A strong finish to the opening half was the difference between the sides as Naomh Mairtin B claimed the win over Naomh Malachi in their Division 3 encounter. After an even opening quarter, the hosts took command and opened up a six-point lead at the break aided by a well-taken goal from wing forward Luke Harrington.
Both sides were quick to settle in the ideal conditions. Ronan McElroy and Shane Rogers opened the scoring for the visitors before David Delaney and Paddy Usher drew the sides level by the 9th minute. Collie Rooney and Carl Courtney traded scores from placed balls, and although Karl Morgan put the home side in front, a fine Rooney point drew parity by the 15th minute. A second free kick from Courtney, (who later retired injured alongside David Rogers following an accidental clash), was followed by a good score from Eamon McQuillan. Although Emmet Mullen replied, the Monasterboice men extended their lead once again through Usher and Delaney. They put daylight between the sides in the 29th minute when Harrington blasted past the hapless Niall Bird for the opening goal of the contest. With half-time approaching, Usher and Ronan Greene traded placed balls as the home side held a deserved lead at the interval.
Half-Time: Naomh Mairtin 1-9 Naomh Malachi 0-6
On the turnaround, Greene claimed his second successive free kick and this was soon added to by Padraig Moley as the Mals sought to eat into the gap. Although Delaney claimed his side’s tenth point of the contest, a back-heeled effort from Rooney trickled across the line to leave the men in red just two points behind by the 39th minute. Harrington and Ciaran Hughes then exchanged points before the home side regained a stronghold on proceedings as Robert Smyth, substitute Kenny Lambe, a 45’ from goalkeeper Jamie Mulholland, and a Morgan effort restored their six-point lead by the 54th minute. A long-range point from Moley was just reward for the Mals’ play but the home side finished the stronger with well-taken points from Lambe and midfielder Joe McGrane as they claimed their second win of the league campaign.
Full-Time: Naomh Mairtin 1-17 Naomh Malachi 1-10
Naomh Mairtin: Jamie Mulholland (0-1 1 45’); Cian Byrne, Paul Campbell, Michael Goodwin; Robert Smyth (0-1), Adam Winters, Eamon McQuillan (0-1); Joe McGrane (0-1), Gavin Mooney; Karl Morgan (0-2), David Delaney (0-3), Luke Harrington (1-1); Conor Brady, Carl Courtney (0-2 2f), Paddy Usher (0-3 2f).
Subs: Barry Sullivan for Courtney (inj), Kenny Lambe (0-2) for Harrington.
Naomh Malachi: Niall Bird; David Begley, David Rogers, Conor Gonnelly; Peter McShane, Ronan Greene (0-2 2f), Donal Begley; Ronan McElroy (0-1), Padraig Moley (0-2); Emmet Mullen (0-1), Collie Rooney (1-2 1f), Ciaran Hughes (0-1); Tiernan Gonnelly, Shane Rogers (0-1), Jamie Kelly.
Subs: Sean Gogarty for D Rogers (inj), Mark Meegan for T Gonnelly, Eamonn Agnew for Kelly (inj).
Referee: Jonathan Conlon