickly followed by a similar Fintan O’Connor white flag.
Vincent’s, playing against the wind, looked under pressure and they had goalkeeper Paddy O’Shea to thank for denying Denis O’Connor a certain goal when he parried his shot over the bar in the 10th minute.
After going 12 minutes without a score the Saints responded with a classy Anthony Harte point before Denis O’Connor added his second to tie the game a minute later.
Despite having the majority of possession, Knocknagree kicked four consecutive wides and five minutes before the interval they found themselves trailing by the minimum.
Luckily for Knocknagree they found their shooting boots in the four minutes of added time as three consecutive points from John F Daly (2) and Denis O’Connor saw them go in at the break commanding a 0-8 to 1-2 lead.
The city side got the perfect start when John Paul Murphy kicked a superb point just two minutes after the restart and when Blake Murphy kicked a free three minutes later the lead was reduced to the minimum.
Blake is the son of John Paul and despite the elder lemon giving his usual all he found the going hard against a resilient Knocknagree defence.
Vincent’s challenge petered out in the closing quarter when Wayne Long, who was having a solid game at centre-field, had to off injured and they struggled for possession for the remainder of the game.
The game was still in the balance but that all changed with the Long goal in the 50th minute.
It was clear that Vincent’s lacked ideas how to break down the solid Knocknagree defence although manager John Fintan Daly wasn’t overly impressed with the Knocknagree performance.
“I honestly felt we were very flat and on the day were lucky that we put in a solid performance in the last quarter when Vincent’s lost some of their zest,” said Daly.
We have brought six U21 players to this team and that’s the secret when you have the ambitions to play at the top level of football and for a population of 600, I think we are certainly battling very hard at a decent level of football.
G Looney (1-0); F O’Connor (0-3 1 free); J F Daly (0-3); D O’Connor (0-3); E McSweeney (0-2); J Dennehy, David O’Connor (0-1 each).
B Murphy (0-3, 2 frees); A O’Callaghan (1-0); A Harte (0-2); D Duggan, J P Murphy (0-1 each).
P Doyle; M Doyle, D O’Mahony, G O’Connor; D Cooper, K Buckley, M Mahoney; D O’Connor, D Moynihan; J Dennehy, J Dennehy, E McSweeney, F O’Connor; D O’Connor, J F Daly, M Dilworth.
G Looney for M Dilworth (inj h-t)
P O’Shea; D O’Regan, A O’Callaghan, D Fenton; K Mullen, G McCarthy, S Duggan; W Long, A O’Callaghan; A Harte, D Duggan, D O’Connor; K Lynch, B Murphy, J P Murphy.
P O’Sullivan for W Long (45), K Sorensen for S Duggan (48), C Caufield for K Mullen (50), J Price for J P Murphy (51), R Fielding for D Sorensen (52).
D Whelan (Aghada).