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Club

Ballinabrackey

.................................... Ballinlough ......................................... Ballivor ............................................... Bective ................................................ Blackhall Gaels................................... Boardsmill .......................................... Carnaross ............................................ Castletown ......................................... Clann na nGael ................................... Clonard ............................................... Cortown ............................................. Curraha ............................................... Donaghmore/Ashbourne ...................... Drumbaragh ....................................... Drumconrath ....................................... Drumree ............................................. Duleek/Bellewstown .......................... Dunboyne ........................................... Dunderry ............................................. Dunsany .............................................. Dunshaughlin ..................................... Gaeil Colmcille ..................................... Kilbride.................................................. Kildalkey ............................................ Killyon ................................................. Kilmainham ......................................... Kilmainhamwood ................................ Kilmessan ........................................... Kilskyre ............................................... Kiltale.................................................. Longwood.............................................. Meath Hill.............................................. Moylagh............................................... Moynalty.............................................. Moynalvey ........................................... Na Fianna ............................................. Navan O’Mahonys .............................. Nobber................................................. Oldcastle............................................... Rathkenny ............................................. Rathmolyon ......................................... Ratoath ............................................... Round Towers ..................................... Seneschalstown.................................... Simonstown Gaels .............................. Skryne ................................................. Slane ................................................... St Brigids ............................................ St Colmcilles....................................... St Cuthberts........................................ St Marys .............................................. St Michaels ......................................... St Patricks .......................................... St Pauls .............................................. St Ultans ............................................. St Vincents ........................................ Summerhill ......................................... Syddan ............................................... Trim ...................................................... Walterstown ......................................... Wolfe Tones ........................................

County

218 117 282 300 572 187 288 126 242 133 199 408 610 322 180 214 498 550 194 414 586 308 234 274 184 331 372 336 418 390 456 294 229 252 426 144 442 526 488 436 238 508 328 354 110 204 520 223 384 377 176 258 342 210 378 263 463 268 474 365 395

Chairman’s welCome ......................................2 senior Football .............................................. 4 senior hurling .............................................. 12 minor Football ............................................. 18 minor hurling ................................................ 23 Club na mi ......................................................... 29 u21 hurling ...................................................... 33 ladies Football............................................. 36 st. PatriCk’s Cs ................................................40 Junior Football ........................................... 46 Camogie ............................................................ 49 Peter o’halloran ......................................... 54 Cumann na mbunsCol hurling & Camogie .. 56 st JosePh’s merCy ......................................... 59 miCk o’dowd ..................................................... 60 deClan traynor ..............................................64 shane mcgann ................................................ 66 u21 Football ....................................................70 miChael newman ............................................ 74 hurling team oF the year .......................... 77 Fergal ralPh ...................................................80 John Farrell ................................................... 86 PatriCk Coyle...................................................89 handball ...........................................................92 gordon elliott ..............................................95 Football team oF the year ...................... 98 loreto navan .................................................101 1993 all-ireland shC b ...............................102 gavin brett .....................................................106 Phil harney ................................................... 136 miChael mchale .............................................140 greg twormey ..............................................164 Conor martin ............................................... 168 dermot byrne .............................................. 171 Paddy reynolds ........................................... 536 miChael bailey .............................................. 542 martin moCkler ........................................... 544 Colleges review.......................................... 548 robert Jennings .......................................... 563 vinny nestor ................................................. 564 Cumann na mbunsCol Football ................. 580 barry o’keeFFe ............................................ 584 gerry hennessy .......................................... 600 ParaiC griFFin ............................................... 603 sean lynCh ..................................................... 630 leighton irwin............................................... 634 david harFord............................................... 637 eddie travers................................................ 640 miCheal o’brien ........................................... 644 david Coyne ................................................... 646 david demPsey ............................................... 649 Peter sullivan .............................................. 650 shane mcanarney ....................................... 654 Commons hardware ................................... 656 william smith ............................................... 659 u14 & u15 sevens Finals ............................ 662 great rivalries: o’mahony’s v skryne .... 664 CoaChing oFFiCer eamonn barry ........ 671 tony Forrestal win ................................... 677 deClan mcCabe ............................................. 678 brian smyth ................................................... 684 Friends we lost ......................................... 692 u15 develoPment squad .......................... 719


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Chairman’s Address

s chairman of Coiste na Mi CLG, it gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the 2013 edition of Royal County, our annual Meath GAA yearbook. This publication provides an invaluable record of the highs and lows of the year, on both the county and club fronts, across all codes, and publishers, Lynn Group Media, are to be complimented on a job well done. As you would expect, the senior football team feature prominently after securing promotion from Division 3 of the Allianz football leagues and reaching the Leinster SFC final for a second successive year. Unfortunately, eventual All-Ireland champions Dublin proved a bridge too far in the provincial decider while Tyrone knocked us out of the running in the AllIreland SFC qualifier fourth round but the team didn't go down without a fight in either game. Mick O'Dowd's first year as senior football manager will go down as one where steady progress was made and I thank him, his selectors, Trevor Giles and Sean Kelly, team trainer Colm Brady and all the backroom team for their Trojan efforts in 2013. Our senior hurlers, once again, gave a good account of themselves but, unfortunately, promotion in the Allianz hurling leagues and a place in the Christy Ring Cup decider proved to be just beyond their reach. Hopefully, Cillian Farrell and his management team can go a couple of steps further in the New Year and we wish them well. A big thank you to all the management teams of our various county teams, in both football and hurling. Their efforts often go over-looked but we owe them a huge debt of gratitude for the time and effort they put in and we hope they reap their just rewards in 2014.

On the club front, Summerhill and Kilmessan were celebrating this year following their victories in the SFC and SHC respectively. Well done to all the clubs who got their hands on championship silverware this year and we look forward to another year of entertainment and high drama on the local club scene in 2014. Our referees also played their part and their role in ensuring our fixtures are run off smoothly should not be forgotten. A big thank you also to the county's loyal supporters. Not least for responding in massive numbers to our initiative in reducing the admission prices to our club games. As a result, gate receipts were significantly up and this has given the county's coffers a much-needed boost. Huge progress was made in the area of fundraising this year and I would also like to thank everyone who made our Golf Classic and the recent Meath GAA Race Day at Fairyhouse such resounding successes. To the sponsors of our county teams, Tayto Park (football) and myclubshop.ie (hurling), I say a big thank you. I also want to thank the sponsors of our various club competitions. Without their generous

financial support, our task in promoting gaelic games in the Royal County would be a lot more difficult. To Club na Mi and Friends of Meath GAA for their commitment and dedication to the cause, I also say thanks. Off the field, significant progress has been made in developing our facilities at our Centre of Excellence in Dunganny and Pairc Tailteann. Under the leadership of Noel Dempsey and former Director General of the GAA, Liam Mulvihill, the Infrastructure committee has drawn up ambitious plans. I and the Management Committee are aware that the standard of our facilities is not up to scratch and we intend to rectify that in the coming years. The provision of a permanent structure at Dunganny is a priority and we hope to have the first phase, the development of six dressingrooms, showers and related facilities, gym, office, cooking and eating area, referee facilities and toilets completed by this time next year. Thanks to Noel, Liam and their committee for their hours of work behind the scenes. I also want to use this opportunity to thank the local and national media for their continued extensive coverage of our games. Finally, as I reach the end of my first year as Chairman, I want to say extend my appreciation to my fellow officers on the Management Committee and to the county's clubs for their endeavours during the last 12 months. Together, with everyone pulling in the right direction, we can promote Meath GAA in a positive fashion and I look forward to their continued support in the New Year.

RoyAL CouNTy yEARbook

All rights reserved. No part of this publication can be published or reproduced in any way without the written permission of the author or Lynn Group Media © Copyright Lynn Group Media 2013

The opinions expressed in Royal County do not necessarily reflect those of the editor, publishers, Meath GAA or their agents. While every effort has been made to ensure that the information in this publication is correct, the publisher cannot accept responsibility for any errors that may appear.

Published by Lynn Group Media Kells Business Park, Kells, Co Meath

Telephone:  (046) 9241923 Fax (046) 9241926 Email:  contact@lynngroupmedia.com Website:  www.hoganstand.com

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Conchúr Ó Tormaigh Cathaoirleach Coiste na Mi CLG

CoNTRibuToRs Shane O’Brien Paul Clarke Noel Coogan Shane Corrigan Liam O’Rourke Stephen Reilly Gerry Robinson Randal Scally


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GREEN SHOOTS OF RECOVERY SENIOR FOOTBALLERS

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new county board top table, a new sponsor and a new senior team manager - Meath started with a clean slate this year and the early signs of Mick O'Dowd's managerial rein are promising, writes Shane O'Brien.

Moral victories are not part of Meath's DNA yet, as we reflect on 2013, you would have to say that the positives outweigh the negatives. Mick O’Dowd can look back on his first year at the helm with a great sense of satisfaction because, as he said himself following the qualifier round 4 exit to Tyrone, they “reconnected the Meath people with the Meath team”. The Skryne man inherited a team that was low on morale and there was a growing sense of disillusionment and pessimism amongst even the most diehard of Royal followers as the county seemed to lurch from one crisis to another. But in securing promotion to Division 2 and reaching a second successive provincial final appearance, Royal followers saw some green shoots of

Selectors Trevor Giles and Sean Kelly

recovery that may blossom into bigger and better things in the future. Perhaps, the most encouraging aspect of this year was that the Kevin Reillycaptained side proved they are capable

of competing with the top Division 1 teams. They gave a much-heralded Dublin outfit and Tyrone a run for their money and the experience gained from those two narrow defeats should stand them in good stead moving forward. Those of a glass half-empty persuasion will point out that the seniors went no further than they did the previous year but the reality is that they were a lot more competitive against Dublin in the Leinster decider this time around, even if the margin of defeat didn't reflect that, while Mickey Harte's Tyrone is a much more formidable opposition than Laois. Promotion alone was a prize that Meath couldn’t afford let slip. The emergence of the likes of Mickey Newman and Eamon Wallace, meanwhile, put paid to the argument that Meath don't have the footballers to mix it with the best. Other relative newcomers such as Donal Keogan, Bryan Menton and Damien Carroll continued where they left off in 2012 and if a couple of more players can be unearthed over the

Eamon Wallace scores the first goal of the game against Tyrone despite the challenge of Ryan McKenna

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On duty for the Leinster final, front l/r: Caolan Young, Bryan McMahon, Peadar Byrne, Michael Burke, Eamon Wallace, Donal Keogan, Stephen Bray, Bryan Menton, Damien Carroll, Dalton McDonagh, Seamus Kenny, Padraic Harnan. Back: Caoimhin King, Joe Sheridan, Sean Tobin, Kevin Reilly, Graham Reilly, Conor McHugh, Michael Newman, Paddy O'Rourke, Conor Gillespie, Brian Meade, Andrew Tormey, Paddy Gilsenan, Brian Farrell, Ciaran Lenehan


Senior footballers designed_Layout 1 26/11/2013 12:32 Page 3

winter months then support a glimmer of Meath can approach hope but that proved to 2014 in a confident frame be as good as it got. of mind. With two defeats from In a return to tradition, three games, talk O'Dowd and his highly turned to relegation regarded backroom team rather than promotion of Trevor Giles, Sean so there was a Kelly and Colm Brady got collective sigh of relief the green light from clubs when Meath came to take over the reins away from Dr Hyde from the Royal County's Park with a 2-11 to 0-12 first 'outside' manager victory over Seamus McEnaney. Roscommon in round Their combined effort 4. helped steer the county First half goals from clear off the turbulence of Kevin and Graham recent times. Reilly laid the At the start of the year, foundations for the fiveO'Dowd pinpointed point success. promotion from Allianz Kevin Reilly's goal Division 3 as the team's was the highlight of the number one objective. contest. His booming After an O'Byrne Cup clearance from his own campaign that yielded 45m line somehow wins over Longford and bounced over UCD and a draw with R o s c o m m o n Louth, they turned their goalkeeper Geoffrey attention to a league Claffey and finished up opener against in the Roscommon Team captain Kevin Reilly and manager Mick O'Dowd after the Monaghan in Clones. net. win over Wexford at Croke Park The new management The team captain team endured a baptism has been plagued by The game was effectively over as of fire, however, as Meath departed injuries over the last number of years contest at the halfway stage when Terry Clones on the first Sunday in February but enjoyed a prolonged spell away from Hyland's charges held a commanding 0with their tails firmly between their legs the treatment table this year and his 10 to 0-1 lead. following a 1-18 to 2-3 defeat. availability was central to the team's A Newman free was all Meath could In an embarrassing display, the Royals progression. muster in the opening 35 minutes before went 33 minutes without scoring in the The spectre of relegation reared its a Graham Reilly goal straight from the second half and fell 16 points in arrears ugly head again when Meath trailed second half throw-in gave the home before substitute Sean Tobin (free) visitors Sligo by nine points with just and a Conor Gillespie goal closed 24 minutes of their round 5 clash off the scoring. played. The result brought home the Meath supporters looked on in enormity of the task facing disbelief as they conceded two O'Dowd and his selectors. goals inside the opening 11 Kilmainham's Mickey Newman minutes. who had been on the periphery of Just six weeks into the Allianz the senior squad in recent years league campaign and the knives was drafted into the starting 15 for were being sharpened for the new the second round clash away to management team but Newman Aughrim and he repaid the dug them out of a massive hole management's faith in him when when inspiring a Lazarus-like scoring five points in a 0-16 to 0-8 comeback with a personal tally of victory. eight points. Half-back Ciaran Lenehan and By the final whistle, Meath had, Simonstown's Tobin - who sent against the odds, turned a nine over four points - also caught the point deficit into a two-point eye as the Tayto Park sponsored winning margin - 1-17 to 2-12 outfit secured their first points of and, at various intervals later on the campaign. in the year, players and Next door neighbors Cavan management alike would refer to made the short trip to Pairc that turnaround as the defining Tailteann for round 3 but the local moment in their season. bragging rights went to the Breffni Buoyed by the nature of their County who enjoyed a win over the Yeats County, the comfortable 0-15 to 1-5 over their Royals travelled to Casement Don’t I know you? Sean Curran with Ciaran hosts. Park for round 6 and came away Lenehan of UCD during the O'Byrne Cup

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with a 1-19 to 0-11 win which set up a Dalton and points from Ciaran Lenehan named in the half-back line despite not winner takes all clash against Peter and Newman (free). having seen any game time in the Canavan's Fermanagh side in the final Monaghan rediscovered their league campaign. group game at Pairc Tailteann. composure to hold the team in green Aughrim is not renowned for its The Ernesiders arrived in Navan as the and gold scoreless for 20 minutes and hospitable environment at the best of table toppers and were chasing a looked set to run out comfortable times but the wet and windy conditions second successive promotion. winners before Stephen Bray netted a on that June Saturday evening A draw would have been enough to second goal for O'Dowd's men with four threatened to turn the game into see them through but it was the team in minutes left on the clock. something of a lottery. green and gold who were celebrating That cut the gap to the minimum but Despite playing with the advantage of promotion at the final whistle courtesy of Hughes' strike secured the silverware the elements in the opening period, a 2-12 to 0-14 victory. for the Ulster men. Meath found themselves on the back Paddy O'Rourke was recalled to the Meath were faced with a seven week foot early on when Paul Earls netted a senior set-up this year by his Skryne lay-off before they were scheduled to goal in the 6th minute. club-mate and his 44th minute penalty make their championship bow with a The benefit of having a game under save from Tomas Corrigan swung the quarter-final tie against the winners of their belt told in the early exchanges as game in the home side's favor. Wicklow and Longford. the hosts took the game to the visitors A goal at that stage would have They fine-tuned their preparations for but, approaching half-time Meath, had parachuted Fermanagh into a 1-10 to 1the championship with challenge wins edged in front by 0-9 to 1-4. 6 lead but Meath, Then, in a dramatic who played the sequence of second half with a events, Paddy n u m e r i c a l O'Rourke pulled off advantage following a penalty save from the dismissal of Seanie Furlong Declan McClusker, after the Royal outscored the custodian had been visitors by 1-6 to 0-4 harshly adjudged to in the time have fouled John remaining. McGrath. Newman again Moments later, took the scoring the ball made its plaudits for the way to Kevin Reilly winners with 1-5, his whose clearance goal arrived via the travelled all the way penalty spot in the into the back of the first half. Wicklow net. And so, after many It was a carbon twists and turns in copy of the the road, the O'Mahonys player's number one 'fortuitous' goal objective of an a g a i n s t instant return to Roscommon in the Division 2 had been league and when achieved. 'Mission Bryan Menton accomplished' as tagged on a point, O'Dowd put it. the Royals went in Paddy Gilsenan celebrates a crucial goal against Fermanagh in the Allianz league The Royals' at half-time 1-10 to reward was a final 1-4 to the good. appearance at Croke Park where they over Louth, Clare and Leitrim and those During his half-time team-talk, Mick renewed acquaintances with Monaghan run-outs set them up nicely for a visit to O'Dowd would have reminded his on Saturday, April 27th. Aughrim after Harry Murphy's Garden players that they still had work to do A full round of club championship County side had inflicted a surprise 1-15 turning around to face into the strong games took place between the to 0-16 defeat on Longford in the wind and rain and Wicklow set the early Fermanagh win and the decider in which preliminary round stages. pace in the second half with four Meath finished on the wrong end of the The two counties had met in the unanswered points in as many minutes. 2-16 to 3-8 scoreline. previous year's championship and Meath looked to be trouble but Kieran Hughes' 68th minute goal killed Meath shaded a tight contest at Dr championship debutant Padraic Harnan off a Royal revival which saw them fight Cullen Park on a scoreline of 0-16 to 0- a half-time replacement for Ciaran back from falling 0-1 to 1-5 behind early 11. Lenehan - helped steady the ship with a on. O'Dowd's first championship selection performance that belied his 19 years. The Farney County were 1-9 to 1-5 saw debuts for pacy Ratoath youngster Seamus Kenny was also thrown into ahead at the interval after Newman had Eamon Wallace and Newman in the the fray at the break in place of Burke cancelled out Owen Duffy's opening corner-forward positions. and along with Graham Reilly, Wallace, goal. Wallace's speed had added a new Peadar Byrne and the midfield pairing of But within minutes of the restart Meath dimension to the Meath attack during Gillespie and Brian Meade, the found themselves in pole position the league while experienced pair substitutes made a big contribution in thanks to a wonder goal from Davy Caomhin King and Mickey Burke were regaining a grip on proceedings.

