Moneygall upset the odds on Sunday afternoon with a fully-deserved two-point win over a very disappointing Nenagh Éire Óg. Eoin Troy, Willie Greene, Conor Ryan and Ger Kirwan all impressed for Moneygall while a misfiring Éire Óg featured fine displays from Tommy Heffernan and second half substitute Hugh Maloney.
Pictured: Moneygall’s Jody Troy
Following defeats suffered at the hands of Borris-Ileigh and Kildangan Moneygall desperately required a win and were accommodated by an Éire Óg side which appeared to take the challenge of Paddy Whyte’s men lightly in the opening half.
Indeed, Moneygall raced into a 2-3 to 0-3 lead inside the opening 14 minutes. Éire Óg still had plenty of time to reel in their opponents, but they failed to do so. The level of Nenagh’s performance fell well below that which earned victories over Borris-Ileigh and Kilruane. Tommy Heffernan did score five points from play, but Paddy Murphy was the only other member of the starting front eight who also managed to score from play.
Willie Greene, who really was superb on Sunday, traded points with Tommy Heffernan before Moneygall struck for their opening goal in the sixth minute.
Tommy Devereux created the room and full-forward Eoin Ryan cleverly flicked the ball past the advancing Michael McNamara to give his side a three-point lead.
The whoops of joy from Moneygall should have alerted Éire Óg that they were in a game and to be fair Nenagh did respond with points from Tommy Heffernan and a Michael Heffernan free to close the gap to a single point by the ninth minute - 0-3 to 1-1.
In the tenth however Éire Óg failed to clear their lines, Willie Greene collected a breaking ball and lashed a left-handed shot into the roof of Michael McNamara’s net - 2-1 to 0-3.
Moneygall were now making full use of the strong wind at their backs with Jody Troy and Brendan Toohey adding points which helped their side into a 2-3 to 0-3 lead.
Goalkeeper Ciarán Quinlan then made a neat save to deny Tommy Heffernan a goal before Ger Kirwan extended Moneygall’s lead with another fine point in the 20th minute.
Michael Heffernan managed a free in response for Nenagh, but Moneygall were relentless with Conor Ryan and Willie Greene (free) helping their side into a 2-6 to 0-4 lead. It is worth noting that Moneygall had scored 2-5 of their tally from play.
The highly-impressive Tommy Heffernan and Willie Greene then traded points before two Michael Heffernan frees left six between them.
Willie Greene closed out the half with a free and Moneygall led 2-8 to 0-7 at the break.
Éire Óg, now playing with an absolute gale at their backs, needed to set the pace in the second half, but they failed to do so. Indeed, ten minutes elapsed before Moneygall extended their leads thanks to Conor Ryan.
Following the introduction of Hugh Maloney and a few positional switches Éire Óg appeared ready to establish themselves in this contest. A Michael Heffernan free in the 42nd minute got his side moving in the right direction, but Nenagh followed up that effort with six consecutive wides. One of those wides arrived in the 50th minute when Michael Heffernan’s rasping 21-yard free scooted wide of Ciarán Quinlan’s right-hand post.
Paddy Murphy managed Éire Óg’s second point of the second half in the 52nd minute to close the gap to six points and seconds later Tommy Heffernan reduced the margin to a manageable five. Moneygall responded in real style however with superb points from Eoin Ryan and Conor Ryan - 2-11 to 0-10.
Moneygall failed to score thereafter as Éire Óg desperately tried to force their way back into the game. Tommy Heffernan’s fifth point from play left six points between them in the 58th minute and then right on the hour mark Éire Óg struck for what looked a vital goal - Noel Maloney won Michael McNamara’s long-range delivery and passed to Eoghan Slattery who found Hugh Maloney and the second half substitute made no mistake from close range.
With referee Michael Murphy indicating that he planned to play at least five minutes of injury time Éire Óg had a chance to overturn Moneygall’s lead, but Paddy Whyte’s men stood their ground in impressive fashion and restricted Nenagh to just two more opportunities. Darragh Quinn converted one in the 66th minute while Ciarán Quinlan saved a Tommy Heffernan effort at goal in the 64th.
Moneygall: Ciarán Quinlan, Ger Ryan, Seán Ryan, Pajo Troy, Mike Ryan, Eoin Troy, Phil Fanning, Eamon McCormack, Brendan Toohey (0-1), Willie Greene (1-4, 0-2 free), Conor Ryan (0-3), Ger Kirwan (0-1), Jody Troy (0-1), Eoin Ryan (1-1), Tommy Devereux. Subs: (51st) Diarmuid Kennedy for Tommy Devereux, (60th) Eoin Greene for Brendan Toohey.
Nenagh Éire Óg: Michael McNamara, Donnacha Heffernan, John Brennan, Mark Flannery, Darragh Quinn (0-1), Richie Flannery, Seán Geaney, Michael Heffernan (0-5, 0-5 frees), Alan Kelly, Paddy Murphy (0-1), Billy Heffernan, Tommy Heffernan (0-5), Pearse Morris, Noel Maloney, Eoghan Slattery. Subs: (HT) Barry Heffernan for Billy Heffernan, (35th) Hugh Maloney (1-0) for Donnacha Heffernan, (58th) Eoin Fitzgibbon for Seán Geaney.
Referee: Michael Murphy (Toomevara).