CONFEY withstood a gallant, if ultimately fruitless, rally from Maynooth in Clane last Saturday evening to book their place in the last eight of the Senior Football Championship and a meeting with last year’s beaten finalists Carbury,writes John Ryan. MDY Construction Senior Football Championship Round 3.Confey:1-12 Maynooth:1-10
Last season’s intermediate champions appeared to be in cruise control when entering half-time seven points to the good following a hugely impressive first half showing but when Maynooth added some much needed urgency and directness to their play following the restart, that sizeable advantage was gradually whittled down to just a single point with three minutes of normal time still to play.
Far from one-way traffic during that second half, Confey had their own chances to keep their opponents at bay yet failed turn enough of those into scores. But, when push came to shove during the closing minutes, it was they who came up with the goods, two points in as many minutes at the death fending off Maynooth’s brave and late charge.
The victory was no more than a well-balanced and finely tuned Confey side deserved. Both teams set up in a similar fashion but it was Confey who mastered their game-plan to much better effect. Defensively, with Conor Jennings dropping back to reinforce their rearguard, Confey denied Maynooth time and space in the final third, regularly forcing the Crom Abu to shoot from distance as they probed without much reward.
At the other end, as Confey dominated the midfield exchanges, particularly the breaking ball, Ronan Quinn’s troops got plenty of change off Maynooth, with Michael ‘Mitch’ McCann their star turn, the corner-forward impressing with a seven point return.
After sharing equally the opening four points inside the first seven minutes, Confey took control of the game thereafter, plundering 1-4 without reply by the 16th minute to power 1-5 to 0-2 in front. Paul Divilly, McCann (2) and raiding wing-back, Eoin Farrelly all raised white flags, before Eoin Fitzpatrick – the impressive centre-forward who worked tirelessly throughout – slipped a tidy finish to the net past ‘keeper, Paul Flood.
At that juncture Confey were in full flight, with Maynooth unable to match the intensity that they brought to the table. By the 25th minute Confey’s lead was out to 1-7 to 0-3 after McCann hit back to a Michael Fahey free with another two points, one free.
The short whistle couldn’t come quick enough for Maynooth and their manager, Declan Cryan – a former Leixlip team-mate of his opposite number, Quinn – but before referee Paddy Moore intervened John McAndrew and Tomas McCann traded points to leave matters 1-8 to 0-4 at the turnaround.
Not surprisingly there was a considerable improvement from Maynooth upon the resumption and points from John McAndrew and DJ Canning (free) inside four minutes gave them added hope.
They were immediately cancelled out however by the brilliant Michael McCann who landed a brace, but as Confey’s demanding exertions began to take its toll, Maynooth enjoyed their best spell of the game that yielded 1-4 without concession, Sean Higgins and Fahey (free) pointing after 44 and 50 minutes respectively, prior to John McAndrew firing a 55th minute angled thunderbolt to the top corner of Eoin Fallon’s net. With Maynooth now running menacingly at Confey, a further point from sub, Conor O’Brien left matters 1-10 to 1-9 after 57 minutes.
Still, if questions were been asked of them then Confey certainly had the appropriate answers, McCann (free) and Divilly finding the target to kill of Maynooth’s hopes, rendering Conor Canning’s (free) late response as nothing more than a consolation.
Confey, Michael McCann 0-7 (2f), Eoin Fitzpatrick 1-0, Tomas McCann 0-2 (1 ’45), Paul Divilly 0-2, Eoin Farrelly 0-1.
Maynooth, John McAndrew 1-1, Michael Fahey 0-3 (1f), DJ Canning 0-2 (2f), John Comerford 0-1, Sean Higgins 0-1, Conor Canning 0-1 (1f), Conor O’Brien 0-1.
Eoin Fallon; Andrew Grehan, Frank Ryder, John O’Neill; Donal McClean, John Quigley, Eoin Farrelly; Hugh Lynch, Conor Feeney; Tomas McCann, Eoin Fitzpatrick, Joe Kehoe; Michael McCann, Paul Divilly, Conor Jennings. Subs: Adrian Cawley for Farrelly (49 mins); Niall Coffey for Feeney (51 mins); Colm Chan for Kehoe (55 mins).
Paul Flood; Sean Kennedy, Colin O’Neill, Joe Brennan; John Comerford, Alan McAndrew, Sean Higgins; Andrew O’Regan, Conor Canning; Pierre Ennis, Karl Ennis, John McAndrew; Michael Fahey, David Comerford, DJ Canning. Subs: Mark Donnellan for O’Regan (27 mins); Seamus McBride for Canning (44 mins); Dean McAvinue for Brennan (44 mins); Conor O’Brien for Karl Ennis (44 mins); Joe Gerry for O’Neill (55 mins).
Paddy Moore (Clane).