GAA: Plenty of drama as teams experience the agony of defeat or the joy of victory
There was no shortage of excitement on the playing fields of Meath last weekend. Here we feature a selecton of just some of the games played with the action revealingly described by club PROs. Other games are featured in this week's Meath Chronicle with photographs also from many of the games.
INTERMEDIATE FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
St Michael's 2-10
ST MICHAEL'S REPORT
By Pascal Reilly
St. Michael's retained their Intermediate status when they defeated Dunderry in this relegation quarter-final played before a large attendance on Moynalty's well manicured grounds on Friday evening last. .
St. Michael's were the better team by far but their winning margin could have been less had it not been for some excellent goalkeeping by Conor Gilsenan who also saved a penalty in the dying minutes.
St. Michael's made the better start with Shane McCormack crowning a dominating opening period when scoring a great goal and point to give his side a 1-3 to 0-2 lead after 19 minutes.
Jakub Bidzinski split the posts with an excellent effort after just 30 seconds, McCormack followed with his minor five minutes later before Brian O'Reilly struck his opener three minutes later.
Declan Reilly who put in a great hours work hit a brace in as many minutes midway through the second quarter before Davy Lynch sent over his sides final score of the half when put through by Bidzinski to lead by 1-6 to 0-3 at the changeover.
Dunderry were first on the board when play resumed with a point after 20 seconds while McDonnell opened his account from a placed ball four minutes later. Trailing by six points one would have felt that Dunderry's day was done but they commenced a comeback slotting over three unanswered points to cut the deficit to just three at the end of the third quarter.
McCormack then awoke the St. Michael's lads from their slumber with a point from open play, Ronan Lynch and McDonnell (free) followed up with minors following Dunderry's last score of the game which was from a free on 48 minutes.
Davy Lynch struck the final score of the match for St. Michael's before Dunderry were awarded a penalty which was brilliantly saved by 'keeper Conor Gilsenan.
Two great stalwarts of the St Michael's club, brothers J.B. and Felim O'Reilly announced that they were hanging up their boots for the final time immediately after the game. We wish them both well in their retirement, they have been brilliant servants to our club.
St. Michael's - C Gilsenan; B Reilly, C O'Reilly, H Dunne; D Murphy, M Halpin, B O'Reilly (0-1); JB O'Reilly, F O'Reilly; S McCormack (1-2), S McDonnell (1-1), D Reilly (0-2); D Lynch (0-2); (0-1), R Lynch (0-1).
Sub - R Reilly for R Lynch.
Referee - Brendan O'Brien.
Blackhall Gaels report
Blackhall Gaels came through a thriller on Thursday night under the lights at Brews Hill to secure their Intermediate status for another year.
Those who paid the entry fee got full value for their admission as extra time was needed to separate the sides after 60 minutes of normal time failed to find a winner.
Paul Kelly scored two goals which were hugely important on the night and the timing of both were big momentum swings. His first came in the 27th minute of the first half when he got on the end of a lovely delayed handpass from Charlie Ward and Kelly fired the ball across the goalkeeper into the far corner.
That goal and a follow up point from Kelly gave the Gaels the lead going into the half time break but only by the minimum 1-6 to 0-8. Nobber had kicked 8 first half points with 6 of those coming from play.
Blackhall were much better in the second period but their shooting let them down as they kicked wide after wide.
The September heat may have affected the Blackhall radar and their wayward kicking meatn Nobber took the lead in the 36th minute and once again in the 48th minute. Luke Jennings converted a free with five left to play to bring the game back level and a tense finish ensued. Neither team could find the winner and extra time was already on the agenda.
Kelly bagged his second goal of the evening inside a minute of the resumption to give the Gaels an early advantage but once again Nobber fought back and two further points meant they were only down by one at the break again.
Nobber levelled matters in the 74th minute and the crowd sensed penalties could be on the cards but Tadhg Brosnan stepped up in the 76th and his pointed free turned out to be the winner. Full time score Blackhall Gaels 2-9 Nobber 0-14
Blackhall Gaels - C.Byrne, H.Smith, A.McHugh, T.Murphy, Dan Carty, S.Whitty, C.Ward, D.Healy, M.Mullally, T.Brosnan 0-2 2F, L.Jennings 0-4 3F, S.Morris, J.Kelly. P.Kelly 2-2 2F, Dermot Carty 0-1
Subs- K.Forde for Jennings, C.Duffy for Carty, J.O'Loughlin for Mullally, M.McIver for Murphy.
