Cian O Connor, Moorefield, and Stephen Byrne, Rathnew, in action at Aughrim.

Cian O Connor, Moorefield, and Stephen Byrne, Rathnew, in action at Aughrim.

Moorefield march on

AIB Leinster SFC Semi-Final


By Paul Keane at Joule Park, Aughrim

Eanna O'Connor picked off eight crucial points at Joule Park, Aughrim as dogged Moorefield saw off hosts Rathnew to return to the AIB Leinster Club SFC final.

The classy Kerry man gave an exhibition of kicking from placed balls in the second-half with six points in that period, and five from the ground, despite atrocious conditions.

His brother, Cian, was sent off in the 37th minute on a straight red card and will miss the December 10 final in Portlaoise.

But Moorefield will take huge pride from battling on with just 14 men in wet and windy weather and sealing the win.

Harry Murphy's Rathnew caused a major shock when they knocked out holders St Vincent's a fortnight ago at the same venue in the quarter-finals.

But Moorefield led for the most part this time and had another strong performer up front in Niall Hurley Lynch who netted early on and finished with 1-3.

The Newbridge outfit, managed by Ross Glavin and with legendary Kerry figure Jack O'Connor, father of the O'Connor brothers, among their backroom team, added a second goal at the death through Mark Dempsey.

They got a boost before throw-in when Daryl Flynn was named to start after missing the quarter-final win over Portlaoise through suspension.

The former Kildare midfielder was red carded in the Kildare final win over Celbridge but returned to form a strong axis with Cian O'Connor.

Hurley Lynch got his goal after just four minutes after an excellent diagonal ball in from Eddie Heavey though there was some fortune as his shot was deflected in off Paul Merrigan.

Corner-back Merrigan found the going difficult early on as Hurley Lynch won a free off him, which Eanna O'Connor converted, to leave Moorefield 1-1 to 0-0 ahead.

Hurley Lynch scored two more points in the half though Rathnew enjoyed a strong 20-minute period when they outscored the visitors by 0-5 to 0-1 to level the game up.

Eddie Doyle scored three of those Rathnew points including two beauties from long range.

Evergreen captain Leighton Glynn was excellent for the Village too though they slipped behind again when Ian Meehan and Hurley Lynch pointed for Moorefield who led by two entering injury time.

A deflected goal for Rathnew, which ultimately left the sides tied at the break, 1-5 to 1-5 was a decisive score.

Glynn played in Graham Merrigan down the left and his shot after a probing run deflected in off a Moorefield defender.

Moorefield were excellent in deteriorating conditions after the break and held Rathnew to just 1-2 while adding 1-8 themselves.

Cian O'Connor was red carded for a clash with Glynn but sibling Eanna picked off a series of scores from placed balls to keep them well in the clear.

Rathnew briefly got the margin down to one point in the 45th minute when Glynn converted a penalty after a foul on James Stafford, destroyer of Vincent's.

But three points from Eanna O'Connor in response set the seal on victory and Dempsey added Moorefield's second goal in the 63rd minute after a neat one two with Heavey.

Scorers for Moorefield: Eanna O'Connor 0-8 (5fs, 145), Niall Hurley Lynch 1-3, Mark Dempsey 1-0, Ian Meehan 0-2.

Scorers for Rathnew: Graham Merrigan 1-0, Eddie Doyle 0-3 (1f), Leighton Glynn 1-1 (1-0 pen), James Stafford 0-1, Danny Staunton 0-1, Jody Merrigan 0-1.

MOOREFIELD: Tom Kinsella; Liam Callaghan, Liam Healy, Sean Healy; Aaron Masterson, Mark Dempsey, James Murray; Cian O'Connor, Daryl Flynn; Ian Meehan, Eddie Heavey, Kevin Murnaghan; Ronan Sweeney, Eanna O'Connor, Niall Hurley Lynch.

Subs: David Whyte for Masterson (45), Sean Dempsey for Sean Healy (57), Padraig O'Flynn for Callaghan (61), Aaron Mullins for Hurley Lynch (62).

RATHNEW: Peter Dignam; Paul Merrigan, Damien Power, Jamie Snell; Warren Kavanagh, Ross O'Brien, Enan Glynn; James Stafford, Theo Smith; Graham Merrigan, Leighton Glynn, Danny Staunton; Stephen Byrne, Mark Doyle, Eddie Doyle.

Subs: Jody Merrigan for E Doyle (42, black), N Mernagh for Byrne (50), John Manley for E Glynn (53), Christopher Healy for O'Brien (57).

REFEREE: John Hickey (Carlow).