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'Man-of-the-match' Graham Reilly finished the game with four points to his name while debutants Newman and Wallace registered five and three points respectively in the 1-17 to 1-12 success. Wexford, under new manager Aidan O'Brien, emerged as the Royals semifinal opponents following their 2-13 to 115 last eight win over Louth in Drogheda. The Model County have tripped Meath up on more than one occasion in the recent past so there was no one taking this one for granted as they made the trip to Croke Park on Sunday, June 30th. Harnan and former captain Kenny

Stephen Bray's fingerprints were all over the majority of Meath's best moments. After Maurice Deegan's final whistle, the Meath players and management took their seats in the stand and witnessed first hand their final opponents Dublin dish out a 4-16 to 1-9 hammering to Kildare. The 'auld enemy' were chasing an eight Leinster SFC title in nine years when they lined up for the decider against Meath on Sunday, July 14th and no one was giving the men in green and gold a chance. Talk that a single figure defeat would represent a victory of sorts was the

Gillespie enjoyed the better of the exchanges against Michael Darragh Macauley and Cian O'Sullivan and, as a team, they came up with a plan to combat Stephen Cluxton's short kick-out strategy. The one fly in the ointment was Dublin centre-forward Ciaran Kilkenny who underlined his status as one of the rising stars in gaelic football with a stirling display, even in the first half when things were going against his side. He was instrumental in helping the team in sky blue overtake the Royals early in the second half. O'Dowd's charges gamely battled back

Mickey Burke takes on Bernard Brogan in the Leinster final

were rewarded for their performances in the second half against Wicklow with starting berths this time around and, just like the previous game, the team in green and gold were slow out of the blocks. They trailed by 0-7 to 0-8 at the interval and the men from the sunny south east had cause to regret a tally of seven wides in the opening period. Meath punished their profligacy in front of the posts when outscoring them by 11 points to five in the second half and running out 0-18 to 0-13 winners. Newman's accuracy from placed balls was again a key ingredient in the Royals' winning formula as he sent over nine points while Graham Reilly and

norm even inside the county so there was plenty of eyebrows raised when Meath went in at the break holding a 09 to 1-4 lead. The metropolitans had enjoyed a perfect start thanks to Paul Flynn's 4th minute goal but the Tayto Park sponsored side displayed tremendous character to overcome that early setback and outplay their more fancied opponents in the opening 35 minutes. Burke for King was the only change to the Meath starting line-up from the win over Wexford and Bray, Wallace and Newman continued their impressive form when posing plenty of questions for the holders' full-back line. The midfield partnership of Meade and

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and restored parity through Newman and Meade but the concession of a second goal to Paul Mannion 10 minutes from time undone all of Meath's good work. Paddy O'Rourke pulled off a fine save form Kevin O'Brien's initial shot but was powerless to prevent Mannion from side-footing the rebound home. Dublin's greater experience and strength in depth was critical to their success. The arrival of Denis Bastick as a substitute for O'Sullivan resulted in them wrestling control of the midfield area while another substitute Dean Rock embellished their display with two late points. Having said that, their seven point


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winning margin - 2-15 to 0-14 - flattered them somewhat and didn't accurately reflect Meath's great effort. In the build-up to the decider, captain Kevin Reilly promised that he and his team-mates would 'fight until the end' and he was certainly true to his word. With that in mind, there was a quiet air of confidence surrounding Meath's chances of going one step further than the previous year by making the last eight of the All-Ireland series when they squared up to Tyrone in round 4 of the qualifiers. Dubbed the battle of Tayto Park versus Hunky Dorys, Mick O’Dowd sprang something of a surprise in his team selection when recalling Joe Sheridan to the team with Peadar Byrne making way. It was the Seneschalstown player’s first start of the campaign but it was Wallace who proved himself to be a real thorn in the side of the Tyrone defence and his speed caused the Ulster men all sorts of problems in the early stages of the contest. Meath’s stand-out player finished off a blistering run with a well-taken goal in the 6th minute but with Sean Cavanagh pulling the strings from midfield, the Red Hands recovered to lead by 0-11 to 1-4 at the change of ends. 2008 ‘Footballer of the Year’ Cavanagh was allowed the freedom of Croke Park and he hit four points in a row towards the end of the first half. Newman sent over the first score of the second half to cut the gap and then drilled a penalty to the back of the net on 39 minutes after Seamus Kenny was fouled by Conor Gormley. Wallace drew Meath level before he brought his tally for the evening to 1-3 with another superb effort, the second putting the Royals 2-7 to 0-12 ahead. Substitute Aidan Cassidy levelled for Tyrone almost immediately and then Mickey Harte’s side took control again to ease two clear. With eight minutes to go, Newman made it a one-point game from a free but the Royals missed chances to draw level in the closing stages. Paddy O’Rourke dragged a long range free wide and Newman hit a post from a tight angle before Cavanagh had the final say when registering his eight point from a free entering added-on time. Late Meath pressure resulted in Tyrone captain Stephen O’Neill being sent off for a second yellow card offence but that was off little consolation to the Royal County who fell to a 2-9 to 0-17 defeat. “We made progress definitely,” commented O’Dowd shortly after the final whistle. “But we’re here to try and

Graham Reilly against Monaghan in the Allianz league final at Croke Park

win things too. There’ll be a big focus on that over the winter when we’re planning for next year.” On the evidence of what Royal followers witnessed this year, there is plenty to build on ahead of 2014 and, most importantly, the future of the senior team is in safe hands. The Meath team and substitutes that featured against Tyrone was as follows:

Paddy O’Rourke, Donal Keogan, Kevin Reilly, Bryan Menton; Padraic Harnan, Mickey Burke, Seamus Kenny; Brian Meade, Conor Gillespie; Eamon Wallace (1-3), Damien Carroll, Graham Reilly; Stephen Bray (0-1), Joe Sheridan, Mickey Newman (1-5, 1-0 pen, 4fs, 1 45). Subs: Brian Farrell for Sheridan, Peadar Byrne for Carroll, Andrew Tormey for Meade, C Lenehan for Kenny.

Peadar Byrne in determined mood against Sligo during the Allianz league at Pairc Tailteann

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SENIOR HURLERS

CLOSE, BUT NO CIGAR

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eath suffered defeats in the Kehoe Cup and Division 2B finals before bowing out of the Christy Ring Cup race after a semi-final replay loss to eventual champions Down. Cillian Farrell stepped down as manager… but solid foundations have been laid, writes Shane O’Brien.

After the Christy Ring Cup semifinal exit to Down, manager Cillian Farrell announced his decision to step down as manager of the Meath senior hurlers due to personal commitments. “There’s a lot of talent there, a lot of young players coming through and I would like to think Meath hurling is a bit stronger now,” he added as the curtain came down on his two years in charge. A year that promised so much delivered little in terms of tangible reward but, under the former Offaly dual star’s watch, the fortunes of the senior team has improved and the outlook for Meath hurling is brighter

Manager Cillian Farrell

than it was when he took over. It’s a pity he isn’t hanging around to build on the solid foundations he has laid but his successor will inherit a team, with a nice sprinkling of young talent, which has the potential to make

James Toher in league action against Armagh

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a major push for honours over the next year or two. For the second year running, the semi-final stages of the Christy Ring proved to be one bridge too far for the team in green and gold. Farrell’s charges booked their place in the last four of the second tier competition courtesy of wins over Armagh (1-20 to 2-10) and Kildare (0-22 to 1-16) in round 1 and 2 respectively. The homes side hit 1-7 without reply in the final quarter to see off a gutsy Orchard County challenge at Trim. Meath trailed by 0-8 to 2-8 after 43 minutes of play but a goal by Barry Slevin initiated their revival and they made the most of a strong wind advantage to secure a seven-point victory. The Royals renewed their recent rivalry with next door neighbours Kildare in the second round and scored a hard-earned 0-22 to 1-16 success after extra-time in Newbridge. Their cause was helped by the dismissal of Kildare’s Paul Divilly in the


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The Meath squad prior to the Christy Ring Cup semi-final clash with Down at Loman’s Park, front l/r: Ryan Andrews, Adam Gannon, Damien Healy, Stephen Morris, James Kelly, David Donoghue, Mark O'Sullivan, Shane McGann, Barry Slevin, James Toher, Ray Hatton, Alan Watters, David Foley, Michael Burke, Sean Heavey. Back: Aaron Ennis, Bart Hanley, Stephen Donoghue, Steven Clynch, Paddy Conneely, Eoin Marsh, Cormac Reilly, Peter Durnin, Shane Brennan, John Meyler, Neil McLoughlin, Tom McGrath, Philip Garvey, Conor Murray, Damien McGee


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opening period of extra-time and they outscored the Lilywhites by six points to one. In normal time, Meath trailed by 0-7 to 1-9 at the break but fought back in the second half and a point from substitute Bart Hanley tied the scores at 0-16 to 1-13. Not for the first time in his career, Steven Clynch emerged as the Royal County’s hero in the semi-final against Down at Trim. The Kilmessan man’s 91st minute point sent the penultimate clash to a replay after the teams finished level, Meath 1-25, Down 2-22. Clynch accumulated 16 points for the home side and he gave them an early lead by the Mourne County responded with a goal from Paul Brannif and they held a 1-4 to 0-2 lead at the end of the opening quarter. Peter Durnin pulled a goal back for the team in green and gold but Braniff struck for his second three-pointer in the 27th minute to cancel out the Kiltale player’s green flag and the Ulster outfit went in at the break with a 2-11 to 1-9 interval lead. Four points without replay in a fiveminute spell brought Meath back into contention during the third quarter and left the bare minimum between the sides Conor Woods kept Down’s noses in

Mark O'Sullivan goes to ground against Kildare in the Kehoe Cup final at Trim

front with some well-taken points from distance and entering the final five minutes, Meath trailed by three points. The Royals were staring the exit door in the face but three unanswered points, including two from Clynch, forced extra-time.

Mickey Burke gets a block on Down's Ciaran Coulter during the Ring Cup semi-final

15

The momentum was with Meath and they enjoyed the better of the exchanges during the first period of extra-time which saw them finish two points to the good. Down upped their game on the restart with some good performances from Braniff, Gareth 'Magic' Johnson and Woods to snatch the lead, but Clynch was again composed to force a replay at the death. Meath’s ace marksman was troubled with a groin injury in the build-up to the replay and the management took a gamble on starting him in the replay but, unfortunately, it didn’t pay off as Meath fell to a ten-point defeat up in Ballycran, 0-23 to 1-10. Braniff was, once again, a thorn in the Royals side and he fired eight points for the hosts in a game which Down took control of in the third quarter. The visitors woes were compounded when defenders Cormac Reilly and Sean Heavey were both sent to the line for second yellow card offences in the closing minutes. Down were also numerically reduced late on with full-back Paudie Flynn shown a straight red card in the closing stages. Meath opened the replay brightly with a Mark O'Sullivan point and the same player struck for the game’s only goal in the 8th minute. The Mourne County recovered their


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composure to hit the last four points of the opening period and go in with a three-point advantage at half-time, 012 to 1-6. They pressed home their supremacy soon after the resumption when captain Brannif kick-started a spell of six unanswered points to pull clear. Clynch brought a 13 minute barren period in front of the posts to an end for Meath but Gerard Monan’s side were on top in most sectors of the field and ran out convincing winners. As well as Clynch’s groin injury, Meath’s cause wasn’t helped by an injury to Tom McGrath while Adam Gannon was laid low by illness but the manager didn’t use those as an excuse. “On the day you play with the cards you are dealt, but we were beaten by a better team.” For the second year running Meath narrowly missed out on the chance to run out at Croke Park in the decider and Down went on to score a surprise 3-16 to 2-17 final victory over Kerry at Croke Park. Meath blazed an impressive unbeaten trail to the HL Division 2B final back in April but they were denied promotion when finishing on the wrong end of the 1-15 to 1-13 scoreline against London at Newbridge. 12 months earlier the Royals lost the decider to Kildare and they suffered a similar fate this time around despite having made a bright start to the game. Farrell’s charged led by 0-4 to 0-1 after 14 minutes thanks to points from Clynch (3) and half-back James Kelly. With 25 minutes played the team in green and gold were 0-6 to 0-3 to the good and they successfully defended a penalty when corner-back Cormac Reilly blocked Gerard Hennelly’s shot on the line. That proved to be a temporary stay of execution, however, as Hennelly pounced for a goal shortly and the Exiles held a slender 1-4 to 0-6 interval lead. The third quarter belonged to London and with eight minutes left on the clock they found themselves eight points ahead. To their credit, the Royals produced a late rally which yielded an unanswered 1-4 – substitute Noel Kirby punished a poor London clearance with a goal - but they had left themselves with too big a mountain to climb. The Kehoe Cup campaign at the start of the year also ended in disappoint-

James Kelly has a shot against London in the NHL clash at Loman’s Park

ment for the Meath hurlers after they lost the decider to Kildare by 2-11 to 013 at Trim. The Meath team that took on Down in the Christy Ring Cup semi-final replay at Ballycran was as follows: S McGann; D Donoghue, D Healy, C

Reilly; J Toher, M Burke, S Heavey; S Donoghue, S Morris (0-1); E Marsh, S Clynch (0-5, 3fs), J Kelly (0-1); P Durnin, M O'Sullivan (1-1), P Conneely. Subs: B Slevin for Conneely (55); J Meyler (0-1) for S Donoghue (58); A Gannon for Durnin (66).

Adam Gannon is fouled by Down’s Padraig Flynn at Trim

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Minor Football designed_Layout 1 26/11/2013 12:44 Page 1

MINOR FOOTBALLERS

T

MINORS MISS OUT

he minor class of 2013 failed in their bid to qualify for a third consecutive Leinster MFC final appearance. Andy McEntee’s charges fell at the semi-final hurdle against next door neighbours Westmeath in early July.

After the high of reaching the AllIreland MFC decider in 2012, a Leinster semi-final exit was a major comedown this year. Second season syndrome bit hard for Andy McEntee who watched his side bow out of the Leinster MFC when losing to Westmeath by 1-6 to 0-11 in a semi-final clash at Pairc Tailteann in early July. The Meath manager enjoyed a run to the All-Ireland final in his first year at the helm but this year’s batch was unable to replicate that showing and their championship record reads four games played, two wins and two defeats. Following on from St Pat’s Leinster Colleges SFC winning exploits, there was a fair degree of optimism surrounding the team’s prospects as they shaped up to face Offaly in the provincial opener at home. Captain James McEntee was one of

Manager Andy McEntee

four members of the St Pat’s team that contested the All-Ireland Colleges SFC final named on the starting 15. Ruairi O Coileain, Niall Kane and Niall Lyons were the others while Seamus Lavin, another survivor from the previous year’s march to the AllIreland showdown, was included at

corner-back. The first half of the clash against the Faithful County went according to plan and the Royal youngsters led by 2-6 to 1-3 at the halfway stage thanks to goals from Joey Wallace and Daire Rowe. A Wallace point increased the team in green and gold’s lead after the resumption while McEntee provided the perfect response to the concession of a second goal when netting his side’s third goal at the swimming pool end. It was very much a case of so far, so good at the 40 minute mark with the scoreboard reading 3-8 to 2-4 in Meath’s favour. But the wheels came off the wagon in dramatic fashion as the hosts failed to add to their tally for the remainder of the contest and Offaly embarked on a scoring spree that yielded 4-6. They took the lead for the first time in the 49th minute and 6-10 to 3-8 was the final scoreline. “Once you lose focus and once you lose momentum it is very hard to get it back,” commented the manager as he tried to come to terms with his side’s second half collapse. Meath had just over a week to lick their wounds before entertaining

Prior to the win over Longford at Pairc Tailteann, front l/r: Evan McGovern, Seamus Lavin, Kevin Ryan, James O`Malley, Daire Rowe, James McEntee, Joey Wallace, David Toner, Ruairi O Coileain, Neil Kane, Shaun Byrne. Back: Keith McCabe, Charlie Bird, Jack O`Sullivan, Niall Lyons, Darragh McGovern, Kevin Traynor, Andy Markey, Ruairi O`Grady, Kyle Dixon, Gary Harper, Sean McGrath, Thomas McGovern, Stephen Monaghan

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Longford at Pairc Tailteann in the backdoor series. With a place in the last eight of the championship up for grabs, the team in green and gold made no mistake in securing a 1-17 to 2-10 success. The result was more clearcut than the scoreline suggests as Longford’s second goal arrived in the fourth minute of stoppage time at the end of the game. With captain McEntee leading by example from centre-forward, the Royals led from start to finish while Rowe took the scoring plaudits with eight points, six of which came from placed balls. Donaghmore/ Ashbourne’s Daragh McGovern helped himself to 1-2 from play. McGovern’s goal arrived in the 22nd minute and Meath led by 1-8 to 0-4 at the change of ends. The second half followed a similar pattern with Meath on top in most sectors of the field and their reward was a quarter-final date with Laois who

James McEntee has an eye on the Wexford goal during the MFL match at Grangegodden

had defeated Longford first time out. McEntee and his charges travelled to Portlaoise to take on the O’Moore County at the quarter-final stage and it proved to be a fruitful journey as they came away with a ten-point – 2-13 to 0-9 - victory Wallace set the tone for the game with a point in the first minute and a

A determined Charlie Bird in semi final action against Westmeath

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notable statistic from the game was that all of the winners’ final tally came from play. Meath led by 1-6 to 0-4 at half-time, with Rowe netting a 21st minute goal. Wallace pounced for a second goal with 10 minutes left on the clock. The Ratoath player – younger brother of senior Eamon – finished as his team’s top scorer with 1-2 while the defence also came in for praise after standing firm in the face of Laois pressure. Next door neighbours Westmeath stood between Meath and a place in a third successive provincial decider but Tommy Carr’s team gained revenge for the previous year’s defeat at the same stage when recording an 0-11 to 1-6 success. Three points from Westmeath substitute Luke Loughlin were central to the Lake County's merited success but, despite being second best for much of the game, Meath came close to forcing extra-time at the


Minor Football designed_Layout 1 26/11/2013 12:44 Page 3

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death. Joey Wallace’s goal attempt skimmed the crossbar in the fourth minute of stoppage time and that proved to be the last score of the game. The result was overshadowed by claims that Westmeath full-back Israel Ilunga was the victim of racial abuse by a Meath opponent. Ilunga was red-carded early in the second half but the Westmeath camp later claimed that he was provoked, although they never raised that issue on the day of the match. The Lake County’s full-back subsequently had his red card rescinded and was freed to play in their Leinster final defeat to Kildare but an in-depth GAA investigation would exonerate a Meath player of any wrongdoing. The unsavoury episode left a sour taste in the mouth, however, more so than the final result. There were heated words exchanged along the sideline as Meath tried to claw their way back into the game. Meath’s chances weren’t helped by an injury to Ruairi O Coileain which meant the talented O’Mahonys youngster was unable to start. Westmeath enjoyed the better of the exchanges in the opening period and went in with a 0-7 to 0-3 half-time advantage. Despite numerical advantage and the assistance of the breeze, Meath didn't open their second-half account until the final quarter. But they still came to within touching distance of the win after captain McEntee found the back of the Westmeath net entering the final 10 minutes and substitute Shaun Byrne and Rowe added points to the cut the deficit to the minimum. Loughlin calmed Lake County nerves with two points and Meath’s chances evaporated when the woodwork denied Wallace at the death. “We had good preparations for this game, training went well, there are no excuses for this defeat, we didn’t perform, simple as that,” commented McEntee after the final whistle. Westmeath’s joy was short-lived as they fell to a heavy final defeat against Kildare - 2-15 to 2-7. A talented Lilywhites outfit had ended Meath’s interest in the Leinster MFL campaign when inflicting a 0-8 to 0-6 defeat on McEntee’s charges at the semi-final stage in Ashbourne.

Shaun Byrne gathers against Wicklow in the Leinster MFL at Pairc Tailteann

The Meath team which finished on the wrong end of the Leinster MFC semi-final scoreline was: J O'Sullivan; T McGovern, C Bird, S Lavin; N Kane, B Harnan, K Traynor; R O'Grady (0-1), K McCabe; E McGovern, J McEntee

(1-0), D McGovern; D Rowe (0-2), F Cleary, J Wallace (0-2). Subs - R O Coileain for McCabe, S Byrne (0-1) for McGovern, S Monaghan for O Coileain, K Ryan for Cleary, G McGowan for O'Grady.

Goalkeeper Jack Sullivan gains possession against Offaly

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Tayto Park_Layout 1 18/11/2013 13:09 Page 1

MEATH OPEN DAY IN TAYTO PARK

Fans got to meet our county footballers and hurlers in May. Mr. Tayto and Marty Morrissey were also there


Minor Hurlers designed_Layout 1 26/11/2013 13:03 Page 1

MINOR HURLERS

T

MINOR HURLERS GIVE THEIR ALL

heir competitive year may have ended on a hugely disappointing note when they lost the All-Ireland B Championship final to a very talented Kerry team but the Meath minor hurlers can still look back on 2013 with a fair amount of satisfaction. The hope is that the campaign will have played a significant role in their development into the senior players of the future. Manager Ken McKenna has every reason to feel proud of his players who put a huge effort into their year and while there were a couple of final defeats along the way – most significantly that loss to the Kingdom in early September – there was enough to suggest that the dedicated work towards the promotion of hurling in the underage ranks in the county is paying off. The management of the minor hurling team were permitted to use players who were also part of the county under-18 football panel this year and that was certainly a welcome development which can only be positive for the development

of the small ball code in the county. The minor hurlers started their competitive year early in March when they travelled north to play Antrim in the Leinster League at Casement Park, Belfast, and came away with a draw (29 each). It was a very encouraging opener and was followed by a runaway 6-10 to 0-9 victory over Kildare. Meath needed to win by four points to book a place in the final but with Ratoath’s Gavin McGowan contributing three goals there was never the slightest danger that they would fail to achieve that particular goal. In the end they had all of 19 points to spare and they were safely through to a meeting with Carlow in the decider. That game brought the first disappointment of the year as Carlow won by 1-10 to 0-9 at Parnells, Coolock, where James Doyle proved to be a tormentor in chief as he aided the winners’ cause considerably by contributing 1-6. Carlow led by 0-7 to 03 at the interval but when Doyle scored his goal they were clear by 1-9 to 0-5 and there was to be no way back for

Meath. The Royal County did finish with a bit of a flourish but Carlow had done the hard work and were worthy winners. Jack Fagan was Meath’s top marksman with six pointed frees, Jack Regan got two points and Sean Quigley completed their tally. The Meath team in the Leinster League final was: Adam Shelly (Kildalkey); Martin Healy (Kildalkey), Luke Rickard (Kildalkey), Conor Shirren (Kiltale); Jack Davies (Rathmolyon), Jack Regan (Kiltale, 0-2), Gareth Rooney (Drumree); Stefan Kelly (Killyon), Ryan Raleigh (Killyon); Sean Quigley (Dunboyne, 0-1), Kevin McKeown (Kildalkey), Josh Wall (Drumree); Jack Fagan (Rathmolyon, 06), Gavin McGowan (Ratoath), David Reilly (Drumree). Subs – Mark Healy (Kildalkey) for Reilly, Sean Doyle (Kilmessan) for Davies, Patrick Leahy (Navan O’Mahonys) for Raleigh, Luke Martyn (Dunderry) for Rooney. Meath pushed Offaly all the way in the Leinster Minor Championship last year, losing by just two points, and this year

The Meath management team, l/r: Ken McKenna (manager) with selectors Philip O'Brien, Brendan Fitzsimons and Stephen Masterson (inset)

