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Saturday 16 December 2017

Éanna shines as Moore' march on decider

Moorefield 2-13 Rathnew 2-7

Moorefield’s Niall Hurley-Lynch shows his delight after the Kildare club’s AIB Leinster Club SFC semi-final victory over Wicklow’s Rathnew at Joule Park, Aughrim. Photo: Sportsfile
Moorefield’s Niall Hurley-Lynch shows his delight after the Kildare club’s AIB Leinster Club SFC semi-final victory over Wicklow’s Rathnew at Joule Park, Aughrim. Photo: Sportsfile

Another Moorefield win. Another demonstration of Éanna O'Connor's candidacy for a prominent role with Kildare next year.

The younger of Jack O'Connor's sons kicked eight points in Aughrim yesterday and despite Moorefield beating Rathnew by six in that Wicklow wrecking yard of visiting teams' hopes and dreams, every one was needed.

O'Connor's ball-striking from both hand and ground was impeccable yesterday.

And on a day when his adopted club only just broke free of Rathnew's clutches in the very final passage - and when his brother, Cian, had been sent off - manager Ross Glavin praised O'Connor's "mental attributes," noting the "times where he shoulders the responsibility when others might not be performing to the height of their ability."

Bigger

"I think it's inevitable that next year he will be asked into the (Kildare) fold," Glavin added. It's all about form too and his form has really come late this year. As the season has gone on and the matches have got bigger, his form has come good.

"I have no doubt that he will be approached but I said it before that I do hope it won't be until the 18th of March."

Jack, Kerry's Under-20 manager next year, stood on the terrace in Aughrim yesterday but was listed as being part of Moorefield's backroom team and offered advice through the fence to Glavin on a day that deteriorated significantly between throw-in and full-time.

Quite what he thought when his older son, Cian, was sent off on a straight red card after 45 minutes, we never found out.

But the response from the rest of the team to that numerical setback and the concession of a questionable penalty within minutes of one another was impressive.

"It's not easy for two outsiders to come into a club and to get up to the level that's required to play for a big club like Moorefield," Glavin said in praise of the O'Connor brothers.

Rathnew’s Leighton Glynn tries to get past Moorefield’s Mark Dempsey
Rathnew’s Leighton Glynn tries to get past Moorefield’s Mark Dempsey

"They've embraced that opportunity as well to play for Moorefield, they're delighted to be part of it. Jack's delighted to have an involvement in training sessions at various stages throughout the year. He's great to have around because he's a hugely experienced coach within Ireland and it's great to lean on his experience when required."

Aughrim was a swamp yesterday but O'Connor, in particular and Niall Hurley-Lynch floated above the heavy conditions.

Hurley-Lynch kicked 1-3, won buckets of possession close to goal and was fouled for a couple of O'Connor's frees.

Rathnew played with a stiff wind in the first half but needed a late goal to go in level when Graham Merrigan's shot was turned into his own net by Moorefield defender Liam Healy..

And it always felt all afternoon that Harry Murphy's team were playing catch-up, even with an extra-man in the last 15 minutes.

When Moorefield ran from deep, all Rathnew could do was foul.

And with the wind in the second half, O'Connor was in clinical mood from frees.

"Once we got the knocks," Glavin added, "the red card, the goals going against us, we always managed to get the next score after that which really swung the momentum back in our favour."

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