Ardee, St. Mary's celebrate today's LMFM MFC final win over St. Bride's/St. Mochta's. (Pic: Arthur Kinahan)
LMFM MFC final
Ardee, St. Mary's 1-17 St. Mochta's/St. Bride's 0-12
Ardee, St. Mary’s made it two minor championship wins in a row by seeing off St. Mochta’s/St. Bride’s in Sunday’s curtain-raiser at The Gaelic Grounds.
Trailing 0-7 to one with barely the first quarter played, a shock looked on the cards with the combination completely dominant, but the holders recovered from the concession of seven points on the trot to reduce their half-time deficit to just one.
This, despite losing Jonathon Commins to injury before the turnaround. The talented forward, who scored 2-13 in last year’s decider against Geraldines, went down clutching his arm in the same corner where he suffered a similar injury playing for the Louth minors earlier in the year.
But there was something ominous about their upturn in performance and once they got to grips with the impressive Ciarán McMahon, Marys’ margin of victory appeared to be the only variable in question.
While full-forward Luke Matthews was the outstanding man-of-the-match contender, finishing with a personal tally of 0-8, captain Liam Jackson was Ardee’s driving force from midfield, alongside his brother, Tom, who sprinted forward at every opportunity and capped a fine display with the game’s only goal.
Victory completes the set of U14, ‘16 and minor titles for the Páirc Mhuire side, while painting a bright future for the club, who are without a senior title since 1995.
However, Jackson admits the favourites’ tag got to his team in the early stages as McMahon (4) and Craig Lennon (3) got Mochta’s/Bride’s off to a desirable start. And, only for a miracle block by Jay Crawley, Neil Thornton would surely have bagged a goal for the combination at a crucial stage in the game.
“It’s something that we spoke about at the start of the year. We wanted to be the first to win everything.
“We were pumped in the dressing room; all year we’ve been hockeying teams and we weren’t expecting it in the first half and they really did put it up to us. At one stage, I thought they were going to beat us, but thank God we got over the line.”
Matthews scored just once before the break as Mochta’s man Andrew Lennon, brother of David and Owen, winners of intermediate medals last Sunday, largely held him at bay.
Though he did get free on a couple of occasions as the half came to a close, along with centre-forward Ciarán Keenan, who wore a heavy bandage on his left knee. And that was a sign of things to come as the pair roamed freely into the hospital end in the second half.
The interval gap was wiped out within a matter of seconds through Matthews and by the time Mochta’s/ Bride’s next registered, they trailed by seven - 16 to nine - with the prolific attacker scoring five points.
And, as Mary’s built-up their charge, frustration plagued the opposition as a melee broke out in front of the stand. The result: straight red cards for Jamie Farrell (Mochta’s/Bride’s) and Evan Malone (Mary’s).
Lennon, McMahon (free) and skipper Philip Tynan reduced the Mochta’s/Bride’s arrears to five, but any comeback inclinations were ended with Jackson’s neatly taken goal.
Several of Marys’ team have medals from last year, including the captain, who was No. 8 on the Louth team to reach last year’s Leinster final.
“The second (title) feels as good as the first,” he added.
Ardee, St. Mary’s: James McGillick; Jay Crawley, Joe Mulholland, Evan McKenny; Tom Jackson (1-0), Donal McKenny, Gavin Kirk (0-1); Tiernan Corrigan (0-2), Liam Jackson (0-2); Evan Malone, Ciarán Keenan (0-3, one free), Jonathon Commins (0-1); James McDonald, Luke Matthews (0-8, four frees & one ‘45), Shane Matthews
Subs: Adam Garvey for Commins (30), Caolin O’Callaghan for McDonald (37)
St. Mochta’s/St. Bride’s: Diarmuid Murray; Ciarán Browne, Andrew Lennon, Conor Brennan; Ryan Cash, Daniel McArdle, Conor Garland; Ciarán McMahon (0-7, six frees), Philip Tynan (0-1); Neil Thornton, Craig Lennon (0-4), Gavyn Short; Oisín Callan, Jamie Farrell, Ross Murnaghan
Subs: Adam Plunkett for Murray (47), Cathal McElroy for Cash (53), Rory Phelan for Short (54), Michael Belton for Thornton (60)
Referee: Thomas Brennan (Westerns)