Joe Mallon SFC round two winners section
Moorefield has 17 points to spare as they became the third team to book their place in the quarter-finals of the senior championship by easing to a facile win over Leixlip on Sunday evening.
Those who had waited on following the clash between Johnstownbridge and Naas began to shuffle towards the exit gate by the half-time whistle, with a combination of the late throw-in time of 7pm and the fact that this game was all but over prompting people to make a quick escape. They had plenty of reason too; Moorefield were in cruise control by the interval, leading by nine points and having kept a toothless Leixlip attack at bay for the final 27 minutes of the half as the sniff of a place in the last eight became as strong as the scent given off by the burger stand in St Conleth's Park.
It had initially looked promising for the north Kildare men as they tackled ferociously in the opening minutes, pushed up on the Moorefield kickouts and enjoyed a healthy share of possession, but Moorefield pulled away as the half wore on and the Leixlip heads began to drop. Paddy Meagher was perhaps their most prominent attacker in the first half, and it was the lively corner-forward who opened the scoring with a fine point after less than a minute of action. Adam Tyrrell responded with a point from a close range free for Moorefield, but a corker of a score from long range off the boot of Eamon Murphy guided Leixlip back into the lead after five minutes. That was as good as it got for Ronan Quinn's men however, with Moorefield gently easing themselves into the tie by tagging on simple points.
Eddie Heavey knocked over an accurate score from the left to level matters, and it could have been much better for the Moores when Aaron Masterson ghosted in behind the Leixlip defence to find himself one on one with Gavin Regan, but the midfielder shot straight down the middle and the Leixlip netminder parried the ball with his legs. They went close again when Mark Murray slipped a pass into Aaron Mullins, but he blazed his effort narrowly over from 10 metres out.
They were well in control though, and further scores from Eanna O'Connor and Mullins opened up a lead of three points for Moorefield, and a couple of scores in as many minutes from the hard-working pair of Eddie Heavey and Kevin Murnaghan seemed to knock the stuffing out of the north Kildare side by the time 21 minutes had elapsed. It got little better for the remainder of the half as O'Connor slotted over a '45 and Masterson booted over a point either side of two scores from Tyrrell. They led by 0-11 to 0-2 at the break and the second half became a mere formality.
It looked as if it would get little better in the opening stages of the second half when Moorefield drew the lead out to double digits as Tyrrell fired over another score and Mark Murray kicked his first of the evening to open up an 11-point gap, but Leixlip found a way back into the game thanks to some rather haphazard defending from their opponents.
A booming ball from Tommy Moolick landed at the edge of the Moorefield square, allowing substitute Brian Claffey to swing his leg at the hanging ball to steer it past Tom Kinsella. Noting that such a tactic bore fruit on one occasion Leixlip looked to exploit their full-back line again as this time Meagher swung in a ball from the left wing, and with Kinsella's unconvincing clearance falling straight to Eamon Murphy the full-forward batted it in with his fist.
The margin was now just five points but Leixlip never kicked on from there, and their wastefulness at times going forward was absolutely shocking. Moorefield opened their chests for the remainder of the game and punished Leixlip almost every time they went forward as their substitutes began to make an impact. When you're able to bring in the likes of Ryan Houlihan, Ronan Sweeney and David Whyte that helps.
It was another of the substitutes who bagged the goal for Moorefield as Niall Hurley-Lynch deftly flicked the ball to the net when Mullins set him up, and Moorefield began to tag on point after point from that stage onwards.
Sweeney came off the bench to kick three points from play with typical ease, while Mullins finished the even with four to his name and plenty of assists in a fine individual display. If Ross Glavin can get more of his main men back fighting fit by the time they go into their quarter-final tie they could be some proposition once again this year.
Scorers for Moorefield: A Mullins, E O'Connor(1'45) and A Tyrrell(2f) 0-4 each, R Sweeney 0-3, N Hurley-Lynch 1-0, E Heavey and A Masterson 0-2 each, M Murray, K Murnaghan, C O'Connor and R Houlihan 0-1 each.
Scorers for Leixlip: E Murphy 1-1, B Claffey 1-0, P Meagher 0-2 and R Tone 0-1.
T Kinsella; L Callaghan, L Healy, S Healy; J Murray, K Murnaghan, M Dempsey(R Houlihan 35mins); D Flynn(D Whyte 40mins), A Masterson; C O'Connor, E Heavey(N Hurley-Lynch 42mins), A Mullins(I Meehan 52mins); E O'Connor(M McDermott 55mins), A Tyrrell(R Sweeney 37mins), M Murray.
G Regan; K Conneely, J Roche, R Doyle; R Fitzsimmons(J Barrett 23mins), T Gibbons, C Egan(B Claffey HT); T Moolick, D Gallery(E Molloy 42mins); D Hynes(N White 35mins), C Fadian, B Gibbons; E Killeen(R Tone 33mins), E Murphy, P Meagher.
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