Winning is a habit Muirhevnamor have grown accustomed to over the years. They grind out wins in games which the scoreline suggests were relatively tame affairs.
On Saturday night in the Clancy Cup final they used all of their winners mentality to put down a spirited Shamrocks outfit and claim the silverware.
The Fatima side arrived at the Point Road venue light on numbers and few expected them to present much of a challenge. But for a half hour period in the middle of this clash they made the league leader’s sweat it out.
In the end the 5-2 scoreline is a harsh reflection on the effort put in by Shamrocks. However Muirhevnamor were coasting at 3-0 as the interval neared and it looked like the second half was already a foregone conclusion.
But a Conor Macken goal two minutes from the break added wind to Shamrocks sails and they attacked the second half with incredible heart and tempo. A wonderful Drew Duffy free kick from the edge of the Muirhevnamor penalty area hurtled past Jason McConville to leave it 3-2 to Muirhevnamor with over 40 minutes still to play.
The crowd at Clancy Park smelled a classic on the cards. However it failed to materialise as Muirhevnamor simply upped a gear, made a winning tactical switch with the introduction of Sean Conlon and coasted through the last ten minutes.
Muirhevnamor looked far more motivated at the dawning of the match though. Early pressure own the right flank led to Thomas McShane driving the ball across Shamrocks penalty area and Ray McCann hammered the ball home in off the post.
With just three minutes on the clock at that stage it looked ominous. By the tenth minute when Adrian Rafferty made it 2-0 when he nodded home a lovely floated free kick at Shamrocks back post, few expected anything but a cake walk for Muirhevnamor.
But gradually the Fatima men settled into the game. Their passing became tighter and they started to threaten up both flanks.
Enda Murphy could have opened Shamrocks account on he half hour mark when Owen Armstrong popped a ball across the six yard box, but Murphy couldn’t connect.
Muirhevnamor upped their effort and where rewarded with their third goal when Stefan McKevitt found space after Micky O’Kane played him in with an eye of a needle through ball.
Then came Macken’s goal for Shamrocks and a more competitive second half was in the offing. For twenty minutes in that second half there was a sense that Shamrocks could do something. Duffy’s converted free kick left just one in it and the Fatima men chased and harried Muirhevnamor all the way.
But that winning instinct kicked in for McGinn’s side. Conlon arrived on the scene with just under 25 minutes left and he added a much needed injection.
Using their wit and experience Muirhevnamor halted Shamrocks. Micky O’Kane went so close in the 70th minute when he snapped a shot off from the edge ofthe ‘D’ which sailed just wide.
The game might have swung in Shamrocks favour had an audacious Jimmy Cooney lob not been headed off the Muirhevnamor line by Brian Begley. That was as close as they would get though.
Paidi Hearty made it 4-2 to Muirhevnamor soon afterwards with the simplest of finishes from a Sean Conlon assist and Conlon himself added the fifth when he swung his boot at a cross from the left from O’Kane.
Shamrocks: Pauric Gorham, Martin Murphy, Brian Bird, Dermot Greer, Aidan Sheehy, Drew Duffy, Jimmy Cooney, Conor Macken, Aidan Greer, Owen Armstrong, Enda Murphy. Subs used: Sean Matthew for E Murphy.
Muirhevnamor: Jason McConville, Stefan McKevitt, Brian Begley, Adrian Rafferty, Sean Dixon, Philip Duffy, Colin Finan, Thomas McShane, Paidi Hearty, Micky O’Kane, Ray McCann. Subs used: Richard Gorman for S Dixon; Sean Conlon for C Finan; Paul Mallon for T McShane.