Moorefield’s most famous day arrived 11 years ago in a windswept and rainsoaked O’Moore Park. Reports at the time suggest that the coin even blew away during the toss up, though that didn’t seem to affect Kenny Duane as he captained the Moores to a thrilling win.
On the line that afternoon was Seamus ‘Sos’ Dowling, a man who is so steeped in Moorefield GAA history over the past 20 years that there is hardly a player in the club who hasn’t been coached by the Leinster title winning boss.
In 2006 it was perennial Offaly champions Rhode who stood in the way of Moorefield in their first Leinster final, but a high octane first half performance paved the way as Ronan Sweeney’s two goals from the penalty spot helped the Newbridge men into a 2-2 to 0-6 interval advantage. After the change of ends it was Moorefield who kept control, outscoring the Offaly side by 1-4 to 0-2 as an 18-year-old David Whyte bagged the goal that finished off the contest.
“That morning was very bad with wind and rain,” remembers former manager Dowling when speaking to KildareNow.
“The weather was fierce that morning and we were kind of wondering going down in the bus to Portlaoise if it was going to be on, but we decided – myself, Martin Murray, Paddy Archbold and Paul Morrissey – to try and have it on because we were primed for the day and we thought that the lads were going very well in training. I remember going in and there were questions being asked and stuff. But it went ahead, and the lads went out and played their hearts out and I couldn’t ask for any more than what they did. They created a bit of history.”
Kildare's @MoorefieldGaa aren't shy of putting on a convincing performance! GAANOW look back to their 2006 @gaaleinster Club SFC Final that saw them put 3-6 on to scoreboard over Rhode's 0-8! pic.twitter.com/qw03kdozE3
— The GAA (@officialgaa) December 6, 2017
Dowling had previous with many of the players on the 2006 team. He managed a clutch of them at minor level in 1997 and 1998 as the Moores captured back to back championship titles, with the likes of Ronan Sweeney, Kenny Duane and Ross Glavin passing through the underage system at the time, and they would eventually backbone the senior side as they captured the Leinster title in 2006. He sees certain similarities with the current crop of Moorefield men, a side that has been enthused by players from the 2015 Minor Championship winning team.
“I was involved with all of those lads there who game up from 97 and 98 who won minor,” explained Dowling.
“It was a lot of lads who came at the one time. I was very lucky to have played with some of those lads in 2000 when we won our first championship so I knew a lot about them.
“When you look at it, in 2003 we won the minor and three years later we won the championship and won Leinster. This year, I know it’s two years, but there are actually nine lads coming on from that [2015 minor team] and the likes of Roli, Kevin Murnaghan, Daryl Flynn David Whyte and even James Murray are there in that middle section and are all great leaders.”
So can Ross Glavin and his charges emulate the success that Dowling and the 2006 vintage enjoyed?
“It’s going to be very tight,” ponders the former manager.
“It’s going to boil down to who can score a goal at the right time and who is going to play well on the big day. If you can get a couple of your bigger players playing well and we can stop some of their big players… I think if Moorefield turn up on their last two performances and put those two performances together, I think we have a great chance. There’s not going to be a whole lot on it.”
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