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30 Nov 2021

Clinical St Mochtas do just enough to seal narrow win over gallant St Pats

Ryan Cash St Mochtas and Conor Grogan St Pats

Ryan Cash, St Mochtas, taking on Conor Grogan, St Pats, during last weekend's Senior Football Championship Group A encounter in Clan Na Gael Park. (Pic: Arthur Kinahan)

Anchor Tours Senior Football Championship Group A

St Mochtas  1-16

St Patricks   1-14

St Mochtas sealed their place in the knockout stages of the Senior Championship, but did so in the toughest way possible, showing sheer grit and determination to narrowly overcome St Patrick’s in an absorbing Group A clash at Clan Na Gael Park.

In an even tie where neither side ever had a significant lead, it was 1-14 apiece with just three minutes of normal time remaining. For the second week running Pats were pipped at the posts as two late scores from Declan Bryne and Craig Lennon sealed the win for the Boys in Yellow.

Playing against a stiff breeze it was Pats who started the contest the brighter, some good solo runs from Ciaran Murphy and Cathal Grogan creating opportunities for Danny O’Connor and Matt Pagni inside the first six minutes.

Just like a week earlier the Lordship club were impressive around the middle, dominating the aerial battles and they would win possession from every one of their 12 kickouts in the first half. They then looked to move the ball quickly with precise passing and pacey solo runs.

An early mark from Ciaran Byrne allowed Craig Lennon to open the scoring for St Mochtas, but seconds later Pats had the ball in the net. Barry Dunne soloed along the endline before duly teeing up the awaiting Paddy Keenan who buried the ball home, however he was deemed to be in the square and the goal was disallowed.

Another point would come the Pats’ way courtesy of a Keenan free, but from here the Louth Village men took the ascendancy. They favoured kicking the ball long given the elements were in their favour and then looked to draw as many fouls as they could.

County star Declan Byrne was in fine form and slotted over four placed balls, coupled with a point from Ciaran Bryne they took a slender 0-6 to 0-5 lead into the first water break.

Through their dominance in the middle the Lordship men continued to create chances, but their accuracy was slipping with two missed and one dropped short in the second quarter. They would finish the tie with nine wides, a big factor in their eventual defeat.

St Mochtas kept them at arm’s length with further points from Declan Byrne and Cormac Smyth before a late goal added to their lead. Lennon soled past a plethora of defenders as he burst through the centre, launching a bullet from range that left Martin McEneaney with no chance.

It left them 1-8 to 0-7 points up but knowing Pats would have an ever-increasing wind to back them up in the second half.

They hit back with a goal of their own on 32 minutes, a Jack Murphy free from the wing dropped short and it was Jason Woods who reacted the quickest to fist the ball home.

Game well and truly back on as they duly turned the Mochtas over from the resulting kickout as Keenan levelled the match. They were more aggressive in their tackling now too and did everything they could to keep their opponents away from the posts knowing the wind was so strong.

The game turned into a shooting match for the next ten minutes with both sides going score for score, but two in a row from O’Connor and Keenan had the men in green 1-13 to 1-11 up at the final water break. This would be the last time they lead the match.

On the restart, the Mochtas took control around the middle with three turnovers in a row resulting in scores for Danny Kindlon, Stephen McCooey and Lennon. Pats bagged an equaliser, but it was an outlier for them scored around four rapid fire wides as they struggled to benefit from the breeze.

Declan Byrne and Lennon went on to point brilliantly under pressure to put the Mochtas two up and despite launching two more high balls into the square in the hope of a late goal it was the men in Yellow who held firm to seal the victory and a quarter final against Mattock Rangers on Sunday.

St Mochtas: Jason Callan; Ryan Cash, Ben Goss Kieran, Oisin Callan; Conor Garland, Barry Mulholland, Craig Lennon(1-2); Ciaran Byrne (0-3), Darren McMahon; Gerry Garland, Jamie Farrell (0-2), Danny Kindlon (0-1); Philly Englishby, Declan Byrne (0-6, 0-4 frees, 0-1 45), Cormac Smyth (0-1). Subs: Liam Lawlor for Ben Goss Kieran (42), David Lennon for Barry Mulholland (42), S McCooey (0-1) for Ryan Cash (42).

St Patricks: Martin McEneaney; Barry Dunne, Eoghan Lafferty, Kevin Toner; Conor Grogan (0-1), Ciaran Murphy, Darren O’Hanlon; Leonard Grey, Matt Pagni (0-1); Aidan McCann, Paddy Keenan (0-5, 0-3 frees), Jack Murphy (0-2, 0-1 Mark); Jason Woods (1-1), Cathal Grogan, Danny O’Connor (0-4). Subs: Ross Murphy for Aidan McCann (36), Adam Finnegan for Matt Pagni.

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