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they started off with an encouraging 217 to 2-13 victory over Westmeath at Trim where the visitors were looking good with a 1-4 to 0-0 lead after 20 minutes. Stefan Kelly opened Meath’s scoring account with a point on 21 minutes and they added six more to be on level terms (0-7 to 1-4) at the interval. With Jack Fagan scoring a goal they went on to hold a 1-14 to 1-9 advantage 19 minutes into the second half, before Westmeath rallied to cut the deficit to a couple of points. Mark Healy scored Meath’s second goal but when theyw ere reduced to 14men on 57 minutes the danger signs were obvious. Westmeath were again two points in arrears with time almost up when Luke Loughlin was wide from a

first half goal but Laois led by 0-11 to 13 at the break. Two goals in the space of five minutes in the third quarter from Conor Ryan and Stephen Bergin copper-fastened their position of supremacy, with Meath’s defending poor for both scores. Meath’s Sean Quigley was denied a goal by a fine save and substitute John Lennon raised a third green flag for the winners. Regan with four points and Fagan on 11 shared the scoring honours for Meath. After a lengthy break from inter-county activity the Meath players headed out on the road to what they hoped would be All-Ireland B Championship success and they opened up with a thoroughly deserved 4-16 to 1-15 win over Kildare at Newbridge where captain Jack Regan set the tone for a dominant

2-4 to 2-11 at the break but once McGowan scored his second goal the Royal County pushed on again in the closing stages. Regan added a fourth goal and manager McKenna, the selectors and the players could start planning for the final against Kerry who had defeated Westmeath in the other semi-final. Sadly, for the third time in four years, Meath suffered defeat in the All-Ireland B decider as an impressive Kerry team won by 1-19 to 3-8 at Nenagh. Meath created plenty of goal chances but they simply didn’t convert enough of them and a very efficient Kingdom side took advantage. Regan, McGowan, Bird and Fagan all had goal opportunities saved by impressive Kerry goalkeeper Stephen

The squad that defeated Westmeath in the Leinster MHC game at Trim, front l/r: Patrick Leahy, Sean Doyle, Jack Regan, Jack Fagan, Josh Wall, Conor Sheerin, Mark Healy, Conor Ward, Conor Sheppard, Neil O`Dowd, Jonathon Cluskey. Back: Luke Swayne, Aaron Doherty, Kevin McKeown, David Reilly, Luke Ricard, Stefan Kelly, Jack Davis, Robert Kelly, Liam Carey, Jack Payne, Luke Martyn, Sean Quigley, Ryan Raleigh, Martin Healy, Gareth Rooney, Charlie Bird, Adam Shelley

penalty. Meath were relieved to hear the long whistle on a day when full-back Charlie Bird, centre-back Luke Rickard and Fagan, who contributed 1-3, were particularly effective in a solid team performance. Jack Regan also played his part with seven second half points. Hopes of a big showing against Laois at Portlaoise had to be high after that victory but this proved to be a big disappointment for Meath as the O’Moore County youngsters won by 316 to 1-5. The Royal County were weakened by the absence of Bird who sustained an injury while playing for the minor footballers. Laois, who had run Kilkenny close in the previous round, were physically stronger than Meath and despite hitting a dozen wides they still managed to tally 3-14 from play. The highlight of the game for the losers was Jack Fagan’s

display when he goaled from a 20 metre free. Sean Doyle added a second goal soon after and a third from Gavin McGowan helped to open up a very comprehensive 3-10 to 0-4 lead at the change of ends. Kildare improved in the second period but when Martin Healy goaled in the 53rd minute Meath were ahead by 4-15 to 0-10 and safe. Niall Kenny scored a late consolation goal for the losers. Meath booked their place in the AllIreland final with a 4-18 to 2-8 semi-final victory over Donegal at Clones. Early goals from Gavin McGowan and Sean Doyle helped them to lead by 2-10 to 02 after 20 minutes but they managed only a point for the remainder of the first half as chances were wasted. Two goals from Jack O’Loughlin helped Donegal to reduce the deficit to

24

Murphy, while Martin Healy and Stefan Kelly were wide with good chances. If even a percentage of those openings were turned into scores it might have made all the difference but it wasn’t to be. Meath looked physically up to the challenge in the early stages but as the rain came down Kerry appeared to adapt best. They took the lead when Paudie O’Connor pointed after 45 seconds but the Royal County received a significant boost when Fagan’s long delivery found its way to the net to leave them in front. Kerry steadily assumed control and boosted by a superb goal from Fionan O’Sullivan they opened up a 1-12 to 1-5 half-time lead. Regan (two), Bird, Fagan and McGowan added the Meath points in the opening period but it was abundantly clear that they faced an


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ALL-IRELAND MINOR B HURLING FINALISTS

The All-Ireland MHC B finalists, front l/r: Kevin Ryan, Jonathon McCluskey, Patrick Leahy, Jack Davis, Liam Ferguson, Luke Ricard, Charlie Bird, Josh Wall, Adam Shelly, Aaron Doherty, Jack Payne, David Schilder, Gavin McGowan. Back: Stephen Masterson, Philip O`Brien, Neill O`Dowd, Luke Martin, Sean Quigley, Kevin McKeown, Luke Moran, Kyle Dixon, Conor Sheerin, Jack Fagan, Jack Regan, Stefan Kelly, Brian Reilly, Noel O`Sullivan, David Reilly, Martin Healy, Sean Doyle, Luke Swayne, Conor Stafford, Rob Kelly, John Moran, Mark Healy, Gareth Rooney, Brendan Fitzsimons, Ken McKenna, Conor Ward


Minor Hurlers designed_Layout 1 26/11/2013 13:03 Page 4

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Minor Hurlers designed_Layout 1 26/11/2013 13:03 Page 5

uphill challenge. Kerry’s advantage had stretched out to 1-16 to 1-5 within 10 minutes of the restart and it was close to the end of the third quarter before corner-back Liam Ferguson got Meath off the mark with a point. The winners pushed 12 points clear but, to their credit, Meath never stopped battling and they managed to get themselves back into contention. McGowan became increasingly influential as the game wore on and when Regan scored a brace of goals from a penalty and a free the arrears had been reduced to six points. That soon became five when McGowan’s kicked effort was deflected over for a point and the same player was soon on the mark again as Murphy denied him at the expense of a point. When the final whistle sounded Meath were five points behind and were left to rue their failure to put away enough of the goal chances they created. It was hugely disappointing but what an adventure the 2013 campaign had been for all concerned. The Meath team in the All-Ireland B final was: Noel O’Sullivan (Na Fianna); Liam Ferguson (Gaeil Colmcille, 0-1), Luke Rickard (Kildalkey), Conor Shirren (Kiltale); David Reilly (Drumree), Charlie Bird (Boardsmill, 0-1), Luke Swaine (Clann na nGael); Stefan Kelly (Killyon), Jack Fagan (Rathmolyon, 1-1); Kyle Dixon (Boardsmill), Jack Regan (Kiltale,

Charlie

2-2), Ryan Raleigh (Killyon); Martin Healy (Kildalkey), Gavin McGowan (Ratoath, 0-3), Sean Doyle (Kilmessan). Subs – Sean Quigley (Dunboyne) for Raleigh, Mark Healy (Kildalkey) for Doyle, Kevin Ryan (Kiltale) for Kelly. Manager Ken McKenna was rich in his praise for the players and the backroom team of Philip O’Brien, Brendan Fitzsimons, Stephen Masterson and Pearse Treacy, saying they put “a huge amount of work” into the year. “It was a very good year overall but, of course, it was disappointing to lose the two finals,” he said. “We left them behind us. But to reach the Leinster A League final and the All-Ireland B final in the one year was a fine achievement. We gave a lot of players a lot of valuable experience.” The management of the minor hurlers operate a policy whereby half the panel members are there with a view to being part of the team in the following year. They get the benefit of training with the squad and will play at the age of 17 if they are strong enough. That’s an arrangement which Ken feels works “very well” and which “benefits the development of the players”. “Unfortunately, we didn’t get started early enough this year,” he added. “The management team wasn’t in place until mid-February. We had to hold trials after that and you’re into March and the Leinster League is on top of you. We

nst Kerry at

s lines agai Bird clears hi

had no winter training, no preparation. We have said to the County Board that management teams need to be appointed earlier.” Meath reached the Leinster League final where they lost to Carlow and it was then onto the Leinster Championship where they beat Westmeath but lost to a strong Laois team. “Laois were underestimated,” Ken said. “We played well in that game but the concession of the three goals killed us. We emptied our bench after that. That was a physically powerful Laois team. They later ran Galway quite close. They were level with Galway late in that game.” The Meath players demonstrated considerable character after that defeat as they made it to the All-Ireland B final with wins over Kildare and Donegal but disappointment lay in waiting. “We had a rushed preparation on the day of the All-Ireland final which didn’t help,” Ken added. “It was a huge disappointment to lose that game. We were 12 points down with 13 minutes to go but they came back and nearly caught Kerry. We got going too late but they showed great character. “It was disappointing but I would be very hopeful for the future. There is huge potential there, so much talent. It’s just a matter of harnessing it.”

Mark Healy is under in the Leinst pressure against Westm er MHC gam eath e at Trim

Nenagh

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Colour Funny D_Layout 1 18/11/2013 13:04 Page 1

Barney Allen (centre) was guest of honour at the senior county final and is presented with a memento from County Board chairman Conor Tormey and Brendan Cummins (right)

Above: Mandy Dowd, daughter of All-Ireland winning captain Tommy, gave a beautiful rendition of Amhrรกn na bhFiann at the county final

Left: TG4 were in town for the hoganstand.com senior final between Summerhill and Na Fianna


Club na Mi designed_Layout 1 26/11/2013 12:13 Page 1

CLUB na Mí

I

SHOW YOUR SUPPORT, BACK CLUB na MÍ

t was an evening last March when Meath’s drive for promotion out of Division 3 in the National Football League gained serious momentum and it was also an occasion which one particular young Royal County supporter will recall with tremendous joy and pride for many years to come. Coming up to half time in that crucial fifth round match at Pairc Tailteann Mick O’Dowd’s team had slipped nine points behind Sligo and they looked almost certain to suffer a defeat which had the potential to derail their ambitions of a move back up to Division 2. However, the players dug deep into their reserves of commitment and selfbelief to battle back courageously and carve out a memorable victory which proved enormously important, both in terms of the two points it garnered and psychologically. They went on to achieve their first big goal of 2013 –

promotion - and that evening at the Navan venue was central to that important step. Among the attendance on that spring evening was young Darragh O’Brien and thanks to an initiative started by Club na Mi – the Meath Supporters Club – it was an evening he will never forget. Darragh was the mascot for that league game and what a treasured moment it must have been for the young Meath fan when he walked out onto the Pairc Tailteann pitch with team captain Kevin Reilly. He was welcomed by stadium announcer and Meath County Board PRO Martin O’Halloran, was included in the Meath team photograph and then had his photograph taken with the captain. All in all, it had to be an occasion to savour for Darragh and his family. The initiative is designed to make the match day experience as enjoyable as possible for the chosen mascot and has been one of many successful

moves made by the Supporters Club which is certainly going from strength to strength under the chairmanship of Dunshaughlin based solicitor Raymond Finnegan who is a native of Kells. “That’s been a hugely successful initiative,” Raymond said. “It started from the Junior Royals for 12 year-olds and under last year. It’s a huge occasion for the chosen mascot and their family, a big thrill. My own son Daire was the mascot for the National League game against Fermanagh this year. He was absolutely thrilled by the whole experience. We are very pleased with the way it has worked out; it’s been a great success.” It will be recalled that a Supporters Club was set up in the county many years ago and was thriving when Meath were at the height of their powers in the late 1980s. When less successful times were experienced it sadly went out of existence in the early part of the first decade of the new

Club na Mi are doing brilliant work raising funds and getting supporters involved with the county team. The two Club na Mi junior members chosen as team mascots against Fermanagh in the league were Dara Finnegan (Bohermeen) and Jamie O'Shea (Summerhill)

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Club na Mi designed_Layout 1 26/11/2013 12:13 Page 2

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Club na Mi designed_Layout 1 26/11/2013 12:13 Page 3

more than happy to hand over their this area. millennium. Thankfully, it was retwo euro. “In the last three years, for example, established approximately nine years “We can make really good money we have put €25,000 into the ago during Brendan Dempsey’s term with those draws. For example, the gymnasium at Aras Tailteann,” as County Committee chairman and it draws we held at the All-Ireland Raymond added. “That’s money which has since been renamed Club na Mi. qualifier games against Kildare and came directly from the supporters. We “Our membership peaked at about Galway two years ago generated very have state of the art facilities there, the 1,000 when Colm Coyle took us to the good amounts of money. They were best, and that is vitally important to the All-Ireland senior semi-final back in hugely successful. You can collect a lot preparation of our teams. It benefits all 2007,” Raymond added. “It dropped of money in a short space of time Meath teams, men, women, adult and back somewhat after that but there provided you have sufficient people to under-age. It’s there for them all. was a good buzz there again this year sell the tickets. It’s all about having the “That’s saving the County Board a which was great to see. At the moment necessary manpower to saturate the fortune on what would otherwise be we have between 400 and 500 ground.” paid in gym memberships for a large members. Club na Mi, which is constantly on the number of players. It’s a massive “We have members all over the lookout for new members, has its own saving and, as I said, it’s thanks to the world, including the United States and base at Pairc Tailteann where money given by the supporters. It Australia. It’s possible to purchase members can deal with queries on demonstrates the important role the Supporters Club membership on line match days. supporters have to play. which is important. It’s something “We have an office at the back of the “We continue to collect in the car park which we are trying to push. People stand at Pairc Tailteann,” Raymond at what used to be the swimming pool can join by using their credit card, etc. added. “We man it on match days. It’s end of Pairc Tailteann on big match There are people all over the world our base and we hold our meetings days but manpower is an issue there. wearing their Club na Mi tee-shirts and there, answer queries people may We need help; we need more bodies.” supporting our various teams in the have, etc.” Draws held during the interval of process. We also have a link on the The use of Twitter accounts is matches also provide another source official Meath GAA website and we are becoming more and more popular as of income for Club na Mi. on the GAA Supporters’ page on technological advances make it easier “We also hold half-time draws during Facebook.” to access information with each big games and that also requires With training methods becoming passing day. Club na Mi has embraced plenty of people on the ground to sell more sophisticated with each passing this particular innovation. tickets. Those draws at Pairc Tailteann day the expense associated with “We provide Twitter updates on all are a great money spinner for the fielding teams at various levels has Meath games at various levels and Supporters Club. The Meath also soared and that’s where club games,” Raymond said. “That’s of supporters are great. They are always organisations like Club na Mi have a benefit to supporters all over the place. very generous and so are the visiting hugely important role to play. Declan Burns does great work with supporters who always seem to be “All the money we generate goes that end of things.” back into supporting The hope of all the various Meath Meath supporters is teams,” said that the county will Raymond who is re-emerge to be a based with Liam major force at Keane and senior level and that Partners. “Putting the Royal County inter-county teams under-age teams onto the field of play will emulate the is a hugely achievements of the e x p e n s i v e successful sides of business. There is the early years of less money out the 1990s when there at the moment Leinster and Allduring these tough Ireland triumphs times but the costs were the norm. have increased Preparing teams considerably.” to the best possible The gymnasium standard is facilities at Aras essential with these Tailteann in Navan goals in mind and are benefiting the the outstanding preparation of work being carried Royal County out by Club na Mi is teams in a big way hugely important in and Club na Mi has this regard. They been hugely deserve your influential in the support. enhancement of Mascot Dara O’Brien with his hero Kevin Reilly before Meath's league victory over Sligo

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Steven Clynch_Layout 1 15/11/2013 15:16 Page 1

Steven Clynch (main shot) and Sean Heavey (bottom right) were honoured with Christy Ring All Star awards while James Togher (bottom left) captained Ireland in the U21 Shinty internationals against Scotland


Under 21 Hurlers designed_Layout 1 15/11/2013 15:15 Page 1

UNDER 21 HURLERS

T

AT THE COLE FACE

rying to fit preparations for this year's Leinster U-21 'A' HC competition in around club activity proved to be a impossible juggling act for manager Mike Cole but he is not using that as an excuse for the defeat to Kildare who, he points out, entered their July clash in exactly the same boat. The Rathmolyon stalwart harboured high ambitions for this year's U-21 crew but they flattered to deceive when finishing 11 points (3-15 to 0-13) in arrears of eventual provincial winners and All-Ireland finalists Kildare in Trim. The James Kelly captained side had no complaints when the final whistle was sounded but the manager did highlight the problems he encountered in trying to prepare the team in the height of summer. “It was very disappointing. I had a good number of lads, probably about 11 from last year's starting 15 and about 15 from last year's panel. I was expecting a lot more from them,” former senior star Mike outlined. “Having said that, our preparation should have been a lot better and it's

preparation was less than ideal in that I couldn't get enough of sessions into them lads at all. “What I was really depending on was what way lads came back to me after club games at the weekend and all we were doing was just having a gettogether as a group, maybe a recovery session on a Monday night. “We were basically confined to training them one night a week so that we weren't pulling them away from their clubs because they were going to be playing club championship the following weekend. “So, without making excuses for it, it's a great time of year to play hurling but it's a terrible time to be trying to prepare an U-21 team. It's a knock-out competition and you're gone.” The writing was on the wall for the team in green and gold as early as the 3rd minute when the Lilywhites struck for the first of their three goals. Cole's charges were left to rue a missed penalty by James Toher in the 16th minute, the Trim player's effort cleared the crossbar, and they trailed by 0-7 to 2-6 at the change of ends having failed to register a solitary score

Manager Mike Cole

not an excuse because Kildare were in the exact same position and they went on to win Leinster and reach and AllIreland. They're preparation was similar to our own, basically hindered by club championships. “It's the ideal time of the year to be playing U-21 hurling, it's great, the middle of the summer, that's when everyone wants to be playing hurling. “But the problem is you're clashing with club fixtures. So, realistically, the

The squad on duty for the clash with Kildare at Trim

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Under 21 Hurlers designed_Layout 1 15/11/2013 15:15 Page 2

for the majority of the second quarter. Points from Jack Regan and Damien McGee soon after the resumption gave the hosts a glimmer of hope but that proved to be as good as it got and the game was over as a contest when the visitors netted a third goal nine minutes from time. “I was expecting more from them, on the day I was expecting a lot more from the lads but they just didn't perform. It was one of those days but you can put it down to a few different

“They're playing club football or hurling every other weekend during the summer. Basically, you're trying to slot in training in and around their clubs. “Realistically, you can't be telling a lad, listen you're coming into county training, you can't be going training with your club tonight. I was trying to accommodate the clubs, they're playing club championship, they need to have their players available to them. “It's a tricky situation trying to get them fine-tuned up to intercounty

“I was really disappointed because I actually thought that we would win an All-Ireland this year. That's where we are I think, I thought we would have won that All-Ireland 'B' had we progressed past Kildare. “We would have got stronger obviously, I would have had more time with the players, club championships could have been put on the backburner a little. The problem is you're trying to get them ready for one game and if it doesn't work you don't get that

Damien McGee with Kildare's Declan Flahery and Kevin Murphy at Loman’s Park

factors. “The better team won on the day, they hurled us off the pitch in fairness to them. Having said that, we had a couple of goal chances before halftime, had we got them it might have given us a bit of confidence and kicked us on a little bit. “But, as it turned out, we didn't get them and they pulled away from us in the second half. We were facing an uphill battle after missing them.

speed and standard.” This was Mike's third year at the helm of the county U-21 side and his backroom team consisted of selectors Neil Hackett (Dunboyne) and Noel Keating (Kiltale). At the time of writing he was undecided about whether or not he would be hanging around for a fourth term but he predicted bright days ahead for the small ball code in the county.

34

snowball effect. “The underage is getting good and strong. There's a real good set-up in there now from the underage, 13s, 14s and 16s, and I'd say, in the next couple of years, the senior team should see the benefit of that. “You saw with Clare this year, the way the game is gone now, there's no such thing as saying a lad is too young. If he's good enough, he's good enough, that's it. All those Clare boys


Under 21 Hurlers designed_Layout 1 15/11/2013 15:15 Page 3

Adam Gannon is put under pressure by Kildare's Conor Gordon

were winning All-Irelands and getting All Stars at 19 years of age. “A good lot of our team are underage again next year so they will be in with a good chance of winning, at least, Leinster.� The Meath team and substitute which lost out to Kildare was as follows: Conor Murray (Gaeil Colmcille); Padraig Maguire (Kilmessan), David Foley (Trim), Tom Raleigh (Killyon); James Kelly (Kiltale, 0-2), James Toher (Trim, 0-2, 1 pen, 1 free), Ryan Andrews (Trim); Sean McGee (Trim), Shane Brennan (Kilmessan); Damien McGee (Trim, 0-1, free), Damien Healy (Longwood), Cathal McCabe (Kiltale); Adam Gannon (Killyon, 0-1), Evan Dixon (Boardsmill), Jack Regan (Kiltale, 0-5, 3 frees, 65). Subs: Niall Weir (Boardsmill) for Foley, Jack Fagan (Rathmolyon, 0-1) for McCabe, Aaron Ennis (Clann na nGael) for McGee, Sean Doyle (Kilmessan, 0-1) for Regan.

