LAST year’s semi-finalists dominated possession in the opening half, but they struggled in attack, with only McManamon showing a confident touch in front of goal with three well-taken points in the first-half.
Naomh Mearnóg struggled to gain primary possession throughout, but they handed themselves a lifeline in injury-time as Shane Ryan released Jamie Walsh for an unerring finish beyond the despairing dive of Paul Copeland. A potential shock lay on the cards as unanswered points by Walsh and Michael Gibbs trimmed Mearnóg’s deficit but St Jude’s replied impressively as McManamon netted after a typically bustling run in the 41st minute.
The contest was effectively settled two minutes later as Ryan impeded DA Donnelly in the square and the substitute confidently despatched the resultant penalty to propel his side to victory.
Scorers - St Jude’s: K McManamon 1-5, DA Donnelly 1-1 (1-0 pen), J Donnelly (1f), C Guckian 0-2, R Joyce, P Courtney, M Sweeney, D McLoughlin 0-1 each.
St Jude’s: P Copeland; O Manning, S Brehony, R Finnegan; M Sweeney, C Guckian, N Cronin; C Murphy, P Courtney; P Cunningham, K McManamon, R Joyce; J Donnelly, B McManamon, E Dalton.
Naomh Mearnóg: M Fitzmaurice; D Byrne, M Doyle, L Johnston; M O’Reilly, F Doyle, C Fahy; F McGowan, B Colreavy; J Briggs, S Ryan, J Storey; J Walsh, N Murphy, M Gibbs.
REF: Dave Feeney (Parnells)