St Patrick's struck late to claim to the David Grey Catering sponsored JHC final as Neil O'Flaherty's injury-time goal saw them overcome Kildalkey after a close contest at Pairc Tailteann on Friday night.
St Patrick's 2-9
The Stamullen-Julianstown outfit were lifting the title for the third time, following previous successes in 2005 and 2007. O'Flaherty's goal saw them hit the front for the only time in the second-half.
A couple of chances went a-begging for the east Meath side before O'Flaherty struck after a JP Ryan free from his own 45 broke to the midfielder who netted at the old swimming pool end in the second of minute of added time.
Kildalkey's second string side - who won this championship most recently in 2009 - led for most of the way. Pat O'Halloran's charges were three points to the good when Kevin Murray left it 0-13 to 1-7 after 54 minutes. It was the fourth time the wearers of royal blue led by this margin.
Kildalkey reached the decider on the back of five straight wins including a 2-10 to 0-10 win over St Pat's in the opening round. The new champions also dropped a point to Rathmolyon's second string in round 4.
Conor Kearney accounted for nearly half of Kildalkey's tally. His six points included some excellent scores and were made up of an equal number of scores from play and frees. Martin Healy and Nick Fitzgerald were the only other players in blue to register more than a single score from play.
JP Ryan landed two frees from about 60-metres - he was also off target with a long range free - before making the decisive assist. Team captain Brian Farrelly who top scored 1-3 was also wide, from a close range free in the 59th minute. St Pat's persisted and were duly rewarded with a third JHC title.
Kildalkey were first to show with full-forward Alan Kelly pointing inside 20 seconds. A minute later Martin Kelly added another. Before the fifth minute elapsed a Conor Kearney solo run end with a fine score to leave it 0-3 to 0-0.
A pointed sixth minute free from team captain Brian Farrelly broke the Kildalkey sequence and got the Stamullen-Julianstown men off the mark. A neat sequence ended with Nick Fitzgerald restoring Kildalkey's three-point advantage, 0-5 to 0-2, with 13 minutes gone.
As matters moved into the second quarter the pendulum swung St Patrick's way. First, Richie O'Donoghue pulled a point back. Then, in the 19th minute a Mark Scanlon free was flicked on by Brian Calvey and finished to the net by Farrelly and the nearby scoreboard read 1-3 to 0-5.
Kildalkey responded well with a trio of points including Conor Kearney's brilliant effort from a free close to the terrace sideline near the middle of the field. That score restored Kildalkey's lead, 0-8 to 1-4.
In the 45 seconds of added time, Richie O'Donoghue's second score of the half left it level at the break, 1-5 to 0-8. Kildalkey led by three points three times in the opening quarter. Things changed in the second quarter during which time the scores were tied three times.
The resumption mirrored the start of the game with Kildalkey pointing within 22 seconds of the off. Nick Fitzgerald was the scorer. A Farrelly free levelled matters for the fourth and final time in the 32nd minute.
A Conor Kearney point from play restored Kildalkey's lead, which they held until O'Flaherty's decisive strike. The scoring rate slackened as the half wore on, but the eventual winners were never more than three points in arrears and were placed to pounce should the opportunity arose.
St Patrick's - Fergus Minogue; Gareth McGuinness, Jonathan Monks, Michael Kennedy; Mark Scanlon, JP Ryan (0-3,2fs), James Kenna; Neil O'Flaherty (1-0), Ciaran Calvey; Richie O'Donoghue (0-2), Rory Hennessy, Diarmaid Quinn; Brian Farrelly (1-3), 0-3f), Brian Calvey, Michael Hennessy (0-). Subs - Gerard O'Donoghue for McGuinness (44), Phil Harney for Brian Calvey (50), David Kirwan for Hennessy (53)
Kildalkey - Stephen Masterson; Eoin Redmond, Cathal O'Sullivan, David Conneely; Tiernan Bird, Dan Fagan, Daire Lahart; Martin O'Leary, Matt Rickard; Conor Kearney (0-6, 3fs), Martin Healy (0-3), Kevin Murray (0-1); Fintan McLoughlin, Alan Kelly (0-1), Nick Fitzgerald (0-2). Subs - Cathal Egan for McLoughlin (28), McLoughlin for Rickard (49), Sean Kirke for Kelly (58), Tommy Masterson for Stephen Masterson (60).
Referee - Gus Martyn (Dunderry)