JP shows his class as Jocks sink Dreadnots
Naomh Mairtin 2-13 Dreadnots 1-8
JP Rooney proved that class is permanent as O'Donnell Cup holders Naomh Mairtin kept their title defence on track with a brilliant second-half display in Clogherhead on Saturday night.
The former Louth star kicked 2-2 in a superb cameo as the Jocks cruised to a final date with Newtown Blues at the Gaelic Grounds next Saturday night.
The opening half was tight and cagey, particularly the opening quarter as the sides managed just two points apiece, James Califf and Paraic Smith cancelling out efforts by Conor Whelan and Wayne Campbell.
Califf's second score of the night gave Dreadnots the lead for the first time, but they didn't add to their three-point tally in the final 10 minutes of the half and in the meantime, the Jocks slowly eked out a two-point lead.
Eoghan Callaghan levelled it up at 3-all, before Whelan and Campbell struck their second points of the match, making it 0-5 to 0-3 at the interval.
Despite leading, the Jocks spiced up their attack by summoning Rooney from the bench at half-time and his impact was immediate, netting the first goal of the game after just three minutes.
With the goal sandwiched by a brace of points from Conor Whelan the Mairtins all of a sudden found themselves seven points up, 1-7 to 0-3.
Dreadnots responded with points from Darragh Shevlin and Carl Monaghan and another quick double from Cian McEvoy and Smith reduced the gap to four, 1-8 to 0-7 on 41 minutes.
The home side really appeared to be making a game of it when Monaghan replied to a Wayne Campbell point with a 46th minute goal.
Sam Mulroy and Liam Shevlin exchanged points and with just two points between the sides with a little over 10 minutes remaining, it looked to be game on.
But just like the opening half the Dreadnots' challenge completely fizzled out after that and they didn't manage to score again.
To Naomh Mairtin's credit they took a firm grip on the contest on the home stretch and Mulroy put three between the sides.
JP Rooney has made many a game 'safe' over the years and it was a quickfire 1-2 from the ace attacker that killed off the Dreadnots' fading challenge and added some gloss to the scoreline for the Monasterboice men.
They'll expecting a stiffer challenge on Saturday night as they put their title on the line against county champs Newtown Blues.
Naomh Mairtin: Craig Lynch; Shane Campbell, Mick Fanning, Paul Berrill; Padraig McDonagh, Eoghan Callaghan 0-1, Thomas Sullivan ; Wayne Campbell 0-3, Conor Morgan; Stephen Campbell, Brian McQuillan, Jack Murphy; Conor Whelan 0-5, Sam Mulroy 0-2, Conor Healy. Subs: JP Rooney 2-2, Francis McCullough, Gavin Mooney, Eoin Wright, Adam Winters
Dreadnots: Chris Mulroy; Aaron Scullion, Dermot Campbell, Derek Shevlin; Barry Faulkner, Padraig Rath, David O'Brien; Cian McEvoy 0-1, James Califf 0-2; Pat Lynch, Liam Shevlin 0-1, Karl Monaghan 1-1; Pepe Smith 0-1, Peter Kirwan, Anthony Williams. Subs: Darragh Shevlin 0-2 for P Lynch BC, Cathal Lynch for D O'Brien, Brian Gargan for B Faulkner.