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Monday 23 October 2017

Sheedy conjures a final flourish

Ex-Dub saluted as Moorefield dig deep to take Kildare crown

PERHAPS the most significant aspect of Patrick Murray's victory speech after Moorefield's stunning comeback to beat their Newbridge rivals Sarsfields, 0-13 to 1-8, was when he called for three cheers for the manager, Jack Sheedy.

The former Dublin footballer has clearly earned the respect and admiration of his charges, having refused to go about things the easy way when taking over the reins at the beginning of the season.

Sheedy showed that he was no respecter of reputations when leaving what was to be Kildare's starting midfield in their subsequent Leinster defeat to Louth, Daryl Flynn and David Whyte, out of his line-up for Moorefield's championship tie with Suncroft last May.

Having lost their opening encounter of the round-robin series, the pressure was on to win but Sheedy still felt that his side would be better off not suffering the disruption of re-integrating the duo. Both players were introduced and Moorefield got their campaign under way.

Afterwards, Sheedy praised the pair for accepting his decision and Whyte played a key role in yesterday's victory, mopping up in a sweeping role just behind midfield and making one powerful second-half surge to set up a point for Keith Duane.

Flynn was confined to a substitute's role because of a neck injury suffered in the All-Ireland semi-final (defeat to Down) but was highly influential when coming on.

The message from Moorefield captain Murray was clear. This is a united outfit, that has bought into the ideals of a team being sacrosanct above all else, as espoused by their manager.

Mind you, it was looking bad for a long while.

Sarsfields may have taken 20 minutes to get a score -- Conor Tiernan's point was actually one of the best in the game -- but when Morgan O'Sullivan's shot made it over the line via the fingertips of Tom Corley and Kevin O'Neill, they were leading by 1-4 to 0-2 at half time.

DOMINANT

Believe it or not, Moorefield were by far the better side in an atrocious first half but after Ronan Sweeney had got them under way with a point after 45 seconds, they managed only one more score and kicked 10 wides to Sarsfields' one.

"We were dominant in general play but we weren't converting it into scores," admitted Sheedy afterwards. "We went in at half time after they got a very soft goal right on the stroke of half time.

"It was a bit of a killer to give away at that stage. It certainly gave Sarsfields a lot of confidence.

"But I think it possibly strengthened our resolve. We said inside in the dressing room at half time that we hadn't performed. We looked like a nervous team but we turned it around. A lot of lads dug really deep ... when we got our rhythm going I thought we played quite well in the second half."

They were still five points down with 17 minutes remaining but Duane and the equally impressive Brian McGrogan helped reduce that margin to two before Sweeney levelled with two frees, the second from 40 metres in the 58th minute.

Manager Sheedy reintroduced Jason Phillips on the hour mark and within a minute, the switch paid off as the former Kildare player sent over a towering point from just inside the '45' to give the Moores the lead before Keith Duane impressively slotted his fourth point to put the seal on a famous victory.

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