Leinster SFC wrap: Moorefield stun Portlaoise at the death

John Heslin inspires St Loman’s comeback while Simonstown too good for Starlights

Moorefield 1-9 Portlaoise 0-11

Three huge plays in the last 11 minutes of action, including five minutes of injury time, saw Moorefield come from behind to book a place in the last four of the Leinster championship at the expense of Portlaoise in O’Moore Park.

The home side appeared to be primed for the semi-final spot when leading by three points with eight minutes left - the biggest margin between the sides throughout in a pulsating affair that saw them level six times in the second half and seven in total.

However Craig Rogers received his marching orders in the 53rd minute after receiving a second yellow, and two minutes later Éanna O’Connor finished sublimely for a goal to restore parity once more.


O’Connor and his brother Cian were watched by their father, the former All-Ireland-winning Kerry manager Jack, and the full-forward put on an exhibition in the first half scoring five points - three of which were excellent scores from play.

Portlaoise finished the opening period strongly however, with points from Brian Mulligan, Scott Lawless and goalkeeper Graham Brody - a second converted 45 - making it 0-9 to 0-7 at the change of ends.

In a far more intense second half scores were at a premium, tackling was tough and there were a few more flashpoints.

With only three points registered between the teams in the first 24 minutes, Portlaoise held the whip hand and when Cahillane and Lawless made it a three-point game, after Cian O’Connor had initially halved the interval deficit, they looked most likely to do the business, particularly as they managed to put the shackles on Éanna O’Connor.

However, the man who broke the hearts of the many Kildare players lining out for St Mary’s Edenderry with an injury-time goal to snatch Hogan Cup glory for Coláiste na Sceilge in 2009, was the darling of Lilywhite supporters on this occasion, exhibiting tremendous composure and artistry to slot the crucial goal from a rapidly-reducing angle.

While Moorefield had a lot of possession, they failed to chisel out a really good chance to bag the winner.

Indeed, the best opportunity of the remaining period fell to Portlaoise skipper Conor Boyle, but his Moorefield counterpart James Murray launched himself full-length to block the midfielder’s shot from 30 metres in front of the posts.

Extra time loomed when Niall Hurley-Lynch fired an improbable winner from wide on the left into the wind.

There was still time for Portlaoise to fashion one last chance of redemption but Paul Cahillane’s kick from a free from a very difficult angle just curled too much and it was the Newbridge men that advanced.

Moorefield: T Kinsella, L Callaghan, L Healy, M Dempsey, K Murnaghan, J Murray, S Healy, R Sweeney, A Masterson (0-1), C O'Connor (0-1), E Heavey (0-1), A Tyrrell, S Dempsey, E O'Connor (1-5, 0-2fs), N Hurley-Lynch (0-1). Subs: I Meehan for S Dempsey (27), A Mullins for Tyrrell inj (42), M Murray for Sweeney (46), M McDermott for Heavey (53)

Portlaoise: G Brody (0-2, 45s), D Hyland (0-1), F Flanagan, D Seale, B Mulligan (0-1), K Lillis, C Finn, C Boyle (0-1), C McEvoy, G Dillon, B Carroll, B Smyth, P Cahillane (0-2), B McCormack (0-1), S Lawless (0-3, 1f). Subs: C Rogers for Smyth (12-20, 23), P Downey for Mulligan (51)

Referee: D Coldrick (Meath)

St. Loman’s (Westmeath) 1-12 St. Columba’s (Longford) 1-11

A point from Paddy Dowdall in stoppage time earned St. Loman’s a place in the Leinster Club semi-finals as they came from six points down to defeat Longford side St. Columba’s by the narrowest of margins.

Rian Brady’s point in the 49th minute had the Longford champions ahead by six but that was their last score of the game, as the Westmeath champions showed great character and resolve to grind out the win.

John Heslin led the fightback kicking two wides and scoring a goal from the penalty spot. Ciaran Lynam drew the game level in the 59th minute. The first time Loman’s went ahead was through Dowdall’s point which turned out to be the winner.

