Dunshaughlin qualify after second-half improvement

Story by Jimmy Geoghegan

Wednesday, 15th June, 2011 4:48pm

Dunshaughlin qualify after second-half improvement

Dunshaughlin's Denis Kealy in possession during Sunday's SFC encounter at Pairc Tailteann.

With Seamus McEnaney watching Dunshaughlin turned in a big second-half display to wrap up a deserved SFC victory over Rathkenny at Pairc Tailteann on Sunday.

The Meath manager must have been bemused with how the pattern of this game changed with Rathkenny's first-half dominance eclipsed by a strong second-half display from Dunshaughlin who deservedly won out at the end.

Not only did Rathkenny lose this game they suffered something of a meltdown in added time with two of their players - Tommy McKeever and Donal Curtis - picking up second yellow cards.

The defeat now leaves Rathkenny facing an uphill task if they are to avoid a scrap with relegation. Their game with Nobber now assumes the same status as a cup final.

Once Dunshaughlin built up momentum in the second-half their opponents were unable to come up with an adequate answer - and the dismissals were expressions of a deeply-felt frustration among the Rathkenny ranks.

Some measure of the control Rathkenny exerted during that opening half could be seen in the way they led by 0-4 to 0-0 after 25 minutes.

Dunshaughlin did not score until two minutes later when Tadhg O Dushlaine fired over from a close-range free and when the half-time whistle blew the score stood at 1-4 to 0-1.

The Rathkenny goal was carved out just before the interval with McKeever and Donal Keoghan moving the ball upfield to Brain Meade who lofted the ball into the square from distance and into the arms of John Donegan.

With the Dunshaughlin defence gone AWOL Donegan had plenty of time to pick his spot. Donegan also went close early in the second-half with a shot that whizzed just wide.

Everything seemed to go Rathkenny's way in that opening 30 minutes. There was only six minutes on the clock when O Dushlaine was fouled in the square. Up stepped Conor Devereux to take the spot kick.

His shot was placed too close to John Martin and the Rathkenny netminder got his body behind the ball to execute a good save.

Points from Cathal McCabe, Meade and Donegan made up Rathkenny's first-half tally yet, incredibly, they only added one more score - a Colin Curtis pointed free - in the second-half as they lost their way. McCabe missed from an easy free in the second-half at a time when a score was badly needed.

Dunshaughlin got their passing game going after the break, created openings and with Martin Reilly proving adept at knocking the ball over the bar from frees and play the balance of the game was soon altered.

By the 47th minute Dunshaughlin had drawn level with a fine point from Devereux and a few minutes later O Dushlaine split the posts to put them ahead.

The impressive Caoimhin King, Reilly and Cathal O'Dwyer all lofted over excellent points from play in the final quarter as Dunshaughlin, who showed a number of changes from their previous outing, continued to exert their control on affairs.

Dunshaughlin - R Gogan; A Doyle, K McTigue, M Ahern; F Toolin, T Johnston, D Kealy; J Crimmins, C King (0-1); T O Dushlaine (0-2, frees), C Devereux (0-1), N Murphy; C O'Dwyer (0-1), P McHale, M Reilly (0-6, five frees). Subs - M McHale for P McHale 52 mins; E Hegarty for O Dushlaine 57m; R Moloney for Devereux 58m; R Kealy for McTigue 62m.

Rathkenny - J Martin; M Macken, J Macken, J Gore; D Keoghan, T McKeever, R Gore; B Meade (0-1), B Carolan; B Lenehan, J Donegan (1-1), D McBride; D Curtis, I Lenehan, C McCabe (0-2, frees). Subs - S McCabe for M Macken 39mins; C Curtis (0-1) for Lenehan 48m; M Macken for McCabe 53m.

Referee - Brendan Darby (Ballinabrackey).

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