carthy main man
Naomh Mearnóg3-13 Na Fianna1-7
Naomh Mearnóg produced a performance of the highest calibre as they emphatically claimed the Dublin title by 13 points at Parnell's grounds in Coolock last Saturday lunchtime.
Most of the damage was done in the opening half as the Portmarnock outfit gave an exhibition in foot passing and support play and their 2-8 to 0-3 interval advantage was a fair and accurate reflection of the control that they exerted on their beleaguered opponents.
Of central significance was the supremacy that they enjoyed in midfield with Dublin senior Shane Carthy playing a pivotal role in securing primary possession and his distribution and scoring was a feature of this one-sided contest.
While Carthy was the game's most dominant performer, it was far from a one-man performance from Naomh Mearnóg with all of their six starting forwards impressing both collectively and individually as they opened up the Na Fianna defence with almost monotonous regularity.
That such a one-sided encounter would ensue seemed unlikely after the early promptings in which Na Fianna looked to supply the aerial threat of full-forward Alistair Fitzgerald. He duly obliged with the game's opening score in the third minute but it proved a false dawn for the Mobhi Road outfit as they struggled to impose themselves on the tie despite the presence of a number of their successful Minor 'A' Championship winning team.
Their slight lead was eroded within four minutes with Carthy's pass finding Conor Dillon and the influential full-forward shrugged off Colm Fanning's challenge before planting a precise finish beyond Luke Carey from eight yards.
That goal had a settling effect on Naomh Mearnóg and with Carthy and Aaron Mulvey dominant at midfield, they drove home their advantage through successive points from Shane Nangle and Niall Murphy, the latter's score coming after an inspired sortie by wing-back Andrew Killeen.
Carthy's influence was at its most pronounced in the second quarter. After tagging on his first score of the game on 15 minutes, another telling pass allowed Murphy to push Naomh Mearnóg six points clear by the 17th minute.
It was one-way traffic from this juncture as Na Fianna's talented midfield of Seán Ryan and Eoghan McHugh failed to settle and their opponents took full advantage to extend their lead thanks to points from David Stewart, Nangle and Murphy.
With only 23 minutes on the clock, the contest was effectively settled as a driving run from Carthy gave Murphy sufficient time and space to direct an accomplished finish past a helpless Carey as Mearnóg raced 12 points clear.
Glen O'Reilly ended a barren spell of 22 minutes with a cracking score five minutes before the break but his glorious point only served to highlight the general poverty of the Na Fianna play.
The half culminated with Jamie Storey and Conor Gray trading points and if the first half offered few grounds of optimism for Na Fianna, the opening five minutes of the second half compounded their already precarious predicament.
The dismissal of corner-forward Andrew Jamieson-Murphy occurred just 40 seconds after the restart and although Fitzgerald converted a close-in free, normal service was resumed as Dillon freed Stewart for a facile score soon after. If there were any lingering nerves in the Mearnóg camp, they were quickly dispelled in the 33rd minute when Stewart fed the over-lapping Carthy for a palmed finish past Carey.
The contest petered out from that juncture with a dominant Mearnóg defence, in which their half-back line of Andrew Killeen, Jordan Briggs and Matthew Shorthall all excelled, coped comfortably with some increased Na Fianna pressure in the closing stages.
Their defence was finally breached in injury time thanks to a clinical goal by Tom Kenny but the strike failed to dampen Mearnóg's celebrations after a performance of serious application and talent.
Scorers - Naomh Mearnóg: N Murphy, S Carthy 1-3 each, S Nangle 0-3, C Dillon 1-0, D Stewart (0-1f), J Storey 0-2 each. Na Fianna: A Fitzgerald 0-4 (0-2f), T Kenny 1-0, G O'Reilly, C Gray, A Baxter 0-1 each.
Naomh Mearnóg: O Taylor; C Grant, D Byrne, G Joliffe Byrne; A Killeen, J Briggs, M Shorthall; S Carthy, A Mulvey; G Dennehy, S Nangle, J Storey; N Murphy, C Dillon, D Stewart. Subs: D Scanlon for Mulvey (42), D Redmond for Stewart (52), M Slattery for Dennehy (53), E Shiels for Joliffe Byrne (57), L Dowd for Briggs (58), L Nangle for S Nangle (59).
Na Fianna: L Carey; D Shaughnessy, C Fanning, J Connell; P Wade, E Murchan, A Baxter; E McHugh, S Ryan; G O'Reilly, A Jesson, T Kenny; C Gray, A Fitzgerald, AJ Murphy. Subs: C Dolan for Gray (46), A Quinn for Shaughnessy (50).
Mentors - Naomh Mearnóg: Dave Killeen, Dave Storey, Tadgh Dennehy, Damian Kenny. Na Fianna: Ciaran Gray, Neil Mulhern, Philip Baxter.
Referee: Liam Prout (O'Dwyer's)
Wides: Naomh Mearnóg: 9 (3+6) Na Fianna: 9 (5+4)
Conditions: Ideal conditions with no rain and only a slight breeze.
Player of the Game: Shane Carthy (Naomh Mearnóg)