Adare’s bid to regain the county senior football title after a two-year absence got off to flying start when they showed the composure and flair to hold off the challenge of Monaleen 0-10 to 1-6 in a highly entertaining Group Two opening round contest in Bruff on Friday evening.

Rocked by the concession of the game’s first score and only goal after just eight minutes, the Maiguesiders dug deep to summon the intensity and focus to pull themselves level by the break. Adare then moved into what looked like a comfortable lead on a night not conducive to scoring and, despite getting caught by a Monaleen rally, fought back to close off the result as the clock ticked into added time.

Maybe the outcome might have been different had the Castletroy club made better use of the bounce they got from their early goal but a combination of hasty shooting and sloppy tackling squandered much of the advantage they gained from the industry and invention of the likes of Brian Donovan and Darragh Murray.

Their overall performance tightened up after the break but so did Adare’s and, powered by the relentless direction they were getting from Hugh Bourke, they had enough in the tank to grind out their victory in the closing minutes.

The heavy drizzle made the handling difficult and, with both sides familiar with the the strengths and style of their opponents, their early play cancelled each other out before they even got in sight of the posts until Murray, collecting off Donovan on the edge of the square, swivelled back inside and drilled the ball through the defence and into the near corner of the net.

However, Monaleen then settled back on their lead, allowed Adare to dictate the play and, despite Tadhg Ó Siochrú cancelling out Robbie Bourke’s reply, had the margin back to the minimum when Bourke added another point and was followed by his brother Hugh’s free.

Coming up to the break, another Hugh Bourke levelled the scores but Donovan replied immediately from distance with a Monaleen point. The Maiguesiders continued their pressure as Monaleen were conceding needless frees in the middle third, giving Mikey Lyons the opportunity to equalise off an intercepted clearance and leave the score at 1-2 to 0-5.

Monaleen’s discipline improved over the break, but so did Adare’s intensity and, with Jack English now dominating midfield, the deliveries made their way into the scoring zone for Shane O’Connor, Adam Canny and O’Connor again to put Adare into a lead of three points.

Left to rely on the occasional breakaway and then wasting them on the hasty shot, the City side were in danger of being tailed off until their fortunes changed when English toppled over clutching his hamstirng.

Daniel Daly’s free got them back up running and, when he narrowed the gap to the minimum margin with a hard-earned point under press, Adare’s composure started to crack with mistimed shots and misdirected final deliveries.

It was all to play for when Murray belted over a spectacular equaliser on the run, but that proved to be the spark that re-ignited Adare as Robbie Bourke regained their lead with a point at the end of a move directly from the resulting kickout.

The Castletroy club gave it everything in their attempts to claw back the deficit, but the Maigueside’ defence held firm in the frantic closing minutes before Mark Connolly pointed on the run to add comfort to their lead in injury time.

A final Monaleen assault drew a foul 40 metres out. Daly aimed it at the edge of the square in search of the goal, but it floated inches over the crossbar for the game’s closing point that just wasn’t enough to save them.

SCORERS: ADARE: Robbie Bourke 0-3, Hugh Bourke (2 frees), Shane O’Connor 0-2 each, Mikey Lyons, Adam Canny and Mark Connolly 0-1 each; MONALEEN: Darragh Murray 1-1, Daniel Daly 0-3 (2 frees), Tadhg Ó Siochrú, Brian Donovan 0-1 each.

ADARE: Jeffrey Alfred; Cian Sparling, Dave Connolly, Mark Connolly; Davey Lyons, Shane Doherty, Paul Maher; Jack English, Joe Sweeney; Shane Costello, Robbie Bourke, Hugh Bourke; Shane O’Connor, Adam Canny, Mikey Lyons. SUBS: Mike Southgate for Jack English (injured, 49 minutes), Josh Toomey for Mikey Lyons (62 minutes).

From the Limerick Leader.


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