James Toher, who captained Ireland under 21s to victory over Scotland in the Hurling Shinty International

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Ladies designed_Layout 1 26/11/2013 12:37 Page 1

LADIES FOOTBALL

M

eath's ladies footballers were unable to shed the bridesmaids tag in Leinster this year. To compound their woes, they exited the All-Ireland race following a second round qualifier defeat to Laois.

ALWAYS THE BRIDESMAID

The Meath ladies senior football team took to the field under new management in 2013. Dunboyne's Martin Connolly and former Laois footballer Lar Wall replaced Paula Cunningham in the hot-seat after the Monaghan native chose to cut her ties with the Royal County. The county board turned to Connolly, who held the position in the past, and Na Fianna's Wall as they attempted to bounce back from their surprise elimination at the hands of Clare in the qualifiers in 2012. Former Dunderry senior medalist Phil Fay and Niall Bagnall were added to the backroom team but they endured something of a baptism of fire early on in the year when the Royal County suffered the ignominy of relegation from Division 1. Yet competitive displays against

Joint Managers Martin Connolly and Lar Wall

Cork, Dublin and Monaghan and a last round victory over Laois had provided enough proof to suggest that this newlook Meath team could make an impression in the championship. First up in the provincial campaign was a preliminary round local derby against Westmeath at Summerhill. The Royal girls had dumped the maroon and whites out of the previous year's Leinster championship at the semi-final stage and they repeated the

trick this year with a 2-12 to 19 victory. Two first half goals from Sinead Coyle laid the foundations for Meath's sixpoint victory. The hosts held a 2-8 to 1-3 half-time advantage but their defenders rose to the occasion in the second half as, despite facing into a strong wind, they managed to restrict their opponents to just six points. The second half was a tighter affair but the Katie O'Brien captained outfit enjoyed the perfect start against the wind when Bridgetta Lynch extended their lead with a point two minutes after the restart. It was case of backs to the wall for the remainder of the contest but credit to the Meath defensive unit which coped admirably with a late Westmeath onslaught. Leaving Summerhill that day there was a sense of a job well done as the joint-managers had included five debutants on their starting 15 and introduced an additional three newcomers to senior championship action as substitutes. They approached their home semifinal fixture against Laois in confident

The squad that took on Westmeath in the Leinster SFC at Summerhill, front l/r: Aiveen Leahy, Deirdre Moroney, Laura Bagnall, Megan O`Brien, Eileen Rahill, Sinead McCormack, Sinead Coyle, Geraldine Doherty, Aedin Murray, Emma Troy, Aideen Guy, Jenny Rispin, Katie O`Brien, Shauna Bennett, Maire O`Shaughnessy, Maeve Downey. Back: Katie Callaghan, Stephanie Byrne, Cliona Murray, Shauna Ennis, Bridgetta Lynch, Elaine Plunkett, Adrianne McCann, Niamh Lister, Aisling Cassidy, Hannah Cullen, Orla Byrne, Irene Munnelly, Helen Regan, Colleen Jordan, Julianne Scanlon, Sarah Powderly, Roisin Williams, Kathy Butler, Lorraine McCann

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Ladies designed_Layout 1 26/11/2013 12:37 Page 2

mood and that proved to be well placed as they booked their Leinster final ticket, for the third successive summer, with a convincing 3-7 to 1-8 victory over the O'Moore County girls at Summerhill. It was sweet revenge for those involved in Meath ladies football after they had finished on the wrong end of the scoreline against Laois in the 2011 provincial decider. Meath made all the early running and led from start to finish once captain O'Brien opened the scoring with a point in the 3rd minute. Geraldine Doherty created the opening for Jenny Rispin to net the game's first goal in the 8th minute and two minutes later Oldcastle clubmate's Sinead Coyle and Bridgetta Lynch worked a one-two which ended with the latter raising a white flag. The Palace sponsored outfit were firmly in control when leading by 1-3 to 0-1 after 10 minutes and Sinead Coyle netted their second goal via the penalty spot four minutes later following a foul on O'Brien. Laois gave themselves some hope when All-Star Tracey Lawlor finished the ball past Irene Munnelly in the 27th minute but they trailed by 1-3 to 2-5 at the change of ends. The wind picked up and favored the visitors in the second half and they were successful in cutting the gap to

Bridgetta Lynch with Monaghan's Ciara McAnespie during the league at Ashbourne

just two points with 10 minutes to go. Doherty and Ciara Burke traded points but the game was decided when Oldcastle's Aine Bennett displayed nerves of steel to convert a penalty following a 'foot block' on Adrienne McCann.

In a tie pockmarked by four sinbinnings - two for each team - Meath goalkeeper Munnelly was inspired as she pulled off a string of fine saves. All roads then led to Dr Cullen Park, Carlow on Saturday, July 13th for a second successive Leinster final

Eileen Rahill is under pressure against Westmeath but still gets in her pass to Emma Troy at Summerhill

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Ladies designed_Layout 1 26/11/2013 12:37 Page 4

showdown against Dublin. The Jackies qualified for the decider with a decisive 3-17 to 1-12 semi-final victory over Kildare at Naomh Mearnog and entered the final as redhot favourites to retain their crown. Unfortunately, from a Meath perspective, they fully justified their favoritism with a comprehensive 3-14 to 0-9 victory. Despite the tactic of employing corner-forward Jenny Rispin in a sweeper role the Meath defence was frequently cut open and they found themselves with a mountain to climb at half-time when they trailed by 0-6 to 26. The writing was on the wall for the challengers after just 40 seconds of play when right corner-forward Lyndsay Peat - who was a constant thorn in the side of the Royal rearguard - struck for the first of her two goals. She added a second shortly afterwards and all Meath could muster in reply was points from Bridgetta Lynch and O'Brien (free). Right half-back Aedin Murray tried her best to rally the troops with a fine individual point in the 9th minute but there was no stopping the Dublin juggernaut. The sin-binning of Eileen Rahill for a high tackle didn't help the Royal cause and the team in sky blue rattled off three unanswered points. A brace from Geraldine Doherty and a second O'Brien free completed Meath's first half tally but the second

Kate Byrne in action against Mayo in the league at Boardsmill

half followed a similar pattern as they were outscored by 1-8 to 0-3. 1-1 from Sinead Aherne at the start of the second half hammered the final nail into Meath's coffin and Dublin's winning margin could have been greater than 14 points were it not for some vital interventions by Munnelly between the sticks for the Royals. Wall, Connolly and their players had four weeks to lick their wounds before

Another score for Sinead Coyle against Westmeath

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renewing acquaintances with Laois in the second round of the qualifiers. The O'Moore County were one of only two teams that Meath defeated this year, in both the league and championship, so the match offered them a chance of redemption in the back-door series. As events transpired, the heavy Leinster final defeat appeared to take its toll on the Royal ladies as they succumbed to a 0-7 to 1-14 defeat in Birr. The Royals were made to pay the price for a lack-lustre first half display and were 1-9 to 0-2 adrift at the interval. Meath showed some pride in the jersey by narrowing the deficit to 0-7 to 1-11 by the 41st minute but they failed to score for the remainder of the contest and their championship participation came to a disappointing end. The Meath team that squared up to Laois in the second round qualifier at Birr was as follows: Irene Munnelly; Eileen Rahill, Julianne Scanlon, Aideen Guy; Aedin Murray, Marie O'Shaughnessy, Emma Troy; Shauna Bennett, Sinead McCormack (0-1); Shauna Ennis, Katie O'Brien, Orla Byrne; Ger Doherty (0-2, 1f), Bridgetta Lynch (0-1), Jenny Rispin. Subs: Michelle Peel for Scanlon, Joanna Byrne (0-3, 1f) for Ennis, Stephanie Byrne for O'Byrne, Laura Dempsey for Rispin, Sinead Coyle for McCormack.


St. Pats designed_Layout 1 26/11/2013 12:48 Page 1

ST. PAT’S COLLEGE

S

SHOES OFF FOR ST. PAT’S

t Pat’s of Navan annexed a tenth Leinster SFC Colleges crown this year but a highly talented St Pat’s of Maghera side proved to be one bridge too far in the Hogan Cup final at Croke Park in April. Team captain Ruairi O Coileain recalls an eventful year for the famed Navan nursery. If there was a prize for supporters of the year the students of St Pat’s would be leading contenders. The school’s ‘Ultras’ brought supporting their team to a new level in 2013 with their ‘shoes off for St Pat’s’ battle cry and the players gave them plenty to cheer about on the field with a memorable journey to the All-Ireland Colleges SFC final. There was also the noteworthy achievement of a tenth Leinster SFC title and the Moatlands school has come a long way since their first provincial success in 1991. Whatever about your shoes, you

certainly had to take your hat off to Colm O’Rourke and his team who captured the Leinster silverware with a 1-12 to 2-7 final victory when defending provincial and All-Ireland holders St Mary’s of Edenderry in Mullingar. A 2-7 to 0-11 All-Ireland semi-final victory over the Eamonn Fitzmaurice trained Pobalschoil Chorca Dhuibhne booked St Pat’s a sixth final appearance but their bid for a fourth outright success faltered at the final hurdle. The shoe was on the other foot when their namesakes St Pat’s of Maghera inflicted a ten-point defeat - 1-20 to 110 - on the team in yellow and black in the decider in mid-April. The disappointment of defeat was tempered by the fact that there were no hard luck stories. The Derry side led from post to finish and were full value for their victory. St Pat’s captain Ruairi O Coileain – who lined out a midfield and scored

three of his team’s points in an impressive individual showing – agreed with that assessment. “It was very disappointing but I suppose when you are beaten by the better team you can have no complaints,” he surmised. “They were a very good outfit and strong in all sections of the field. They had four points on the board before we opened our account and we were always fighting a losing battle after that. “They couldn’t miss in the early stages. It was hard to take but all you can do is move on. It was a great achievement to get as far as we did and get the chance to play in Croke Park in the colleges final.” O Coileain and his team-mates still have a Leinster medal to show for their efforts and the Navan O’Mahonys player revealed that that was their number one objective for the year. “If you ask anyone who has played for St Pat’s, any year you get out of

The shoes go up as Ruairi O Coileain raises the Leinster Colleges SFC Cup at Cusack Park Mullingar

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All smiles for the Pat’s supporters as a place in the Leinster Final is secured in Ratoath

Leinster it’s a massive achievement in itself. “Our aim at the start of the year was to win Leinster and anything after that was a bonus. “When I was in first year I remember watching lads winning Leinster titles and it was always a dream of mine to be on a panel that won Leinster. To get the opportunity to lift the cup was fantastic. “Obviously I would have loved to have got my hands on the Hogan Cup but, unfortunately, that wasn’t to be. Winning Leinster wasn’t a bad consolation though.”

With players of the calibre of O Coileain, James O’Malley, Niall Kane, James McEntee and Barry Dardis – who were all members of the Meath minor squad that contested the 2012 All-Ireland MFC final against Dublin – St Pat’s were always going to be a force to be reckoned with in Leinster this year. The road to provincial glory started with a 2-8 to 1-7 win over Moate CS in Pairc Tailteann and they claimed the scalps of St Peter’s, Wexford (2-7 to 18) and Colaiste Eoin, Stillorgan (1-9 to 1-8) en route to the Leinster decider against holders St Mary’s of

Edenderry. There was plenty of excitement in the final at Mullingar as Colm O'Rourke's side hit two late points to claim a tenth title. The game was delicately poised entering the closing stages with the sides level when the Navan school were awarded a penalty following a foul on McEntee. Dardis’ spot-kick was saved by the Edenderry netminder but late points from Niall Lyons and centre-back Kane spared the Summerhill man’s blushes. “Edenderry was a big scalp for us. They were reigning Leinster and All-

The 2012/13 Leinster Colleges SFC winners, front l/r: James O'Malley, Niall O'Reilly, Jack Gore, Declan McGuinness, Barry Dardis, Niall McCabe, Ruairi O Coileain, Nathan O'Brien, Stephen O'Brien, Shane Gollogly, Corey Leddy, Kevin O'Hanlon. Back: Niall Lyons, Niall Kane, John Smith, Donal Ryan, Robert Keeleghan, Stephen O'Brien, Colm Honan, Cian Farnan, Stephen Monaghan, Conor Murphy, Adam Brennan, Eamonn Sheridan, Conor Doyle, James McEntee

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Ireland championship,” the team captain recalled. “Any team that reaches a final is always going to provide strong opposition. In some of our previous matches we had to hang on to get the win so that stood us in good-stead in the Leinster final.” St Pat’s battling spirit also came to fore in the All-Ireland semi-final win over the Dingle school in Nenagh. Dardis gave them the perfect start when goaling after just three minutes following good approach play by Lyons while Robbie McDonnell also found the back of the Chorca Dhuibhne net to parachute them into a 2-3 to 0-0 lead. Their Kerry opponents rallied but St Pat’s were very much in command at the break when leading by 2-5 to 0-4. St Pat’s were unable to maintain the same high level of performance in the second half, however, and their lead was cut to just two points – 2-6 to 0-10 – before McDonnell sent over a late free to ease their nerves. Chorca Dhuibne pulled a point back but time ran out for them and Pat’s held on for a merited victory. In the colleges’ showpiece, the Meath youngsters had no answer to the combined strength and skill of the Sean Martin Lockhart coached St Pat’s of Maghera. The students from the Oak Leaf County looked impressive throughout

Donal Ryan is determined to get his hands on the ball up against Luke Flynn and Daniel Pyke of St Mary’s with Ruairi O Coileain caught in the middle during the Leinster Final

and their ability to kick points from all over the pitch proved to be the difference, while Navan struggled in front of goal at times. St Pat’s were 0-0 to 0-4 down by the

Niall Lyons heads for the Colaiste Eoin goal at Ratoath

42

time Lyons opened their account from a free-kick in the seventh minute. O Coileain sent over the last point of the first half but his team trailed by 0-5 to 0-10 at the change of ends. Maghera extended their lead with the first point of the second half but the team in yellow and black were thrown a lifeline when Robert Keelaghan slid a low shot past the Derry side’s advancing ‘keeper to reduce the deficit to three points. That proved to be as good as it got for O’Rourke and his team as they conceded a goal at the other end with 14 minutes left on the clock and a clinical Maghera outfit finished with 10 points to spare. O Coileain – who is considered to be one of the most promising young prospects in Meath – concluded by paying tribute to the team manager Colm O’Rourke, who was assisted this year by Wolfe Tones championship winner Paul Byrne and Enda Monaghan. “At the end of last year Mr O’Rourke sat us down and told us we had a very strong team and could go close to winning Leinster. He instilled great confidence and belief in us and that helped us in our push for Leinster. “I can’t emphasise enough the impact he has had on my career, and other


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St. Pats designed_Layout 1 26/11/2013 12:48 Page 5

James McEntee takes a tumble against Moate in the opening round of the Leinster championship at Pairc Tailteann

players’ football careers, over the last six years. He has been a great influence. He has great football knowledge and you can’t help but improve when you are training under him.” The St Patrick’s CS team that was on duty for the All-Ireland Colleges SFC

final was as follows: C Farnan (St Cuthbert’s); J O'Malley (Navan O’Mahonys), N O'Reilly (Wolfe Tones), D McGuinness (Navan O’Mahonys); R Keeleghan (Navan O’Mahonys, 1-1), N Kane (Simonstown Gaels), C Meade (Rathkenny); D Ryan (Skryne), J McEntee (Curraha, 0-2, 1 free); N McCabe (Seneschalstown), R

The celebrations begin at Cusack Park, Mullingar

44

O'Coileain (Navan O’Mahonys, 0-3, 1 free), R McDonnell (Walterstown, 0-2, frees); N Lyons (Seneschalstown, 0-2 1 free), B Dardis (Summerhill), N O'Brien (Simonstown Gaels). Subs: S O'Brien (Nobber) for Meade, C Murphy (Navan O’Mahonys) for O'Brien, E Sheridan (Seneschalstown) for Lyons, S O'Brien for O'Malley.


45_Layout 1 26/11/2013 17:23 Page 1

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Junior Football designed_Layout 1 15/11/2013 15:09 Page 1

JUNIOR FOOTBALLERS

G

JUNIORS FALL AT FIRST HURDLE

one are the days when Meath were a force to be reckoned with in the Leinster JFC. The Royal County made a tame exit at the hands of Kildare this year in Ashbourne. Meath’s participation in this year’s Leinster JFC was short but not so sweet. It lasted 60 minutes to be precise as Kildare came away from Ashbourne in early June with a sizeable 1-17 to 1-7 victory in their back pockets. The Royal County lies in second place behind Dublin (20) on the provincial junior roll of honour with 16 titles but you have to go back to 2006 for Meath’s last Leinster success. Na Fianna’s Damien Griffin took over in the ‘Bainisteoir’ bib from Pat Coyle and former Meath seniors Stan Gibney (Ratoath) and Packie Henry (Cortown) made up his backroom team. Griffin was a selector the previous year when Kildare proved too strong at the semi-final stage so he would have been well aware of the threat posed by

Manager Damien Griffin with selectors Stan Gibney and Martin Blake

the Lilywhites. The team that took to the field against Kildare contained players who had experience of involvement with the senior set-up such as captain Cormac

Rowe, Stephen Crosby, Dalton McDonagh and Bryan McMahon. Two others, Darragh McNamara and Ciaran McConnell, came off the bench during the course of the game. Encouraging challenge displays against Offaly and Louth selections had given rise to confidence within the squad in the build-up to the championship clash but the players in green and gold flattered to deceive. McMahon was one of the few Meath players who did himself justice on the night and he subsequently featured for the seniors as a substitute in the Leinster SFC semi-final victory over Wexford. Aside from McMahon, there were no other obvious contenders for a call-up to Mick O’Dowd’s senior squad. The Ratoath teenager struck for a goal in the 5th minute following good approach play from Neil Shortall and club-mate Bobby O’Brien. McMahon finished the game with 1-3 to his credit but his efforts proved to be in vain as the visitors recovered from the concession of his goal to go in at

The squad that took on Kildare in the Leinster Junior Championship in Ashbourne, front l/r: Charles Brogan, Oisin Kiernan, Stephen Husband, Ros Mooney, Kevin Ross, Padraig Muldoon, Daragh McNamara, Cormac Rowe, Dalton MacDonagh, Stephen Crosbie, Bryan McMahon, Bobby O'Brien, Eoin Woods. Back: Conor Downey, Ciaran Reilly, Robbie Burlingham, Cian O’Brien, Daniel Queeney, Cathal Hilliard, Ciaran Lynch, Danny Quinn, Neil Shortall, Darragh McGill, Ciaran McConnell, Shane Geraghty, Harry Newman

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Junior Football designed_Layout 1 15/11/2013 15:09 Page 2

half-time leading by 1-8 to 1-3. Their goal arrived via the boot of Seamus Hannifin and, along with Keith Cribbin and Cian Bolton, he proved himself too much of a handful for the Meath defence. Up front Meath could only engineer four second half points as the visitors pulled away to finish with 10 points to spare. 11 wides compared to their opponents’ seven didn’t help Meath’s cause but there were no excuses at the final whistle. “We didn’t show up, we didn’t hold onto the ball, we took the wrong options, I don’t know where it came from because we were going better than that in the challenge matches that we played,” manager Griffin lamented afterwards. Following the opening round win, Kildare went on to claim Leinster honours but finished as runners-up overall to Cork. The Meath team and substitutes that exited the Leinster JFC at the hands of Kildare was: Shane Geraghty; Ross Mooney, Ciaran Lynch, Podge Muldoon; Stephen Husband, Stephen Crosby, Cormac Rowe; Cian O’Brien (0-1), Neil Shortall (0-1); Kevin Ross, Bobby O’Brien (0-1), Dalton McDonagh; Bryan McMahon (1-3),

Bryan McMahon kicks another point in Ashbourne

Daniel Queeney (0-1), Daniel Quinn. Subs: Darragh McGill for Lynch, Darragh McNamara for Quinn, Harry

Newman for Muldoon, Cathal Hilliard for McDonagh, Ciaran McConnell for Rowe.

