Ardee St Marys made it three wins from three in the Paddy Sheelan Cup group stages as they came from behind to record a comfortable 1-15 to 1-05 win over Kilkerley Emmets on Friday afternoon.
The cup holders fell behind to a goal within 40 seconds of the throw-in and went in at the break with a three point deficit to make up but they did so with style in the second half, coming out on top of an encounter that threatened to boil over at times. Daire McConnon’s goal set them on their way to a ten point victory.
The Marys came into the third and final group game having already secured their place in the knockout stages courtesy of big wins over Na Piarsaigh and St Mochtas. The latter was a 21 point victory over the men from Louth Village. If they were hoping for another walk in the park on St Patrick’s Day, they were left stunned by the opening moments at Pairc Mhuire.
Kilkerley’s superior points difference to third place St Mochtas meant that they would have to ensure they avoided a big, big defeat to the Blues or risk their own knockout stage place. This defeat means that they are now all but through. The Marys topped the group handily with six points from six.
Kilkerley roared out of the traps on a very breezy St Patrick’s Day morning. Just 38 seconds were on the clock when Peter Duffy was beaten by a fierce shot that flew past him in the Marys goal. It took the home side seven minutes to respond. Eimhin Keenan’s ball was taken in by Jamie Rooney and he pointed from a tight angle.
Scores from Paudy Clarke and Mark Fay levelled matters but the Marys should have taken the lead with a goal of their own shortly after. Ronan Carroll surged forward and unselfishly played in Rooney but he could find neither net nor posts with his effort.
The two sides exchanged points – with Carroll scoring for the Blues – before the game descended into an almightly scuffle. Referee Patsy Connolly let play go on despite an incident occuring inside the Emmets 45 line. Paudy Clarke was left angered after a clash with a Kilkerley fullback and as players flew in, punches were clearly thrown by members of the away team.
Eventually – only after allowing Kilkerley to register a score through open play – did Connolly return to mediate. Two further frees for Kilkerley saw them hold a 1-04 to 0-4 lead at half time. Tempers had flared on the field, the touchline and in the stands during the first half but come the second period, Marys players were concentrating solely on getting back in the game.
Sub Darren Clarke scored a free moments after entering the fray before Carroll turned superbly and registered a point. Kilkerley scored via another free five minutes after the restart and that was their lot as far as the scoring was concerned.
Daire McConnon got free down the right and sent a shot low and hard across the goalkeeper as the Marys hit the front again and there was no looking back from there. Carroll grabbed his third score before Clarke played in Fay and he touched over the bar.
Carroll got another before a Paudy Clarke point and two from Conor Keenan extended the home team’s lead further. His second was arguably the score of the match. Clarke may have been going for goal when his well hit effort went over the bar late o and there was still time for further scores from Carroll and Keenan before the end.
That’s 6-56 now for the Hugh Durrigan’s men in the opening three games of their Paddy Sheelan Cup. If there’s one thing this team doesn’t lack, it’s firepower.
ARDEE ST MARYS: Peter Duffy, Eamon Callaghan, Karl Faulkner, Wayne Matthews, Conor Keenan (0-03), Eimhin Keenan, Brendan Matthews, Ronan Carroll (0-05), Robbie Leavy, Daire McConnon (1-00), Paudy Clarke (0-03), Mar Fay (0-02), Alan Kirk, Jamie Rooney (0-01), Dean Matthews.
Subs: Darren Clarke (0-01) for Jamie Rooney, Kian Moran for Alan Kirk, Cian Commins for Dean Matthews.