Trim secure victory in tough Leinster debut
The journey continued for Trim in Ashbourne tonight as they secured their place in the Leinster Club IFC quarter-finals with a rousing 1-14 to 2-7 victory over Louth champions St Fechin's.
Trim's win was their 15th in succession in a 2021 that has, so far, seen them claim the Corn na Boinne and the Meath IFC without losing a game and on this evidence they will be favourites to get the better of Kilkenny senior champions Mullinavat or Thomastownin Pairc Tailteann next Saturday 4th December.
While this win over St Fechin's was hard earned and the Louth side certainly put it up to Trim in the physical stakes, Kevin Reilly's side's margin of victory was more comprehensive than the scoreline suggests with St Fechin's second goal coming from a close range free with the last kick of the game.
What makes Trim's victory even more impressive is that they played 13 minutes of the contest at a numerical disadvantage after Luke Moran picked up a black card in the 30th minute, to add to his earlier yellow, and was sent-off.
In that spell either side of half-time Trim weathered the storm and continued to dominate the ball and when St Fechin's were reduced to 14 men 10 minutes after the restart, following Harry Haughney's straight red card, the outcome wasn't in doubt.
At that stage Trim were 1-9 to 1-4 to the good. St Fechin's had only managed 1-1 from play, whereas Trim only had four scores from frees as they knitted together several outstanding passages of football to put St Fechin's on the back foot.
The Louth side were always a threat. In particular Bevan Duffy, Eoghan Duffy and Niall Devlin caused problems, but Trim worked ferociously to limit space for the Louth side's key men to shine and with swift counter-attacking play they dominated.
One such excellent counter-attack led to Trim's decisive goal.
Bevan Duffy had gone close to finding the net with a low drive that struck the post in the 20th minute, but as St Fechin's lamented that miss, Trim broke at breakneck pace with Alan Douglas blasting to the net to stretch his side's lead to 1-5 to 0-2.
That goal gave Trim the cushion they needed to survive the red card and any periods of dominance St Fechin's might expect.
The early stages were tight and the evidence of a physical encounter were clear as the opening four scores came from frees with Ryan Walsh cancelling out two efforts from Trim's Aaron Lynch in the opening nine minutes.
Once Trim settled they hit three points in two minutes with Douglas, Lynch and James Toher, from a free, establishing their 0-5 to 0-2 lead.
St Fechin's continued to be a threat with Peter Farrell saving well from Eoghan Duffy, but after his brother Gavan struck the butt of the post following the water break Douglas responded with the decisive goal.
Daire Lynch added another point to stretch Trim's lead to seven points, but St Fechin's gave themselves hope when Paul Matthews pulled on a mis-controlled hop to fire low to the net.
Douglas and Walsh (mark) traded scores before Rob Bourke added to Trim's tally to make it 1-8 to 1-3.
Even after Moran was sent-off Trim got to the break without suffering any damage and after the resumption Walsh and Mikey Cullen exchanged points as Trim maintained their five-point lead.
Haughney's red card followed following an off-the-ball clash with Daire Lynch, but St Fechin's hit the next point from Eoin Hackett. However Trim hit three of the next four points with Aaron Lynch grabbing all three in response to Walsh's free as Trim led 1-12 to 1-6 at the water break.
In the final quarter Walsh added another free, but points from Aaron Lynch (free) and Toher put Trim in a comfortable lead which rendered Walsh's late, late goal as a mere consolation score.
Trim - Aaron Lynch 0-6 three frees; Alan Douglas 1-2; James Toher 0-2 one free; Daire Lynch 0-1; Ciaran Caulfield 0-1; Rob Bourke 0-1; Mikey Cullen 0-1.
St Fechin's - Ryan Walsh 1-6 1-3 frees, one mark; Paul Matthews 1-0; Eoin Hackett 0-1.
Trim - Peter Farrell; Ger Dwane, Luke Moran, Declan Dowling; Ian Birmingham, James Toher, Ciaran O'Rourke; Rob Bourke, Sean Fitzgerald; Ciaran Caulfield, Alan Douglas, Daire Lynch; Mikey Cullen, Aaron Lynch, Eoin O'Connor. Subs - Ben Holden for Dowling 35 mins, Paul Munnelly for Birmingham 47, Owen McGrath for Fitzgerald 50m, James Murray for O'Connor 58m.
St Fechin's - Niall McDonnell; Adam O'Neill, Niall McCabe, Danny Burnell; Harry Haughney, David Collier, Sean Kerrisk; Bevan Duffy, Paul Matthews; Pauric O'Donohoe, Colum O'Neill, Joseph Corrigan; Ryan Walsh, Eogan Duffy, Niall Devlin. Subs - Matthew Flanagan for O'Donohoe half-time, Conor Haughney for Kerrisk for 47 mins, Dylan Rice for Devlin 54m.