Louth captain and Naomh Mairtin playmaker Sam Mulroy. (Picture: Sportsfile)
What a year it has been for Sam Mulroy, a historic first county title with Naomh Mairtin, having the honour of being named the Louth captain under the tutelage of Mickey Harte, the past 12 months have gone like a flash.
But if there was one blemish on his club resume, something that can be used to at least try and attack a club side that been nearly faultless recently, it was the fact they had yet to overcome their old enemy the Newtown Blues.
Yet last Monday in Dunleer that final club itch was scratched as they comfortably dispatched of the former Louth kingpins by 2-13 to 0-9. Despite beating their rivals by a staggering ten points, all that worried Mulroy was booking their place in the final.
“It is definitely a monkey off our backs, we all know we probably should have beaten them in the first county final against them three years ago and then they beat us convincingly in the next final. We didn’t play them last year, so it was nice to get the win over them” he exclaimed.
“But it was never really about them. It was about us winning matches, it’s all about the team performing and it doesn’t really matter who we play, we are looking to perform, looking to do our job and you can’t really worry too much about the opposition.”
Key to that victory last week was two early goals which effectively killed the Blues prospects before they even had a chance to get going and scoring goals has been something the Monasterboice based club have been doing with ease this season.
They notched four in both their victories against the Geraldines and St Josephs, while also crucially landing a goal when under pressure in their opener against the Dreadnots. The Louth captain is expecting any three pointer on Sunday to be crucial to either sides possible victory.
“Goals win games, we could see how successful it was on Monday, the early goals set the tone for rest of the game and gave us that bit of belief that we probably needed against a Blues team that are dangerous and likely to get goals themselves. I think the Mochtas are going to try and not let that happen while we’ll be trying to make it happen, which should make for an interesting battle.”
Those goals have helped the Martins build up an early cushion and make sure there was never any room for comebacks from their opponents. On Sunday in Ardee (Throw in 2:30PM) they face St Mochtas who have been a side that have had to work hard to get past each and every round so far, often coming back from the brink of defeat to cause an upset.
The wily forward is conscious of the threat they pose with their battling qualities, however he doesn’t see a strong start from either team as being vital to success, given that anything can and usually does happen in a final.
“It is hard to know if it will make a difference as a final is a different scenario. It could be edgy; teams don’t want to go out and lose things so early as you can’t win a game in the first 10 minutes but you certainly can lose it and that can be a big factor for both teams.
“We know how dangerous the Mochtas are, they’ve bagged plenty of goals in the championship this year so it will be interesting to see what way the teams approach things. But it is not something we really speak about that much. We go out and attack the game, that’s what it’s all about, especially on big days like county finals.”
While they have been by far the best side in this year’s competition, Mulroy is aware their record in finals is currently in the red. They might have made the last three finals, but only once have they been able to bring back the Joe Ward Cup to Monasterboice.
He knows that another win will help cement their legacy and silence the doubters while also giving other Martins players the chance to lift the Senior title as they did a year previously.
“It is good doing it once, but I think backing it up is a major statement and will be massive to the group” he added. “Some of them don’t have that title yet or maybe weren’t starting last year so there are lads in there with points to prove.
“Even the lads who won it last year, they are very hungry and want another one so everyone is driving each other along well in the hope of bringing the club home another trophy.
"Maybe there is still question marks over the team and we have a lot to answer for. I don’t know if everyone believes that we are good enough or deserved to be where we are, and this is a chance for us to answer those questions.”
Subscribe or register today to discover more from DonegalLive.ie
Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.
Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.