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Dublin: 15 °C Friday 10 July, 2020

From Kerry school claiming All-Ireland title to Kildare club securing Leinster football glory

Eanna O’Connor has enjoyed good times at O’Moore Park.

Eanna O'Connor celebrates with Jack O'Connor and Cian O'Connor 17/12/2017 Eanna, Jack and Cian O'Connor celebrate Moorefield's victory. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

EANNA O’CONNOR KNOWS more than most how O’Moore Park can be the setting for stunning comebacks.

The Portlaoise venue has been a happy hunting ground for the Kerry native.

Back in April 2009 it was Eanna who pounced to fire home the last-gasp goal that ensured Coláiste na Sceilge would be bringing the Hogan Cup home with them to South Kerry after taking the spoils against St Mary’s Edenderry.

The Colaiste na Sceilge team celebrate winning Coláiste na Sceilge celebrating the 2009 Hogan Cup victory. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Last month he struck another late goal at the Laois stadium helped engineer Moorefield’s Leinster quarter-final win over Portlaoise.

But Sunday saw O’Connor centrally involved in a comeback that usurped all his previous encounters.

Moorefield’s Leinster final race looked to be run when they trailed by six points approaching full-time yet O’Connor chipped in with 0-3 of the team’s 1-4 haul that secured a remarkable win over St Loman’s.

“I’ve very good luck on this pitch. I’d say I’ve played six times on this pitch and never lost a game. Just delighted now. Look, we really pride ourselves on our battling qualities and we’ve been there 100s of times before

“We’re absolutely delighted. It took the old man Ronan Sweeney to lead the fightback but (I’m) delighted for all the lads involved.”

Jason O'Toole and Eanna O'Connor 17/12/2017 St Loman's Jason O'Toole and Moorefield's Eanna O'Connor. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

The search for employment took him away from his Kerry home and he now teaches in Portarlington. The twist of irony lies in that it was St Loman’s manager Luke Dempsey, formerly at the helm of Moorefield, that was a factor in Eanna and his brother Cian – ruled out through suspension on Sunday – transferring to the Newbridge club.

They joined at the start of 2014 season and have made a rich contribution with Eanna kicking 0-8 in Sunday’s final triumph.

“That (looking for a job) was the main reason why I came up. The main reason I’m playing with Moorefield is because my father Jack was in the same class as Luke in college so that’s the affiliation there.”

His father, well versed in managerial ways with Kerry, is part of the backroom team helping Moorefield boss Ross Glavin.

“He’s involved in the background. He does lots of football training so he’s only a small part of the puzzle.

“Moorefield are very clannish, very honest, very welcoming people. I felt right at home the second I went training with them.

“I see the boys four times a week and again outside of training. I’ve great friends with the club and it’s great to win something with your buddies and hopefully we can drive on from here.”

The42 has just published its first book, Behind The Lines, a collection of some of the year’s best sports stories. Pick up your copy in Eason’s, or order it here today (€10):

A season as a Kildare selector ends as Leinster club goalscoring hero for 37-year-old Sweeney

‘It looked dead and buried’ – Moorefield boss lauds his players after miraculous Leinster final revival

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Fintan O'Toole

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