Poor Rathkenny poised for a relegation battle
Meath GAA: Fairyhouse Steel SFC - Moynalvey 3-12 Rathkenny 0-9
Rathkenny could be facing into yet another relegation dogfight on the evidence of this display in Group B of the SFC at Skryne on Saturday evening.
With games against some of the big guns, including Summerhill, Donaghmore/Ashbourne and Ratoath to come, victory was crucial for both sides and it was the Cillian O'Sullivan-inspired Moynalvey who had plenty to spare at the final whistle.
O'Sullivan came up against his inter-county teammate Donal Keogan and had the edge of that particular tussle as he ended with a personal tally of 2-3.
The goals proved crucial, O'Sullivan's opening strike on 21 minutes gave Moynalvey a platform and they eventually led 1-6 to 0-4 at half-time.
O'Sullivan struck for his second goal five minutes after the restart and there was no way back for a disappointing Rathkenny after that.
Rathkenny, who were without the injured Caolach Halligan and Thomas McGuinness, led early on with points from Ivan Lenehan and Keith Curtis. However, Moynalvey were never headed after Adam Murphy fired them in front on 15 minutes, following earlier scores from O'Sullivan (free) and Darren Brennan.
Scores from midfielders Donal Smith (two) and Padraic Harnan left Moynalvey 0-6 to 0-3 clear on 19 minutes. Then came their opening goal, with Shane Lenehan providing the final pass for O'Sullivan in a quick counter-attack after Rathkenny had coughed up possession at the other end.
The eventual losers had a chance of a goal on 24 minutes, but with the Moynalvey defence stretched Jeaic Timmons' pass to Keogan was intercepted.
Rathkenny suffered another blow on the stroke of half-time when midfielder Robbie Garry was black-carded by referee Andrew Smith.
James Macken struck the opening point of the second half for Rathkenny, but Moynalvey strengthened their grip on proceedings when O'Sullivan breezed in for his second goal.
Last year's county Minor and Young Footballer of the Year James O'Hare did some great covering for Rathkenny, but the north Meath outfit struggled with the pace of the winners' attack.
Substitute Tom Barron and Keith Curtis responded to that O'Sullivan goal with points and Diarmuid McCarthy's side were unfortunate not to find the net on 40 minutes, with Brian Harnan taking a Jack Gore effort off the goal-line.
Two goals separated the sides after Keith Curtis converted a free on 51 minutes and that was as close as Rathkenny got.
The introduction of David McLoughlin added further impetus to Moynalvey's attack and the lively forward notched 1-2 following his arrival in the the third quarter. He fired over a point on 52 minutes and then added a goal three minutes later, toe-poking to the net from close range.
McLoughlin (free) and O'Sullivan added further scores before the finish, while Rathkenny's only score in the same period came from substitute Evan Crosbie.
Moynalvey: Ray Ryan; Conor Harnan, Robert Lawless, Darren Brennan 0-1; Stephen Donoghue, Brian Harnan, Fearghal McCabe; Donal Smith 0-2, Padraic Harnan 0-1; Cathal McCabe, Adam Murphy 0-2, Padraig Kelly; Shane Lenehan, Cillian O'Sullivan 2-3 (1f), Sean Duggan. Subs: David McLoughlin 1-2 (1f) for Duggan (37), David Donoghue for Kelly (47), James Weldon 0-1 for Lenehan (53).
Rathkenny: Colin Curtis; James O'Hare, Ross Gore, Mark Byrne; Stephen Crosbie, Donal Keogan, Niall Brannigan; Robbie Garry, Brian Meade; Jack Gore, James Macken 0-1, Keith Timmons; Jeaic Timmons, Ivan Lenehan 0-1, Keith Curtis 0-5 (4f). Subs: Tom Barron 0-1 for Garry (BC 31), Donal Curtis for Lenehan (51), Evan Crosbie 0-1 for J Timmons (53), Christy Meade for J Gore (57), Jack Thompson for K Timmons (60).
Ref: Andrew Smith (Dunshaughlin)