A game which promised so much for St Loman's, Mullingar ended in deep disappointment at O'Moore Park last Sunday as Moorefield were crowned Leinster Club champions following a 1-14 to 2-10 win.
In the closing stages, Loman's led by six points, but Moorefield reeled off 1-4 without reply to secure a dramatic victory. It meant that Loman's were left reflecting on what might have been.
"The players are shell-shocked. I suppose I'm shell-shocked myself," Loman's manager Luke Dempsey said.
Second half goals from Ken Casey and Ronan O'Toole put Loman's into a commanding position, but Moorefield responded late on. Paul Sharry, always an influential figure for Loman's, was sent off for a second bookable offence, while Casey was black carded during a frenetic finale. Still Loman's will feel that they should have closed out the deal following O'Toole's intervention.
"As in any sport, if you get a goal that late you have the momentum," Dempsey reflected about O'Toole's 54th minute major. "And then when I saw there were to be five minutes of injury-time, I thought 'this is going to go to the wire', which it did. Moorefield have that never-say-die attitude, they've had it all year - they just have that never-say-die attitude.
"I thought when we got the second goal, there was only going to be one winner. But you don't allow for David Whelan, who is one of our better backs, and Paul Sharry coming off the field in those last five minutes, and that was a contributing factor."
Moorefield had the guile and grit to deliver when it truly counted, with veteran Ronan Sweeney plundering a goal, while Eanna O'Coonor and Kevin Murnaghan also landed critical points. Moorefield manager Ross Glavin also acknowledged the spirit his team showed under crushing pressure.
“It looked dead and buried," Glavin acknowledged. “But one thing that the group of players have is belief and a never-say-die attitude. I know it’s easy saying that now, but it’s no coincidence. It’s not the first time we’ve won games like this. The Portlaoise game, even though it was a lot tighter and less scoring, it still kind of looked like maybe a step too far for us, but, again, they never gave up and momentum swung.
"I think they (St Loman’s ) lost their discipline in the last eight minutes. Their game management at that stage probably was poor even though it was immaculate for the first 25 minutes of the second half. They lost their discipline and in sport momentum is massive.”
Moorefield: T Kinsella, L Callaghan, L Healy, S Healy; K Murnaghan (0-1 ), J Murray (0-2 ), M Dempsey; D Flynn, A Masterson; I Meehan, E Heavey (0-1 ), D Whyte (0-1 ); E O’Connor (0-8, 4fs ), R Sweeney (1-1 ), N Hurley-Lynch. Subs: A Mullins for Meehan (39 ), A Sweeney for Masterson (51 ), S Dempsey for M Dempsey (54 ).
St Loman's, Mullingar: J Daly; N O’Toole, J O’Toole, G Grehan; G Glennon, P Dowdall, D Whelan; P Sharry (0-2 ), J Heslin (0-2, 1f ); K Reilly (0-1 ), R O’Toole (1-2 ), D Windsor; K Casey (1-2 ), S Flanagan, S Dempsey (0-1 ). Subs: K Lynam for Flanagan (27 mins ), C Reilly for N O’Toole (31 ), C Kilmurray for Whelan (54 ), B O’Loughlin for Casey (58, BC ), S FLynn for Windsor (60 ). Referee: B Tiernan (Dublin ).