Daire McConnon celebrates getting St Mary's opening goal against St Mochtas. (Pic: Arthur Kinahan)
Anchor Tours Senior Football Championship Group A
ST MARYS 3-10
ST MOCHTAS 1-14
Carl Gillespie found the net deep into injury time to give St Mary’s a dramatic victory over St Mochtas at Haggardstown on Friday night to help his side get their Senior Championship campaign off to a winning start.
The Ardee men went into the game on the back of winning the Cardinal O’Donnell Cup and were strongly fancied to come through this encounter without too much difficulty.
However, the Mochtas have been in fine form themselves this season and once again proved they are a force to be reckoned with thanks to another fine display.
It looked as if they would hang on to cause an upset as the game went into added time only to be caught by Gillespie’s sucker punch with virtually the last action of the game.
What proved to be a game of high intensity began in fitting fashion when the Marys opened the scoring with a goal from Daire McConnon in the opening minute.
If any supporters thought that would be the signal for the floodgates to open, the Mochtas set them straight with an impressive response to that setback.
Declan Byrne got his side off the mark before Ciaran Byrne and Cormac Smyth pointed to level the game after ten minutes.
The game then burst into life when Tom Jackson found the net for the Ardee men only to pick up a second yellow seconds later and see his side reduced to 14.
Declan Byrne pulled a point back just after the water break, while Luke Matthews struck the Marys first point of the night.
Byrne landed two more frees before Matthews responded to keep his side 2-2 to 0-6 ahead and soon after the Marys received another boost when the Mochtas lost Ryan Cash to a second yellow card.
The Marys took advantage as they finished the half on top, a fine score from Ronan Carroll seeing them lead by 2-4 to 0-7 at half time.
Once again there was a dramatic start to the second half as Craig Lennon crashed the ball to the net after his initial effort came back off the crossbar to see the game level.
The Louth Village men pushed on from there and when Danny Kindlon pointed a mark on 38 minutes his side were 1-13 to 2-5 to the good.
The entertainment levels were continuing to rise at this stage and after the teams shared the next two points, the Marys showed their quality by getting back on terms thanks to points from Conor Gillespie and Daire McConnon.
The Mochtas showed they had no intention of allowing the game slip from their grasp as points either side of the water break from Declan and Ciaran Byrne had them back in the ascendancy with a 1-13 to 2-8 lead.
As the tension increased the scoring rate dropped but the Marys got back to within a point thanks to a Conor Gillespie point on 28 minutes.
It looked as if the Mochtas had done enough to hold out but the Marys launched one final attack and snatched a dramatic win when Carl Gillespie scored his side’s third goal.
ST MARYS: Gavin Douglas; Jay Crawley, Karl Faulkner, Conor Keenan; Niall Eccles, Donal McKenny, Tom Jackson (1-0); Robbie Leavy, Liam Jackson; Kian Moran (0-1), Ciaran Keenan, Conor Gillespie (0-2); Daire McConnon (1-1), Luke Matthews (0-4), Ronan Carroll (0-1). Sub: Carl Gillespie (1-1).
ST MOCHTAS: Jason Callan; Owen Lennon, Ben Goss Kieran, Oisin Callan; Cormac Callan, Barry Mullholland, Craig Lennon (1-1); Ciaran Byrne (0-3), Declan Byrne (0-5); Ryan Cash, Gerry Garland (0-2), Danny Kindlon (0-1); Phily Englishby, Jamie Farrell (0-1), Cormac Smyth (0-1). Subs: David Lennon for B Goss Kieran, Darren McMahon for O Lennon, Liam O’Flaherty for D Kindlon.
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