Columba’s dominated much of the game and played some wonderful football in the first half. David McGivney scored in the 4th minute, with his brother James kicked over some terrific points. Gary Rogers and Rian Brady were also on target in the opening half as the Mullinalaghta side held a four point lead at the break; 1-8 to 0-7.

Four points from Heslin (three frees) and points from Shane Dempsey and Shane Casey kept Loman’s in the game in the first half.

Mullinalaghta started the second half well and were six up in the 40th minute. Heslin got Loman’s first point of the second half in the 46th minute from a free. The lead was six again minutes later but in the final 10 minutes Loman’s showed great composure to turn the game around and claim the win.

St. Loman's: J Daly; N O'Toole, J O'Toole, G Grehan; G Glennon, P Dowdall (0-1), D Whelan; P Sharry, S Flanagan; K Reilly, R O'Toole, D Windsor; K Casey (0-1), J Heslin (1-7, 6f, 1-0pen), S Dempsey (0-2). Subs: K Kilmurray for Whelan (35), C Lynam (0-1) for Reilly (42), G Hickey for Whelan and C Reilly for Dempsey (49)

St. Columba's: P Rogers; S Cadam, D McElligott; P Fox; F Mulligan, S Mulligan, C Brady; A McElligott, J Keegan; D McGivney (1-0), J McGivney (0-3), G Rogers (0-3); J Matthews (0-3,2f), R Brady (0-2), C McElligott. Subs: R McElligott for C McElligott (48), J Mooney for Brady (55)

Referee: C Reilly (Meath)

Simonstown Gaels (Meath) 1-12 Starlights (Wexford) 0-8

Meath champions Simonstown Gaels were always in control as they cruised to a comfortable seven point victory over a disappointing Starlights in their Leinster Club senior football championship quarter-final at Wexford Park.

The two-in-a-row Meath champions took control of this game from the outset, racing into a 0-4 to 0-0 lead inside six minutes as they kicked over four excellent points. After Nathan O’Brien had opened the scoring inside the opening minute it was Niall McMahon, Conor Sherdian and Sean Tobin who followed with points as they mounted all of the opening attacks.

The home side were creating very little impression through the opening exchanges and had to wait until the 11th minute for their opening score, an Alan Tobin point. After Darragh Pepper had reduced the deficit further it was the Meath side who responded with the game’s only goal at the end of first quarter, when Sean Tobin finished after a sweeping four-man move that opened up the opposing defence, putting them 1-4 to 0-2 ahead.

Then came a Starlights recovery of sorts as they finished the half strongly, with points from Dylan Redmond and Alan Tobin frees, but Simonstown looked comfortable leading 1-5 to 0-4 at the interval.

However, the expected Starlights second half recovery failed to materialise. The visitors remained in control with Shane O’Rourke and James Kilcullen dominant in midfield. Patrick McKeever and Ricky Fox exchanged early points but it was Simonstown, through a McKeever pointed free and a fine individual Sean Tobin effort, who led 1-8 to 0-5 after 44 minutes.

Simonstown led 1-10 to 0-6 into the closing ten minutes. Boosted by two quick Ryan Mahon points, Starlights managed to raise their game, but after a McKeever free and a huge Shane O’Rourke effort the visitors marched into the next round.

Simonstown Gaels: R Burlingham; S Gallagher, S Moran, N McMahon (0-1); B McGrath (0-1), R O'Connor, N Kane; S O'Rourke (0-2), J Kilcullen; S Tobin (1-2), S Kenny, M McCabe; N O'Brien (0-1), C Sheridan (0-1), P McKeever (0-4, 3 free). Subs: J Lyons for McCabe (42), M Brennan for O'Brien (47), N O'Brien for Kenny (52), E Donoghue for Kane (55), B Conlon for Tobin (58).

Starlights: P Doyle; R O'Connor, T Wall, M Doyle; J Kelly, R Fox (0-1), K Foley; L Ryan, R Farrell; A Tobin (0-2, 1 f), N Doyle, D Redmond (0-1, 1f); D Pepper (0-1), E Furlong, R Mahon (0-3, 1 free). Subs: A Dobbs for Furlong(42), B Edwards for Farrell (50).

Referee: A Nolan (Wicklow).