Monaghan Harps win senior hurling shield
Silver Hill Foods Senior Hurling Shield Final
Monaghan Harps 3-11 Clontibret 2-5 29/7/11
Monaghan Harps won senior hurling silverware for the second time in eight days with Friday’s victory over Clontibret in the shield final. The Harps dominated the first half with Alan Lee hitting 2-2 from play and although they conceded two goals in the last ten minutes, they were comfortable winners. Hosts Clontibret were disappointing despite upping their game in the second half, although Fergal and Kieran Greenan and Cormac Connolly showed some good touches. The Harps had seven scorers, with Alan and Raymond Lee, Alan Ryan, Shane Smyth and Patrick Hannon playing central roles.
Neither side scored in the first ten minutes, with the closest call being when Liam Savage had a shot blocked by Harps goalkeeper James Gallagher. Alan Lee, who had come on as a sub early on, opened the scoring in the 11th minute with a fortunate goal when his shot crept took a deflection and crept past Lorcan Murphy. Lee quickly added a point after a good pass by Shane Smyth and although Cormac Connolly got Clontibret off the mark from a 30-metre free, Lee got on the end of a long ball from Alan Ryan to score his second goal. Maurice McKenna hit a brace of fine points, before Niall Flynn hit the point of the game at the end of a well-worked move involving Smyth, Conor Curley and Raymond Lee. McKenna and Cormac Connolly swapped points from 25-metre frees after fouls on Flynn and Shane Magennis, before Alan Lee was denied a hat-trick when Lorcan Murphy was equal to his shot. The Harps pulled further clear in the last minute of the half, though, when a strong run by Flynn set up a point for Conor Curley, which made it 2-7 to 0-2 at the interval.
Connolly got Clontibret’s first score from play within a minute of the restart when he sent over after a short free by Fergal Greenan, but Alan Ryan replied with a fine point from distance. After 11 scoreless minutes for both teams, Connolly converted a 30-metre free for a foul on Shane McNally, but Raymond Lee got a point back after a pass from Rory McCann, who scored his team’s third goal when his attempted cross evaded Alan Lee and Lorcan Murphy and went all the way to the net. McKenna added a point from a free, although Clontibret came back with a point by Connolly and a goal by Fergal Greenan after a Connolly free dropped short. The Harps got their last score when Raymond Lee finished well after linking up with Smyth and although Clontibret found the net late on through a low shot by substitute Mick O’Dowd, there was still nine points between the teams at the full-time whistle. Harps captain Maurice McKenna accepted the cup from Liam Stirrat as the county-town team added the shield to last week’s reserve league success.
Monaghan Harps: J Gallagher; R Murray, P McGrath, M Ó Mordha; G Baxter, A Ryan (0-1), P Hannon; S Smyth, C Cahill; C Curley (0-1), M McKenna (Capt., 0-4, 2f), R Lee (0-2); R McCann (1-0), G Murphy, N Flynn (0-1).
Sub: A Lee (2-2) for Murphy (7 mins).
Clontibret: L Murphy; D Murphy. A Kerr, R McNally; C Morgan, F Greenan (1-0), K Greenan; S McNally (Capt.), A Morgan; L Savage, F O’Dowd, C Connolly (0-5, 3f); G Brennan, S Magennis, S Murphy.
Subs: B Greenan for S Murphy (41), M O’Dowd (1-0) for C Morgan (54), K Duffy for D Murphy (58).
Referee: S McKenna (Carrickmacross).