Mountnugent continue to impress
Junior Football Championship
Kevin Óg Carney at Kingspan Breffni
Mountnugent’s JFC challenge received yet another injection at Kingspan Breffni on Sunday last when they enjoyed a workmanlike victory over a disappointing Redhills crew.
With maximum points to their name going into the game, Mountnugent were expected to win and they duly did so even if it was a tad more laboured than it ought to have been.
Mountnugent were the more consistent team with each sector of their team having their moments while Redhills were far too fitful around the field and after going behind by the odd point in seven at the 13th minute never really looked like gaining parity or better.
In perfect playing conditions, this was a match that was a feisty, exciting contest with the eventual winners not flattered by their six point winning margin.
Faster, fitter and with a lightning rod in the form of Adam Rehill leading the line, Mountnugent were full of energy but that was matched by their ambition and grit.
Redhills weren’t short of determination or application but a dearth in speed-of-the-mark and a consistent threat in the last third of the field greatly undermined their intent.
The long-time chasing team opened sprightly though and they manufactured the first goal opportunity of the game after just three minutes when Turloc Mooney fetched high above his marker and shot on the turn but Mountnugent ‘keeper Hennessy saved smartly. The ball was immediately worked up field and Ben Brunton kicked a fine point to cancel out Conor McCaffrey’s opener.
The sides shared six points after 11 minutes before Paddy Finnegan edged (13) Mountnugent into a lead they were never to subsequently relinquish.
Anxious to gain more leverage in the middle third, the Redhills selectors switched Packie Leddy and Mooney but the winners-elect weren’t for ruffling.
The sight of a succession of shots being under hit, dropping short and spawning counter-attacks continued to pock-mark proceedings as the first half galloped forward.
The chasing team engineered the best goal chance of the first half when Conor McCaffrey was put through by Sean Martin but the former’s shot only left the side-netting billowing.
Redhills had the better of things on the possession front in the early part of the second quarter as they sought to eat into their opponents’ 0-6 to 0-3 lead at the first sos uisce but their problem lay in finishing off moves that deserved the raising of a flag.
At the other end of the field, Mountnugent were, literally, hit and miss with their efforts on goal and, as a consequence, Redhills always had more than a degree of hope and ambition about their play.
That said, when Adam Rehill rifled over a glorious free from over 40 metres in the 25th minute to extend his side’s lead to 0-7 to 0-3, the prospect of Redhills needing a goal to get something from the match became all too real.
Packie Leddy ended a 26 minute barren period when pointing on the half-hour to leave it a five point game (0-4 to 0-9) and a brace from Mooney in the opening six minutes after the interval, things looked up for Redhills. Sadly the enforced departure of Mooney in the 38th minute greatly reduced Redhill’s options thereafter.
Redhills worked overtime to keep hold of Mountnugent’s shirt tails but when Rehill broke through a couple of powder puff tackles to fire over and make it 0-11 to 0-7 at the three quarter hour mark, Redhills looked in dire trouble.
A great double save by Niall Martin from Cormac Fagan in the 47th minute kept Redhills in the match and when Cormac Brides pointed to make it 0-11 to 0-9, the prospect of a comeback looked large on the horizon.
But with eager beavers like Ned Brunton and Paddy Finnegan enjoyed hoovering up an immense amount of breaking ball in the midfield area for Mountnugent, the status quo would remain with points from messrs. Fagan, Caffrey and Rehill doing the necessary.
With four minutes left to play, Mark Sexton threatened to let fly on the Mountnugent goal but the aforementioned Finnegan put in a timely tackle and that was it bar the shouting from the winners’ camp.
Redhills’ misery was completed late on with the double dismissal of Rory Dunne and Sean Martin.
Mountnugent: Liam Hennessy (0-1, f); Chris Drumm, Tom Brady, Owen Gibson; Ben Brunton (0-1), Eoghan Smith, Paddy Finnegan (0-1); Josh O’Reilly, Ramon Finnegan; Ciaran Caffrey (0-1), Ned Brunton (0-1), Leo Campbell; Adam Rehill (0-8, 3f), David Sheridan, Ciaran McCabe.
Subs; Cormac Fagan (0-2) for L Campbell; Robert McCabe for D Sheridan; Frank Conaty for P Finnegan; Conor McCabe for C Caffrey; Jack Brady for N Brunton.
Redhills: Niall Martin; Andrew Dunne, Derek Fay, Shane Jenkins; Michael Smith, Aaron Monaghan, Thomas Moran; Cormac Brides (0-1), Packie Leddy (0-1); Conor McCaffrey (0-1), Paul Martin (0-1, f), Luke McEntee; Jack Dunne (0-2, f), Turloc Mooney (0-3, 3f), Sean Martin.
Subs; Rory Dunne for T Moran; Colm Reilly for A Monaghan; Mark Sexton for C McCaffrey; Martin Brady for T Mooney (inj).