Nobber made the trip up R162 to Brews Hill, Navan on Thursday evening last to face Blackhall Gaels in their Intermediate Football Championship relegation quarter-final after finishing third in the group stages of the championship.
Spectators were treated to a tense, well-contested, tight affair throughout the evening with the Navan O’Mahony’s pitch in excellent condition for championship football.
In what proved a warm, humid, clammy evening for football the Nobber men started brightest with a screamer of a score into the railway end goals by veteran Alan Farrell in the opening minute.
Both sides traded scores in the opening quarter with Lorcan McEntee, Dale Larkin, and an impressive point by wingback Paddy Clarke left Nobber with a slight advantage on 15 minutes (0 – 4 v 0 – 3).
The black and ambers were steady at the back with Barry Cassidy and Kian Donohoe getting plenty of possession and helping set up attacks for the north Meath men. Further scores from the lively Larkin (2), club stalwart Niall Farrell, and the energetic Conor Owens left Nobber leading by three points after 27 minutes.
Blackhall Gaels, however, finished the half on a stronger note finishing a well-worked move to the bottom corner of the town end goals and followed up with a point going into the half-time interval leading by the minimum.
Half-time score – Nobber 0 – 8 (8) Blackhall Gaels 1 – 6 (9)
Paddy Bates’ charges started the second half brightly with a well-taken score by Niall Farrell and a superb effort by Larkin pushing the Deesiders into the lead. Blackhall responded after 38 minutes of play to level proceedings once again.
For the remainder of normal time, there were very few scores from both sides, however, but there is no doubt that both teams left everything on the pitch in terms of effort and work rate.
Nobber’s Jamie Owens raised yet another white flag leading into the final quarter with Blackhall responding in a familiar fashion. As the game came to a close at the end of normal time, there was no separating the sides.
Two 10-minute periods of extra time proceeded with Blackhall Gaels getting off to the best possible start scoring a goal and going three points ahead. Nobber showed a never-say-die spirit and fought back with well-taken scores from Niall Farrell, Larkin, and Colin Condra.
The final minutes proved nail-biting for Nobber and Blackall supporters alike. Ultimately it was the Kilcloon/Batterstown side who took their chances and won by the narrowest of margins in the end.
A disappointing result for the black and ambers who now have to knuckle down and prepare for a relegation semi-final in two weeks’ time. However, the North Meath men can take pride in their performance, in terms of attitude, effort, and work rate from the whole panel.
JUNIOR FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
St Ultans 1-12
Syddan had an anxious wait in the centre of the Carlanstown pitch on Saturday evening following their victory against St Ultan's.
Syddan's progress depended on a victory here and a Kilbride victory against Dunsany in the other Group game. After what seemed like a never ending wait news came through that Kilbride had defeated Dunsany which meant the Syddan men had qualified to the quarter finals. Cue pandemonium on the pitch!
The first half of this game was nip and tuck for the majority. St Ultans had the ball In the net from a penalty. Lorcan Myles cancelled out that with a three pointer of his own. St Ultans were dealt a blow with a black card to their dangerous forward Ruari Buchannon. Syddan took full advantage and Daire Rowe fired to the net before half time to leave the score 2-6 to 1-5 at the break.
Syddan upped the tempo in the second half and some early scores in the second half put Syddan well clear. Daire Rowe got another goal and his brother Cormac was always dangerous, chipping in with some fine scores.
Cathal Dardis came up from goalkeeping duties to slot over Syddan's final score from a 45. After the final whistle came the waiting game to confirm Syddan's progression to a quarter final.
Syddan - Cathal Dardis, Stuart Fedigan, Ronan Mooney, Dara Dillon, Mark Fedigan, Ryan Summersby, Cormac Rafferty, Sean Clare, Cathal Duff, Eoin Lynch-Duff, Daire Rowe, Michael Fedigan, Lorcan Myles, Cormac Rowe, Paddy Farrelly. Subs - Conor Meade, Ben Blakemore, James Eogan, Cormac Dardis, Gary McManus
Moylagh secured a quarter final spot when accounting for Kilmainham in Costa del Carnaross on Saturday evening.
