David Lennon helped St. Mochta's to victory against Dundalk Gaels in today's Anchor Tours SFC clash in Dowdallshill. (Pic: Arthur Kinahan)
Anchor Tours SFC group one
St. Mochta’s 1-13 Dundalk Gaels 0-10
St. Mochtas’ last venture into the senior championship lasted just one season, but, 37 years on, their stay looks set to stretch into a second campaign following Sunday afternoon’s Dowdallshill victory over Dundalk Gaels.
Albeit Gaels were desperately wasteful - hitting as many as 10 first half wides, thus allowing Mochta’s to build a lead they wouldn’t relinquish - there was a style to the way in which Seamus McGahon’s charges reaped the maximum return.
They’re, doubtlessly, one of the county’s most purposeful, best coached sides and their playing template is one to be widely admired. Whether it be Declan Byrne and Stephen McCooey or, as it transpired, McCooey and Eamonn O’Neill manning the inside forward line, once the move is made the ball is delivered and runners are free-flowing in lending an outlet.
Their goal was a specific example of this, whereby they capitalised on the oceans of space that their set-up affords them. McCooey, a constant thorn in Gaels’ side, played into Ciarán McMahon who laid off for O’Neill to palm to the empty net.
This came amid Mochtas’ second quarter run of 1-4 to no-reply, after Gaels had accrued a commanding early buffer, of four points to one, which, in fairness, skewed the complexion of an opening where the intermediate kingpins gave as good as they had got.
But for all of Mochtas’ better play, Paul Morgan’s side could easily have been the ones in control. Frustration grew as production declined on the back of a glut of misplaced passes and exasperating wides, the 10th of which saw Gerard McSorley miss a free that he would ordinarily have converted, from just right of the target. This, aligned to their severely exposed backline, didn’t make for a positive outcome.
Of course Gaels’ loss of Derek Crilly to injury after a mere 15 minutes had a huge impact on their performance, while, already without the influential Barry Watters, to lose captain David Moloney during the second half was another significant blow at a time where they required leaders to stand to the fore.
Éanna McArdle, before his departure, was at the epicentre of Gaels’ resistance, but Mochta’s closed much the stronger, their seven-point winning margin being as emphatic as it was convincing.
St. Mochta’s: Jason Callan; David Lennon, Philip Englishby, Liam Lawlor; Barry Mulholland, Andrew English, Conor Garland; Darren McMahon, Eamonn O’Neill (1-0); Ciarán McMahon (0-1), Gerry Garland (0-3, one free), Danny Kindlon (0-1); Jamie Farrell (0-2), Declan Byrne (0-3, one free), Stephen McCooey (0-2)
Subs: Cormac Smyth for O’Neill (46), Craig Lennon (0-1) for Farrell (50), Nigel Farrell for C McMahon (60, BC)
Dundalk Gaels: Joe O’Donoghue; James Lynch, Oisín Murray, Eamonn Kenny; Gary Shevlin (0-2, one free), Adrian Rafferty, David Moloney (0-1); Derek Crilly, Jordan Keating; Paul McCrave, David McComish, Niall Hearty; Éanna McArdle (0-4, two frees), Jason Clarke, Gerard McSorley (0-1)
Subs: Pádraig Fallon (0-1) for Crilly (15), Seán Murray for Moloney (41), Mark Hanna for Clarke (48), Seán McCann (0-1, free) for McArdle (53), Chris Sweeney for Keating (56), Jamie Faulkner for McSorley (56, BC)
Referee: Stephen Murphy (Naomh Máirtín)