Team captain Cormac Rowe under pressure from Kildare's Seamus Hannifin at Ashbourne

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Referees designed_Layout 1 15/11/2013 15:05 Page 1

CLUB FOOTBALL & HURLING FINAL REFEREES

SFC final - Patrick Nelis (Kilmainham)

lane)

vid Gough (S

IFC final - Da

SHC final - Nick Fitzgerald (Kildalkey)

IHC final - Pat Gannon (Killyon)

JFC final - Pa

draig Coyle (S

Morris ay - Richard JFC final repl hall Gaels) ck (Bla

JHC final - Gus Martyn (Dunderry)

JFC B final -

Joe Synnott JFC C final - Ashbourne) e/ (Donaghmor

JFC D final - Des Smyth (St Ultans)

JHC 2 final -

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eneschalstow

n)

Patrick Coyl

e (Curraha)

Mick Ryan (K

ilmessan)


Camogie designed_Layout 1 26/11/2013 12:06 Page 1

CAMOGIE

CAMOGIE CONTINUING ON UPWARD CURVE

M

eath camogie fortunes continued on an upward curve in 2013. John Davis’ side more than held their own on their first year in the Intermediate grade while the seconds added the All-Ireland Junior ‘B’ title to the county’s roll of honour. Twelve months on from Premier Junior title victory at Croke Park, Meath’s camogie team made the step up the higher grade in 2013 and didn’t look out of place as they made it through to the last four of the competition. Their hopes of reaching back-to-back All-Ireland final appearance were dashed by a physically stronger Limerick side in a semi-final clash at Banagher but there were more highlights that low points in a championship campaign that augurs well for the future. Division 2 League victories over Waterford (0-8 to 0-5) and Antrim (2-6 to 1-5) and draws against Galway (0-8 apiece) and Wexford (0-6 apiece) set the team in green and gold up nicely

for their Intermediate debut against Galway in Athenry on Saturday, June 22nd. It was an historic occasion for all involved with the game in the county but events didn’t pan out as they would have hoped as Meath fell to a 0-4 to 013 defeat. Unperturbed, John Davis’ team went back to the drawing board and bounced back from that set-back with a comprehensive second round victory over Tipperary’s second string. The team in green and gold dominated proceedings from start to finish and the scoreboard read 4-14 to 0-6 in their favour at the final whistle. That victory set up a crunch tie against Wexford’s second outfit at Ratoath on Saturday, July 20th where a win would book the Royals their place in the last four. They duly obliged with a convincing 1-24 to 0-5 success and Meath nailed down second spot in the Group 2 table behind Galway. The game, played in scorching conditions, was effectively over as a contest at the halfway stage

when the team in green and gold held a commanding 1-13 to 0-3 lead. Davis – who was in his 6th year at the helm - and his selectors were under no illusions as to the size of the task that faced them in the penultimate hurdle as they had experienced first hand the strength of the Shannonsiders back in March when they suffered a 1-8 to 410 league defeat. To make matters worse, the Royals were forced to line out minus the services of injured duo captain Edel Guy and Aoife Thompson and their absence was sorely felt as Meath shipped an 0-8 to 2-10 defeat at Banagher. Guy made an appearance as a first half substitute for injured full-forward Adrienne McCann but they found themselves on the back foot when trailing by 0-2 to 0-8 at the change of ends. Jane Dolan – who chose the semifinal over her brother’s wedding on the same day – opened the scoring from a free but Limerick replied with three pointed Niamh Mulcahy frees and an

The victorious Junior B All-Ireland winning squad, front l/r: Emer Daly, Muireann O`Hora, Michelle Daly, Rebeca Scanlon, Ellen Burke, Lisa Carroll, Cliodhna O`Riordan, Suzy Kennedy, Lynn Winters, Michelle Montague, Lisa Malvery, Leanne Winters. Back: Emily Bray, Jade Fitzsimons, Michelle Boyle, Aine Brennan, Yvonne Maguire, Eimear O`Shea, Emma McGill, Sinead Broderick, Sinead Beagan, Carolanna Foley, Lauren McCann, Jane Martyn, Aoife McCormack, Fiona Madden, Louise Griffin

49

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Camogie designed_Layout 1 26/11/2013 12:06 Page 3

effort from play by Mary O’Callaghan. Sinead Hackett sent over the Royals first score from play in the 13th minute but that proved to be the last time they registered in the opening period. Limerick ‘keeper Sile Moynihan came to her side’s rescue when denying Lizzie Brennan a goal and that miss proved costly from Meath’s point of view. Limerick’s first goal arrived four

The senior squad on duty against Limerick

minutes after the restart courtesy of Dympna O’Brien but Meath battled back with three unanswered points. O’Brien nipped the Royals minirevival in the bud, however, when netting her second goal shortly after to give the Munster girls a 2-8 to 0-5 cushion. Points from Dolan (free), Katie Hackett and Sinead Hackett offered the Bovale sponsored outfit some

Cheyenne O'Brien against Limerick

51

hope of a late comeback but they were unable to reel their opponents in and Limerick marched on to a decider against Galway. The Meath team which took on Limerick in the All-Ireland Intermediate semi-final was as follows: Jane Walsh; Laura Maguire, Claire Coffey, Fiona O’Neill; Aine Keogh, Kristina Troy (0-1, f), Louise Donoghue; Jane Dolan (0-4, fs), Katie Hackett (0-1); Cheyenne


Camogie designed_Layout 1 26/11/2013 12:06 Page 4

Meath camogie fans as they enjoyed a 2-4 to 1-5 victory. Lynn Winters’ goal early in the second half sent the Royals on the road to a memorable victory. It’s only four years since the county’s first team gained Junior ‘B’ honours so that puts this achievement into context and underlines the general wellbeing of the game in the county at the moment. Despite enjoying the perfect start when Sinead Beagan goaled in the 6th minute, GT Troy’s troops trailed by 1-3 to 1-5 at the interval. They came out fighting in the second half and were nd la Ire l Al e rs receives th owne n Lynn Winte rewarded when Trim’s Meath captaior B Cup from Eamonn Br Juni Winters found the back of the Kerry net early in the second half O’Brien, following good approach play by Lisa Aoife Maguire, Sinead Hackett (0-2); Carroll. Elizabeth Oakes, Adrienne McCann, Beagan then added a point and Aileen Donnelly. Sub: Edel Guy for Meath’s defence stood firm to keep the McCann. Kingdom at bay and secure the 24 hours after the first team said their silverware. goodbyes to the Intermediate It was a famous day for Meath championship, the second team took camogie as the Royals’ U-16s to the field in Cloughjordan for the Allemerged victorious in the All-Ireland ‘C’ Ireland Junior ‘B’ decider against Kerry final in the curtain-raiser. and there was a happier outcome for The Meath second team which

Lisa Carroll receiv in the Junior es the player of the mat ch B Chairman Eafinal from Munster monn Browne

captured All-Ireland Junior ‘B’ honours was: Michelle Boyle; Suzy Kennedy, Ellen Burke, Michelle Montague; Carolanna Foley, Lauren McCann, Emma McGill; Lisa Carroll, Jane Martyn; Leanne Winters, Fiona Madden, Louise Griffin; Yvonne Maguire, Sinead Beagan (1-3, 1f, 1 45), Lynn Winters (1-1). Subs: Rebecca Scanlon for Maguire, Lisa Malvery for Montague, Aine Brennan for Griffin.

Katie Hackett has things under control against Wexford in Ratoath

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Under 15 Squad_Layout 1 15/11/2013 14:59 Page 1

MEATH UNDER 14 DEVELOPMENT SQUADS

Front l/r: Alan Wall, Liam Shaw, Jack Vaughan, Gavin Quinn, Joseph Donnelly, Ryan Kelly, Cian Flynn, Paddy Maher, Colm O'Toole,  Ryan Carry,  Adam Comerford. Back: Ciaran Clarke, Tom Fadden, Conor Frayne, Ryan Norton, Brian Dowling, Neill Byrne, Sean Conlon, Sean Hogan, Sam Reynolds, Josh McCloskey, Conor Keena, Conor Kelly, Eoin Harkin.

Front l/r: Patrick McGill, Dylan Cassidy, Connell Ahearn, Paddy Conway, Sean Martin, Kevin McGrath, Conor Ahern, Andrew Beakey, Cadhla McKenna, Ross Nolan, Ronan Duggan, Jake Hanon. Back: Michael Farrell, Daniel Devine, Rian Kealy, Darragh Nolan, Conor Heffernan, Daniel Comiskey, Robert Wogan, Shane Doherty, Caoilean Ward, Conor Hayes, Frankie Carty, Conor Cooley, Eoin McAllister.


Peter O'Halloran designed_Layout 1 19/11/2013 11:27 Page 1

PETER O’HALLORAN

MAKING SURE FIXTURES MOVE LIKE CLOCKWORK

P

eter O’Halloran has dedicated himself to club and county for most of his lifetime. We speak with the popular County Vice-chairman. The GAA at all levels is hugely dependent on voluntary work to keep its wheels in motion. All over the country and in many other parts of the globe as well men and women dedicate much of their time to the promotion of the games they love and cherish. All they crave in return is the happy knowledge that they are playing their part. Meath has always had great people who have carried out dedicated work towards the betterment of their club and their county, highly committed individuals who are happy and willing to go the extra mile in a bid to do their bit to keep the association alive and very well in the Royal County. Without people like these the association wouldn’t be the vibrant, thriving organisation it is today. One such man is Drumconrath club member Peter O’Halloran who was elected to the position of County Board vice-chairman at the annual convention in Aras Tailteann, Navan, late last year. Peter has given Trojan service to the association in a variety of roles at club and board level over many years and his election clearly meant a great deal to him. “I am honoured to have been elected to the position,” he said after he had seen off the challenges of the two other runners for the role, former chairman Barney Allen from the Rathkenny club and TJ Reilly from Boardsmill.

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In an interview for Royal County GAA Yearbook back in 2008 Terry Skelly – who months earlier had become the first Drumconrath player to line out in a senior championship match for Meath in almost three decades when he was introduced as a substitute in the Leinster SFC game against Carlow – summed up the level of respect and admiration there is for Peter within a club he has served so loyally over so many years. “Peter O’Halloran is a great man. Without him we would be lost. He lives

Peter O'Halloran presents the B League Division 5 Cup to Dunboyne’s John Delaney

for it,” said Skelly who was part of the Drumconrath team which surprised so many people by reaching the Intermediate Championship final in 2006 where they lost to Rathkenny. Peter was manager of that side. Previous to his election as vicechairman, Peter had served as County Board Youth Officer for four years and among the other important roles he filled were Minor Board secretary for a period of two years, Juvenile Board secretary for five years and Juvenile

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Board assistant-secretary for three years. He has devoted a great deal of his life to his club Drumconrath and served as secretary for 13 years. He stepped down from that position at the club’s annual general meeting in January of 2011 after he had been appointed as secretary of the Minor Board and was replaced by Micheal Og O Gallachoir, the former Oifigneach na Gaeilge of the County Board. Peter received many tributes from the club officers and from the floor at the meeting. The efficiency with which the various competitions within the county were run off this year was a very welcome development and completing the leagues ahead of the threat of the bleakest of winter weather was certainly appreciated within the clubs, particularly among the players. “When Conor Tormey appointed me as chairman of the CCCC I felt a lot needed to be done with fixtures,” Peter said. “I had been appointed by Barney Allen as fixtures planner two years earlier. One role of the fixtures planner is to monitor fixtures in the county and make recommendations for change where necessary. “As Minor Board secretary I saw serious crossovers. The first thing I wanted to see this year was John Kavanagh elected to the CCCC. We needed a representative from the Minor Board on the CCCC to pull it all together. “The guide for fixtures planners coming from Croke Park is that in a county like Meath, a minor player should get at least 12 games in his own grade in a year and an adult


Peter O'Halloran designed_Layout 1 19/11/2013 11:27 Page 2

should get at least 16. The under-age players were suffering as a result of not getting enough games in their own grade.” It was very noticeable this year how the various competitions in the county were run off effectively and without delay. “I felt that the competitions were run off smoothly this year but there needs to be tweaks to the system,” Peter added. “There has been a problem with so many walkovers once teams are out of contention. It has been embarrassing at times to pick up a newspaper on a Monday morning and see that. “We set out to do our best to finish

finished by late October or early November, with the exception of the Feis Cup.” The County Board had to be very pleased with gate receipts from club games this year and in these tough financial times when very few people have money to spare that was a welcome development. “Our finances haven’t been hectic so we worked with County Board treasurer Brendan Dempsey and the finance committee to space out the games in an effort to maximise revenue from gate receipts,” Peter explained. “Our revenue was up considerably which was great to see. “Of course, some of the pairings we

th the y Cosgrave wi looks on y and Tomm Michael FoleCup as Peter O'Halloran Division 2 FL

the A Leagues by the August Bank Holiday. Over the last few years Meath were involved in the championship up to that stage. We felt if we had three rounds of the club championships played by the August Bank Holiday it would be good. We kept the leagues running at all times. There was a bit of a pile up because of dual players but overall I felt it went well. “By the August Bank Holiday we had one round of Division 1 and Division 4 in the A Leagues still to go. Divisions 2 and 3 were completed at that stage. Yet we still nearly ran out of time. Overall, we were happy with the way it ran. All major competitions were

He revealed that a new competition could be on the cards to cater for intermediate teams. “We are looking at bringing in a separate competition for intermediate football teams,” he added. “It would be along the same lines as the current Tailteann Cup competition for junior teams. “Maybe the hurling leagues in the county could be changes as well. Club hurlers in Meath are getting only 10 games in a year as it stands at the moment. The hurling clubs were happy with the way things went this year but the hurling players could get more games.” Peter’s various roles on the County

Peter on the

got for championship finals this year helped in that regard, like Summerhill and Na Fianna in the SFC, which was a great attraction, and Drumbaragh and Kilmainham in the JFC. That final went to a replay which also helped. Attractive pairings like those make a huge difference and the weather was a major help this year as well. That was certainly a factor.” Having given so many dedicated years of his life to the promotion of Gaelic games in a variety of positions, Peter is fully aware of the commitment the players give to their sport. “It’s all about the players and their welfare,” he said. “They need regular games but they need a social life as well.”

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line for Drum

conrath

Board, Minor Board and Juvenile Board demonstrate his appetite for work and the role of minor secretary was certainly a demanding one, with so many competitions to be organised throughout most of the year. “I find that there isn’t as much work involved in my present position compared to when I was secretary of the Minor Board,” he said. “As minor secretary you are looking after a lot of competitions from early February to maybe November.” Peter O’Halloran continues to have a tremendous passion for Gaelic games and will no doubt continue to do everything in his power to promote them and enhance them.


Hurling Camogie Cumman designed_Layout 1 19/11/2013 11:24 Page 1

CUMANN NA MBUNSCOL HURLING & CAMOGIE

St Michael's Boys NS Trim claimed the Division 1 hurling title

Killyon captain Evan Burke raises the Division 4 Cup

St Finians NS Killyon, Division 4 hurling winners

Drumbaragh NS, Division 4 hurling finalists

Kevin Lennon raises the Boys Division 1 Hurling Cup at Trim

Ratoath's Aisling Lynch and Fiona McNerney raise the Division 1 Camogie Cup

It was a day for the ice cream

St Dympna's NS Kildalkey were Division 1 hurling finalists

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Hurling Camogie Cumman designed_Layout 1 19/11/2013 11:25 Page 2

CUMANN NA MBUNSCOL HURLING & CAMOGIE

Action from the Division 2 final

Ratoath NS Division 1 camogie winners

St Mary’s Trim made it to the Division 1 camogie final

Boardsmill NS, Division 2 hurling finalists

Baconstown NS, Division 2 camogie winners

St Dympna's Kildalkey, Division 2 camogie finalists

Baconstown, Division 2 hurling winners

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Shane Walsh raises the Division 2 hurling trophy


Hurling Camogie Cumman designed_Layout 1 19/11/2013 11:25 Page 3

CUMANN NA MBUNSCOL HURLING & CAMOGIE

Rathbeggan NS claimed the Division 3 hurling title

Padraic Byrne raises the Division 3 hurling cup

Gaelscoil na Boinne, Division 3 hurling finalists

Marie Keane receives the Division 3 camogie

St Finian’s Killyon, Division 3 camogie finalists

Kiltale NS, Division 3 camogie winners

Baconstown's Erin Leddy with the Division 2 camogie cup

Anxious faces on the Kildalkey sideline during the Division 2 camogie final

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St. Josephs designed_Layout 1 19/11/2013 16:05 Page 1

MERCY’S GREAT ADVENTURE ST. JOSEPH’S MERCY, NAVAN

T

he future of ladies football in Meath is bright judging by the displays of St Joseph's Mercy, Navan who made it all the way to the All-Ireland Post Primary Schools Senior 'B' final.

from Aoibheann Leahy. The right half forward's second goal arrived in the 53rd minute and left Mercy trailing by a single point - 2-6 to 0-13 - but Macroom finished the game with a flourish and made sure of the victory with two late points. It was a bitter pill to swallow for the Mercy girls but, truth be told, Macroom held the upperhand throughout the game and were deserving winners. There was no shame in defeat, however, and, afterwards, manager Howard spoke of his pride in his players and their achievements this year. "You could see that, with 10 girls in sixth year, no one wanted to leave anything behind them out there today. "You never know when, or if, you'll get back to an All-Ireland final so you don't want to have any regrets and our players certainly gave it everything.”

Ultimately, defeat was to be their lot in the decider against St Mary's of Macroom but it is unlikely the last that we will have heard of some of these players who proved they possess the talent and skill to go on and hold their own in the best of company on the intercounty stage in the future. Seven clubs were represented on the panel which was captained by centreforward Leslie Buchanan from St Leslie Buchanan receives the Leinster Ultan's. Post Primary Cup at Mullingar Former Meath minor and U-21 footballer Paudge Howard from Seneschalstown's Gilsenan helped Duleek/Bellewstown - a PE/biology herself to another hat-trick of goals and teacher in the school - took charge of Ruth Sheridan got in on the the team and he was assisted by goalscoring act with two. The St Joseph's Mercy team that selectors John Leahy and Darren So all roads led to Freshford for the took on St Mary's in the All-Ireland final Mallon. decider but there was no fairytale was: Sarah Powderly; Caoimhe The Leinster title was annexed in ending for the Meath girls who lost out Clynch, Aisling Sheridan, Shannon January following a comprehensive 9by 0-15 to 2-7. Connolly; Seanaidh Hickey, Niamh 6 to 1-7 final victory over Mountmellick Mercy fell 0-0 to 0-4 in arrears by the Sheridan, Ellen Hennelly; Megan CS at Mullingar. 10th minute and trailed by 0-5 to 0-10 Colins, Ailbhe Rooney; Aoibheann The Navan students never looked at the halfway stage. Leahy (2-0), Leslie Buchanan (0-4), back once Aoibheann Leahy netted the Linda Smyth; Amy Gilsenan (0-2), game's opening goal and they led by To their credit, the team in green and Ruth Sheridan, Rosanna Irwin (0-1). 2-3 to 1-2 at half-time after Amy gold refused to throw in the towel and Sub: Aisling Corcoran. Gilsenan raised a second green flag. were rewarded with a brace of goals Despite playing into the wind in the second half, Mercy dominated proceedings and the floodgates opened. Leahy and Gilsenan both finished the contest with hat-tricks to their names while captain Buchanan, Ailbhe Rooney and Rosanna Irwin also found the back of the Mountmellick net. Ursuline College of Sligo stood between Mercy and a place in the All-Ireland decider and the Connacht champions were dispatched on a Leinster champions and All-Ireland finalists, front l/r: Jenny Daly, Leslie Buchanan, Aisling Corcoran, Ruth Sheridan, Amy Gilsenan, Linda Smyth, Ailbhe Rooney, Aoibheann Leahy, Niamh O’Brien. Back: Niamh Monaghan, scoreline of 5-18 to 1-5 Roisin Daly, Caoimhe Clynch, Niamh Sheridan, Aisling Sheridan, Sarah Powderly, Ellen Hennelly, Rosanna Irwin, Megan Collins, Shannon Connolly, Seanaidh Hickey, Eimear Hubble at Mullahoran.