An opening Tommy O’Reilly point followed by a Sean Reilly goal opened up a lead for Moylagh but Kilmainham soon found the net at the other end to close the gap. Further points through Rory Gibney, Niall McLarney, Sean Reilly and Colm Fanning gave point a half time lead of 1-5 to 1-3.
Moylagh started the second half sharply and goaled again through Tommy O’Reilly. Rory Gibney and Tommy O’Reilly quickly added points to open up a gap. Two further Tommy O’Reilly points and a Sean Reilly free gave Moylagh a deserved 2-10 to 1-8 win. Up next for Moylagh is a quarter final against Kilbride, fixture to be confirmed in the coming days
Moylagh: Matthew Corrigan, Sean Guirke, Shane Gibney, Padraic Traynor, Steven Ward, Darren Gibney, Mark Gibney, Joe Melia, Sean Reilly (1-2, 0-2 frees), Daragh Tuite, Colm Fanning (0-1), Kevin Foley, Rory Gibney (0-2), Tommy O’Reilly (1-4, 0-1 free) Niall McLarney (0-1)
Subs: John Harvey, TJ Tully, Conor Dunne, Sean Peyton, Barry McGurk, Noel O’Reilly.
Kilmainham entered this final group match already knowing that they would be involved in a relegation semi-final regardless of this result.
Moylagh, on the other hand, knew that a win would keep them safe and put them into a quarter-final and confine St. Vincent’s to a relegation battle due to Moylagh having beaten the Ardcath men in previous rounds.
Kilmainham were missing a few starters due to injury and suspension a pattern that has hindered our championship season to date. Moylagh started the strongest and immediately began to take control of the midfield battle with Sean Reilly and Joe Melia dominant early on.
Good early ball into their full forward line was not capitalised on due to some poor shooting letting Kilmainham off the hook.
A Sean Reilly goal following a run from deep kept the Moylagh lads ahead. Kilmainham missed two good goal chances in the first half as Moylagh cleared their lines much to the relief of their supporters.
A scrambled Mark Newman goal kept the game tight as we headed for half time with all to play for.
Half time: Kilmainham 1-3, Moylagh 1-5
A poor opening five minutes of the second half made things more difficult for us. Moylagh scored 1-1 to push their lead out to six points. That cushion allowed them to keep their noses in front for the remainder of the match.
Kilmainham started to take the game to Moylagh as they began to tire. A brilliant goal line block by a Moylagh defender again kept Kilmainham out. Kilmainham kept going and piled on the pressure for the remainder of the match as Moylagh held firm to see out the match as five-point winners.
They advance to a quarter final spot, while our lads must dust themselves down as we face Dunsany in a relegation semi-final in two week’s time. A match that neither team expected to be playing at this stage of the season.
This year's change of format has seen plenty of games being decided by small detail, with teams one minute going for a quarter final spot, the next minute they are in relegation.
There was some very encouraging performances by Kieran Needle, Fergal Black and Larry Morgan. The substitutes also made a big impact when introduced.
Despite the result this was a much-improved performance by Kilmainham. There was a togetherness and fight that was missing in previous rounds.
We now focus on Dunsany with two weeks to prepare for the most important game of the year.
Kilmainham: Dean Peppard, Stephen Newman, Paul Farrelly, Kieran Needle, Fergal Black, Seanie Mahon, Matthew Mullen, Ger Morgan, Freddie Newman (0-2), Dylan Morgan (0-4), Larry Morgan, Paddy Hennigan (0-1), Mark Newman (1-0), Conor Kilgallen (0-1), Padraig Caffrey.
Subs: Barry Lynch for Paul Farrelly, Andy Arkins for Paddy Hennigan, Johnny Quinlan for Padraig Caffrey, Shane Butler for Mark Newman, Phily Mahon for Matthew Mullen.
Referee: Martin Dawson (St. Michael’s)
In sweltering heat on Saturday evening Kilbride and Dunsany locked horns in round four of the junior A Championship. Kilbride were safely through to a quarter final regardless of the outcome but for Dunsany a win would see them top the group and straight into a semifinal.
