Monivea failed in their bid to become the first Connacht club to claim an All-Ireland title after a 17-9 defeat to Crosshaven in Saturday’s Junior Cup final at Templeville Road. Monivea put up a valiant performance but were ultimately denied by a late scoring burst from the Cork side.
With both clubs making their first appearance in the final, it was an understandably nervy and tense affair. Monivea, coached by Connacht stars John Muldoon and Keith Matthews, took an early lead when out half Ger O’Connor struck a penalty after seven minutes. Crosshaven fought back strongly, however, and took a 9-3 lead into the interval after three penalties from Liam Delaney.
The Galway side received a timely lifeline when Crosshaven flanker Michael Buckley was sent to the sin bin. Monivea introduced Fergus Farrell and Willie Parker and both made significant impacts as they clawed their way back into contention. O’Connor struck a penalty to reduce the gap to three before levelling proceedings in the 58th minute.
However, with just 10 minutes left, Parker was sin binned for putting his hand out and knocking the ball out of the clutches of Crosshaven scrum half Paul Cogan. The Cork side punished the indiscretion as replacement lock Paul Memery converted the penalty to leave three points between the sides. Memery had only assumed kicking duties after Delaney had been replaced and full back Cian McGovern was down injured, but it was an impressive effort under such pressure. Monivea gave one last attempt with a booming clearance but Darren O’Keeffe collected and countered. The winger raced onto his own chip to touch down for a beautifully taken try in the corner increasing the lead to eight points and finally putting the game beyond a spirited Monivea side.