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Mick O'Dowd designed_Layout 1 26/11/2013 12:53 Page 1

MICK O’DOWD

BACK TO THE FUTURE

M

ick O'Dowd exudes a selfbelief and confidence that appears to be rubbing off on his players, writes Shane O'Brien. First and foremost, Mick O'Dowd demands pride in the green and gold jersey. That's his bottom line because the Skryne man is proud of his roots, especially Meath's gaelic football tradition, and nothing gives him greater satisfaction than seeing the green and gold flags flying proudly in Croke Park. That's why he allowed his name go forward to be considered for the vacant role of Meath senior football manager in late 2012. To him, after playing, there's no greater honour than managing the Royal County senior footballers. It's very much early days in the tenure of the county's fifth manager in eight years but the signs are encouraging. How does the man himself assess his first year at the helm? "When you consider where we came from you would have to say that there was a good bit achieved," he replied. "We were unbeaten in the O'Byrne Cup, we got promoted from Division 3, reached a Leinster final and competed well against two Division 1 teams that played contrasting styles of football. "They were the positives but it was disappointing not to go further in the Tyrone game. The Dublin game, we probably weren't there in the closing stages but, against Tyrone, we were and maybe a little bit more composure, experience or whatever might have got us the result we wanted that day. "But, overall, I'd be pleased with how year one went." Intercounty management is not a job for the faint-hearted. Spare time is at a premium as there's a lot more to it than overseeing training or picking teams but Micko says he went into it with his eyes wide open. "I have to say I wasn't overly surprised by it. When we came in first we had a good bit of work to do on the

Mick O'Dowd promised to bring some pride back into Meath football and he has been true to his word

squad. There were a lot of injuries so there were challenges from early on. "And then we had a couple of bad defeats early on in the campaign but, in fairness, we never really panicked throughout that whole period. We knew what way we wanted to approach things and the players bought into that. That stood us in good stead." Did he enjoy it? "Ah definitely yeah. I said it after the Tyrone game, the thing I was most pleased about was the reconnection with the Meath people, the supporters, and the team. "That was a really important thing because there was such a connection, a tradition, there for years. Obviously

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people can be critical in a positive way, they are entitled to that, but it's brilliant when the team in general has the support of the county." It helped that the Skryne clubman surrounded himself with a backroom team made up of highly respected individuals from the Royal County GAA scene. There are few better qualified in the county than selectors Trevor Giles and Sean Kelly and trainer Colm Brady "I knew that from the start. As I said at the time there were three people I wanted to come with me and, thankfully, each of them were willing and available. The players know the contributions the lads made. "In addition to those, there are probably 10 more people who are


Mick O'Dowd designed_Layout 1 26/11/2013 12:53 Page 2

Always ready to make time for Meath supporters. Micko at the Meath County Board Meet and Greet night in Tayto Park

involved in the preparation of the team. It is really a team effort, everyone is on the same wavelength and we are dealing with the players as human beings first and foremost. That's the most important thing and when that's right, we can make them better players." Since the championship campaign came to an end in July, the management team have thrown their net far and wide in an effort to catch new additions for the panel in 2014. O'Dowd is clear in his own mind as to the type of player he is looking for in terms of improving the team and squad. "It has to be the basics at the start. You have to have a real drive and a desire to play for the county, a pride in playing for the county and wearing the jersey. "That's the first thing. You want a player who is very dedicated and interested in

becoming a better player. They are the basics I would be looking for. Then obviously it's up to us to help improve the various skill levels. "On that front, there's a huge emphasis placed on fitness and strength and conditioning. They are important but the skills are vital. Any young player hoping to play for Meath, I would really encourage him to concentrate on his skills above

Mick O’Dowd with selector Trevor Giles

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anything else. "There's been some good stuff in the championships. There's some games you'd like to see it a little more competitive but, at the same time, in each club there are players who are of county standard. "I suppose the challenge for the county is to get more players brought up to that standard. It's not just up the county, it's the clubs responsibility as well." With places on the county senior panel limited to 30, Mick and his selectors have had to make some hard calls in relation to the outgoing panel. Experienced players such as Joe Sheridan, Brian Farrell, Peadar Byrne and Caoimhin King have been deemed surplus to requirements while younger players like Ciaran Lenehan, Brian Dillon and Sean Tobin have also been omitted from their plans.


Mick O'Dowd designed_Layout 1 26/11/2013 12:53 Page 3

The squad picture from the 2012 Leinster final defeat to Dublin illustrates the huge turnover in the playing personnel in the last year and a half. 19 players from that squad are no longer involved with the senior setup. "Everyone kind of accepts there's only so many places available within a county squad. The reality of the job is not everyone can be part of it," the manager - who will continue to operate a development squad parallel with the

against Carlow next June but the manager is looking at the bigger picture. Dublin, he says, have set the standard that the Royals have to aspire to reach. "The way I'd look at it is, Dublin are in Leinster, the All-Ireland champions, and that's the standard that you have to prepare to beat. If you can do that, that should take you a long way in the championship. "The draw, I wouldn't say it's meaningless, of course it's very

2014 is that we have played Tyrone and Dublin, we were very competitive against both of them. It's up to us as a management team and players, we know we're not that far away but also we know we have a hell of a lot of work to do. "It's one thing competing with them, the next step is to try and beat teams in that bracket and get ourselves into that bracket." The 40 year old expects that playing a higher grade of league football in the

Bryan Menton closes in on Wicklow's John McGrath at Aughrim

seniors - pointed out. "Some of those players who aren't part of the squad at the moment, who were let go, have been absolutely fantastic servants to Meath, gave long service to the county and gave the supporters great days. "Then there's the younger lads who are gone. They need to work on things with their clubs and come back stronger players and, hopefully, get the opportunity again." So looking ahead to 2014, the Royals face a Leinster SFC quarter-final

important to find out your first opponents in the championship but it's really about focussing on a high level of preparation and being ready for the first round and going game by game from there on in. "The teams that are consistently competing in September are teams that are in Division 1 and consistently getting to the quarter-finals. They are the two things that we, as a county, have to try and achieve over the coming years. "The good thing for us heading into

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Spring will help fine-tune the preparations for the championship. "Obviously Division 2 is a step up from last year. We need to be ready to compete. There's a lot of very strong teams in Division 2 and we need to be ready to compete from the start of February. "Then, as I say, we have experience of playing the All-Ireland champions this year so we know the level of preparation and the level of performance required for a good run in the championship."


Mick O'Dowd designed_Layout 1 26/11/2013 12:53 Page 4

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Declan Traynor designed_Layout 1 19/11/2013 16:03 Page 1

DECLAN TRAYNOR

L

LONDON CALLING

ondon ruffled plenty of feathers in this year's Connacht SFC en route to qualifying for a first ever final. Moylagh's Declan Traynor and his London team-mates clocked up the air miles. The record books will show that Dublin collected a 24th All-Ireland title this year but London's achievement in reaching a first ever Connacht SFC final was, in many ways, the story of the 2013 gaelic football championship. There was an international dimension to his year's competition with the Exiles claiming their first championship win since 1977, at the expense of Sligo, and they went on to prove that they were no one hit wonders by overcoming Leitrim to book a place in the provincial decider. They rubbed shoulders with the cream of the crop in the Connacht final against All-Ireland finalists Mayo and went on to put up a battling performance against Cavan in the round 4 of the qualifiers at Croke Park, on the same day that the Royal County made their exit against Tyrone. So what was the highlight of London’s memorable voyage for the team goalkeeper Declan Traynor from Moylagh? “It’s a tough one because there were so many but I would have to go for the replay victory over Leitrim," answered Declan who is a nephew of Meath 1975 National Football League medalist Paddy Traynor. “It was only when we were surrounded by family and friends out on the field after the final whistle that we realised the support that was out there for us and what we were doing. “We were wrecked but we had a big following there that day and it was special to share it with everyone. It also booked our place in the Connacht final so it was a massive achievement.” The rest of the gaelic football world sat up and took notice of London following their 1-12 to 0-14 victory over Sligo at Ruislip in May.

Declan in action for Moylagh during the 2010 JFC game against Kilmainham in Ballinlough

They had been knocking on the door in recent years - they brought Mayo to extra-time in 2011 - but this was their first championship win in 36 years. “We had Sligo well bet, we were six or seven points up 10 minutes into the second half but we had a lad sent off which put us on the back foot and gave them the momentum but, luckily, we held on for the win. “It’s always good to have our first championship game in Ruislip. We’re generally slow starters because we don’t usually have that many challenges under our belts. “Travelling takes at lot of you too so home advantage is a big plus and it was great for our confidence to get the win.” Declan proved himself to be a

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reliable last line of defence for the Exiles and they survived a second half comeback from Leitrim to book their place in the final with a merited 2-11 to 1-13 replay success in Dr Hyde Park. They led by 14 points at the break but were made to sweat all the way for the win. An attendance of 21,274 turned up to witness the Exiles' first ever appearance in a provincial decider at Castlebar but there was to be no fairytale ending for London. The gulf in class was obvious as the hosts ran out winners on a scoreline of 5-11 to 0-10. “It was a pity it was so one-sided. If you asked any of our players there wouldn’t be one of them who would say they were happy with their performances. “Mayo are an unbelievable side and


Declan Traynor designed_Layout 1 19/11/2013 16:03 Page 2

we were caught off guard by their pace down the middle. That came as a shock to us, we hadn’t come up against anything like that before. “It was a big disappointment that we couldn’t make more of a game out of it but still it was great to be there, playing in a Connacht final.” Six days after their provincial final defeat, London boarded the plane for Ireland once again to take on Cavan in round 4 of the qualifiers but all the air

“We were a tired team against Cavan and Croke Park is the last place you want to be when you are tired, it pulls everything out of you.” Was there high expectations within the London campaign ahead of the throw-in to this year's championship campaign? “Personally, I never looked beyond the Sligo game. I didn’t know that it was Leitrim next or about the possibility of a Connacht final. I had in

A carpenter by profession, 35 year old Declan arrived in the English capital in 2011 and lives in Harrow, north west London. He played his club football with Fulham Irish before transferring to Tir Chonaill Gaels recently. The dust has barely settled on the 2013 gaelic football season and already he is looking forward to the New Year. He predicts there is more to come from this London team.

London goalkeeper Declan Traynor during the pre match parade prior to the Connacht SFC final against Mayo

miles began to take their toll. The team in white and green put up a brave fight but exited the championship when losing to the Breffni County by 1-17 to 1-8. “We started slowly but came back into it in the second half,” Declan recalled. “I think the tiredness in our legs may have showed. The size of Croke Park, it’s a massive field and all the travelling and training took its toll on us against Cavan.

my head that we could certainly take them. “With the exception of Clare, all our league games were close, we beat Waterford and ran Limerick, who went on to win Division 4, very close. There were a lot of improvements there that we hadn’t seen before. “Against Leitrim in our last league game, they only pulled away in the last five minutes so that gave us a big boost going into the championship.”

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“There’s always players coming and going over here and there’s still plenty coming over because of the way the economy is at home. That’s part and parcel of football in London. “I’m sure there will be a few additions to the team for next year and hopefully they will improve it again. That’s the next step. We have Galway in Ruislip in the first round of the championship but we will concentrate on the league first.”


Shane McGann designed_Layout 1 26/11/2013 13:08 Page 1

Real concentration as Shane sends another one into the opponent’s half


Shane McGann designed_Layout 1 26/11/2013 13:08 Page 2

SHANE McGANN

A SAFE PAIR OF HANDS

M

eath's hurlers boast a safe pair of hands between the posts in Shane McGann and the Kiltale player is not dwelling on past disappointments. He's determined to make up for them, starting in 2014. From an early age, it is every aspiring young hurler's dream to represent his county team at senior level in Croke Park. Royal County 'keeper Shane McGann has come close to realising that ambition on two occasions now and he's hoping it will be a case of third time lucky in the New Year. Since making his debut against Armagh in 2010, the Kiltale clubman has made the number one jersey his own but the county's achievements on the playing field have fallen short of his expectations. The Royal County have struggled to make the breakthrough in the Christy Ring Cup these last couple of years but the emergence of McGann and other young players has generated plenty of optimism regarding the future of the small ball code in the county. A year after making his intercounty debut, he was the county's sole representative on the Christy Ring Champion 15 awards and he has come along way since being thrown into the goals for a U-16 club match with Kiltale by manager Paddy Kelly. As he looks back on Meath's Christy Ring Cup campaign this year, the Dundalk IT

student suggests they let Down off the hook in the drawn semi-final on home turf at Trim. Extra-time failed to separate the sides and the scoreboard read Meath 1-25, Down 2-22 at the end of an absorbing encounter. He concedes they were comprehensively defeated in the replay a week later (0-23 to 1-10) and Meath's woes were compounded when the Mourne County subsequently went on to claim the silverware with a 3-16 to 2-17 final victory over Kerry at Croke Park. "I thought we had the beating of them in Trim but unfortunately couldn’t finish them off," McGann recalled. "Momentum was on our side in extra-

Shane McGann in his club colours of Kiltale

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time, we went in to a two point lead but we couldn't hang on and they came back at us in the second period of extra-time. "That was the one that got away because it was always going to be tough for us having to go up to Ballycran looking for the win. I know that’s not much of an excuse. We let it slip in the drawn game against Trim." The team in green and gold's chances in the replay were handicapped by an injury to the team's talisman Steven Clynch - who scored 16 points in the drawn tie - while illness robbed them of the services of Adam Gannon. "Steven (Clynch) was only half fit and everyone knows how important he is to us. We need to have everyone fully fit and available to us if we are to beat the likes of Down. "It was disappointing because we could have won it if we got over them. I wasn’t surprised when they beat Kerry in the final. "Losing a second semi-final in a row is hard to take but, hopefully, we can push on next year." The 23 year old counts winning the Meath SHC title with Kiltale in 2012 and reaching the 2010 AllIreland U-21 'A' final which the Royals lost to Kerry at Thurles amongst his career highlights to date. He's determined to add to his medal collection and is confident that Meath can climb a few rungs of the ladder in the coming years. "We have a lot of talented young hurlers in the squad at the

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Shane McGann designed_Layout 1 26/11/2013 13:08 Page 3

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Shane McGann designed_Layout 1 26/11/2013 13:08 Page 4

moment. Cillian (Farrell) is building for the future and I’d say you will see pretty much the same bunch of lads in there next year. "There’s a couple of others who are more than capable of making the step up to senior level as well, the likes of Danny Maguire from Kilmessan. "There is a lot of competition for places on the team and it’s a very hard one to pick. If the players stay around, don’t go abroad, we should have a strong panel." McGann enjoyed his time playing hurling for Meath under Cillian Farrell and hailed the impact made by the

for the Royals in 2013. They started off the campaign with a 2-16 to 1-18 round one victory over Down at Newry and subsequently claimed the scalps of London, Mayo, Rosommon and Armagh to reach the decider with a maximum 10 points. London finished in second place on the table with eight points but denied the Stephen O'Donoghue captained outfit promotion when winning the final at Newbridge by 1-16 to 1-14. It was the second year in a row that the Royals promotion bid fell apart at the final hurdle. "The league final defeat to London

You can win every game at your ease, have an off day in the final and lose that by a point and that’s that." He continued: "But we’re well capable of winning the league and winning the Christy Ring Cup. We have good hurlers, who gel well and play well together. We shouldn’t be where we are but we are the only ones who can rectify that." That will be the primary source of motivation when the squad assembles to start their preparations for 2014. Shane is looking no further than the league at this point in time and the

Shane McGann clears his lines against Down in the Ring Cup semi-final at Loman’s Park

former Offaly dual star on his fledgling intercounty career. "He had great experience from his playing days and training was always relevant and enjoyable," he said. "He got on well with all the lads and it's a pity that he wasn't in a position to stay on. I suppose he has other things going on his life, college and so on, and he had to make that call but he leaves us in better shape than he found us in." The HL Division 2B campaign was also a case of so near and yet so far

was very hard to take. We probably bottled it a bit in the final, possibly got carried away with ourselves after winning all our games up to that point. "That’s two years in a row now we have lost the league final and we have to put a stop to it. We just didn't perform in the final." Naturally enough, the Royal netminder is not a fan of the current league format that sees just one team gain promotion. "The two top teams in the table at the end of the group stages should go up.

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prize of promotion. That would be the first step towards a successful year and would banish the bitter memories of the last two years. "We can’t go three years without winning a league final. That will be the first thing, try to get up to Division 2A and we’ll think about the Christy Ring after that. "The Christy Ring is all about the draw, that is vital but I am confident that we have the players who are capable of winning the Christy Ring outright."


Under 21 Footballers designed_Layout 1 26/11/2013 13:25 Page 1

UNDER 21 FOOTBALLERS

SIZE MATTERS AS LILIES OVER-POWER ROYALS

T

raditionally, Meath football and physicality went hand in hand but the tables have been turned by other counties in recent years. This was particularly evident in the 19 to 2-15 Leinster Under 21 FC quarter-final defeat to a highly regarded Kildare outfit back in March. The home side gave a good account of themselves for three quarters of the contest but the Lilywhites used their

Manager Sean

Barry

greater physical presence, and skill, to pull away in the closing stages and advance to a semi-final berth with nine points to spare. With 15 minutes to play the sides were level on 1-7 apiece but that was the cue for Kildare to seize control of proceedings. Kieran McGeeney’s visitors had a big advantage in terms of size and stature and, not for the first time, the Royals parted company with the Under 21 grade on bad terms. Sean Barry took over the reins from Liam Harnan and he was joined in his backroom team by Padraic Lyons, Cormac Sullivan and Tom Hanley, the captain of Meath’s one and only AllIreland triumph at this grade back in 1993. Player wise, Meath’s cause wasn’t helped by the absence of injured senior player Alan Forde and Bective’s Ciaran McConnell who was a member of the previous year’s team. Captain Brian Dillon, Conor McHugh, Patrick Fox, Conor Devereux and Fergal Toolin were other survivors from the team that lost out to Offaly in 2012. Substitute Harry Rooney from Skryne, meanwhile, was the only

member of the Meath squad that togged out for last year’s All-Ireland MFC final who made the final cut. At minor level three years ago, this batch of players sauntered to an opening round victory over Kilkenny before exiting at the quarter-final stage at the hands of Offaly. That defeat paled into insignificance, however, when Skryne’s Liam Tolan – who had lined out at corner-forward against the Faithful County - was tragically killed in a road accident

Brian Dillon

captained th

e team

The squad before that great win over neighbours Louth at Pairc Tailteann, front l/r: Donal Landy, Conor McGill, Anthony Forde, Conor Downey, Bobby O'Brien, Simon Carty, Patrick Fox, Bryan McMahon, Cathal Finn, Eamon Wallace, Mattie Devine, James Toher. Back: Charles Brogan, Fergus Toolan, Daniel Queeney, Brian Moore, Neil Shortall, Conor McHugh, Conor Sheridan, Brian Dillon, David McQuillan, Shane Barry, Cian O'Brien, Harry Rooney, Andy Colgan

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Under 21 Footballers designed_Layout 1 26/11/2013 13:25 Page 2

later that night. Fast forward to 2013 and the Leinster Under 21 draw pitted Meath against Louth in a preliminary round clash at Pairc Tailteann where the Dilloncaptained side scored a comprehensive 3-13 to 1-7 success in February. Na Fianna’s Daniel Queeney – younger brother of Jamie – took the scoring plaudits for the winners when he finished with 2-4 to his name. Bryan McMahon made up one third

of an all Ratoath full-forward line, also including Bobby O’Brien and Eamon Wallace, and he was on target with 14. A Louth goal after just 30 seconds put Meath on the back foot but they responded in impressive fashion to go in at the break leading by 1-6 to 1-3. Left half-forward Queeney cancelled out the visitors’ early goal in the eight minute and his second green flag in the 40th minute gave Meath the impetus to go on and outscore their opponents by 1-5 to 0-2 in the final quarter.

Others who caught the eye on the night included goalkeeper Conor McHugh, full-back David McQuillan, a nephew of two-time All-Ireland winning ‘keeper Mickey McQuillan, and centreforward Conor Downey who was the team’s third top scorer with 0-3. "You'd have to fear the worst after conceding a goal so early on but it is better than conceding a goal with the last kick of the game. From our point of view, it was a big positive how our lads reacted to that,” commented

Bobby O'Brien with Louth's Dermot Campbell

manager Barry afterwards. "It was the first round of the championship and you can play all the challenges you like but you never know how things are going to go until the ball is thrown in. "The players have put in a great effort. Ever since the start of trials, and when the panel was cut, they have gelled well together and there is a good spirit in the squad. "In fairness to Louth, we got a run on them after half-time and were able to tag on a few scores. The scoreline probably flattered us a bit because it

71

was even stevens around the middle of the field for a lot of the game but our lads showed great character." He acknowledged that Kildare would represent a step up in class in the quarter-final. " They have a few lads who have played in the first two rounds of the NFL with their seniors. Three years ago, at minor level, they got the better of Dublin after a second replay but were caught cold against Longford.” Meath’s preparations for the Under

21 championship were helped by the co-operation of Mick O’Dowd who excused those eligible from senior training. Midfielder Conor Sheridan from Simonstown was the only Under 21 player who featured in the O’Byrne Cup for instance. Kildare, on the other hand, arrived in Pairc Tailteann armed with exciting prospects such as Niall Kelly, Paddy Brophy, Daniel Flynn and who had been making names for themselves in the early rounds of the Allianz FL Division 1. Barry and the selectors made one


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David McQuillan about to clear his lines against Louth

send the sides in level at the break on change for the quarter-final with restored parity when he found the back Ratoath’s Conor McGill coming in at of their net. a scoreline of 1-4 to 0-7. full-back and Dunboyne’s Cathal Finn Meath’s hopes suffered a fatal blow McGeeney’s side upped the ante losing out. when Padraig Fogarty bagged following the resumption when hitting Four days after the seniors had Kildare’s second goal and there was three unanswered points but Queeney capitulated to Cavan in only one team in it in the third round of the the closing stages. NFL Division 3, it was hoped that the Under The Meath team and 21s could provide substitutes that took on some respite for the Kildare in the Leinster Meath GAA public. Under 21 quarter-final And Meath’s players was: Conor McHugh; fulfilled their end of the Simon Carty, Conor bargain for 45 minutes McGill, David of the game. McQuillan; Brian Points from Queeney Dillon, Brian Moore, (3), McMahon, Cian Neil Shortall; Conor Sheridan, Cian O'Brien O’Brien and Eamon (0-1); Daniel Queeney Wallace parachuted (1-4), Conor Downey, the home side into a 0Shane Barry; Eamon 6 to 0-2 lead but they Wallace (0-2), Bobby were left reeling after O'Brien, Bryan Niall Kelly blasted an McMahon (0-1). Subs unstoppable shot past Fergus Toolan for Conor McHugh in the Shortall, James Toher 25th minute. for Cian O'Brien, Kildare then took the Paddy Fox (0-1) for lead with two Bobby O'Brien, Harry unanswered points Rooney for Sheridan, before Queeney sent Donal Landy for Barry. over his fourth score to Daniel Queeney claims possession against Louth in Pairc Tailteann

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Mickey Newman designed_Layout 1 20/11/2013 16:15 Page 1

MICKEY NEWMAN

NEWMAN AIMING HIGH

M

ickey Newman put Kilmainham on the map this year and Meath supporters will be hoping there’s more to come from the Kells parish club’s most famous son in 2014. Early on in the year, a national publication listed Mickey Newman's home club as Kilmainhamwood. For someone outside the county it was an easy mistake to make but by the time the final whistle had blown in Meath's championship campaign, every GAA journalist worth his or her salt knew the correct name of his home club off by heart. Newman put Kilmainham on the map with a string of eye-catching displays during his debut championship campaign and finished as the competition's joint third top scorer alongside Cork's Daniel Goulding. Only Cavan's Martin Dunne and Cillian O'Connor of Mayo scored more that Newman's individual tally of 1-27. Between championship and league, he finished as the country’s top scorer from dead ball in 2013 with 2-47 and his displays earned an All Star nomination. Not bad for a player who only made his championship debut against Wicklow in Aughrim in June. "To be honest with you, I never really looked at top scorer charts until the championship finished up," Newman revealed. "It was a nice achievement, there was a lot of frees in that total but I was happy to be up there. "I was delighted with how the year went for me on a personal level. I was anxious to get in there and get a start and, thankfully, things worked out well for me. It would have been nice to win a few more games but what can you do?" His unerring accuracy from placed balls plus his ability to send an opponent the wrong way with a cleverly disguised dummy drew comparisons with Royal County great Brian Stafford. Maybe that’s where the confusion over his home club arose! Regardless, taking the frees is a responsibility that rests easily on the 23 year old’s shoulders as he proved time and time again during the course of the Royal County’s league and championship campaigns.

