Ardee St Marys made it back to back league wins on Friday night, as they earned a last gasp win over the Dundalk Gaels by a score of 0-9 to 0-8 at Pairc Mhuire.
In a low scoring affair, the Ardee men managed to overcome a clinical Gaels side by the slimmest of margins, despite missing opportunities to secure a more comfortable victory. Robbie Leavy scored the winning point at the death.
The game was just three minutes old when the Marys put the first score on the board, courtesy of a free kick from forward Alan Kirk. However, in a trend which would continue throughout, the lead was wiped out almost immediately when Chris Sweeney drew the visitors level through a well worked score.
The Marys were guilty of a number of missed chances, with the first coming after five minutes. Kian Moran found himself in possession in front of goal and opted for the point, but his kick somehow sailed left and wide of the posts.
Thankfully for the home side, Paudy Clarke made amends for the miss just moment later, scoring from a tight angle after some nice build up play from Eimhin Keenan.
Moran was looking lively and after some good play he won a free kick in a promising position after a foul by the Gaels’ full back. The opportunity came to nothing though as Kirk’s kick failed to hit the target.
Ill-discipline was a big concern for the Marys, as they conceded some costly fouls throughout the game. On 15 minutes Dundalk had a man taken down in front of the goal. The kick was scored by Derek Crilly to level the game.
Alan Kirk had a great opportunity to score soon after, cutting onto his left from the right side, but his shot sailed wide. However Eimhin Keanan did score in the next attack to regain the Marys’ lead.
Two free kicks in quick succession were won and scored by the Gaels – one a particularly impressive score just in front of the away dugout from Crilly – as they once again hit the front on the scoreboard.
Eimhin Keenan was having an influence all around the pitch. A vital interception and clearance spared the home side of danger, before he was immediately back in the mix linking play through the middle.
Just before half time Dundalk Gaels’ Watters finished a beautiful piece of play down the right side, sending the visitors in with a two point advantage, 0-5 to 0-3. The Marys’ missed opportunities were proving costly.
Immediately from the second half throw-in the Marys reduced the deficit to one. McConnon and Paudy Clarke linked well before Clarke ran through to get his point. It was a fine response.
The Marys were almost caught out as a loose ball almost bounced over the defence to a Gaels forward, only for Niall Eccles to get a crucial fingertip on the ball. Conor Keenan assisted in the clearance as the Ardee men relieved pressure.
Ardee’s Robbie Leavy was becoming a bigger influence in midfield as the game ticked on, winning possession on numerous occasions and making his presence felt against the Gaels midfielders.
The two sides traded free kick scores, with Moran and Kirk scoring either side of the Gaels’ fourth successful free kick of the game. A second quick response from Dundalk followed as Watters grabbed his second point of the game to stretch their lead to 0-7 to 0-6.
With only a quarter of the game remaining, substitute Shane Carroll equalised before, at the other end, Eamon Callaghan’s quick response cleared danger following a knock down from Marys’ keeper Peter Duffy.
Some great play from Mark Fay and David Carroll on the right helped to gain control back for the home side and shortly after, a defence splitting burst from the impressive McConnon resulted in a point to give the Marys the lead with just under 10 minutes remaining.
The Gaels had a good scoring opportunity after Fay was booked for pulling back Dundalk’s full back, but their free kick drifted wide to the left and the Marys soon looked in command once again, passing the ball well across the back.
However, as the final whistle approached the Gaels levelled. From a tough position out wide on the right Sweeney managed to score brilliantly to level the game, seemingly snatching a draw for the visitors with his second point.
Yet, with just seconds remaining, Robbie Leavy attacked through the centre of the Gaels’ defence and he spotted an opening to kick between the posts for the winning point – sparking huge celebrations in the home dugout. A winner right at the death!
The dramatic win means it is now consecutive Division 1 victories for the Marys, following their opening day loss Cooley. They move two points clear of today’s opponents with Naomh Mairtin setting the early pace out front.
ARDEE ST MARYS: Peter Duffy, David Carroll, Niall Carroll, Barry McCoy, Conor Keenan, Eimhin Keenan, Niall Eccles, Daire McConnon, Robbie Leavy, Wayne Matthews, Paudy Clarke, Mark Fay, Alan Kirk, Kian Moran, Eamon Callaghan.
Subs: Shane Carroll for Niall Carroll, Cian Commins for Paudy Clarke, Jamie Rooney for Cian Commins, Mark Gorman for David Carroll.