You could also throw in the possibility of them exiting the championship if Kilbride got the win and if Syddan got the better of St Ultan's then the championship favourites would be in relegation trouble, surely not?
Kilbride showed that they are now firm contenders if they can continue the form of the last two games.
The question on a lot of people's minds going into the last game of the championship was would Kilbride be able to back up the performance of two weeks ago when they beat Syddan and the answer is yes with a win against a very fancied Dunsany side who were firm favourites to break that duck and lift the Peter McDermott Cup before a ball was kicked back in June.
In the heat it was Kilbride who started brightly with a point from distance from full forward Josh Harford after great setup play from the excellent Finn White. Centre back Conor O’Driscoll popped up from centre back to make it two points to no score after 3 minutes.
Dunsany got there first point on 6 but Adam Malone got Kilbride’s three up on seven minutes. It was end to end.
Dunsany were struggling to cope with the influential Josh Harford and his ability to find space was where their goal came form on eight minutes.
Conor McWeeney found Harford with a long ball out to the wing and his pinpoint pass into the hard runner corner back Anthony Barker result in him blasting to the net despite the best efforts from three Dunsany defenders, A dream start for the Kilbride men to put them 1-3 to a point up after just eight minutes.
Andrew McWeeney got a fine point on eight minutes. Finn White who had a fine game made an excellent block when a Dunsany goal looked certain. Pierre Fox reduced the arrears with a free on 12 minutes.
Harford got his second on 16 minutes this time from the left side as Kilbride led by four. The minor All-Ireland winners of Harford and McWeeny combined for McWeeney’s first as Kilbride dominated. Another Pierre Fox free kept the Dunsany scoreboard ticking over.
Adam Malone got his second on 24 minutes after great forward play from the again influential Josh Harford who was terrorising the Dunsany defence. On 29 minutes it was that man again, Harford, who took on and beat four Dunsany defenders to kick his third point and extend Kilbride's lead.
Josh Harford registered another a minute later when he jinxed around three Dunsany defenders as the first half entered into injury time.
Harford kicked a free after he was hauled down on 32 minutes to extend Kilbride’s lead to eight points as referee Peter O’Halloran blew for half time.
Half Time Kilbride 1-10 Dunsany 0-5
Dunsany introduced Cathal Murphy at half time and that seemed to spur them on and they kicked five unanswered points in the first five minutes at the start of the second half.
Would the young guns of Kilbride show their inexperience? They were in a similar position two weeks ago when Syddan hauled back a commanding lead but they then showed great composure to again pull away. Could they do it again?.
Yes was the answer and when Timmy Farrell popped up from midfield to calm the Kilbride nerves with a fine point Kilbride led by four. McWeeny was the creator. Only minutes before the same player was denied a goal after a fine save from Niall Flynn.
Kilbride introduced Paddy Peters for James Brown to add some freshness as players were starting to feel the effects of the sweltering heat.
Josh Harford was fouled when he took on the Dunsany defence and David O’Leary who had a quiet game by his standards slotted over the resulting free. Harford landed a monster score to extend Kilbride lead back out to five points.
Timmy Farrell and Cathal McKeon in midfield were competing for everything and kept the influential Eoin Harkin relatively quiet for the 60 minutes.
However, Dunsany was not going away and Cathal Murphy was causing some problems. And it was that man again Finn White who had a fine game at wing back again putting his body on the line with another fine block when a point looked certain for the Dunsany men.
A great turn over by the very impressive Josh Harford resulted in him setting up Adam Malone for a fine point this time off his right. Kilbride had weathered the storm and Mark Dempsey at full back was winning the battle with Dunsany’s Pierre Fox. Anthony Barker, Andrew McWeeney and Finn White were all exceptional on the night.
Harford would get his sixth point of the game with another excellent point from distance. Dunsany had no answer to the Kilbride player. His ability to mix it up and to drop deep and kick points from distance was the difference and it was that man again (Harford) who landed his seventh with another great score.
His ability to win his own ball and to find the space was the difference in the scoreboard on the night.
Both teams exchanged points in the last five minutes as Kilbride saw out the game to Knock the favourites out of this year’s championship and into a quarter final.
