Moorefield (Kildare) 2-13
Rathnew (Wicklow) 2-7
Paul Keane reporting from Joule Park, Aughrim
THE FAMOUS O’CONNOR family from Kerry both enjoyed and endured the occasion in Aughrim as their adopted club, Moorefield, powered through to the AIB Leinster club SFC final.
Eanna O’Connor’s eight-point haul and excellent display proved vital in seeing off hosts Rathnew who, a fortnight earlier, took out holders St Vincent’s at the same venue.
O’Connor is the former Kerry underage player and ex-Kildare senior whose father Jack, managed the Kingdom to three All-Ireland senior titles.
Jack is also part of the Moorefield backroom team under boss Ross Glavin though his other son, Cian, had a frustrating afternoon with a straight red card after 37 minutes.
Going down to 14 men at that stage, in wet and windy conditions, made Moorefield’s achievement all the more impressive.
Eanna O’Connor scored six points in all in the second-half with five of those coming from placed balls as he consistently punished Rathnew’s foul play.
Niall Hurley Lynch had a strong game for the Newbridge outfit too and netted after just four minutes while Mark Dempsey added a second goal late on to gloss the scoreline.
The win secures Moorefield a 10 December final clash with St Loman’s in Portlaoise.
St Loman’s are managed by Luke Dempsey who won back-to-back titles as Moorefield boss before taking on the job in Mullingar and winning three-in-a-row there.
Rathnew were aiming for back-to-back surprise wins after beating Brian Mullins’ Vincent’s, but trailed for most of the game.
Hurley Lynch scored 1-2 in the first-half to put Moorefield 1-4 to 0-5 ahead approaching half-time though a deflected Graham Merrigan goal left Rathnew ahead briefly and the sides were level at half-time, 1-5 to 1-5.
They were tied again early in the second-half at 1-6 apiece but four Moorefield points in a row nudged the visitors into a lead that they would hold onto.
Rathnew refused to throw in the towel and Leighton Glynn converted a 45th minute penalty after a foul on James Stafford to leave one in it again.
But Moorefield, who were down to 14 now following Cian O’Connor’s straight red for an incident involving Glynn, didn’t panic and responded to the goal concession with three Eanna O’Connor points, all from frees.
Rathnew tried for a third goal but it never arrived and it was Dempsey that netted for Moorefield three minutes into injury-time after a neat one-two with Eddie Heavey.
Moorefield scorers: Eanna O’Connor 0-8 (0-5f, 0-1 45), Niall Hurley Lynch 1-3, Mark Dempsey 1-0, Ian Meehan 0-2.
Rathnew scorers: Leighton Glynn 1-1 (1-0 pen), Graham Merrigan 1-0, Eddie Doyle 0-3 (0-1f), James Stafford, Danny Staunton, Jody Merrigan 0-1 each.
1. Tom Kinsella
4. Liam Callaghan
3. Liam Healy
5. Sean Healy
9. Aaron Masterston
7. Mark Dempsey
6. James Murray
8. Cian O’Connor
20. Daryl Flynn
13. Ian Meehan
11. Eddie Heavey
10. Kevin Murnaghan
14. Ronan Sweeney
12. Eanna O’Connor
15. Niall Hurley Lynch
23. David Whyte for Masterson (45)
2. Sean Dempsey for Sean Healy (57)
24. Padraig O’Flynn for Callaghan (61)
17. Aaron Mullins for Hurley Lynch (62)
1. Peter Dignam
2. Paul Merrigan
3. Damien Power
4. Jamie Snell
5. Warren Kavanagh
6. Ross O’Brien
7. Enan Glynn
8. James Stafford
9. Theo Smith
12. Graham Merrigan
14. Leighton Glynn
11. Danny Staunton
10. Stephen Byrne
13. Mark Doyle
15. Eddie Doyle
18. Jody Merrigan for E Doyle (42, black card)
20. Nicky Mernagh for Byrne (50)
16. John Manley for E Glynn (53)
17. Christopher Healy for O’Brien (57)
Referee: John Hickey (Carlow)
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