AIB GAA Football All Ireland Intermediate Club Championship Semi-Final – Finuge (Kerry) 0-9 Monasterevan (Kildare) 0-5

Forceful Finuge keep focus to book Croker date

By Terry Reilly, Deputy Sports Editor for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Finuge (Kerry) 0-9 Monasterevan (Kildare) 0-5

Finuge’s reputation has been built on the names of three men — Eamonn Fitzmaurice, Paul Galvin and Jimmy Deenihan. Since winning the Kerry IFC final in October, tales have spun up and down the country about how the current Kerry senior manager, the former player of the year and the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht helped build, form and establish the club. It didn’t matter that the club won the Munster final without Galvin and Fitzmaurice. Clubs are built on names and used as sources of pride by their neighbours and diaspora alike.

But at the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick yesterday they showed the country that the club represents far more than those storied names. Fitzmaurice and Galvin played supporting roles to the catalysts for victory — Paudie Galvin, Pat Corridan and James Flaherty. The wind and heavy rain had forced both teams into a type of possession obsession that enforces low risk passing strategies and the resultant half-time score of 0-3 was no surprise.

Maurice Corridan (two) and Paudie Galvin scores gave them an early two-point lead after David Maher raised Monasterevan’s only white flag. Michael Conway should have given them the goal their play deserved but Colin McCabe’s save gave his side a cause to rally behind. And when Fitzpatrick, who played for Kildare VEC in the Leinster final on Friday night, finally found the room to level. The Finuge management made sure the youngster’s influence was fleeting. “We had a look at him on the DVD from the Leinster final and he was their only scoring threat because most of them tended to carry the ball and he was a kicker. We spoke about him and the boys did exactly as we wanted,” said manager John Coleman.

But their biggest problems were in attack. Leonard Havens fired Monasterevan into the lead in the opening moments of the second half. Eamonn Fitzmaurice hit two quick-fire responses and a Flaherty score made them look like a team about to book their passage into the final but, with enough possession to make the game safe, they stalled. Lateral passing, misplaced kicks and critical turnovers riddled their play and gave the Kildare champions reason to believe they could win it.

“It was very worrying because we were in control 12 minutes into the second half and we kicked 10 wides in the next 12 minutes and normally you would get punished,” added Coleman. “Paudie Galvin, the wing back, just stepped up and kicked the score that just settled us.” Monasterevan tightened the gap once more through Havens but the Galvin score generated a focus which had been missing. Their big names followed the lead. The passes started to stick. They started playing like Kerry champions and Monasterevan faded. On a day when leaders were desperately needed, Finuge’s depth of game winners gave them the edge. “Credit to the guys, Eamonn [Fitzmaurice], Paul [Galvin] and Maurice [Corridan] are all All-Ireland medals winners and so is Pat Corridan, a junior All-Ireland medal winner. They just got a grip of the game when we were in trouble and their use of the ball was brilliant,” Coleman surmised.

Scorers for Finuge: M Corridan 0-3 (2fs), E Fitzmaurice, Paudie Galvin, J Flaherty 0-2 each.

Scorers for Monasterevan: L Havens, W Fitzpatrick (1 45), 0-2 each, D Maher 0-1.

FINUGE: C Fitzmaurice; C Allen (capt), T McKenna, D McCarthy; Paudie Galvin, P Corridan, C Fitzmaurice; M Conway, M Corridan; Paul Gavin, J Griffin, S Power; J Flaherty, E Fitzmaurice, R Galvin.

Subs: E Galvin for R Galvin (48), F Fitzmaurice for Power (57), R Heffernan for Flaherty (60).

MONASTEREVAN: C McCabe; T Kennedy, J Dempsey (capt), D maher; P Kelly, M Cornish, J Gorry; L Havens, E Stapleton; S O’Loughlin, A Kavanagh, C Dempsey; M Kelly, W Fitzpatrick, G Kelly.

Subs: G Holligan for Stapleton (blood, 25-26), G Holligan for O’Loughlin (26), C Stapleton for G Kelly (29), O’Loughlin for M Kelly (50), C Brady for C Dempsey (59).

Referee: L Devenney (Mayo)