Joe Mallon SFC round one
Moorefield got out of jail late in the day as they staged a fine comeback to deny Confey a famous win in St Conleth's Park. The north Kildare men led by two points in injury time, but Moorefield managed to pull the game out of the fire with scores from James Murray and a free in the fourth minute of injury time from Mark Murray to ensure the sides will meet again.
Moorefield were without the suspended Roli Sweeney after his county final red card in 2016, and they put in a pretty disjointed display as many of their main players failed to hit the heights their capable of, while Confey failed to take a great chance at finally beating one of the big teams in championship football, something they have never managed to previously do.
Confey's gameplan is always relatively easy to predict, but nullifying it is a different matter altogether, and in the first half Moorefield struggled badly to keep pace with their opponents. Davy Burke's side carried out his instructions to a tee; they snuffed out a normally potent Moorefield forward line, allowing just three points to be scored from play against them in the first half, while they made almost every attack count as they shot just one wide in the opening half.
The fact that Moorefield scored the first couple of points in the half was somewhat out of context with what happened in the first 30 minutes, but Mark Murray's early free seemed to settle them into the game nicely. Eanna O'Connor scored a brilliant point after four minutes when he claimed a long ball from Adam Tyrrell, but they went another 17 minutes without a score as Confey turned the screw.
James Gately got them underway with a pointed free - their only one of the half - and Paddy Griffin stroked over a neat point from close range to draw them level after 10 minutes. They then shot a variety of scores from long range, difficult angles and after some intense hard work in defence as they grew in confidence, and scores from Frankie Barry and Gately came in quick succession thanks to poor passes on the part of the Moorefield defence.
David Slattery, operating in a rather odd kind of wing-back role, helped to set up Confey's fifth point of the evening when he broke down the left wing, lofted a ball in field to Robbie McMahon who shifted it to the onrushing Gary Savage, and he pierced the posts from 30 metres out. Griffin added his second with a brilliant long range effort to put the north Kildare side four points ahead.
Mark Murray momentarily lifted the siege by angling over an exquisite point from the left handside, but Confey went up the other end to raise white flags through Gately and Savage, the latter's being particularly eye-catching. Moorefield - as can now be expected with them by this stage - finished the half strongly with points from Tyrrell and Murray to ensure there was only a score between the teams at the break as they trailed by 0-8 to 0-5 despite not playing anywhere near their best.
Moorefield began the second half in good stead, hitting a couple of points in the first five minutes through James Murray and O'Connor, but they were dealt a blow early on in the new period. Colm Chan appeared to knock a ball out over the sideline, going through O'Connor hard and fair in the process, but referee Niall Colgan indicated a line ball to Confey. O'Connor's protests subsequently earned him a black card, stripping Moorefield of one of their most important players.
Confey almost made matters worse for Ross Glavin's side when substitute Niall Carney stole in on goal, but his low shot was well blocked by Moorefield custodian Tom Kinsella. A pointed free at the other end from Murray drew the Moores level for the first time since early on in the first half, but when Gately capitalised on a loose pass in the Moorefield defence to fire over his fourth of the game, they edged back into the lead.
The next 10 minutes were tense and frantic as both sides went tit-for-tat with little to separate them, with substitute Cian O'Connor and Murray landing a score each for the Curragh-based side, but Confey substitutes Paul Divilly and Niall Carney made their own impacts felt with scores down at the Kilcullen End. Murray and Divilly swapped further scores, with the latter's sending Confey ahead with six minutes to go, but Moorefield rallied once again. Mark McDermott curled over a lovely point from the left wing, before Cian O'Connor clawed them level with a fine effort from distance.
The game reached its crescendo in the closing stages Gately fisted over instead of going for a goal when it was on, and he then sent them two clear with his final score of the day as Confey dared to dream. Moorefield were never likely to lay down at that late stage though, and James Murray's long range point left them within striking distance as the game ticked towards the fourth minute of injury time. Their chance appeared to be gone when Mark McDermott missed a free to level the tie late on, but Aaron Masterson won a free 25 metres from goal, allowing Murray to knock over a rather handy chance and save the day for Moorefield.
Scorers for Moorefield: M Murray 0-6(3f), E O'Connor, J Murray and C O'Connor 0-2 each, A Tyrrell(1f) and M McDermott 0-1 each.
Scorers for Confey: J Gately 0-6(1f), G Savage, P Divilly and P Griffin 0-2 each, N Carney and F Barry 0-1 each.
T Kinsella; L Callaghan(S Healy 50mins), L Healy, S Dempsey; J Murray, K Murnaghan, M Dempsey; A Masterson, D Flynn; A Mullins(C O'Connor ht), E Heavey(M McDermott 50mins), R Houlihan; E O'Connor(I Meehan 38mins), A Tyrrell, M Murray.
C Heeney; C Dennehy(J Kilbane 54mins), J O'Neill, A Grehan(S Kilbane 50mins); C Chan, C Jennings, P Griffin; G Savage, H Lynch; C Jennings, C Daly(P Divilly 43mins), R McMahon(P Concannon 56mins); D Slattery, J Gately, F Barry(N Carney 35mins).
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