Full time. Kilbride 1-17 Dunsany 0-15
Kilbride - Craig Manning, Dean Stapelton, Mark Dempsey, Anthony Barker 1-0, Andrew McWeeney 0-1, Conor O’Driscoll 0-1, Finn White, Timmy Farrell 0-1, Cathal McKeon, James Brown, Conor McWeeney 0-2, Ronan O’Leary, Adam Malone 0-3, Josh Harford 0-7, David O’Leary 0-2.
Subs - Paddy Peters for J Brown. Zack McGovern for A Malone, Jamie McWeeney for A Barker
Dunsany’ quest for the Junior Championship came to an end on Saturday evening in Curraha.
While the opening exchanges were tight it was Kilbride who were more economical with the ball and scored the first two points before James Cahill split the posts for Dunsany.
Kilbride the blitzed Dunsany in a 90 second period with 1-2 from play to press home their advantage.
Pierre Fox did add four points before the break for Dunsany including one from a 45 but Kilbride accelerated to an eight-point lead at the break 1-10 to 0-5.
After the break Dunsany rallied to make a fight of it and Kicked the first fve points of the second half thanks to Fox, half time substitute Cathal Murphy and Eoin Harkin.
Unfortunately for Dunsany this was as close as they would get to overturing the Kilbride lead as they would get 3 on the bounce after this.
Harklin, Murphy and Fox, who ended up with an impressive 0-10 to his name, would add further points but Kilbride were able to see the game out.
Dunsany now face into the relegation play-offs.
Dunsany - N Flynn; D Hackett G Byrne F Barrett; C Harkin P Burke P Dunne; E Harkin ( 0-2), J Cahill (0-1); A Smyth D Boyle H Cahill; P Fox (0-10) K Gorman A Kelly
Subs - S Walshe for Kelly, C Murphy (0-2) for C Harkin, D Hobson for Boyle.
Ballinlough and St.Brigid's returned to Milbrook for this round five game and while there were a few permutations at play, Ballinlough knew a win would guarantee them a place in the quarter-finals while St.Brigid's were also home and dry with safe passage to a semi-final already secured before yesterday evenings game.
Despite safety guaranteed, there was no way St.Brigid's were going to take it easy against ourselves and that proved to be the case as they named a strong team to face Ballinlough.
Ballinlough for their part welcomed back Declan Galligan who was to play an instrumental part in the team's plans.
So after a 37 year hiatus, the two teams crossed swords once again in first team championship action and it was the Ballinlough men who were out of the blocks quickest hitting the first four points of the game without reply by the ninth minute, Daire Shine(two), Tom Shine and a superb Harry Ryan point from play setting up the Lough nicely in the opening stages.
By comparison the Brigid's were struggling to get to grips with the game hitting a number of balls wide of the posts or dropped short into the welcome arms of Oisin McDermott in the Ballinlough net, before they finally got off the mark with a point from play in the 17th minute from the boot of Dylan Briody.
From that score the Ballinacree men were in again as they secured possession from the kick out and drove at the Ballinlough defence at pace and found the back of the net to level the sides.
A point from play in the 24th minute gave St.Brigid's the lead before the excellent Tommy McCullen landed a monster point from all of 50 yards to restore parity on the scoreboard.
A Harry Ryan free in the 29th minute gave Ballinlough their lead back but there was time for one more Brigid's score with the ball sailing over the bar in the 30th minute ensuring that all would remain level when referee Eamon Barry blew the half time whistle, the score line reading Ballinlough 0-6 to St.Brigids 1-3.
Ballinlough started the second-half similar to the first with a point in the opening minute, a potential goal chance was on but Tom Shine took the sensible option of fisting the ball over the bar from an acute angle.
A pointed free from Shine extended Ballinlough’s lead to two points before St.Brigid's finally hit back with a Joe Blake point in the 41st minute.
There was a big call for referee Eamon Barry in the 43rd minute when Seánie Geraghty had his run halted and the black card was produced to reduce St Brigid's down to 14 men for the next ten minutes.
With Lorcan Maguire, Tommy McCullen and Eoin Briody fantastic in the midfield area, Ballinlough were getting plenty of ball forward and Tom Shine added his third point in a row as he hit a super effort in the 46th minute.
