Assured display by Donaghmore / Ashbourne
Donaghmore / Ashbourne produced an assured SFC quarter-final performance as they sent Gaeil Colmcille crashing out on a 1-15 to 1-11 scoreline at Pairc Tailteann this evening.
There was much to like about Donaghmore / Ashbourne's display, particularly that of full-forward Andrew Tormey who played a key role in the victory.
Michael Deegan, with nine points, was also a stand-out player along with Thomas McGovern, but it was a real team effort that contributed to the demise of Gaeil Colmcille.
And Donaghmore / Ashbourne won't get too carried away with the victory as there is lots of room for improvement ahead of the semi-final showdown against Dunboyne.
For Gaeil Colmcille, it was a disappointing result and it was evident from the opening exchanges that it was going to be a major test of their title credentials.
Early points from Bryan Menton and Dylan Brady gave Donaghmore / Ashbourne the initiative before Seamus Mattimoe converted a free to get Gaeil Colmcille on the scoreboard in the fourth minute.
The Donaghmore/ Ashbourne players remained composed throughout the opening half and eased into a thoroughly deserved 1-9 to 0-5 interval advantage, but they also tallied six wides.
Donaghmore / Ashbourne were ahead by 0-5 to 0-3 at the first water break as they added points from Andrew Colgan from a 44-metre free, Andrew Tormey and Michael Deegan (free).
A stuttering Gaeil Colmcille, who were denied a goal by a smart Colgan save, managed a brace of pointed frees from Brian Hanlon.
When play resumed they added another brace from Mattimoe (one free) as they faced into that second-half trying to overhaul a seven-point deficit.
Donaghmore / Ashbourne added the vital extra points from Deegan who sent over four from play, but it was Tormey's goal that was the crucial score.
And it was no more than the Donaghmore / Ashbourne full-forward deserved in the 30th minute when he finished to the net after Dylan Brady and Jamie Browne combined to make the opening.
That posed some serious questions for the Gaeil Colmcille players and while they failed to find a winning response, they certainly couldn't be faulted for effort and determination.
Despite their best efforts they fell further behind in the third-quarter and trailed by eight points (0-7 to 1-12) at the second water break.
Hanlon claimed the two points while at the other end Donaghmore / Ashbourne had three Deegan points (two frees) to their credit.
When play resumed Gaeil Colmcille kept battling and put the opposition under enormous pressure.
They were rewarded when Adam Muldoon found the net through a blocked clearance after Donaghmore / Ashbourne were unable to get the ball away.
Buoyed by that goal, the deficit was reduced to four points with a brace from Mattimoe (one free) but that was as good as it got for last year's beaten finalists.
Brady's point sustained Donaghmore / Ashbourne before Shaun Byrne and Muldoon traded socres.
Gaeil Colmcille almost grabbed a late goal when Colgan was too casual, but the blushes were spared by the intervention of Conor Carton.
Donaghmore / Ashbourne regained some of that first-half composure, kept possession and earned a place in the last four with Deegan's point closing the account from a free and Hanlon converting a '45' for the Kells side in added time.
Donaghmore / Ashbourne - Michael Deegan 1-9 four frees; Andrew Tormey 1-1; Dylan Brady 0-2; Shaun Byrne 0-1; Andrew Colgan 0-1 free.
Gaeil Colmcille - Brian Hanlon 0-5 three frees, one '45'; Seamus Mattimoe 0-5 three frees; Adam MUldoon 1-1.
Donaghmore / Ashbourne - Andrew Colgan; Jason Boland, Iarlaith O'Donnell, Conor Carton; Evan Quinn, Thomas McGovern, Sean Curran; Shane Melia, Bryan Menton; Darragh McGovern, Dylan Brady, Shaun Byrne; Michael Deegan, Andrew Tormey, Jamie Browne. Subs - James Crumlish for Browne 45 mins, James Redmond for Byrne 58m, Leo Reilly for D McGovern 59m, Stephen Carton for Tormey 60m.
Gaeil Colmcille - Justin Carry-Lynch; Johnny Quigley, Paul Tormay, James Reilly; Conal Courtney, Barry Tormay, Seanie Curran; Philip Ward, Oisin Reilly; Evan Sheridan, Adam Donnelly, Fionn Reilly; Seamus Mattimoe, Ryan Farnham, Brian Hanlon. Subs - Martin Barrett for Farnham and Adam MUldoon for Donnelly both half-time; Fionn Ferguson for Ward 45 mins, Cormac Keegan for B Tormay 56m.
Referee - Keith Sheerin (Drumconrath)