Boyne Valley's Cathal McConnell tries to escape the attentions of Tara's Paul Kelly (right) and Declan Smyth. Photo: GERRY SHANAHAN/

Plenty of fast-flowing football help Boyne Valley to final victory

There's winning a championship. Then there's winning a championship with a sense of style, a certain panache and joie de vivre.

Cathal O Bric's Boyne Valley displayed a swashbuckling aspect to their display in overcoming Tara to claim the first ever Regional FC at Ashbourne today. As the final scoreline suggested they were by some distance the better side.

They conjured up a measured, controlled performance but produced some Hollywood moments too on a bitterly cold day when a decent-sized crowd showed up - although not as many as might have been expected.

No doubt the weather kept many away but certainly there was no doubting who were the deserving winners of the Richie Barry Trophy, named after a great Walterstown GAA man who did so much for the old Association.

The starting Boyne Valley side included a number of Walterstown players including John Davis, Alan Wall, Conor Farrelly, Barry O'Connell and they all played their parts in helping the team in yellow gain a grip on this game before pushing on to win. Ger Robninson's Tara, as they done throughout the campaign, fought with a gritty resilience but they found this assignment a bridge too far.

By the interval BV had already taken a big stride towards claiming the silverware. They led 1-5 to 0-4 despite a black card shown to Mark Dowdall and the fact they were againt the breeze.

It was not a huge advantage but it left Tara facing into a stiff breeze in the second-half and with the considerable task of trying to work their way back into contention; something they were ultimately unable to do.

They were prevented from doing that by a powerful second-half display by the Boyne Valley boys who combined a defensive resoluteness with the ability to move the ball at speed. The quality of the winners' support play, their ability to play as a collective was indeed impressive - and they ultimately proved a force Tara simply couldn't resist.

That opening goal came just before the interval and was the end product of one of those moves Boyne Valley were well able to stitch together. Donal Keogan passed to Con Smith out on the left and he crossed into the Tara goalmouth. There at the far post, unmarked, was James O'Hare who palmed the ball to the net.

It was a devastating blow for the Taramem coming as it did seconds before the break. It was something like a floundering boxer receiving a haymaker full on the chin just as the bell was about to sound to save his bacon.

The second goal on 48 minutes was another hammerblow. A Niall Flynn kick-out was intercepted by Donal Keogan. He was left one-on-one with the 'keeper who made a brilliant save. Unfortunately for him the ball ended up in the hands of BV's Con Smith who had the simple task of firing to the net.

Keith Curtis was one of the Boyne Valley players who stood out with his movement and ability to finish. He ended up with six points, three frees, while Davy Curtis also lofted over two scores. O'Connell showed real vision with some searching passes and he also raised a white flag as did Cathal McConnell.

Tara's Eoin Harkin was a big influence with his powerful runs but the team overall lacked a cutting edge. Five of their players got on the scoring sheet but their chief marksmen were David O'Leary and Paul Kelly with a relative modest two points apiece.

Tara worked some super scores such as the point landed by Charlie O'Donnell who finished off a multi-phase move in the opening half.

There just wasn't enough of that kind of high-quality, well-constructed play to wear down a well-prepared Boyne Valley side who were worthy winners of this inaugural competition.


Boyne Valley - Keith Curtis 0-6 three frees; Con Smith 1-1; James O'Hare 1-0; Davy Curtis 0-2 one free; Barry O'Connell 0-1; Cathal McConnell 0-1.

Tara - Paul Kelly 0-2; Eoin Harkin 0-1; Alan Nestor 0-1; Charlie O'Donnell 0-1; David O'Leary 0-2, one free.


Boyne Valley - John Davis; Adam Byrne, Donagh Garvey, Sean O'Hare; Alan Wall, James O'Hare, Cathal McConnell; Donal Keogan, Conor Farrelly; Mark Dowdall, Barry O'Connell, Con Smith; Davy Curtis, Keith Curtis, Marty Mulhall. Subs - Lorcan O'Connor for Mulhall 41 mins, Brian O'Connell for Dowdall 48m, Matt Tully for Smith 52m, Adam Quinn for D Curtis 53m, Ciaran Cox for Wall 57m, Jim Marry for Byrne 59m.

Tara - Niall Flynn; Pauraic Burke, Eoin O'Connor, Cian Harford; Conor Harkin, Eoin Harkin, Declan Smyth; Jamie McWeeney, Donnacha Tobin; Paul Kelly, Alan Nestor, Charlie O'Donnell; Cathal Murphy, David O'Leary, Tommy Kinsella. Subs - Mark Demspey for O'Connor 21 mins, Sean O'Neill for O'Donnell, Shane Walsh for Murphy both 41m, Dermot Carty for Kinsella 43m, Ronan O'Leary for Harford 50m, Conor Mooney for Alan Nestor 52m, Wes Goodwin for D O'Leary, Fearghal Kiernan for McWeeney both 57m.

Referee - Derek Ryan (Na Fianna).