Despite all the possession and attacking threat with the extra man, Ballinlough didn’t inflict too much damage on the scoreboard, with no less than three major goal chances squandered by the 51st minute.
Ballinlough didn’t have the same difficulty putting the ball over the bar. Oisin McDermott hit a perfect 45’ to put Ballinlough three points up which was swiftly followed by a Harry Ryan free in the 53rd minute.
With their tails well and truly up now Ballinlough secured the kick-out and after link up play from Eoin Briody and Harry Ryan, the ball was played to substitute Brandon Brunton.
Playing his first minutes of first team Championship football you’d be forgiven for thinking the occasion might have got to the young man, but he turned his opponent excellently and raced towards the goal before laying the ball off to Daire Shine who made no mistake this time firing the ball to the net in the 54th minute to give Ballinlough a seven point lead.
Further points were traded through frees with Tom Shine accurate for Ballinlough before a late rally for St.Brigid's assisted by six minutes added time.
They clawed back four points but it was to be too little too late as when Seánie Geraghty picked up possession in the 66th minute the referee blew the full time whistle. Ballinlough the victors.
So that win gets Ballinlough second place in the group standings and a quarter-final to look forward to, and with some heavy hitters exiting the championship this weekend it really is anyone’s to win now for the remaining six teams !
Ballinlough - O.McDermott (0-1 one 45’), B.Smith, J.Connell, R.Farrell, D.Caffrey, S.Geraghty, E.Briody, L.Maguire, T.McCullen(0-1), M.McCullen, T.Shine(0-5, two frees), D.Galligan, H.Ryan (0-3, two frees), D.Shine(1-2, one mark). K. Óg Lynch
Subs - C.Fleming for K.Óg Lynch H/T
B.Brunton for M.McCullen 37’
P.Muldoon for H.Ryan 58’
R.McGuinness for D.Galligan 60’.
SENIOR FOOTBALL CHAMIONSHIP
A case of quarter finalists last year, relegation quarter-finalists this year for Moynalvey!
It was a James McEntee less Curraha who preserved their senior status for 2024 at the first time of asking when overcoming Moynalvey by a point in this relegation quarter final playoff game played at Dunshaughlin at midday on Sunday afternoon 10th September.
Two clubs with the thinnest of panels competing in the senior ranks, both of which many had as candidates for relegation were drawn against each other in the first round of the dreaded relegation battle, unfortunately it’s Moynalvey who will face another day out after this one point defeat.
In what could be described as a game of two halves, Moynalvey nearly pulled off what looked like the impossible having been seven points down at the break and eight down seven minutes into the second half.
The first two scores of the game came from county players Diarmuid Moriarty and Cillian O’Sullivan, both converting frees for their respective sides. The game’s first point from play came from Conor Moriarty, which was quickly followed by another county player Jack O’Conor splitting the uprights, leaving it 0-3 to 0-1 with nine minutes played.
Moynalvey talisman Cillian O’Sullivan pointed in the 11th minute, with Curraha’s Ronan Flynn pointing two minutes later to leave it double scores, 0-4 to 0-2 with thirteen minutes played. Two Diarmuid Moriarty points, the first from a free and the second from play were countered by a brace of Moynalvey points, the first a Cillian O’Sullivan point from play and the second a David McLoughlìn free to leave it 0-6 to 0-4 with 22 minutes played.
Then disaster struck for Moynalvey when Curraha wing back Niall Murphy’s shot at goal was dragging well wide low across the goal mouth only for it to be unfortunately deflected to the Moynalvey net by David Reilly, which saw Curraha go five points up, 1-6 to 0-4.
Curraha built on this piece of luck by adding a further brace of points from Diarmuid Moriarty and Jack O’Connor to lead 1-8 to 0-4 at half time. Eight minutes after the resumption Curraha found themselves eight points up following Diarmuid Moriarty’s fourth free of the afternoon.
As the heavy showers before and during half time cleared, Moynalvey’s running game yielded two goals within the next six minutes, the first from Cillian O’Sullivan and the second coming from Darren Brennan who blasted high to the roof of the Currah net, now leaving two between the sides at the three quarter hour mark, 1-9 to 2-4.
