Just one week before they play in the All-Ireland PPS Hogan Cup final in Croke Park, Naas CBS capturd the South Leinster Junior 'A' football title, defeating Knockbeg College by three points, 2-8 to 2-5.
Knockbeg College had the aid of the strong breeze in the opening half but while they had plenty of possession, they failed to make it count on the scoreboard. Jeremy Kelly got them off the mark with a free in the seventh minute for the first score in a low scoring half.
Naas CBS equalised in the 13th minute through Rob Murray but Knockbeg earlier spurned a goal chance with Eoin Mulhall unlucky not to see his effort find the net.
Chris Conway's charges thought they had the opening goal of the game in the 17th minute. Mikey Murphy played a delightful ball into the onrushing TJ Nolan but after Nolan saw his shot brilliantly saved by Hugh Morrin, Eoin Mulhall went to fist the rebound to the net. It was touch and go whether it was over the line but after the umpire did put up the green flag, further consultation with referee Ronan Devanney, the goal was disallowed.
Two minutes later and Naas had the ball in the net after a superb ball across goal found wing back Daniel Hamill at the back post and his composed finish but the Kildare school 1-1 to 0-1 in front.
With nine minutes left in the half, Knockbeg finally got the goal they had been threatening. Eoin Mulhall showed great strength to fend off a few tackles and managed to squeeze the ball to the net to level the game.
Jack Behan had a chance of another goal for the Knockbeg men there was to be only one more score in the half and that fell to Daniel Hamill who once again came up from wing back and clipped over a score to put Naas into a 1-2 to 0-1 half time lead.
Right before the end of the half, Mikey Murphy had a glorious goal chance but he saw his effort saved from point blank range from Naas keeper Hugh Morrin.
Naas now had the aid of the breeze in the second half and made use of it straight away. Within six minutes of the restart, they had 1-1 on the board with the goal a super solo effort from Charlie Carroll to put them 2-3 to 1-1 in front.
A Mikey Murphy free and a super score from Mackenzie McIvor helped narrow the gap but a super score from Daniel Hamill left Naas 2-5 to 1-3 up with 12 minutes to go.
Naas went six points in front through AJ Jordan but Knockbeg showed great heart to keep fighting and were rewarded Eanna Byrne reacted quickest to fumble from Hugh Morrin and found the net to bring it back to a three point game with six minutes to play.
Points from Jordan (free) and Conor McCarthy put Naas back five ahead but once again, Knockbeg came charging for more scores and points from John Phiri and Cian Cashman narrowed the gap to three.
The goal they craved to make a draw out of it never came and in the end, Naas took the title with three points to spare.
Scorers: Naas CBS, Daniel Hamill 1-2, Charlie Carroll 1-0, AJ Jordan 0-3 (0-2f), Alex Lenehan, Rob Murray and Conor McCarthy 0-1 each.
Knockbeg College: Eoin Mulhall and Eanna Byrne 1-0 each, Cian Cashman, John Phiri, Jeremy Kelly (free), Mikey Murphy (free) and Mackenzie McIvor 0-1 each.
NAAS CBS: Hugh Morrin; Niall Cramer, Elias Dhlos, Conor Breen; Dara Cooke, Brian Hocter, Daniel Hamill; Rob Murray, Cian O'Reilly; Alex Lenahan, Cathal McCarthy, Jack Kelly; Sean Coyle, AJ Jordan, Charlie Carroll. Subs: Jack Courtney for Jack Kelly, Oisin Loughran for Sean Coyle, Matthew Kelly for Conor Breen, Lochlann Cawley for Charlie Carroll.
KNOCKBEG COLLEGE: Michael Gaffney; Cian Cashman, Daniel Wall, Brian Broderick; Chris Fitzgerald, Darragh Loughman,Kevin Fennelly; John Phiri, TJ Nolan; Jamie Walker, Jermey Kelly, Jack Behan; Eoin Mulhall Mikey Murphy, Bobby Doyle (Tinryland). Subs: Eanna Byrne for Bobby Doyle, Mackenzie McIvor for Chris Fitzgerald, Cian Campion for Brian Broderick, Tommy Hutton for Eoin Mulhall.
Referee: Ronan Devanney
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