Robbie Confrey ended Moorefield’s 100 per cent start to the league after one of the most thrilling climaxes ever seen at a Newbridge derby.
After Niall Hurley-Lynch come off the substitute’s bench at half-time to score a hat-trick of goals, Luke Dempsey’s team looked set for their sixth straight league win as they led by three in injury-time.
When Alan Smith curled over a 62nd minute effort to cut that lead back down to two points it seemed nothing more than a mere consolation but from the kickout, Mikey Browne picked up the loose ball and sent it back towards the Sarsfields forward line. Confrey had caused Moorefield full-back Ger Naughton all sorts of problems throughout the game and he was alive to the game winning possibilities as the ball hung in the air. After winning possession above Naughton, Confrey spun away and lashed home his hat-trick goal to put Sarsfields ahead for the first time in the second half. There wasn’t even time for the teams to contest Tom Corley’s kick out before the full-time whistle sounded.
It was a tough defeat for Moorefield to take but Hurley-Lynch will surely take it tougher than most. After contributing 3-1 in the second half, into the wind, it looked like he would be the match-winner but instead it was Confrey’s hat-trick that was the difference.
It was a game that had spectators gripped from the very first minute. Browne’s ball over the top of the Moorefield defence had Ray Cahill racing through and while Corley deliberated, he got caught in no man’s land and Cahill gleefully lobbed the ball over his head.
Moorefield had the advantage of a very strong wind as they defended the dressing room end in the first half and they came back through points from Ciaran Kelly and Eoin O’Connor.
Just as it seemed they were finding their feet, Confrey was allowed to skip through their defence and fire past Corley for a second Sarsfields goal with just nine minutes gone.
Again Moorefield responded well and full forward Kelly kicked three cracking scores in a row before Paddy Murray levelled the scores with a 19th minute left footed effort.
Sarsfields had found it difficult to create opportunities against the wind and it wasn’t until the 29th minute that Barry Coffey fired over their first point to leave them one clear, 2-1 to 0-6, at half-time.
Luke Dempsey introduced Philly Wolfe and Niall Hurley-Lynch for the second half and within two minutes of the restart the move paid dividends. After a quick free from
David Whyte, Hurley-Lynch turned and shot home the first of his treble.
Eddie Heavey tagged on a point but Sarsfields levelled with two scores from Barry Coffey and a well worked score for midfielder Sean Campbell. The action was flowing from one end to the other and Moorefield struck again in the 44th minute when Paddy O’Sullivan fumbled Adam Tyrell’s long range effort and Hurley-Lynch poked home his second goal.
Coffey cut the gap back to two with his fourth point of the game but when Wolfe set up Hurley-Lynch for his hat-trick goal in the 49th minute to move Moorefield five clear, the game looked to be up.
However, the excitement was only starting.
A quite superb pass from Coffey in the 53rd minute sent Confrey in on goal and once again his finish was unerringly accurate. Coffey, one of the best on the day, left one between the teams with a 58th minute 45 but Moorefield rallied once more. Hurley-Lynch and Kelly pointed to leave them on the cusp of victory in injury time but Smith and Confrey stepped up to win the game.
Sarsfields: Paddy O’Sullivan; Shane Hurley, Conor Duffy, Ciaran Duffy, Ciaran McInerney-Aspell, Niall O’Callaghan, Donnacha McDonnell, Matt Byrne, Sean Campbell 0-1; Mikey Browne, Ray Cahill 1-0, Barry Coffey 0-5 (1’45), Dan Nea, Robbie Confrey 3-0, Ronan Fitzgibbon. Subs: Caoimhghin McDonnell for Byrne, 36; Alan Smith 0-1 for Nea,40.
Moorefield: Tom Corley; Lee Murphy, Ger Naughton, Padraigh O’Flynn, Kevin Murnaghan, Ian Lonergan, James Murray; David Whyte, Barry Dempsey; Eddie Heavey 0-1, Brian McGrogan, Eoin O’Connor 0-1, Paddy Murray 0-1, Ciaran Kelly 0-5, Aaron Mullins. Subs: Philly Wolfe for McGrogan, h/t; Niall Hurley-Lynch 3-1 for Mullins, h/t; Frank Hannifey for Dempsey, 44; Eamonn Callaghan for O’Connor, 47.