Brilliant fielding from Moynalvey substitute William Harnan ended with a tap over point for David McLoughlin to leave a single point between the sides with 49 minutes played, 1-9 to 2-5.
Following a long delay with an injury to Curraha’s Niall Murphy after a heavy tackle on Cillian O’Sullivan, the resultant free from O’Sullivan in the 66th minute saw a contentious decision in which neither umpires, nor referee could decide if the ball was over the bar or wide, following much uncertainty and consultation with the linesman also, the free was eventually given as wide to the despair of Moynalvey supporters and players alike, had the point been given extra time looked on the cards.
There was still time for one more play in which Moynalvey won possession, soon afterwards Brian Harnan’s ball across in the goal mouth was blown for a free out and full time to the delight of all associated with Curraha who preserve their senior status for another year, while Moynalvey now face into a relegation semi-final in a fortnight’s time against St. Peters Dunboyne.
Despite dominating the second half, ultimately that eight point deficit proved too big for Moynalvey to reel in and the ‘Ha held on for that hard earned one point win which sees them safe again in the senior ranks for 2024.
Best for Moynalvey in this battle were David Reilly, Craig Gilsenan, Brian Harnan, Darren Brennan and top scorer Cillian O’Sullivan.
Moynalvey - Conor Egan, David Reilly, Fearghal McCabe, Darragh Branigan, Brian Harnan, Mark O’Sullivan, Charlie McCormack, Stephen Donoghue, Donal Smith, Craig Gilsenan, Padraic Harnan, Vinny Walsh, Darren Brennan (1-0), Cillian O’Sullivan (1-4, 1f), David McLoughlin (0-2, 1f). Subs used: William Harnan for McCormack, Conor Quinn for Branigan.
SFC RELEGATION QUARTER-FINAL
Ballinabrackey left Summerhill the happier side after beating Skryne by a point to secure their status in the Meath Senior Championship for another year.
Skryne got the dream start in this game with a goal from Battersby in the first 20 seconds of the game which they quickly followed up with two points.
Five minutes into the game and Ballinabrackey were under pressure but Danny Quinn kicked our first free over which gave him the confidence to kick a point from play shortly after.
A couple of wides from both sides in the first couple of minutes of this game but Skryne settled again and Shane Smyth kicked another free over. Damien Carroll kicked a point for the Bracks but Skryne were very quick to move up the field and scored two points from play not letting the Bracks into this game yet.
A few wides from Skryne gave Ballinabrackey a chance and it was Damien Carroll, Niall Smullen and Danny Quinn who helped Ballinabrackey get close in the closing minutes of the first half. Ian Davis for Skryne kicked a great score to help them edge on again but it was a Damien Carroll free that left three between the sides at half time.
Ballinabrackey came out fighting in the second half and Damien Carroll and Sean Coffey got the first three scores of the second half. Skryne had possession again but another two wides left the sides even five minutes into the second half.
Skryne made changes and got another point from play but Ballinabrackey dominated the next 10 minutes of play. There was great leadership shown from captain Erick Clancy and he moved the ball well to the forwards with Danny Quinn, David Carroll, Niall Smullen and Mark Coffey scoring some vital points for Ballinabrackey. Ballinabrackey went four points ahead but Skryne came back into the last quarter and scored a point from play and from a free.
Danny Quinn and Sean Kavanagh kicked scores for Ballinabrackey and it was looking good for Bracks but with five minutes still to play of normal time Ballinabrackey got a penalty that would have finished the game for them but unfortunately Damien Carroll kicked it wide.
Skryne came back with two more points from play but Ballinabrackey defended with everything they had with a never say die attitude and held out this game winning by a point. Another year in senior for the small Meath club.
A big thanks to Trevor Bannon and his management team who won the league and retained Senior Status this year. Well done lads.
Ballinabrackey - Dean Pluck, Conor Ennis, Chris O’Connor, Leo Cullen, Sean Bannon, Nicky Judge, Richie Coffey, Sean Coffey(0-1), Erick Clancy, Gavin Quinn, Danny Quinn(0-4), David Carroll(0-2), Mark Coffey(0-1), Damien Carroll (0-5), Niall Smullen(0-2) Sub -- Sean Kavanagh (0-1) for Gavin Quinn.
