Snellen and Gary Carroll won at Royal Ascot for trainer Gavin Cromwell. Photo Healy Racing

Sports Review of the Year - June:... Christy Ring is coming home


Long gone are the days when Meath GAA fans take for granted a team from their county going up to Croke Park and winning a national title. In early June it was the turn of the county hurlers under Seoirse Bulfin to make their way to the Big House and play Derry in the Christy Ring Cup final. They won too, 1-23 to 1-21, but they had to work desperately hard to do so. They had to withstand a rousing Derry comeback to hold out and take the trophy and complete a league and cup double.

Jack Regan had one of those glittering days as he scored 14 points while Nicky Potterton marked his display with a wonder goal. It was all nerve-shredding stuff but Meath got there in the end and captain's Regan and Charlie Ennis took charge of the cup. At club level Trim won A HL Div 1 defeating Kildalkey, 2-18 to 1-16, at Boardsmill

Changing your manager in mid-summer is probably not the wisest thing to do for a Gaelic football team looking to land an All-Ireland final but that's what happened the Meath ladies in June.

With just over two week to go before they started their defence of their All-Ireland SFC title, the county team found themselves without a coach after Davy Nelson stepped down. After a disappointing league campaign in which they just about avoided relegation and defeat to Dublin in the Leinster SFC, Nelson and his management team opted to go.

Who to call on? The answer was former Meath and Summerhill player Jenny Rispin. She stepped in to take charge as caretaker manager, just as she had done back in 2015. It was case of Rispin to the rescue - yet again.

Rispin's team got their All-Ireland campaign off to a bright start too defeating Waterford, who had beaten them in the league, by 1-13 to 1-8, Emma Duggan scoring 1-4 and Niamh Gallogly scooping the 'Player of the Match' award.

In the Tailteann Cup Colm O'Rourke continued to lead his team onwards and upwards. Down were defeated, 1-11 to 1-9, in the last group game, before Wexford were trounced 2-23 to 0-12. The win set up an intriguing semi-final clash with Andy McEntee's Antrim at Croke Park. Only some late scores secured Meath's 2-16 to 2-14 victory. Jordan Morris and Aaron Lynch found the net for the winners.

Ah sweet revenge. "Our season starts now," said Meath camogie manager Brendan Skehan after his side chalked up a 3-15 to 0-11 victory over Kerry at Causeway in the All-Ireland Intermediate Camogie Championship. Meath had suffered defeats to Kerry twice earlier in the year including the league final. However, next time out Meath were defeated 2-7 to 4-11 by Westmeath in Raharney. Before the game both sets of players staged a brief sit down together. It was all part of an attempt by the players to encourage the GAA, the LGFA and the Camogie Association to implement "Standards of Player Welfare."

In horse racing June was a time to be savoured by Balrath trainer Gavin Cromwell. At least that was the case on the day one of his horses he trains, Snellan, won the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot. Gary Carroll, who has close connections to the Royal County, skilfully guided Snellan home.