Alex Beirne pictured receiving the ball scored 3-5 in a devastating individual performance for Naas. Photo: Pat Tinsley
Manguard Plus Minor Football Championship Semi-Final
Naas emphatically qualified for a second successive Minor Football Championship Final with a devastating victory over Celbridge at Manguard Plus Hawkfield.
Naas have a hugely impressive team on paper with the majority of the side also part of the Naas CBS Team that reached an All-Ireland Final earlier in the year and they were much too strong for Celbridge.
Naas had big performers all over the pitch but special credit must go to Alex Beirne who finished up with 3-5 all of which came from play.
Celbridge were hampered from the start with star man and recent all star winner Aaron Browne sitting out the game with a broken arm and they struggled for long periods.
Naas raced into an early 0-5 to 0-0 lead with Paddy McDermott, Drew Costello, Alex Beirne and Dan Woulfe all scoring.
Celbridge opened their account with a 7th minute free from Tadhg Halpin but it was only brief respite with Tom Browne kicking in Naas’s first goal after Paddy McDermott ran direct at the Celbridge defence before offloading to the corner forward.
Halpin kicked over two more frees in response but it was a rampant opening period for Naas and they scored three more goals before Celbridge registered again.
Brendan Quinn got the second of these when he latched onto a dropping 45 from Beirne before scoring on the turn.
Beirne then scored two goals in quick succession including one from a penalty and the game was well over as a result.
Naas added further points from Beirne, McDermott and Eoin Maguire as they brought a 4-11 to 0-5 lead into the break.
The twenty points that was between the sides only got bigger on the resumption with Beirne pouncing on Celbridge indecision in defence to seal his hat-trick.
Halpin who finished with eight points on the night for Celbridge kicked over a couple more frees but their threat from open play was pretty non existent.
Naas got two more goals before the end of the game with sub Dermot Hanifin scoring as well as Tom Browne adding his second three pointer.
Celbridge kept going till the conclusion with Darragh Archbold and Niall O’Regan scoring from play but in the absence of Browne they were out of their depth and Naas finished in style with further points from McDermott, Nick Sweeney and Sam Morrissey setting up a final date.
Naas: David Morrissey; Paddy Kelly, Mark Maguire, Eamonn Dunne, Nick Sweeney 0-1, Eoin Archbold, Paddy McDermott 0-4 (0-2fs), Drew Costello 0-3, Jack Cleary, Tom Browne 2-0, Alex Beirne 3-5, Eoin Maguire 0-1, David Lynch, Brendan Quinn 1-0, Dan Woulfe 0-2.
Subs used: Dermot Hanafin 1-1 for Lynch h-t, Ferran O’Sullivan for Kelly 35 mins, Joe Murphy for Cleary 40 mins, Conor Duff for M.Maguire 43 mins, Sam Morrissey 0-1 for E.Maguire 45 mins, Declan Kirwan for Beirne 49 mins.
Celbridge: Thomas Dunne; Dean O’Donoghue, Adam Synott, Sean Hayden, Adam O’Connor, Cillian Devlin, Sam McHugh, Johnny Owens, Darragh Archbold 0-1, Conor O’Sullivan, Paddy Wall, Ross Maycock, Barney Kelly, Tadhg Halpin 0-8 (0-7fs), Niall O’Regan 0-2.
Subs used: Colman O’Donovan for O’Sullivan h-t, Sean Gleeson for Maycock h-t, Sean Fagan for Hayden 43 mins, Jack Mulhere for Synott 43 mins.