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"It won't be long before you're sitting on the bench if you're not putting the frees over,” he commented matter of factly. “There is an added bit of pressure taking frees but I like the responsibility. I'm comfortable with the role. I try not to let the nerves get the better of me because you can't take frees if you’re nervous. It just won't work." Mickey did, however, admit to being slightly nervous in the build-up to his championship debut against Wicklow which Mick O’Dowd’s charges won on a scoreline of 1-17 to 1-12. The team’s number 15 marked the occasion with five points, four frees and one ‘45’. “I don't usually think too much about nerves but before the Wicklow game I was nervous. It really hit home about an hour before the throw-in. Luckily things went well for the team and we came away with the win.” A 0-18 to 0-13 semi-final victory over Wexford set up a second successive Leinster final showdown against Dublin. “I made sure I took everything in and enjoyed the occasion, tried not to get

caught up in nerves,” Newman said of the build-up to his first Leinster SFC final. “The pre-match parade, the atmosphere, I just wanted to enjoy it, it was a great experience.” Newman certainly wasn’t overawed by the occasion as he found the target with eight points, including two from play, but that wasn’t enough to prevent the team in green and gold from falling to a 0-14 to 2-15 defeat. “We wanted to win that game, we went up to Croke Park in that frame of mind. There were a lot of people saying we did well and put it up to them but we were going in to win that game and putting up a good show was no consolation to us. “And it was definitely a game that we could have won. We matched up to them well, imposed our own game on them and were doing really well. Just a couple of times we got overturned and we didn't take our chances. ”I learnt that this year - if you don't take your chances at this level you get punished. ”A lack of experience was also possibly a factor. Like we had only been together for six to seven months.

Mickey Newman up against Wexford's Lee Chin

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Mickey Newman eyes up another score


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We hadn't played many big games together like that. Maybe that bit of cuteness that Dublin had, and also Tyrone, told in the end.” The curtain came down on Meath’s championship involvement two weeks later when Tyrone inflicted a 0-17 to 29 defeat on them in round 4 of the qualifiers. Mickey signed off with an individual tally of 1-5, the goal arriving via the penalty spot and the points from four frees and a ‘45’. ”I thought we were the better team against Tyrone. We had a poor first half but fought back in the second half. That last 10 minutes was crucial, we failed to take our chances. And, as I said already, they probably showed a bit more experience in the end when we were chasing the game.” Meath will aim to put the harsh lessons they learned in the defeats to Dublin and Tyrone into practice in the New Year when they take the step up to Division 2. They may have made hard work of it but the Kevin Reilly captained side achieved the primary goal of promotion from Division 3 back in April. “It's all about getting yourself up to Division 1 as quick as you can. We played two Division 1 teams - Dublin and Tyrone - and you assess yourself

on how you play against those teams. I thought we were well able to compete with them. ”Promotion wasn't looking likely after the Cavan game (round three) but we were training well and we were training hard, we didn't panic because we knew it was going to come right for us. ”There were a couple of games where we scraped over the line. The Roscommon game was a big one and then Sligo. We managed to pull it out of the bag when it looked as though we were going to get beaten. ”It was great to secure promotion. You need to be playing the top teams to improve. As I said you need to get up to Division 1 as quick as you can. There is a noticeable difference between the Division 1 teams and the rest.” Mickey first came to the attention of Meath gaelic football footballers with the county's minor and U-21 sides. He got called up to the senior squad during Seamus McEnaney’s two year rein but his involvement was frustrated by injury. ”I was in the last two years but kept getting injured. I dropped myself off the panel and went playing Sigerson football with Maynooth. ”I hugely enjoyed my time with Maynooth. I met some great people,

the football was top class. I was playing a high level and it was a great experience.” Currently pursuing a Higher Diploma in Primary School teaching, Mickey is looking forward to what 2014 will bring. He’s fulsome in his praise of the impact of new Royal boss Mick O’Dowd and his backroom team. ”You have to looking at achieving more or less the same as last year. Get out of the league, get up to Division 1 and get back to a Leinster final and go for the All-Ireland. We have to aim high,” he replied to the question: what are the ambitions for next year? ”There's a lot of players who were involved in the panel this year that probably didn't get much game-time but trained very well. There's a lot more lads to come in and push those in the team for their places. It’s exciting times. ”As regards the management, It's a top class set-up. Colm Brady, Trevor Giles and Sean Kelly, they're all brilliant men as well as Micko. It's hard to put your finger on it but every thing they do is completely professional. ”Everything is put in place for you and you're given the platform to play to your potential. And I think it takes the pressure off players to have that backup behind you.”

Mickey expertly slots home the first of his two goals against Drumbaragh in the Tailteann Cup decider at Pairc Tailteann

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CLUB HURLING TEAM OF 2013

CLUB HURLING TEAM OF THE YEAR

T

n

Mark Brenna

his year’s senior, intermediate and junior hurling championships produced some outstanding performances throughout the year and once again we will do our best to put in place what we think were the best fifteen hurlers in 2013.

All of the Minor hurling hurling championships provided some magnificent displays as Kilmessan ended a five-year wait for the Jubilee Cup when defeating an ever improving Longwood team in the county final. At intermediate level, Blackhall Gaels returned to the senior ranks at the expense of a Gaeil Colmcille side that almost performed one of the comebacks of recent times in the final. At junior level, Moylagh finally made their mark in devastating fashion, while the Junior 2 crown was secured once again by a St Patrick’s side that gained revenge for last year’s final defeat.

Pauric Maguire

stature, but he’s big in heart and certainly not lacking determination. Brennan was rock solid for the newly crowned champions and capped a fine year with a good performance in the

Thomas Raleigh

county final. Notable Mentions: Daire Lehart (Kildalkey), Chris Lynch (Longwood).

3. Enda Dixon (Longwood) Goes about his job without any fuss or theatrics, Dixon was Mr Consistency as Longwood reached their first county final since 1961. His physical presence cuts out the threat of many an attack, while he also kept some of the county’s top forwards quiet throughout the year. Notable Mentions: Brian Perry (Killyon), Shane Brennan (Kilmessan). 4. Thomas Raleigh (Killyon) Killyon might not have had the best of seasons as they narrowly avoided a relegation play off, but the form of Raleigh at corner back all year was outstanding. His direct hurling was the launch pad for many of Killyon’s scores. Notable Mentions: Niall Weir (Boardsmill), Anto Donnelly (Kiltale).

5. Stephen Donoghue (Kiltale) Captained his county this year and was very influential for his club as they topped their group winning all their games. A very dependable and experienced player who has shown great bravery on numerous occasions. Notable Mentions: Neil McLoughlin (Boardsmill), Eamonn Regan (Rathmolyon).

1. Mark Brennan (Kilmessan) The Kilmessan captain led by example all year as he produced some outstanding saves, two of which came in the county final at a time when Longwood were in the ascendency. Marshalled his defence very well and looked confident throughout the campaign. Notable Mentions: Shane McGann (Kiltale), Conor Murray (Gaeil Colmcille). 2. Pauric Maguire (Kilmessan) The Kilmessan corner may be small in

Enda Dixon

Stephen Donoghue

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6. Peter Farrell (Kilmessan) Farrell was the first name on the list and was arguably the Meath club

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Hurling Team designed_Layout 1 20/11/2013 16:13 Page 2

Peter Farrell

hurler of the year. Outstanding at centre back as Kilmessan won their 29th senior hurling title. His foraging runs forward were a highlight of the campaign, while defensively he excelled also. Notable Mentions: Maurice Keogh (Kildalkey), Thomas Delany (Blackhall Gaels).

7. Mickey Burke (Longwood) The form of Farrell keeps Burke out of the central position, but there was no doubting the dual player’s form. He is the starting point for most of Longwood’s play. His point in the second half of the semi final win over Kiltale will live long in the memory. Notable Mentions: Darren Dunne (St Peter’s Dunboyne), James Toher

e

Mickey Burk

Eoin Lynch

(Trim).

8. Eoin Lynch (Longwood) Has to be one of the fittest men in Meath hurling. His energy and enthusiasm rubbed off on his colleagues as they marched to the county final. Lynch also popped up with some crucial scores during the campaign. Notable Mentions: Shane Whitty (Blackhall Gaels), Brian Farrelly (St Patrick’s). 9. Darren Reilly (Kilmessan) Came back into the side this year and took over the free taking duties from Nicky Horan with great success. Not only did he get some vital scores during the campaign, but his work rate

Darren Reilly

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helped in both defence and attack. Notable Mentions: Eoghan Harrington (Wolfe Tones), Ger Murphy (St Peter’s Dunboyne).

10. Barry Slevin (Na Fianna) Once again Slevin was the Enfield/Baconstown amalgamation side’s top scorer. Equally unerring from placed balls and from play, Slevin yet again proved that he is one of the most consistent forwards in the county. Notable Mentions: Conor Roche (Gaeil Colmcille), Sean Heavey (Kildalkey). 11. Damien Healy (Longwood) The county star was equally at home in defence and the forwards. Lined out in most games at centre forward, but

Barry Slevin


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y

Damien Heal

would often be seen back helping his defence out in the majority of their games. Healy has a bright future at both club and county level. Notable Mentions: Charlie Keena (Kilmessan), Johnny Meyler (Blackhall Gaels). 12. Steven Clynch (Kilmessan) Injury may have hampered his year and he was only used sparingly by Kilmessan in the championship. However, Meath’s best hurler over the last decade showed his class when introduced and made a telling contribution to their campaign including a crucial goal in the county final. Notable Mentions: Stephen Morris (Blackhall Gaels), Neil Hackett

Ger O’Neill

(St Peter’s Dunboyne).

13. Ger O’Neill (Kilmessan) Having come back from a serious illness, O’Neill was back to his best this year and his experience was vital in the county final win as he dictated the play and his mazy runs caused panic in the Longwood defence. Got some crucial scores also and proved that there’s no substitute for determination. Notable Mentions: Willie McGrath (Moylagh), Eanna Harrington (Wolfe Tones). 14. Mick Cole (Rathmolyon) Is still his club’s main man as he clocked up some impressive scores,

Anthony Heal

y

but none more so than in the match against Drumree when the veteran forward scored SEVEN goals in the one championship game. An amazing feat that is unlikely to be surpassed for some time. Notable Mentions: Sean Geraghty (Kilskyre), Jack Regan (Kiltale). 15. Anthony Healy (Longwood) Healy was outstanding from placed ball in every game, but his display against Kiltale was vintage stuff. Contributed a lot of scores from play also and done an excellent job as Longwood’s target man in the forwards. Notable Mentions: Sean Quigley (St Peter’s Dunboyne), David Harmon (Kildalkey).

Mick Cole

Steven Clynch

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SPECIAL FEATURE

W

UNDER THE TREE AT RALPH’S SPAR

ith three Spar retail stores in Meath, the Ralph family have always been generous supporters of the local GAA scene. The Longwood and St Peter's, Dunboyne clubs can testify to that and the GAA is close to the heart of Fergal Ralph and his family. At the start of every year, all of Meath's 59 football and hurling clubs harbour ambitions of getting their hands on championship silverware. It's the reason why the vast majority of club players put their lives on hold endure endless hours of training and hardship. There is no greater honour than bringing glory to the local town or parish and all the blood, sweat and

tears are generally forgotten about mounting the steps in Pairc Tailteann. Not every team is lucky enough to get its hands on precious silverware but that is the dream and it doesn't differ from club to club. But qualifying for a championship final can be an expensive business. The players have to be togged out in tracksuits, t-shirts, bags and so on while after-match meals don't come cheap. The local town, or village, has to be decorated in bunting and flags so, all in all, it takes its toll on a club's hardpressed finances. That's where local businesses like Ralphs Spar enter the equation. In this year's senior hurling programme, Ralph's was one of the local

businesses thanked by Longwood GAA for helping meet the cost of competing in the Jubilee Cup final. The Ralph family is synonymous with the Spar brand ever since Gerard Ralph opened the first Spar store in Ireland, in Artane to be exact, back in 1963. Celebrating 50 years of a mutually beneficial partnership this year, today Gerard's sons, Ger and Fergal, oversee the smooth running of the family business which includes seven retail outlets while a third son, Declan, is a director with BWG Foods who own and operate the Spar brand in Ireland. Combined, the Ralph family's stores provide gainful employment to a total of 110 and they have never been shy when it comes to putting their hand in

Fergal and the Ralph family are generous supporters of the GAA

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C

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The Ralph family - Fergal, Gerard, Patricia, Ger & Declan

CoĐžs f  SPAR I Tm to G, Pata   R  50 s U  Te  SPAR.


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their pocket to support local GAA teams. This year, for instance, Ralph's Eurospar also sponsored St Peter's, Dunboyne's annual kids' minileagues. The Dunboyne store opened as a Spar store in 1997 and converted to a Eurospar outlet in 2005. “Unfortunately the senior hurling final didn't go according to plan for Longwood but it was a great achievement to get that far,” commented Fergal. “We like to be actively involved with our local clubs because they do great work in their communities.” The local communities are also benefitting from the top class service on offer in Ralph's Spar retail units which are committed to bringing its customers fresh, quality products daily at great prices. Spar is one of Ireland’s largest retail food store chains with over 450 high quality,

Fergal Ralph - “We’re always running special offers within the different sections of the stores”

Fergal Ralph outside the family’s Eurospar store in Dunboyne

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a friendly welcome always awaits customers at Ralph’s spar stores

not are compelled to rhyme off the well known slogan ‘under the tree at Spar. This slogan embodies what Spar, and their Ralph run stores, stands for ... all you need, when you need it, under the tree at Spar.

conveniently located outlets covering three differing retail formats. Spar, Spar Express and Eurospar retailers service the different types of consumer needs, from food to enjoy for breakfast or lunch, regular top up shopping across a broad range of great value essentials or weekly shopping across a full range of fantastic fresh products. Stores offer great value including an extensive range of quality Spar own brand products. “We always like to take an hands-on approach, we like to keep changing and moving with the times,” Fergal replied when asked what are the secrets of the success of the family's run outlets. “We're alway running special offers within the different sections of the stores while there is a big emphasis on fresh produce in our bakery and cold deli sections.” The Ralph family run stores were rewarded with the prestigious five-star awards at this years Spar annual awards ceremony. The awards are run by the aforementioned BWG Foods in association with the Excellence Ireland Quality Association. The highlight of the Spar calendar, they recognise stores that excel across several areas of store performance and the Ralph family are no strangers to success in the scheme. It is a rolling scheme which means participants are required to undergo rigorous year-long assessments, involving unannounced audits and mystery shoppers from both EIQA and Spar. Although born in Dublin, Fergal lives and work in Meath and he follows the fortunes of the Meath senior football team while his daughter Katie played football with the local Ratoath club. Dad Gerard, meanwhile, is a native of Ratoath and never misses a Royal County game. Gerard has retired from the family business but, as Fergal says, he 'dips his toes in the water every now and again and is always available with a few words of advice'. Anytime there is mention of Spar, people more often than

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Continued Best Wishes & Good Health To John, Brigid & Family From

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SPECIAL FEATURE

G

SUPPORTING FROM AFAR

AA clubs across the country have suffered greatly due to mass exodus of people leaving Ireland in search of work and a better life. Thousands have left these isles for greener pastures, with Australia and Canada being the main destinations for our youngsters.

It is a sad time to see so many leave Ireland, but to be fair many have little choice but to head abroad. Every GAA club in the country has suffered due to this, some to the extent that they were unable to field adult teams in 2013. The diaspora all grew up in the Celtic Tiger era and witnessed a time when money and jobs were plentiful. However, the generation before the current crop headed off remember the last recession in Ireland. The 1980’s were a tough time for Irish people, debts may not have been as big as they are now, but it was a mirror image of today’s society as thousands left the country that time also. Those years, America was the preferred destination as the land of hope and dreams was to give young Irish people the kind of lives that they could only dream of at home. Another significant difference between now and then is that in the eighties, many of who left the country never returned on a permanent basis. One of these was Meath man John Farrell, who at just 19 years of age, packed his bag and along with two friends headed to home from home Boston, Massachusetts. The year was 1984 and John settled down in the U.S where he met his wife and Kerry native Brigid. Together, they raised two girls Aishling (23) and Catherine (20) and John now runs his own business Millbrook Plastering. Before he had left Ireland, John played football for the St Brigid’s

John Farrell hands over the silverware to Aidan McAnespies Junior B captain Eoin McCusker in 2011

club in Ballinacree and despite being over 3,000 miles away from home, Gaelic football was to play a very big part of his life and still does to this day. For this year’s edition of the Royal County Yearbook, we speak to John about life in Boston and he tells us about his dedication to promoting Gaelic football stateside. Firstly, John reveals that his reason for emigrating was one more of intrigue than necessity. “I had a job at home before I left, but I wanted to travel and America seem to be the place to be, so myself and two other lads headed over. The majority of people that went

John presents the 2013 Sheehan Cup to Tipperary’s Cronin Dempsey

87

over that time, settled down here and I was no different. Work was plentiful, and I joined the Kerry football club here and played with them for a few years,” said John. Football was in his blood, especially on his mother’s side as her father (John’s Grandfather) was Thomas Crosbie, a founding member of the Drumbaragh GAA club and for many years later was a regular collecting at the gate of Gaeil Colmcille’s pitch in Kells. John, who is a native of Millbrook Oldcastle and Johnny Guirk from Moylough, established the Aidan McAnespies club in 1995. The McAnespies would become one of the most successful clubs in Boston during the intervening years working their way up from winning junior titles to being crowned senior champions on numerous occasions. “We set up the club in 1995 and in 1997 we won the junior but lost the senior. A year later we won the senior here and the North American championships. We had a few lean years before the club won a good few championship in the ‘00s including a three-in-a-row.” John was chairman of the club between 2005 and 2009 during which time, they won four SFC titles and then he became chairman of the North East Divisional Board and then chairman of the Boston Board. “There are 24 clubs in Boston and all would have a big turnover of players on an annual basis as many of their players would be students coming out for the summer on J1’s, but Gaelic football is certainly growing out here and there are a lot of home grown players on the scene. Some of the junior clubs teams would consist of second generation Irish.” John added that Gaelic football was growing in other parts of the States as well and not just in the stronghold cities like New York, Boston, Chicago and San


john farrell designed_Layout 1 25/11/2013 12:00 Page 3

Francisco. “The sport is certainly growing in places like Dallas, Houston, St Louis and Buffalo where there has been clubs established in all these places over the last few years. The reason for this is that there are more professionals coming out from Ireland. What I mean by that is you would have your accountants, solicitors, doctors and so on all getting work in these places. Whereas before this, the majority of people coming over were involved in the building trade and they would have come to places like New York and Boston where they were guaranteed work.” Two thousand and fourteen is a big year for the Boston Board as the AllStars once again head Stateside, while the North American finals will also be held there next year. “We have a lot going on in 2014. It is a great honour to have the All-Stars back here and we look forward to welcoming them once again. We also have the North American finals on and that is a big occasion as well. Teams from all over the country will come to the city for the finals, which will be played over the course of the weekend.”

