Limerick champions Monaleen reach All-Ireland Junior B decider after thrilling semi-final win:

By Cormac Thompson Limerick Leader Sport

LIMERICK champions Monaleen advanced to the final of the All-Ireland Junior B Hurling series after battling to a 0-17 to 0-14 extra-time victory over Ballinasloe, of Galway, in Killeedy on Saturday afternoon.

Monaleen are now set to face Drom-Inch in the All-Ireland final in a quick-fire repeat of their nail-biting Munster final which the Tipperary side won in the most dramatic of fashion.

Ballinasloe were the first to a path towards goal in the opening minute of Saturday’s All-Ireland semi-final against Monaleen.

However, Evan Hayes’ could only watch as his effort flashed narrowly wide.

Both sides’ free takers were prominent early and would remain so for the remainder of the contest. Max Ivory was on duty for Monaleen as he traded scores with his counterpart Cathal O’Hanlon in the opening quarter.

Craig Keighery got the game’s first score from play from just inside his own half. Ivory and O’Hanlon then resumed service with a plethora a frees before Ivory got Monaleen’s first from play with a brilliant step to create separation between him and his marker, it was a score that would have his side leading by 0-7 to 0-6 at the break.

The second half was fiercely contested. All of Ballinasloe’s scores in the second period came from O’Hanlon fees.

At the other end of the pitch, Max Ivory was also on target four more times for the Limerick side.
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A Conall O’Duinn point from play broke the sequence. O’Hanlon’s ultimate levelling score came four minutes into added time.

Ivory had an opportunity to win it in normal time, but his effort fell agonisingly short. The teams would return for extra time after finishing tied, Monaleen 0-12 Ballinasloe 0-12 at the end of normal time.

The first period of extra-time was expectedly nervy. Ivory found the target early in the first period, before he bookended with another score to edge his side the Limerick city side in front.

Monaleen maintained their lead throughout the second period of extra time as substitute Harry Gleeson produced the score of the game, striking from a difficult angle on the right. His side couldn’t have asked for a better insurance score, leaving Monaleen three point winners.

SCORERS: Monaleen: Max Ivory 0-15 (0-14 frees), Conall O’Duinn, Harry Gleeson 0-1 each. Ballinasloe: Cathal O’Hanlon 0-11 (0-11 frees), Craig Keighery 0-2, Evan Hayes 0-1.