Sunny Summerhill was the venue for this SFC relegation quarter-final with Skryne struggling to find the form that will help them retain their senior status. That coupled with a crippling injury list sees the Taramen grappling for survival.
Skryne couldn’t have asked for a better start in this crucial Relegation Quarter final when Stephen O’Brien fetched the throw-in and launched a ball into the Skryne full-forward line.
Oisín Keogh palmed it down to Mark Battersby who swept the ball past the Ballinabrackey goalkeeper Dean Pluck to take an early lead. A pointed free from Ian Davis and a fisted point from Conor O’Brien after great work from Andrew Moore who turned over possession in the run-up to the score, saw Skryne move five points clear in as many minutes.
Danny Quinn opened the Bracks account with two points in a row(1 free) before Damien Carroll saw his shot at goal superbly pushed away by Skryne netminder Felim O’Rourke who dived low to his right at full stretch to deny Carroll.
Shane Smyth and Ian Davis(a free) added 2 points for Skryne who were full value for their five-point lead at the quarter-hour mark. Damien Carroll pulled one back for Ballinabrackey before Oisín Keogh hit a double to ensure Skryne kept the Bracks at arm’s length.
Ballinabrackey did come into the game in the last 10 minutes of the half outscoring Skryne by three points to one with Damien Carroll accurate from the placed ball adding two, while Niall Smullen banked another for the men from South West Meath.
Ian Davis swung a point over for Skryne after a good move involving David Rathborne and Oisín Keogh. Skryne went into the break with a four-point lead and looked comfortable. Skryne 1-7, Ballinabrackey 0-6.
The second half was a horror show for Skryne. After an excellent opening half, Skryne seemed to flick a kill switch at half-time and were to produce a terrible second half which was largely dominated by the men in green.
Indeed Ballinabrackey, who to their credit came out with all guns blazing, hit the opening three points of the half to reduce the lead to just a single point.
Ballinabrackey survived a scare on the 10-minute mark when a long-range effort from Ciarán Lenehan struck the upright and dropped into the penalty area.
Alas, the Bracks managed to clear their lines. Conor O’Brien hit a second fisted point when he ran in from the left-hand side and punched over.
This should have steadied the Skryne ship, but Ballinabrackey had other ideas as they went on a scoring spree, hitting six points in as many minutes to move three points clear with just over 10 minutes remaining.
Skryne were at sixes and sevens and were struggling around the middle of the park after Ciarán Lenehan had picked up an ankle injury.
A Mark Battersby pointed free was quickly canceled out by Danny Quinn. Batts struck another point from play but again the Bracks hit back with Seán Kavanagh finding the target. Ballinabrackey also managed to spurn a huge goal opportunity when they were awarded a penalty late on.
The game would have been out of Skryne’s reach, but the penalty was missed after the shot was blazed to the left and wide of the Skryne goal. Skryne threw on fresh legs in a bid to salvage the game and Battersby with a free and Oisín Keogh with a fine point reduced the deficit to the minimum as the game entered injury time.
Skryne pressed forward for an equaliser but fired two shots wide and then referee Andrew Smith blew the full-time whistle much to the jubilation and relief of the men from Ballinabrackey who hung on for a victory that saw them retain their Senior status.
Meanwhile, Skryne have to fight for survival again as they face Na Fianna, who could easily have been playing a quarter-final proper this weekend but instead found themselves facing defeat against Seneschalstown to see them land a relegation semi-final tie, not the semi-final they had been thinking about a week ago.
Skryne need to regroup and focus on the job at hand and that is to secure Senior status for an 87th year
Skryne - Felim O’Rourke; Niall Lenehan, Andrew Moore, James Reeves; David Rathborne, John Finnerty, John O’Regan; Ciarán Lenehan, Stephen O’Brien; Conor O’Brien(0-2), Ian Davis(0-3, 2fs), Patrick Fox; Shane Smyth(0-1), Oisín Keogh(0-3), Mark Battersby(1-3, 2fs).
Subs used: Ciarán Quinn, Padraig Finnerty, Andrew Canavan, Harry Rooney