Louth Captain and Naomh Máirtín forward Sam Mulroy. (Pic: Arthur Kinahan)
Anchor Tours Senior Football Championship
Naomh Mairtin 2-13
Newtown Blues 0-09
Reigning champions Naomh Mairtin finally notched off the final monkey on their backs with a comprehensive 10-point victory over Newtown Blues in Dunleer.
The recent rivalry between the two sides has been fascinating, the Blues defeating the Monasterboice men in back to back finals before claiming Joe Ward for the first time last season.
However despite the maiden victory, Naomh Mairtin avoided their rivals in doing so and many round the winning parish felt victory over the kingpins of Louth football in recent years was an itch they needed to scratch to rubber stamp their status as the best side in the county.
With a final yet to be played, that claim might have to wait to be answered but there was no disputing Naomh Mairtin’s ten point victory on Bank holiday Monday.
The contest was shaped in a stunning blitz minutes into the opening quarter of the delayed game. Wayne Campbell landed a lovely point before county colleagues Sam Mulroy and Eoghan Callaghan buried two goals past Blues keeper Johnny McDonnell.
Another county man for the royal blues, John Clutterbuck was in stunning form and despite playing right half back, he was everywhere. His early cross field pass to the road end of Dunleer into the arms of Mulroy opened up the Blues defence.
After the pass Clutterbuck continued his run and Jack Murphy put him in for what looked a certain goal before Blues cornerback Paul Moore was left with no option but to barrel into Clutterbuck for a penalty.
Mulroy blasted to the net and in the next attack Eoghan Callaghan opened up the Blues defence with a driving run. Callaghan could have taken the point, but he kept going until goal was in his range and when it was, he drilled a low shot to the net.
The Blues never recovered but Ciaran Downey replied with a brace of frees, Colm Judge’s absence felt through the missed frees on the right hand side for the former champions.
In stark contrast Mulroy added to his tally with a monster free along the touchline after JP Rooney spun over a sideline ball in the opposite corner of the field.
With the margin between the sides now at nine points, Rob Carr (mark) and Daire Nally pulled two back to make 2-6 to 0-5. The comeback was now a possibility.
However such was the control and unity that Fergal Reel’s men possessed all over the field and as a collective, the current Joe Ward holders never once looked like being threatened in the semi-final.
Craig Lynch had little to do in the way of making a save and his kick outs contributed to Stephen Campbell getting a score along with five Sam Mulroy efforts. The Blues final quarter tilt never came, instead Downey pegged back a couple of frees.
Focus will now shift to the final on Sunday the 7th of November in Ardee, where the Mairtin’s will face St. Mochta’s who have an itch to scratch themselves, having suffered twice at the hands of the holder’s last season.
NAOMH MAIRTIN: Craig Lynch; Mark Whelan, Thomas Sullivan, Conor Healy; John Clutterbuck, Seán Healy, Conor Morgan; Wayne Campbell (0-1), Evan Whelan; Jack Murphy, Eoghan Callaghan (1-0), Stephen Campbell (0-1); Conor Whelan (0-3, 0-1 free), Sam Mulroy (1-7, 1-0 pen, 0-2 free), JP Rooney (0-1 s/l). SUBS: Val Leddy for Murphy (53), Bryan McQuillan for Rooney (55) Cian Sands for Morgan (58), Conor Smyth for M Whelan (61).
NEWTOWN BLUES: Johnny McDonnell; Paul Moore, Emmet Carolan, Ciaran Cluskey Kelly; Johnny Connolly, Alan Connor, Ian Connor; Fergal Donohoe, Ciaran Downey (0-5, 0-4 free); Daire Nally (0-1), Andy McDonnell, Conor Branigan; Ross Nally (0-1), John Kermode, Robert Carr (0-2, 0-1 mark). Subs: Brian Kermode for P Moore (HT), Stephen Moonan for Cluskey Kelly (42), Jamie Kelly for Donohoe (42), Conor Moore for Branigan (47), Cormac McQuillan for J Kermode (58).
REFEREE: Thomas Brennan (Westerns)
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