Archer seals Limerick Premier U21 hurling title for Mungret St Paul’s in added time:

By John Keogh Limerick Leader

MUNGRET ST Paul’s are Premier U21 hurling champions following a late rally that saw off Monaleen in the final at Mick Neville Park this Wednesday evening.

Brian Begley’s side hadn’t led since the fourth minute until Cillian Archer put them a point clear in added time, effectively sealing the win. Liam Lynch’s free was the insurance score in the 0-14 to 0-12 win.

Monaleen, aided by a huge gale, led by four at the break and were six to the good early in the second half but Mungret chipped away at that advantage with Lynch’s prowess from placed balls proving vital.

Archer stepped up when needed most to land the clinching point from 50 metres to continue the clubs’ sensational year. The two sides meet in a Premier U21 football semi-final on Friday evening.

Lynch’s early score was cancelled out by Matthew Fitzgerald’s first for Monaleen but the conditions ensured any free flowing hurling almost impossible.

Ronan Lyons and Eoghan O’Driscoll soon had Monaleen in to the good but a Fintan Fitzgerald score brought Mungret to within a point 17 minutes on the clock.

Monaleen eventually managed to turn the screw with Donnacha Ó Dálaigh, Fitzgerald and from Lyons putting them into a 0-7 to 0-3 advantage.Two Lynch frees kept Mungret ticking over but two in response by Lyons had Monaleen leading by four at half time.

Despite having the conditions against them in the second half, Monaleen started superbly with a Lyons free and a point from play by substitute Dara Ferland.

Mungret fought hard to claw Monaleen to within touching distance with Fitzgerald, Cian Moloney and two placed balls by Lynch putting two points between the teams.

Begley’s charges then fashioned a goal chance with Lynch and Barry Duff setting up Mark O’Brien but his powerful shot fizzed over the bar to cut the lead to one. A Lynch ’65 then levelled the contest for only the second time.

Ó Dalaigh then had a goal chance for Monaleen after Fitzgerald’s pass but like O’Brien at the other end, the shot sailed just over the crossbar. Lynch then levelled the game at 0-12 apiece with five minutes of regular time remaining.

An almighty battle ensued in the remaining minutes with Archer popping up for Mungret to land the crucial score that adds another trophy to their well stocked cabinet in 2023.

SCORERS – MUNGRET ST PAUL’S: Liam Lynch 0-8 (0-5 frees, 0-2 ’65s), Fintan Fitzgerald 0-2, Darragh O’Hagan, Cian Moloney, Mark O’Brien and Cillian Archer 0-1 each.

SCORERS – MONALEEN: Ronan Lyons 0-5 (0-4 frees, ’65), Donnacha Ó Dálaigh, Eoghan O’Driscoll and Matthew Fitzgerald 0-2 each, Dara Ferland 0-1 each.

MUNGRET ST PAUL’S: David Geary; Eamonn Flahive, Jason Hassett, Cillian Archer; Odhran O’Dwyer, Brian O’Meara, Jack McCarthy; Cian Moloney, Barry Duff; Mark O’Brien, Darragh O’Hagan, Fintan Fitzgerald; John Wright, Liam Lynch, Conor O’Halloran.

SUBS: Sean Duff for Wright (h-t), Diarmuid Hynes for O’Brien (52 mins), Billy Molyneaux for Flahive (55 mins), JJ Harrington for O’Halloran (62 mins).

MONALEEN: Shane Twomey; Conor Carew, Bryan Canny, Darragh Clifford; Noel Clancy, Joe Fitzgerald, Darragh Langan; Conall Ó Duinn, Lochlann McHale; Eoghan O’Driscoll, Ronan Lyons, Donnacha Ó Dálaigh; Ben Crowe, Mark Field, Matthew Fitzgerald.

SUBS: Dara Ferland for Field (29 mins), Ben Hayes for Crowe (49 mins), Ben Murnane for Ó Duinn (58 mins).

REFEREE: Kieran Guina (Feohanagh-Castlemahon)