There was to be no repeat of the midgame malaise which allowed St Mary’s to steal a replay like last time.
Paddy Clarke’s Dreadnots picked off the Ardee men in a professional display in which they never had to be at their best to win.
On an evening in Dromiskin, which turned from late summer to winter in a few short rain-sodden moments, St Mary’s were unable to put up much resistance against the Red and Black.
Clarke’s side looked assured throughout without ever being spectacular and even when Robert Leavy was shown the line for St Mary’s just four minutes into the second half the game was more or less beyond them and it simply reinforced what was a tough evening for Ciaran Conlon’s charges.
Yet Conlon’s men started with much vigour and pace. They sped into a six points to three lead by the 17th minute, thanks to the free taking of Alan Kirk and a Ronan Carroll effort.
Padraig Rath was on the receiving end of an accidental shoulder from one of his own men in the 20 minute. The incident left Rath with a nasty facial injury and Cathal Lynch sprang from the bench to replace the young Louth full back.
As the weather turned, so too did the tie. As conditions became greasy with the incessant downpour, a slithering ball ran across St Mary’s square and Pauric Smith was able to poke a boot at it and direct it beyond Lorcan Farrell.
The ball should have been snapped up by a Mary’s defender, but it was a sucker punch which pushed Dreadnots into a one point lead.
James Califf popped over one shortly afterwards, and Clarke’s side looked set to run away with the clash when CIan McEvoy and Califf again made it 1-7 to 0-6 with two minutes to the break.
It took the considerable strength and experience of Ronan Carroll to try and curtail the Dreadnots march and the Mary’s full forward sent over a long range effort just before the interval to give the Ardee men a sorely needed confidence booster.
That three point Dreadnots lead was enhanced when Anthony Lynch raised the white flag just seconds into the second half.
Once Leavy received his marching orders it was effectively over as a contest. Despite being down a man, St Mary’s did shave the Dreadnots lead back to just two scores, with Dean Matthews converting those frees.
Another free from Califf kept Dreadnots just out of reach and although a free from Mary’s Alan Kirk narrowed the margin once more, a blitz of scores from Pauric Smith and Peter Kirwan extended the gap to five points.
It looked for all the world that Dreadnots were pacing themselves. They did enough and no more to stay ahead of the Ardee men.
With the game winding down Conlon introduced Barry Faulkner for Eamonn Callaghan and in a final throw of the dice the St Mary’s boss launched Mark Fay into the fight with two minutes left.
Nothing could turn the game though. Kirk tried valiantly to keep his side in contention with two late frees, but Califf and Anthony Lynch had other plans as their two scores capped the game off.
Clarke’s men now meet Newtown Blues in a tantalising semi final in two weeks time.
Full Time: St Marys 0-12, Dreadnots 1-14.
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