Leinster SFC quarter-final round-up: Naas into first ever Leinster semi-final

Portarlington in maiden semi; Shelmaliers pull off comeback to shock Naomh Mairtin

Naas’ Barry Murphy celebrates after the game with Eamonn Callaghan. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Naas’ Barry Murphy celebrates after the game with Eamonn Callaghan. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho


Naas 4-11 Blessington 1-7

Naas are into a Leinster Senior Club Championship semi-final for the first time in their history after they comfortably dispatched Wicklow champions at St Conleth’s Park, scoring four goals in the process.

Naas took charge early on when Luke Griffin pounced in the 10th minute to palm the ball to the net after Blessington goalkeeper Jack Sargent fumbled Sean Cullen’s shot.

39-year-old Eamonn Callaghan scored the last two points of the first quarter to leave Naas 1-4 to 0-1 ahead at the water break, and Griffin and Cullen quickly added points after the restart.

Mikey O’Connor answered back with a close range free kick but more pacy and direct running by Paddy McDermott led to another Griffin point in the 25th minute to leave the score at 1-7 to 0-2.

That scoreline felt a fair reflection of the general play in the first half but Blessington were given a glimmer of hope in the last action of the half when Kevin Quinn found the Naas net.

But any thoughts that might kickstart a comeback were quickly quelled when Brian Kane shot to the Blessington net within 30 seconds of the restart.

Kane’s goal was the start of a dominant third quarter for Naas and they added a third goal in the 37th minute when a long spell of possession was finished off by a clever pass by Darragh Kirwan who picked out the unmarked Griffin at the back post to tap in for his second goal.

Naas’ matchwinner from their opening round over Tullamore, Kirwan, then got in among the goals with a smart half-volley in the 50th minute to leave the score at 4-9 to 1-2.

As Naas ran in their substitute’s bench, Blessingon rattled off four points in a row through Quinn (2), Conor Kenny and David Boothman to put some level of respectability on the scoreboard but those scores were merely a consolation.

Callaghan wrapped up things for Naas with points either side of a Conor Kenny point and Kildare’s county town march confidently on towards a Leinster semi-final date in Croke Park with Wexford side Shelmaliers.

Naas: J Rodgers; B Kane (1-0), P Sullivan, C McCarthy; T Browne, B Byrne, Paddy McDermott; E Doyle, S Bergin; S Cullen (0-1), E Callaghan (0-6, 3 frees), A Beirne; D Kirwin (1-0), J Burke (0-1), L Griffin (2-3).

Subs: Paul McDermott for Beirne (16), B Stynes for Cullen (34), B Murphy for Griffin (52), C Daly for Doyle (53), D Costello for Kane (56).

Blessington: J Sargent; S Bohan, C Gallagher, J Gilligan; K Hanlon, P McLoughlin, J Cotter; KJ Rodgers, A McLoughlin; M Shannon, K Quinn (1-3, 1 free), D Cooney; M O’Connor (0-1, free), E Keogh, C Kenny (0-2).

Subs: D Silke Fetherson for Shannon (h/t), D Boothman(0-1, free) for Cooney (h/)t, C Geraghty for O’Connor (h/t), B Bohan for P McLoughlin (38), D Siney for Hanlon (45).

Referee: D Hickey (Carlow).

Portarlington 1-14 St Loman’s 1-12

Portarlington are through to a first ever Leinster Club SFC semi-final thanks to a hard-earned win in a thrilling encounter over St Loman’s of Mullingar in O’Moore Park.

The Laois side were making their first appearance in the provincial competition since 2001 but they made a dream start and were 1-6 to 0-1 up after just 11 minutes.

Ronan Coffey, Colm Murphy, Paddy O’Sullivan and Adam Ryan all pointed in a lively opening spell with Loman’s only response coming from experienced defender Paddy Dowdall.

Rioghan Murphy then struck for the game’s first goal in the seventh minute when he was picked out by Colm Murphy with a free and points from David Murphy and Rioghan Murphy had them eight points up with just 11 minutes on the clock.

But Loman’s didn’t allow that bad start to derail them and a John Heslin free and a Ronan O’Toole effort from play had it 1-6 to 0-3 at the first water break.

Heslin and O’Toole pointed on the restart to get it back to four and though Colm Murphy responded for Port, the Westmeath outfit were rampant in that second quarter and got the last two scores of the half - another Heslin free and one from the lively Fola Ayorinde.

