Naomh Mairtin manager Fergal Reel.
Naomh Mairtin manager Fergal Reel.

AIB Leinster Club SFC: Naomh Mairtin march on

AIB Leinster Club SFC First Round

Naomh Mairtin 2-16 Rathvilly 1-5

By Dan Bannon at Haggardstown

Two goals at the end of the first half was enough for Naomh Mairtin to advance to the Leinster club quarter final at the expense of Carlow kingpins Rathvilly. 

Conor Whelan was first to find the net after club and county captain Sam Mulroy intercepted a short Tom Pilkington kick out.

Whelan’s goal came in the 25th minute of the half and the major simply stunned the Carlow champions as they would concede a further 1-2 before the short whistle was blown.

Naomh Mairtin wing forward Val Leddy got the second after being excellently set up by county defender John Clutterbuck.

Rathvilly’s Kevin Murphy did respond before half time to make it 2-7 to 0-4 but there would be no comeback for the Carlow champions such was the Louth champions dominance and wind advantage in the second period.

When the game was tight in the opening quarter, Brendan Murphy was to the fore with some superb fielding. Murphy’s experienced club mate Alan Kelly, provided the score of the game with a curling sideline effort but Naomh Mairtin soon got to grips with the pair.

In fact, Murphy’s marker Wayne Campbell landed a brace of long range points in the second half. 

All the while, Mulroy kept the scoreboard ticking with five second half scores and adding another layer to his already growing reputation.

Rathvilly substitute Conor O’Neill fired home a goal mouth scramble after Brian Smith’s 14 yard free was blocked down on the line. The late goal provided gloss on the scoreline but it was significant in that it was the first one Naomh Mairtin have conceded in the championship this year.

Having won their maiden Louth championship last season and claimed the Joe Ward cup again two weeks ago, Naomh Mairtin were keen to make a mark on Leinster. 

Fate would have it, their most celebrated player JP Rooney landed the final score of the game to seal an historic day for the club.

*Scorers for Naomh Mairtin: *Sam Mulroy 0-8 (5f), Conor Whelan 1-3, Val Leddy 1-1, Wayne Campbell 0-2, JP Rooney (f) and Conor Morgan 0-1 each.

Scorers for Rathvilly: Conor O’Neill 1-0, Kevin Murphy 0-2, Brian Murphy (f), Jake Elliott (f) and Alan Kelly (s/l) 0-1 each

*NAOMH MAIRTIN: *Craig Lynch; Mark Whelan, Thom Sullivan, Conor Morgan; John Clutterbuck, Seán Healy, Conor Healy; Wayne Campbell, Evan Whelan, Val Leddy, Eoghan Callaghan, Stephen Campbell; Sam Mulroy, Conor Whelan, Bryan McQuillan.

Subs: JP Rooney for McQuillan (47) Paul Berrill for Callaghan (54) Joe McGrane for S Campbell (57), Connor Smyth for M Whelan (57). 

RATHVILLY: Tom Pilkington; Jeffrey O’Donoghue, Barry John Molloy, Dara Curran; Pauric Deering, Conor Doyle, Josh Moore; Brendan Murphy, Ed Finnegan; Kevin Murphy, Alan Kelly, Eric Molloy; Brian Murphy, Brian Smith, Jake Elliott.

Subs: Padhraig Bolger for Kelly (42), Conor O’Neill for Elliott (44) Diarmuid Gavin for O’Donoghue (47) Luke Coleman for Brian Murphy (47), Padraic Byrne for Deering (47).

REFEREE: Fergal Smyth (Offaly).