Ryan Cash taking on Conor Grogan in St Mochtas Group game versus St Pats. (Pic: Arthur Kinahan)
Senior Football Championship Group A Round 1
ST MARYS 3-10
ST MOCHTAS 1-14
St Mochtas were given the Group of Death in 2021 and were huge underdogs as they took one of the favourites for the Senior crown in St Mary’s at Haggardstown.
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. After the setbacks of two early goals, they pushed on gallantly to take the game to their neighbours and still be ahead deep into the second half.
It looked as if they would hang on to cause an upset as the game went into added time only to be caught out by a late sucker punch goal from Karl Gillespie with virtually the last action of the game.
Ardee’s blushes were saved, but if anyone had underestimated the quality the Louth Village side possessed, they knew now the levels they could reach. Warning signs well and truly issued.
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.
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).
Group A Round 2
ST MOCHTAS 1-16
ST PATRICKS 1-14
With both sides having failed to defeat St Mary’s, albeit due in both cases due to Ardee’s late revivals, this clash under the lights in Clan Na Gael Park was a de facto Preliminary Quarter Final for the Mochtas and St Pats. A win and they were back in the running for Joe Ward.
Kieran Quinn’s troops eventually sealed their place in the next round, but did so in the toughest way possible, showing sheer grit and determination to narrowly overcome St Patrick’s in an absorbing encounter.
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. But Pats were piped at the posts as two late scores from Declan Bryne and Craig Lennon sealed the win for the Boys in Yellow.
A superiority around the middle was the catalyst for a strong start for the Lordship men as they won all 12 of their first half kick outs. But they were wasteful in attack and coupled with giving away too much frees they trailed constantly.
A Craig Lennon free deep into the half helped them into 1-8 to 0-7 half time lead, before St Pats answered immediately after the break courtesy of a Jason Woods three pointer. The tie turned into a shooting competition but by the final water Pats led by 1-13 to 1-11.
However the men in Yellow and Blue regained control in the middle and turned the screw, winning three Pats’s kick out in row and did they just enough to eke out a narrow win.
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 frees), 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 (0-1), Paddy Keenan (0-5, 0-4 frees), Jack Murphy (0-2, 0-1 mark); Jason Woods (1-1), Cathal Grogan, Danny O’Connor (0-3). Subs: Ross Murphy for Aidan McCann (36), Adam Finnegan for Matt Pagni.
ST MOCHTA’S 1-22
MATTOCK RANGERS 1-17
It took extra time to finally settle this enthralling contest between St Mochtas and Mattock Rangers in Darver. A well taken goal by the lively Cormac Smyth in the opening half of extra time was the difference between these evenly matched sides on the night.
Aside from the normal extra time tension, the entertaining contest simply had it all. Wonderful point taking and leadership from the Byrne brothers, a sterling comeback from Mattock, well finished goals by both sides. But it was the honesty of both sides to go directly at each other over the hour that really made this quarter final the spectacle it was.
In rare change of fate to their earlier games, Kieran Quinn’s side went seven points up in the first half, it would have been a brave call to see any resemblance of a comeback on Mattock’s part.
However former Louth player Gerry Garland was black carded for a body check on Aaron O'Brien in the 41st minute and this sprung Mattock into action. With the numerical advantage, Mattock rattled off the next seven scores in succession to give themselves a well-earned two point lead.
The Mochtas had to dig deep just to send this game to extra time with a little help from the Byrnes brothers and Darren McMahon.
Despite two early scores, the Collon men couldn’t muster another fightback after Smyth ran along the end line to blast the ball to the back of the net during the first period of extra time. The gap was too large now and the Mochtas would hold on.
MATTOCK RANGERS: Stephen Smith; Alan Caraher, Shane Maguire, Daire Englishby; Terry Donegan, Cathal Clarke, Ben Quaile; Cathal Fleming (0-8, 0-6 frees), Conor Leneghan; Shane Hickey (0-2), Aaron O’Brien (0-1 free), Ben McKenna (0-1); Adrian Reid, Ben Watters (0-2), Ryan Leneghan (1-1). Subs: Cillian Hickey for Maguire (14), Jack Thompson (0-1 mark) for C Leneghan (25), James Caraher for Quaile (44), JP Watters (0-1) for Englishby (60), Ben Markey for Donegan (74), Oisín McKenna for Clarke (78).
ST. MOCHTA’S: Jason Callan; Liam Lawlor, Ben Goss Kierans, Oisín Callan; Conor Garland, Barry Mulholland, Craig Lennon (0-1); Darren McMahon (0-1), Gerry Garland; Jamie Farrell, Ciaran Byrne (0-4), Danny Kindlon; Philly Englishby (0-1); Declan Byrne (0-14, 0-7 frees), Cormac Smyth (1-0). Subs: Andrew English for Mulholland (HT), Stephen McCooey (0-1) for Lennon (51), David Lennon (65), Owen Lennon (73).
St Mochtas 2-10
Ardee St Marys 0-14
St Mochtas earned their place in this Sunday's final and did so while getting some well-deserved revenge on their local rivals Ardee St Marys for their earlier snatch and grab group stage victory.
This was a way more closed off affair, with the stakes so high neither side let loose too much in case one mistake would prove costly leading to a rather defensive opening 30 minutes in Haggardstown.
Since they kept most of their bodies in defence the Mochtas hoped to utilise the fielding prowess of Ciaran Byrne who was deployed for much of the first 20 minutes as their lone attacker.
The Mary’s too favoured a kicking game, doing their upmost to get Johnathon Commins on as much ball as possible, knowing he could take his man on and tee up another or happily slot over score after score himself. At half time it was the Louth Village men who lead by 0-5 to 0-4.
Two second half goals were decisive in this nip and tuck encounter, Philip Englishby and Craig Lennon raising green flags to make sure Ardee were always chasing. However a series of poor wides was keeping the door open to another late comeback.
St Marys threw the kitchen sink at the Mochtas as they looked to draw level, notching four in a row but up stepped Declan Byrne with another point to secure the win to delirious celebrations from their supporters.
Ardee St Marys: Gavin Douglas; Jay Crawley, Karl Faulkner, Donal McKenny; Liam Jackson, Conor Keenan, Eimhin Keenan; RJ Callaghan, Robert Leavy; Kian Moran, Conor Gillespie, Tom Jackson (0-3); Ciaran Keenan (0-2), Luke Matthews, Johnathan Commins (0-2). Subs: Carl Gillespie (0-4, 0-2 frees) for Kian Moran (HT), Ronan Carroll (0-3) for RJ Callaghan, Ryan Rooney for Luke Matthews, Evan Malone for Conor Gillespie, Darren Clarke for Johnathan Commins.
St Mochtas: Jason Callen; Ben Goss Kieran, Andrew English, Oisin Callen; Liam Lawlor (0-1), Barry Mulholland, Conor Garland; Gerry Garland, Danny Kindlon (0-1); Jamie Farrell (0-2), Philip Englishby (1-0), Darren McMahon; Craig Lennon (1-0), Declan Byrne (0-4, 0-2 frees), Ciaran Byrne (0-2). Subs: David Lennon for Barry Mulholland (25), Cormac Smyth for Jamie Farrell (49), Stephen McCooey for Craig Lennon (52).
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