MOATE CS 1-13 ST. PETER’S COLLEGE 0-5
ST. PETER’S (Wexford) seemed to be reasonably well fixed at half-time in Wednesday’s Leinster Schools Senior football ‘A’ championship quarter-final in Killeshin, but they were in dire straits within ten minutes of the restart and never looked like recovering.
Pre-match favourites Moate Community School from Westmeath had first use of the strong wind, but it took them more than eleven minutes to score and they were only ahead by 0-6 to 0-2 at the break.
A super penalty save by Eoin Halligan ensured St. Peter’s were within touching distance, but that didn’t last for long as the leaders gained total supremacy when the action resumed and hit a devastating 1-5 without reply in the third quarter.
They could even afford to miss another spot-kick – with Eoin Bracken blasting over the bar in the 34th minute – before a somewhat fortuitous goal shortly afterwards ruled out any hope of a Peter’s comeback.
Pádraig McLoughlin sprayed a pass to the right flank for Conaire Martin, who was undoubtedly aiming for a point. His kick didn’t have the required distance, but it worked out perfectly for the Westmeath side as Ronan Murray darted in to palm the dropping ball to the net for a 1-9 to 0-2 lead.
It was the final knockout blow for St. Peter’s, who weren’t helped by the unavailability of two key defenders in team captain Finn Ryan and Daniel Ormonde.
Their poor showing after the interval came as a huge disappointment given their decent containment job before the break. The paltry three points they registered in the second-half all arrived from frees, and in truth they never rose a gallop against strong opponents who met St. Mel’s (Longford) in the semi-final in The Downs yesterday (Tuesday).
Moate assigned tight markers Cathal Guinan and Adam Keane to dangermen Seán Cooney and Luke Murphy, with both doing fine jobs, while the languid but very skilful David O’Reilly lorded the aerial exchanges.
Wearing number 14 but operating for the most part in the middle third, there was a period in the second-half when it looked like he was drawing Eoin Halligan’s kick-outs down the centre to his hands with the aid of a magnet.
The outcome was a pity because it took Moate quite some time to settle, and Seán Cooney was unlucky to send a low drive across goal and wide in the third minute.
Indeed, St. Peter’s more than matched their rivals in the early exchanges, even though they were playing into the wind. It didn’t help their cause when the weather improved markedly during half-time, ensuring they didn’t have any notable benefits in the second period when Moate finally returned to the field, after testing the patience of referee Des Cooney.
David O’Reilly earned the free that he pointed to open Moate’s account in the twelfth minute. Captain Daragh Lowry won the kick-out, and the move that followed saw Eoin Halligan denying Pádraig McLoughlin a goal by knocking his shot out for a ’45 via the post.
Donal Shirley planted that placed ball over the bar, with Peter’s enjoying another let-off when a defender dropped the ball but Tiarnan O’Donovan couldn’t capitalise, blazing to the left and wide.
Captain Lowry was dragged back and earned a penalty in the 16th minute, but Eoin Halligan dived to his left and kept out Dean O’Neill’s shot with his legs.
Moate were gobbling up most of the Peter’s restarts, and a Ronan Murray kick was tipped on to the crossbar and over by Halligan before Donal Shirley stretched the lead to 0-4 to nil.
The Summerhill side eventually lifted the siege, with Jack Hennessy finding Oisín Kavanagh who forced James Mitchell into a decent save.
They finally opened their account with a solo point from midfielder Seán Rowley in the 21st minute, and Kavanagh added another from a Seán Cooney pass.
And even though Moate finished the half with a brace from Eoin Bracken (free) and Daragh Lowry to lead by 0-6 to 0-2, it could have been a good deal worse for Peter’s.
Alas, they fell away rapidly when the play resumed, with Bracken splitting the posts again before firing high and over from their second penalty – earned by Adam Keane.
That didn’t knock them out of their stride, as Conor Fox added another point before that goal from Murray arrive in the 38th minute (1-9 to 0-2).
David O’Reilly and another Bracken placed ball piled on the agony before Luke Murphy and Seán Cooney got on the scoresheet from frees in the 48th and 51st minutes.
O’Reilly pointed from play and a free, and also dribbled soccer-style but shot to the left and wide, before Peter’s substitute Harry Murphy closed the scoring with the last kick of the game.
St. Peter’s: Eoin Halligan (Sarsfields); Kevin Byrne (St. Anne’s), Alex Kirby (Sarsfields), Simon Roche (Oulart-The Ballagh); Daniel Devereux (Our Lady’s Island), Robbie Delaney (Shelmaliers, capt.), Páidí Power (St. Anne’s); Seán Rowley (Oylegate-Glenbrien, 0-1), Will Hayes (Glynn-Barntown); David McCarthy (Crossabeg-Ballymurn), Jack Hennessy (Oylegate-Glenbrien), Luke Roche (Shelmaliers); Oisín Kavanagh (St. Martin’s, 0-1), Luke Murphy (Sarsfields, 0-1 free), Seán Cooney (Glynn-Barntown, 0-1 free). Subs. – Kyle Clarke-Hanglow (St. Mary’s, Rosslare) for McCarthy (HT), Mark Hennessy (St. Martin’s) for Power, temp. (37-38), Hennessy for Hayes (40), Michael Furlong (Glynn-Barntown) for S. Roche (45), Conor Cullen (Sarsfields) for Kavanagh (51), Harry Murphy (Bannow-Ballymitty, 0-1 free) for Cooney (56).
Moate CS: James Mitchell; Cathal Guinan, Adam Keane, Tom Gorman; Pádraig McLoughlin, Donal Shirley (0-2, 1 ’45), Aodhán Curran; David O’Reilly (0-4, 2 frees), Daragh Lowry (capt., 0-1); Conaire Martin, Eoin Bracken (0-4, 3 frees, 1 pen.), Dean O’Neill; Conor Fox (0-1), Ronan Murray (1-1), Tiarnan O’Donovan. Subs. – Adam Daly for O’Neill (HT), Alan Lynam for Fox, inj. (55), O’Neill for McLoughlin (57).
Referee: Des Cooney (Laois).