We started our junior football campaign on Friday night with a game against Cappagh in the Bog Garden. Cappagh won the West – beat us in the final – and County junior championship in 2015 but are back playing in the junior championship again this year. This years championship in the west only includes four teams as Ballyhahill were promoted and other teams have reverted back to junior b.
On Friday night we had a very youthful team in action and from the throw in they played to their strengths and moved the ball quickly. This was matched by the Cappagh players who also opted to kick pass a little more often. Initially our rustiness was shown and we struggled for scores but after some poor efforts Ciaran got us off the mark with a couple of well struck frees. The work-rate of our players in the middle lines was impressive and we turned over the ball on a number of occasions. Eventually our pressure payed off and Evan, Michael and Shane were rewarded with goals. Cappagh pulled one goal back from a penalty before the break. The half time score was Monagea 3-5 Cappagh 1-3.
Facing a slight breeze, we were glad of the lead but the boys continued their high work-rate and created a number of very good opportunities, most of which fell to Jason, who scored some nice points. We contained the Cappagh forwards until the mid-point of the half when they struck for their second goal. Over the remainder of the half, both sides scored some nice points but the win was ours and the final score finished Monagea 3-14 Cappagh 2-9
We played Adare in the second round of the West Junior Hurling Championship on Sunday night in the Bog Garden. On the night Adare were missing a number of players for different reasons, so well done to them for fielding. The night itself was dry but a strong wind blew into the town goals. We played against it, but from the off we dominated proceedings and in the first couple of attacks picked up a goal and a point. This trend continued for the first fifteen minutes and we continued to score freely. Adare got back into the game in the last ten minutes of the half but our backs were working well and limited the damage to points. The half time score was Monagea 5-7 Adare 0-6.
With the benefit of the wind in the second half we continued to control the game and concentrated on scoring points. We picked off some good scores but were also guilty of over elaboration and some bad scoring attempts. The final score was Monagea 6-19 Adare 0-8.
We played Tournafulla in the first round of this year’s championship on Sunday in Coolryoe. On a blustery day that made life difficult for scorers, the conditions were excellent with a quick and even surface.
We started poorly and after losing a number of possessions, conceded a soft goal. We continued to play second fiddle for the first quarter and could have been farther behind except for a little good fortune and some good pressure on the Tour shooters. Mainly through the conversion of frees, we played our way back into the game and were unlucky not to score a goal when Shane’s effort was turned out for a sixty five. We finished the first half a goal in arrears on a score of 1-6 to 0-6.
We made a good start to the second half, winning a deal of possession but missed a number of chances to reduce the deficit. We continued to gain a lot of possession and slowly reduced the gap. Midway way through the half we took the lead and we were in a strong position to go further ahead but that did not happen for a number of reasons. Tour fought their way back into the game and finished strongly. The game finished all-square on a score of Tour 1-10 Monagea 0-13. Both teams will be content with a point and so look forward to the remaining three games in the championship. Considering the poor start that we made to the game, we relied on our work-rate to drag us back into it and can be happy that the new players from last year are blending into the team.