The result of this Fairyhouse Steel Senior Football Championship Final Round Group C game between Moynalvey and St. Patricks played at Ashbourne on Friday Night 24 th August ensures safety for Moynalvey while St. Pats go into the relegation playoff.
St. Patricks 0-8
In a must win game for both teams in a bid to avoid being pulled into a relegation playoff, it was Moynalvey who came out on top by nine points thanks to a strong second half performance.
Having lost Adam Murphy, Brian O'Reilly and Fearghal McCabe through injury since their round 4 encounter with Rathkenny two weeks ago, Moynalvey were lucky enough to welcome back into the side players of the calibre of Mark O'Sullivan returning from injury to make his first championship appearance of the season, along with Anthony Forde returning from his stint in the US.
It was St. Patricks' who opened the score with a Shane Dowling point in the 6 th minute, but come the 12 th minute the Stamullen men found themselves two points in arrears, with Moynalvey points from the O'Sullivan brothers Cillian & Mark and David McLoughlin leaving it 0-3 to 0-1, Moynalvey weren't to be headed from this point on.
St. Pats narrowed the deficit to the minimum before Moynalvey's Darren Brennan had an attempt at goal saved by St. Patricks' goal keeper Robert Cluskey. Moynalvey added points from David McLoughlin and Mark O'Sullivan to leave it 0-5 to 0-2 after 17 minutes.
St.Pats' Darren Hagan pointed, but 60 seconds later Moynalvey's first goal arrived when a quick free from Cathal McCabe found Shane Lenehan who in turn fed Cillian O'Sullivan who slotted home from close range. Two Padraig Nulty frees for St. Pat's left the goal between the sides. The goal remained between the sides as they added a point apiece before referee Martin Griffin's half time whistle, leaving the score 1-6 to 0-6 at the break.
Two minutes of play immediately after the restart defined the result of this game, firstly a David McLoughlin point attempt dropped short for the incoming Shane Lenehan to contest with St. Pat's 'keeper Robert Cluskey, with Lenehan winning the battle to fist the ball to the net for Moyalvey's second goal. A Minute later Mark O'Sullivan kicked the point of the game to extend Moynalvey's half time advantage from three points out to seven.
With the wind knocked out of the St. Patrick's challenge with this early second half concession, Moynalvey went on to outscore their East Meath opponents 0-4 to 0-2 over the remainder of the game to secure the vital win which sees them safe while St. Patricks head into a relegation playoff with Blackhall Gaels and Curraha.
With full back Rob Lawless once again turning in one of his man of the match displays the Moynalvey rear guard and goal keeper Ray Ryan turned in their 5th consecutive clean sheet between league and championship.
Rob Lawless would have been pushed hard for any possible man of the match award by the injury returning Mark O'Sullivan who was a handful for the Pats defence. Along with the guile of his brother Cillian and another customary performance from marquee forward David McLoughlin, who was playing through the pain barrier having suffered a serious shoulder injury against Rathkenny, meant the St. Patricks defence were always going to struggle to keep the trio at bay.
In a good all round balanced team performance, best for Moynalvey were Ray Ryan, Brian Harnan, Robert Lawless, Anthony Forde, Mark O'Sullivan and David McLoughlin.
With the football season now over Moynalvey GFC wish the 13 dual players in our panel the best of luck with our sister club Kiltale in their Senior Hurling Championship Quarter Final against Longwood next Saturday.
Moynalvey team & scorers: Ray Ryan, Conor Harnan, Robert Lawless, Brian Harnan, Anthony Forde, Darren Brennan, Daniel Treacy, Donal Smith, Stephen Donoghue, James Weldon, Cillian O'Sullivan (1-3, 1f), Cathal McCabe, Shane Lenehan (1-0), Mark O'Sullivan (0-3), David McLoughlin (0-5, 1f).
Subs used: David Donoghue for Weldon, John Donoghue for McCabe, James Kelly for Lenehan, Darragh Branigan for M. O'Sullivan.