Ardee St Marys defence of their Paddy Sheelan Cup title has ended – after Mattock Rangers deservedly booked their place in the last four of the cup competition with a 1-10 to 0-09 point victory at Pairc Muire.
The men from Collon lead virtually throughout – from the first minute to the very last and there can be few complaints from the Marys that their interest in the cup ends here. Now, attentions turn to the league kick off next week.
This was a Mid-Louth derby and despite the cup billing, it meant much to both teams. The sides last met in the league 11 months ago. That day, the Marys needed Alan Kirk’s late goal to see off the Collon men’s challenge. That game turned out to be Jack Sheedy’s last in charge of the Marys. The teams did meet in a Paddy Sheelan Cup group game in 2015. That day, the Mid-Louth spoils were belonged to the Blues courtesy of a 7-14 to 1-106 victory.
There was no such winning margin here but it was the Collon side that triumphed this time to inflict the Blues first defeat of the campaign and ensure there’d be no cup success to go with last year’s win over Cooley Kickhams. Without Ronan Carroll, John Bingham and Niall Eccles, the Marys were left wanting.
The Blues were playing catch up from the very first minute. Alan Kirk got the Marys off the mark with a free but it they will perhaps rue their second minute goal opportunity that went abegging.
From Mark Fay’s knock down, Eimhin Keenan, who was deployed in midfield, went for goal and hit the post. After Rangers had established a two point lead, Fay was soon off. He was shown a black card by referee Paul Finnegan and replaced by Paudy Clarke.
After Robbie Leavy received the ball from Niall Carroll and made it 0-02 to 0-02 15 minute, it looked like the crowd assembled at Pairc Mhuire were in store for an even encounter. Leavy’s point however turned out to the Marys last score of the half. It would take 23 minutes to get another.
By half time, Mattock had established a give point lead – 0-07 to 0-02. Paudy Clarke and Conor Keenan were guilty of wides, but in truth it was the strong and determined defending from the Collon men that were knocking the Marys out of their stride.
The home team also had Karl Faulkner to thank for a timely intervention when it looked like Rangers would break through for a goal.
After the break, the Marys failed to make a dent in the Mattock lead. Kirk sent a free wide and Daire McConnon tried to inject some pace in the Blues attack but his attempt was wild, high and wide. Paudy Clarke turned in and slotted over for the first home score of the second half nine minutes in. It didn’t matter much, however.
Despite Conor Keenan’s brave block, the bounce of the ball fell kindly for the visitors to grab the games only goal from close in. The goal extended Rangers’ lead to eight. A quickfire brace from Darren Clarke reduced the arreas. Before Daire McConnon’s scored the games’s best point from range. The comeback wasn’t on.
Further points from Kian Moran, Paudy Clarke and another from McConnon helped make it a four point game late on 0-09 to 1-10. But when Robbie Leavy’s goal chance was smothered by the opposition goalkeeper, the game was up.
ARDEE ST MARYS: Peter Duffy, David Carroll, Karl Faulkner, Barry McCoy, Wayne Matthews, Conor Keenan, Niall Carroll, Eimhin Keenan, Robbie Leavy, Brendan Matthews, Mark Fay, Darren Clarke, Alan Kirk, Kian Moran, Daire McConnon.
Scorers: Darren Clarke (0-02), Daire McConnon (0-02), Paudy Clarke (0-02), Kian Moran (0-01), Robbie Leavy (0-01), Alan Kirk (0-01).