Moorefield move through the gears to keep battling Rathnew at bay

Kildare champions book Leinster semi-final date with Offaly’s Rhode

Moorefield captain Ronan Sweeney played influential role at midfield for winners. Photograph: INPHO/Lorraine O’Sullivan

Moorefield 0-17 Rathnew 2-7

Moorefield from Kildare advanced in the Leinster Club football championship yesterday when they saw off the challengers Rathnew in a competitive game at Aughrim.

The Kildare men will take on Rhode in the semi-final after the Offaly champions beat Navan O’Mahony’s by a comprehensive 4-10 to 0-10 margin.

It was a much closer affair at Aughrim, with Rathnew hitting back with two goals, one in each half. This was just when the Kildare champions looked set to romp to an easy victory as they established five-point and seven-point leads in the first and third quarters


Evergreen stalwart Tommy Gill opened for Rathnew with a point in the first minute from a free, but then it was Moorefield who dominated the opening quarter to go 0-6 to 0-1 ahead, with scores from Eanna O'Connor (three), Eddie Heavey, Ciaran Kelly and Adam Tyrrell.

Ronan Sweeney played a crucial midfield role for the Kildare men, despite wearing the No 14 shirt. He was the fulcrum for most of their attacking moves, while Eanna O'Connor, one of former Kerry boss Jack O'Connor's two sons on the team, provided the clinical finish, including registering three points from 45s.

Thrown a lifeline

Just when it looked as if Moorefield had it wrapped up, Rathnew were thrown a lifeline by corner-forward Philly Murphy, who rifled to the net from the edge of the square after Tommy Gill’s punched effort was battled off the goal-line.

Rathnew cut the deficit to a single point, 1-3 to 0-7, at half-time. But Moorefield again looked like they would be taking the game by the scruff of the neck after the restart when points by the second O’Connor, midfielder Cian, Adam Tyrrell, Niall Hurley and a brace by Eanna O’Connor stretched their lead to seven point at the three-quarter stage, 0-12 to 1-3.

Rathnew sprang the injured Leighton Glynn, who had fractured his thumb in the county hurling final, from the bench. He immediately fired over a point on 45 minutes. Five minutes later Gill picked out his full-forward, Jody Merrigan, on the edge of the square and Merrigan blasted a left-footed effort to the net to cut the margin to four, 2-5 to 0-15.

Glynn, Gill and Jamie Snell set up Eddie Doyle for a point and the margin was down to three.

Sharper side

As ever, Rathnew gave it their all, but Moorefield were the sharper side in working the ball forward and creating scoring opportunities.

Points by Daryl Flynn and Eanna O’Connor, as against a pointed free by Eddie Doyle for Rathnew, ensured that Moorefield field advanced by a four-point margin at the end.