The evergreen JP Rooney taking on Geraldines defender Paul Clarke. (Pic: Arthur Kinahan)
Senior Football Championship Group D Round 1
Naomh Mairtin 1-11 Dreadnots 0-9
A second half resurgence saw Naomh Mairtin open up their Senior Football Championship defence in Group D with a five-point victory over the Dreadnots in Dunleer.
With talisman Sam Mulroy helping himself to 1-7, the holders did enough to see off the tricky challenge of the Dreadnots, who led by 0-7 to 0-4 at the break. The Martins had another gear or two to reach and they certainly reached it in that second half, with Sam Mulroy scoring 1-4 of their second half tally of 1-7.
The Monasterboice side only turned the Dreadnots over six times in that opening half. But in the second half, Fergal Reel’s side upped their intensity and levels of urgency, turning Clogherhead over 15 times in the second half.
This led to the game changing moment of the match, as Mulroy seized on a loose pass from the Dreadnots defence, before firing the ball passed Ciaran Cunningham to level things up at 1-4 to 0-7 minutes after the restart.
The Martins kicked on from that, scoring seven points in a row as Clogherhead failed to register a second half score until stoppage time allowing the Martins to carve out the win.
Naomh Martin: Craig Lynch; Mark Whelan, Thomas Sullivan, Conor Healy; John Clutterbuck, Sean Healy, Conor Morgan; Wayne Campbell (0-2), Evan Whelan; Jack Murphy, Eoghan Callaghan, Stephen Campbell; Conor Whelan (0-2,0-1 free), Sam Mulroy (1-7, 0-5 free), JP Rooney. Subs: Val Leddy for Evan Whelan (50), Brian McQuilan for Rooney (50), Mick Fanning for Murphy (54), Cian Sands for Wayne Campbell (58).
Dreadnots: Ciaran Cunnigham; Barry Faulkner, Padraig Rath, Conor Clarke; Aaron Scullion, Anthony Williams, Conor Faulkner; Paraic Smith (0-1), Dermot Campbell; Peter Kirwan (0-2), Pat Lynch, James Califf (0-1); Jay Hughes (0-4, 0-3 free), Darragh Shevlin (0-1), Cian McEvoy. Subs: Anthony Lynch for Pat Lynch (48), Derek Shevlin for Faulkner (53), Carl Monaghan for Darragh Shevlin (53).
Group D Round 2
Naomh Martin 4-16 Geraldines 0-4
Naomh Martin comfortably booked their place in the knockout stages of the Senior Football Championship after this comprehensive victory over the Geraldines.
Fergal Reel’s side made good use of a tumultuous wind and led by 1-12 to no score by the first half’s close, Sean Healy was in particularly fine form, kicking two magnificent scores from distance. He finished with a commendable 14 possessions over the hour, with Sam Mulroy touching the size 5 on 15 occasions.
The Louth captain capitalised on a little bit of good fortune as Conor Whelan’s pass was intended for the arriving Evan Whelan, however as usual the county star made the most of the chance to calmly slot passed Gers’ keeper Sean McEneaney to make it 1-10 to no score in first half stoppage time.
Second half sub for the Martins Val Leddy got his name on the scoresheet as the Jocks rang the changes during that second period. However the county champions were in no mood for sentimentality as they rammed in three goals in a row.
The lively Conor Whelan setting up John Clutterbuck for a close range major, before Whelan helped himself to two goals of his own as they ran out emphatic 24 point winners.
Naomh Mairtin: Craig Lynch; Mick Fanning, Thomas Sullivan, Conor Healy; John Clutterbuck (1-0), Sean Healy (0-2) Conor Morgan (0-3); Wayne Campbell, Evan Whelan; Jack Murphy, Eoghan Callaghan, Stephen Campbell (0-2); Conor Whelan (2-2, 0-2 frees), Sam Mulroy (1-5, 0-2 frees, 0-1 mark), JP Rooney (0-1 mark). Subs: Val Leddy (0-1) for Rooney (35), Brian McQuilan for Murphy (45), Conor Smyth for Sean Healy (47), Joe McGrane for Mulroy (50), Cian Sands for Stephen Campbell (50).
Geraldines: Sean McEneaney; Nicky Mackin, Dan Corcoran, Paul Clarke; Jack Traynor, Gareth Neacy, Ferghal McDonald; Matt Corcoran, Stephen Reidy; Ben Mooney, Josh Arrowsmith, Brian Cafferty; Neil Jones, Shane O’Hanlon (0-1 free), Shaun Callan. Subs: James Craven for Callan (HT), Michael Rogers (0-2, 0-1 45) for Cafferty (HT), Conor Rafferty (0-1 free) for Jones (HT), Paddy Hoey for Mooney (49).
Naomh Mairtin 4-15 St Josephs 1-5
Naomh Mairtin’s quest for a second consecutive Joe Ward Cup still remained firmly intact as they ruthlessly advanced to the semi-finals of this year’s SFC after their victory over St Josephs in a match which was never in doubt.
The Martins pressed up and squeezed the Joes kickout, winning 10 out of 16 in that department, with John Clutterbuck and Sean Healy particularly dominant along with Evan Whelan and Wayne Campbell in the middle of the field.
That fast start was rewarded on the scoreboard, with three Sam Mulroy points (2f) either side of John Clutterbuck and Stephen Campbell efforts putting the Jocks 0-5 to 0-0 ahead at the first water break.
It was then Conor Whelan’s turn to kick three scores of his own, while Mulroy kicked a superb score from distance and JP Rooney helped himself to a point as the Martins led by 0-10 to 0-0 at the break.
Conor Whelan’s goal minutes after the restart increased that lead to 15, before Craig Doherty finally raised a white flag for the Joes on 38 minutes. Two goals from substitute Val Leddy along with a goal from Sam Mulroy saw the Jocks record an easy 22-point win to march on the semi-finals.
Naomh Mairtin: Craig Lynch; Mick Fanning, Thomas Sullivan, Conor Healy; John Clutterbuck (0-1), Sean Healy, Conor Morgan; Wayne Campbell, Evan Whelan (0-1); Jack Murphy, Eoghan Callaghan, Stephen Campbell (0-1); Conor Whelan (1-3), Sam Mulroy (1-8, 0-3 frees), JP Rooney (0-1). Subs: Val Leddy (2-0) for Wayne Campbell (43), Mark Whelan for Sullivan (47), Conor Smyth for Sean Healy (47), Cian Sands for Conor Whelan (47), Bryan McQuilan for Stephen Campbell (47).
St Josephs: Jordan Mackin; Liam O’Leary, Killian Staunton, Stefan Potts; David Kieran, Conor Neary, Gabriel Bell (0-1); Oisin McGuinness (1-1), Thomas Smyth; Craig Doherty (0-2 1f), Daire Smyth, Conall Smyth; Jack Mulligan, Conal McCaul, Ben Mulligan. Subs: Alan McKenna (0-1) for Thomas Smyth (35), Shane McQuilan for Ben Mulligan (blood sub 43), Killian McDonnell for Jack Mulligan (47), Shane McQuilan for O’Leary (49), Jack Mulligan for Conall Smyth (55 blood sub)
Naomh Mairtin 2-13 Newtown Blues 0-09
This contest was shaped in a stunning blitz minutes into the opening quarter. 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 Newtown 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.
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 Ciaran Downey pegged back a couple of frees but it was the Jocks who marched on to the final.
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).
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