At half time it was 1-7 to 0-7 and Port were down to 14 men following the black carding of corner-back Alex Mohan.

Adam Ryan settled Port with a point early in the second half but Loman’s responded through Sam McCartan and then levelled things up when TJ Cox rifled home a brilliant goal.

It all looked to be going against Port when Heslin added a free straight away and Port keeper Scott Osborne was forced off injured.

But the game turned again. A Colm Murphy free in the 43rd minute tied things again and it was still level at the water break after Jake Foster and Peter Foy swapped scores.

Port were the better side in the final quarter with points from Adam Ryan, Colm Murphy, Foster and sub Stephen O’Neill.

Loman’s threw everything forward in a frantic finale but Port held on.

A semi-final against Kilmacud Crokes in Croke Park awaits on December 18th.

Portarlington: S Osbourne; C Bennett, R Pigott, A Mohan; C Slevin, S Mulpeter, P O’Sullivan (0-1); K Bracken, S Byrne; A Ryan (0-3), R Coffey (0-1), R Murphy (1-1); J Foster (0-2), D Murphy (0-1), C Murphy (0-4, 1 free).

Subs: S Mooney for Osbourne (injured - 37), S O’Neill (0-1) for Slevin (43), J Fitzpatrick for D Murphy (55).

St Loman’s: J Daly; D Whelan, D O’Keeffe, O Hogan; K Ryan, P Dowdall (0-1), J Geoghegan; S McCarten (0-2), F Ayorinde (0-1); P Foy (0-1), R O’Toole (0-2), K Regan; TJ Cox (1-0), J Heslin (0-5, 5 frees), S Dempsey.

Subs: K Casey for Dempsey (43), R Sheehan for Regan (55).

Referee: A Nolan (Wicklow)

Naomh Mairtin 1-7 Shelmaliers 2-6

Seventeen years since a Wexford side last reached a Leinster club semi final, Shelmaliers pulled off a sensational comeback to overcome Louth champions Naomh Mairtin in Haggardstown.

Shels hailing from Curracloe were completely outplayed in the first half and looked the unlikeliest of victors until a blitz-against the run of play-saw them level going in at half time 1-3 a piece.

Naomh Mairtin corner-forward Conor Whelan scorched his marker to slip the ball under goalkeeper Craig McCabe. His full-forward colleagues Sam Mulroy and JP Rooney would get in on the act but it would soon unravel for the Monasterboice men.

County player Glen Malone kick started a stunning 2-4 scoring run with a wonderful effort from distance. Louth goalkeeper Craig Lynch was then black carded in the build up to Eoghan Nolan’s palmed goal to add further flux to the Louth side’s tailspin.

A man down at the start of the second half, Naomh Mairtin left Ross Banville unmarked at the back post and he duly buried to the net. Aaron Murphy and Malone finished up the run and in a low scoring contest the tally would be enough.

Despite losing goalkeeper McCabe to a black card and Mulroy hitting four frees in a row, John Hegarty’s men withstood the pressure to capture a novel semi-final place in Croke Park against Naas next day out.

Graham Staples came up the field before his second yellow card to make it a two point game that forced Fergal Reel’s side to go for goals. McCabe came back in to deny Val Leddy with game last kick in a customary goal mouth scramble.

Naomh Mairtin: C Lynch; M Whelan, T Sullivan, C Morgan; J Clutterbuck, S Healy, C Healy; W Campbell, E Whelan; V Leddy, E Callaghan, S Campbell; S Mulroy (0-6, 6 frees), C Whelan (1-0), JP Rooney (0-1).

Subs: J Gordon for Leddy (28), Leddy for Gordon (38), J Murphy for S Campbell (46), G Mooney for W Campbell (51), T Clarke for Mooney (58)

Shelmaliers: C McCabe; A O’Brien, S Donohoe, J Cash; R Banville (1-0), G Staples (0-1), G Malone (0-3,1 mark); S Keane-Carroll, A Cash; J Donohoe, C Hearne, A Murphy (0-1); B Malone; P O’Leary, E Nolan (1-1).

Subs: M Power for O’Leary (49), A Foley for Murphy (42), Murphy for Foley (52), E Doyle for A Cash (54), K Roche for Murphy (60).

Referee: C Reilly (Meath)

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