Hunterstown Rovers sealed their place in the last eight of the Louth GAA CTI Intermediate Football Championships on Saturday evening as they saw off St Mochtas 1-08 to 0-07 in Dunleer.
Rovers took a step closer to matching their semi-final appearance last season as they made it two from two in the Championship. Alan Landy notched the first half goal and Paul Carrie’s late point made sure of victory. With the Mochtas and St Fechins to face eachother next week, Jim Mathews men can rest easy with their quarter-final place assured.
In the continued absence of Ryan Burns and Muiris O’Sulleabhain, Hunterstown had too much for the men from Louth Village. They hadn’t played in three weeks. The last league match they were scheduled to play was against Group 4 rivals the Fechins, but that game’s postponement meant no action for Ciaran Marks’ side in quite some time.
The men from Pairc Baile Fiach went behind early on to Declan Byrne’s third minute point and Tony McKenna was guilty of a shocking miss from a free to the right of the Mochtas’ posts.
Taking over that responsibility, Paul Carrie pointed when the next free arrived a minute later. Byrne responded with a free to put the Mochtas back in front. Landy got off the mark for the evening shortly after. He took the ball on the right and cut inside, leaving Gary Connolly in his wake and with a bloody nose, before sidefooting over with his right foot.
Glen Mathews, from a free, and Ryan Ward put Hunterstown ahead. Landy’s goal arrived on 18 minutes. Paddy Mooney’s ball in was turned around the corner by Ward at the backpost and Landy’s outstretched leg steered the ball past Fergus English.
Darren McMahon ended the first half scoring with a well taken point. Rovers were dominating the ball, but but the wind was proving an obstacle as they went for the posts.
Byrne and McMahon, again with a fine score, reduced the deficit to two after the break. After Brendan Lennon was halted, McKenna’s free ensured Hunterstown had breathing space. When Ryan Ward’s effort cannoned off the woodwork, David Finn went for point rather than goal to restore the four point lead.
This was a game low on quality in truth. It was end to end, but there wasn’t a whole lot of any great consequence occurring in either of those ends of the pitch.
Points from Andrew English and another Byrne free put just two between them again and the Mochtas were in the ascendancy as the game wore on. The Mid-Louth men were grateful for Carrie’s fine late free and Landy’s injury time score for making it 1-08 to 0-07. It proved ample breathing space. A handful of late, wind assisted wides helped them over the line.
Hunterstown Rovers: Niall Carrie, Paul Taaffe, Brian Mathews, Martin Lennon, Patrick Taaffe, Paul Carrie (0-02), Richard Taaffe, Tony McKenna (0-01), David Finn (0-01), Paddy Mooney, Ryan Ward (0-01), Brendan Lennon, Alan Landy (1-02), Padraig Mathews, Glen Mathews (0-01).
Subs: Keith Brennan for Richie Taaffe (52), Robbie McNeice for Paddy Mooney (52), Conor Mathews for Glen Mathews (55).
St Mochtas: Fergus English, Liam Lawlor, Andrew English (0-01), Gary Connolly, David Lennon, Darren McMahon (0-02), Barry Mulholland, Shane McMahon, Declan Byrne (0-04), Philip Englishby, Gareth O’Reilly, Liam McGranaghan, Eamon O’Neill, Stephen McCooey, Gavin Breen.
Subs: Donal Gernon for Gary Connolly (12, Blood), Nigel Farrell for Liam McGranaghan (39), 28 Gary Connolly for Gavin Breen, Emlyn Clerkin for Philip Englishby (53)
Referee: Colin Halligan