St Mochtas Craig Lennon in action during his sides win over Ardee At Marys. (Pic: Arthur Kinahan)
There might have been a sameness about the line-up for the Louth senior championship semi-finals with the four teams that contested them last year again making it through.
But come final day there’ll be a welcome freshness to proceedings. That’s because St Mochtas have claimed a place on Louth football’s biggest stage for the first time in their club’s 77-year history.
The Villagers did it with a deserved two-point win over St Mary’s at Haggardstown last Sunday, and now await the outcome of the other semi-final involving the holders Naomh Mairtin and Newtown Blues, which was called off due to a reported outbreak of Covid in the Blues camp.
Mochtas were outsiders to win at McGeough Park, but in a game that really came alight in the second half, they were perfectly at ease, taking on a battle-hardened championship team.
As you would expect from them, Mary’s fought to the very end, having at one stage looked out of it when trailing by six points. Ronan Carroll scored three points coming in as a sub and with minutes remaining there was just one between them.
But Mochta’s had worked hard for their lead and weren’t going to easily relinquish it. The last score of the game guaranteed them a place in the decider and over the next couple of weeks expect to see Louth Village and the surrounding area awash with the yellow-and-blue colours.
The green-and-gold is already fluttering down Cooley way in anticipation of Sunday’s intermediate championship final. Kickhams crave a return to the glory days when they ruled the roost at senior level. A win over St Fechin’s at Clan na Gael Park will be a step in the right direction, but this is not a given for the team coached by Gary Thornton.
While Cooley had to dig deep to get the better of Kilkerley Emmets in Saturday evening’s semi-final at the venue chosen for the decider, Cian Connor scoring the winner near the end, Fechin’s made short work of the competition favourites Hunterstown Rovers at Ardee earlier in the day.
It was a real demolition job by Bevan Duffy’s side, who now return to the scene of their most recent championship final – the 2014 renewal, in which they went down narrowly to Sean O’Mahony’s.
The Junior final is coming up on Saturday afternoon at Dunleer, Glen Emmets taking on surprise packets John Mitchel’s. It was rough-and-tumble stuff in the first semi-final at Stabannon on Friday night, as the Glens got the better of Glyde Rangers, but in the game that followed, Mitchels and Na Piarsaigh served up a very entertaining hour’s football.
The Mitchel’s making it home thanks to a late John Gallagher point. It’s 23 years since Mitchel’s last won the Christy Bellew Cup. Since then, the Glens have won it twice, most recently in 2017. A hectic weekend’s activity also saw Dundalk Gaels and Roche Emmets retain their championship status in Senior and Intermediate respectively.
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