The Aidan McAnespies senior side

A proud Meath man, John continues to follow the fortunes of the Royals very closely and indeed the club scene in the county as well. “I was home for the All-Ireland football final this year and I would always be logging on to LMFM to listen to club games and hearing the results from over there. “There have been a lot of footballers from Meath out here in Boston playing with the McAnespies club. We’ve had county players such as Kevin Reilly, Caoimhin King, Peadar Byrne, Donncha Tobin and Daithi Regan, while others from Meath that have

been here include Denis Kealy, Mickey Rennicks, Nigel Regan, Gavin and Benny Murphy, Ronan Farrelly, Paddy Coakley, Brian Perry, Padraig Geoghegan, Rory Maguire, David Donegan, Declan Traynor and Alan Nestor. I’ve probably left one or two out, but there has been a lot. “Meath had a good run this year and hopefully they can build on that. Mick O’Dowd seems to be doing a good job and it will take time to get back where many feel we should be, but hopefully it will happen sooner rather than later.”

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patrick coyle designed_Layout 1 23/11/2013 12:26 Page 1

SPECIAL FEATURE

C

REF ON THE RISE

urraha’s Patrick Coyle has his sights set on becoming Meath’s latest inter-county football referee after a successful 2013 that saw him handle his first senior championship game and take charge of the JFC ‘B’ final between Boardsmill and Moynalty. Aged just 21, Patrick is one of the youngest referees in the county and would appear to have a bright future ahead of him. Hailing from a family steeped in the GAA – his father Pat managed Meath to a Leinster MFC success in 2008 – Patrick played for Curraha up until four years ago when he took up the whistle and set out on the road to what he hopes will lead to him officiating at the highest level in the coming years. He recently took his first steps towards becoming an inter-county referee by attending a course given by the Leinster Council in Portlaoise and,

while it’s still early days, the young assistant manager of the Snailbox Bar and Restaurant near Ashbourne is very clear in what he wants to achieve from refereeing. “My goal is to get into inter-county refereeing and to referee in Croke Park someday,” he explains. “I aspire to be like David Coldrick, Cormac Reilly and David Gough who are among the top referees in the country at present. David Coldrick has refereed a couple of All-Ireland finals and Cormac did this year’s All-Ireland semi-final between Dublin and Kerry, which was one of the greatest games of football ever played. “Cormac has always given me great encouragement and advice, while it was a huge experience to act as a linesman for David in the 2011 and 2012 Meath SFC finals. I also use the same umpires as David, so I’m learning a lot from them as well.” Patrick started life as a referee in

Up-and-coming referee Patrick Coyle

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2009 when he officiated at the U12 Go Games in Ardcath and subsequently attended a course given by referees’ coordinators Jimmy Henry and Joe Harten. Fittingly, his first adult game – the 2009 junior ‘B’ championship meeting of Kilbride and Donaghmore/Ashbourne – was played in his local pitch of Curraha. The games have been coming thick and fast for Coyle ever since. He took charge of the ‘B’ league Division 3 finals in 2011 and was the man in the middle for last year’s U21 ‘B’ final. His assignments this year included last April’s SFC clash between Seneschalstown and Moynalvey, the JFC semi-final between Kilmainham and Dunboyne, the JFC ‘B’ final and a Feis Cup quarter-final. He was also linesman for the JFC final replay between Drumbaragh and Kilmainham. Patrick was delighted with how things went for him in October’s JFC ‘B’ final,


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Patrick’s first SFC game was last April’s encounter between Moynalvey and Summerhill. He is pictured keeping up with Moynalvey’s Pauric Harnan and Summerhill’s Robert Ruddy

which saw Boardsmill edge out Moynalty by 1-13 to 2-9 thanks to a late goal from super-sub Cathal Flattery. “It couldn’t have gone much better to be honest with you,” he says. “Given what was at stake and the fact that it was played at Pairc Tailteann as a curtain-raiser to the senior final, it was the biggest game I’ve handled to

date. Thankfully, things went very well and we had a good game of football. Before then, my biggest game had been the SFC encounter between Seneschalstown and Moynalvey in Trim, which took place just a few days after I celebrated my 21st birthday.” Coyle’s four umpires for the JFC ‘B final were Mickey Kelly (Curraha), Seamus McCormack (Walterstown),

James Matthews (Cortown) and Stephen O’Hare (Syddan). The same quartet also umpire for David Coldrick, with McCormack having been one of the top match officials in the country back in the 1990s. Martin Fox (Ardcath) and Peter Gaye (Curraha) also regularly umpire for Coyle, whose umpires have also included his father Pat, brother Gavin, Tony Dowling and Declan McCann (all Curraha). Often referred to as the most thankless task in the GAA, refereeing is something which Patrick has grown to love. “When I first started, some people may have been patronising towards me because of my age, but I’ve learned to grow a thick skin and I’d like to think that I’m treated with the same respect as any other referee at this stage. I won’t tolerate any nonsense and I make that perfectly clear to the two captains before every game.” Patrick notes how his refereeing career might never have happened but for the help and support he received from his mother, Deirdre. “I would like to take this opportunity to thank her for everything she has done for me. As well as washing my gear and umpire’s jackets, she used to drive me all over the county to games before I got my own car,” he adds. The GAA has been part of Coyle’s life

The Curraha team that faced O’Mahonys in this year’s JFC in Dunsany. Front, l/r: David Coyle, Niall Moriarty, Seamus Hogan, Brian Cosgrove, Gavin Coyle, Danny Battersby, Neil O’Dowd, Neil Shorthall. Back, l/r: Simon McDermott, Sean Prenderville, Loughlin Keogh, Conor McCann, Kevin Mallon, Sean O’Hanrahan, Liam Hogan, Andrew Coyle, Gary Dowling, Robbie Heatherton, PJ McMahon, Mark Jackson

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season, which runs from October to March, the Hunt meets twice a week, mainly on Tuesdays and Fridays. Pat has managed both the Meath minor and junior teams, and was considered for the Meath senior post before it went to Mick O’Dowd last year. He led Curraha to a JFC semi-final appearance two years ago and was in charge of the Skryne team that was defeated by Wolfe Tones in this year’s Meath SFC quarter-final. Patrick’s uncles on his mother’s side, Eddie, Derek, Vincent, Thomas and Brendan Battersby, all played for Curraha and Skyrne. Eddie is currently chairman of the Garristown GAA club in north Co. Dublin, while Brendan is proprietor of Whyte’s Pub and Restaurant in Stamullen, which is the main sponsor to the local St. Patrick’s GAA club. As already mentioned, Patrick is assistant manager of the Snail Box Bar and Restaurant. The Snail Box manager is Stephen Byrne, while Philip Foster is the owner and Shauna Foster (Patrick’s girlfriend) is the function manager. Situated just 15 minutes from the M50 with panoramic views of counties Meath, Dublin and Louth, and the Cooley Peninsula, you can take it all in over a delicious meal or a relaxing drink. Employing 40 staff, the Snail Box boasts a large function room and bar, restaurant, ample car and coach parking facilities and free Wi Fi access. The well-known Kilmoon establishment also offers bed and breakfast and live entertainment every weekend. In conclusion, Patrick says: “I’m very fortunate to work for a big GAA fan like Philip Foster who has always been very accommodating when it comes to giving me time off to referee games.”

Pat Coyle boasts an impressive managerial CV

for as long as he can remember. His father Pat has long been recognised as one of the leading football managers in Meath, while his mother is a member of the Battersby family, which is synonymous with Curraha and Skyrne GAA. Patrick’s four brothers, Gavin (24), David (22), Andrew (17) and Joseph (11) have all worn the Curraha colours, while his 19-year-old sister Jennifer is an accomplished Irish dancer. A native of Two Mile House, Co. Kildare, Pat moved to Curraha when he was 16 to work with his uncle Eamon Dunphy (not to be mistaken with the soccer pundit!). Since the early 1980s, he has been Huntsman of the Ward Union Hunt, which takes its name from the hamlet and river called the Ward in the parish of Finglas and a roadside hotel called The Union, which had been in business when the Hunt was established in 1854. The Hunt has a membership of about 250 and boasts 60 staghounds as well as 100 stags. Based in Dunshaughlin, the Ward Union Hunt is a member of the Hunting Association of Ireland in conjunction with the Irish Master of Foxhounds and the Irish Foot Harriers Association. During the hunting

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Handball designed_Layout 1 26/11/2013 10:44 Page 1

HANDBALL

A

MR. HANDBALL

decade ago Tom Sheridan was contemplating his future and wondering if he would continue to play competitive handball. It was understandable. After all, he was 35 and there were a lot of miles on the clock. “I was considering packing it in this year,” he said in an interview for the 2003 edition of Royal County. “I just felt that I had enough of it. I have a few injuries to ankles and knees and I feel it in the morning after training or playing when I’m coming down the stairs.” That had been a year to remember with immense pride for the Kells player. He had been regarded as an outstanding doubles player for a long, long time but in 2003 he demonstrated that he could play a good game of singles handball as well as he claimed

Evan and Dylan Sheridan after winning the All-Ireland schools final with Leinster chairman John Kelly on hand

After their All-Ireland senior doubles win, Tom Sheridan and Brian Carroll

the All-Ireland 60 x 30 Senior Softball Championship title, beating his friend and doubles partner Walter O’Connor in the final at Croke Park. Sheridan thus became the first player from the Kells club to win an All-Ireland title at senior softball level. For two players who soldiered so loyally together as a brilliant doubles partnership that singles final must have felt surreal but a matter of days later they were back in the Croke Park alley winning yet another national doubles crown together. It came as no surprise that Sheridan didn’t call it a day in 2003, though he must have been tempted to sign off on such a high note. He did

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finally announce his retirement nine years later at a stage when he had won 74 All-Ireland titles and a couple of World Championships as well. The tributes flowed for a man who had dedicated so much of his life to a game he started playing as a young child in the Kells club close to his home. He had won his first All-Ireland Championship when he was about 10 and for over three decades he kept up a relentless schedule of training, playing and winning. “Tom’s dedication and his will to win helped to make him such a great player,” was the tribute paid by fellow Kells clubman and team mate Carl Browne in last year’s Royal County. “He was always hungry for success and was so determined. He was never beaten. The bigger the challenge the more he liked it. He could always rise to the occasion. I must say he has the


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best handball brain I have ever come across. He’s a genius.” At that stage Sheridan would have been fully justified in purchasing a new pair of slippers, taking up pipe smoking and retiring to a comfortable place close to a warm fire. Not a bit of it. Handball must be addictive for certain people, Sheridan among them, and he was still playing in 2013 – and winning. The highlight of the amazing veteran’s year came in September when he teamed up with Brian Carroll to win the AllIreland 60 x 30 Senior Doubles Championship. The Kells duo qualified for the decider with a 2114, 21-9 victory over Westmeath’s Robbie McCarthy and John O’Shaughnessy in a semi-final at Broadfort, County Limerick. And on the day that mattered most at the same venue Sheridan and Carroll battled their way to a thrilling 16-21, 21-17, 21-16 win over Mayo’s Joe McCann and Dessie Keegan in the final. This was an epic contest which lasted approximately three hours and a large contingent of supporters travelled from Kells to witness the victory. Sheridan had earlier teamed up with John Leahy to claim the All-Ireland Masters A Doubles Championship title with a 21-9, 21-2 win over Tipperary duo Pat O’Flaherty and John McQuaid in the final at Garryhill. “Brian and Carl Browne played doubles together in the earlier part of the year but it didn’t work out,” Sheridan explained. “Brian asked me if I would come back. I felt rejuvenated after the break and decided to give it another go. I didn’t play in the 40 x

Laura Farrelly, Emily Sheridan-Fox, Johnny McGovern and Daniel Farrelly from the Kells club

Peter Reilly pictured after winning the All-Ireland junior singles with his father Robert

Eugene Reilly, Joe Lynch, Michael Gaynor and John Leahy

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20 alley which is a much tougher game. It’s a lot harder on the joints, particularly the knees. You are moving much faster. “I didn’t start back until later in the year. I played a lot of singles matches in training with Robbie McCarthy and I felt I was moving well. Robbie trains in Kells on a regular basis. My fitness felt good as time went on. “It was great to win the All-Ireland with Brian. It was a tough final against Joe McCann and Dessie Keegan in Broadford. I have been lucky because I have always had very good doubles partners, going back to James McGovern and Walter O’Connor. Brian is a flyer around the alley. He is the fastest player in the country. He covers so much ground. That was a big help to me.” Sheridan, one of the most successful doubles players in the history of the game, is now 45, so does he think it’s time to finally, finally call it a day or will he continue to play beyond 2013? “I have made no decision yet,” was his reply. Another doubles partnership from the Kells club maintained their winning habit during the past year. Christy McGovern and John ‘Boy’ Molloy clinched the All-Ireland Golden Masters Doubles 40 x 20 Championship title when they defeated Antrim’s Thomas Maguire and Tony Caddell 11-21, 21-6, 21-9 in the final at Kingscourt. They had advanced to the decider when getting the better of Ger Walsh and Dermot Doolin of Roscommon at the penultimate hurdle before their loyal supporters in Kells. McGovern and Molloy


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later went on to complete a highly at Broadford, County Limerick, is significant double when they won anything to go by. Patrick the All-Ireland Golden Masters 60 Browne, Joe Stewart, Kyle x 30 Doubles Championship Cussen, Callum Morgan and crown thanks to a 21-16, 21-5 Daniel Farrelly teamed up to victory of Tipperary pairing Jimmy achieve this notable victory. and Kevin Mullins in the final at They got the better of teams Crinkle. from Limerick and Kilkenny Peter Reilly enjoyed a big during the group stages of the success back in April when he tournament and then defeated a claimed the All-Ireland Junior team from Laois in impressive Singles Championship. Reilly got fashion at the semi-final stage. the better of Roscommon’s The Feile title was clinched Darren Beattie at the semi-final when they scored a comfortable stage and completed the job win over hosts Broadford in the when beating John Casey of Cork final. The All-Ireland Feile winners with the runners-up, Limerick at the front. Back, l/r: Joe Stewart, Callum Morgan, Patrick on a 21-20, 21-12 score line in the Evan and Dylan Sheridan are Browne, Kyle Cussen, Daniel Farrelly final at Cashel. clearly a young doubles Earlier in the season Reilly had partnership with rich potential. claimed the Leinster junior title They did extremely well to reach when he defeated Peter Flanagan an All-Ireland final this year and 21-18, 21-18 in an all-Kells final in while they didn’t manage to their home alley. achieve outright success they The handball year had started are sure to have learned much on a high note for Daniel Farrelly from the experience. and Emily Sheridan-Fox from the Back in the spring the Kells inter club champions and national team of the year, Kells club when they won the The All-Ireland youngsters were beaten by l/r: Gary McConnell, Brian Carroll, Tom Sheridan, Anthony McConnell, Christy McGovern under-13 section of the Gael Linn highly talented Clare duo Colin Leinster Championship In Leixlip. Crehan and Barry Nash 21-18, and Darragh O’Shea in the final at The 11 year olds played no fewer than 16-21, 18-21 in the 40 x 20 final at the Crinkle on the Friday night, before six matches in one day, culminating in O’Loughlin’s club in Kilkenny clinching the national title the following an impressive final victory over The Kells’ partnership of Evan day at Kingscourt. opponents from Kilkenny. Sheridan and Robert Fox also suffered They took a giant step on the road to Kells cousins Evan and Dylan a reversal in the national 60 x 30 minor outright success when defeating Sheridan scored a memorable win in decider at Broadford later in the year Monaghan duo Ramunas the All-Ireland Colleges’ Intermediate when going under to Michael Hedigan Ramanauskas and Conall McKenna 40 x 20 Doubles Championship. and Daniel Relihan from Cork on a 1214-15, 15-3, 15-0 in the All-Ireland Representing St Ciaran’s CS, Kells, 21, 14-21 score line. The good news is semi-final and were crowned national they had claimed the Leinster title with that they are again eligible for this champions thanks to a 15-3, 15-8 win a 15-0, 15-1 victory over Emmet Landy grade next year. over Galway’s Connor Noone and Eanna Kelleghan in the decider. Meath players won nine Leinster Championship medals in the space of a week during March. Evan and Dylan Sheridan were victorious in the minor doubles, Christy McGovern and John ‘Boy’ Molloy claimed the Golden Masters doubles crown, Sarah McGillick and Emily Sheridan-Fox triumphed at under-12 doubles level and there were also outright victories for Joe Stewart and Patrick Browne in doubles and Robert Fox in singles. The future of the game of handball in the county looks bright if the at s Gael Linn champion Daniel Farre champion cousins, land masters y lly and Emily success of the Kells team in the Feile Double All-Ire 60x30, John Boy Mollo Sher d 40x20 an McGovern and Christy

idan-Fox

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gordon elliott designed_Layout 1 25/11/2013 11:53 Page 1

SPECIAL FEATURE

ELLIOTT ON THE DOUBLE

G

Gordon Elliott has firmly established himself as one of the country’s leading horse trainers

aelic games and National Hunt Racing share a special place in the hearts of Irish sports fans. Meath boasts a proud tradition in both and trainer Gordon Elliott is flying the green and gold flag high at home and across the water in England. Well-known horse trainer Gordon Elliott enjoyed a double on the local GAA club scene this year with his native Summerhill and Kilmessan first past the post in the Keegan Cup and Jubilee Cup races respectively. Elliott was in Pairc Tailteann to cheer on the 'Hill as they produced a strong finish to see off south Meath neighbours Na Fianna by 1-13 to 1-10 and get their hands on the coveted silverware for a seventh time in their distinguished history. A fortnight earlier, he was delighted to

see Kilmessan reclaim the Jubilee Cup after a four year absence when they edged out Longwood – seeking a first senior hurling success since 1936 – on a scoreline of 2-16 to 0-11. Elliot's Cullentra House Stables are actually located in Longwood but he explained: “I'd be very friendly with a lot of the Kilmessan lads so I was shouting for them in the final. Against anyone else I would have been happy to see Longwood win.” In 2011, Gordon bought his own farm at Cullentra House and has since developed it into a top class training establishment. The facilities are second to none and the quiet and picturesque surroundings make it an ideal setting for training horses. As is the case every year, all roads lead to Cheltenham in March and Elliott has plenty of ammunition to work

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with. “We have a nice yard this season with 70 horses in training. We have set out our targets for the year and with a nice bunch of horses we'd be hoping to do well.” The King George VI Chase at Kempton has, for instance, been earmarked as Mount Benbulben's first major target of the jumps campaign. The eight-year-old was a widemargin winner of a Grade One event at Punchestown on his final start last season, his third win in nine starts over fences. Elliott and his yard – which employs 15 – enjoyed a profitable 2012/'13 season and finished second overall, behind Willie Mullins, on the Top Trainer National Hunt list with a return of 54 winners from 329 runners At the time of writing, he has saddled 31 winners from 215 winners in the


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current jumps campaign on home soil and 14 across the water. Other notable scalps this calendar year includes Roi Du Mee (Imperial Call Chase and Bobbyjo Chase), Realt Mor (Powers Gold Cup), Mala Beach (Coomore N.H. Sires Fame and Glory & Sans Frontieres Novice Hurdle), Flaxen Flare (Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle) and Chicago Grey (Red Mills Chase). Remarkably, given his success to date, it will come as a surprise to some to learn that Elliott hails from a

Summerhill players celebrate’s their Keegan Cup success

completely non-equine background; his father a mechanic and his mother a house-wife. His career in racing began as an amateur jockey and he learned his trade from fellow Meath man Tony Martin and the legendary Martin Pipe. Despite enjoying much success in the saddle, training was always Gordon’s long-term aim. In the latter years of his riding career he began training a few point to pointers, in 2006 he took out his trainers’ license. A year later, at the tender age of 29,

Best Wishes & Continued Success To Gordan Elliott From

he became the youngest ever trainer of the most famous steeplechase in the world when the 33/1 outsider Silver Birch, under jockey Robbie Power, won the Aintree Grand National. Remarkably, at the time of that win Gordon had yet to train a winner in Ireland but he has since proved that it was no flash in the pan and his midas touch has seen him accumulate hundreds of winners in Ireland and England, graded and flat races, Cheltenham, Aintree, Galway and Punchestown festival winners. He also showed that he knows a thing or two about the flat game when Dirar landed Europe's richest flat handicap, the Ebor, in 2008. And the move from Capranny Stables to Cullentra House has enabled Gordon and his team to up the ante considerably. All the facilities at Cullentra House Stables have been purpose built so are of the highest quality and have been designed to maximise efficiency and productivity. The stables have been constructed with an emphasis on ventilation to promote health and comfort for the horses and the operation has two purpose built gallops; a 4 furlong circular Wexford sand gallop and an extended 6 furlong woodchip straight gallop on an incline.

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DEBEM HIRE

There is also an all-weather schooling strip with 3 Easyfix hurdles and 3 Easyfix fences and, in addition, they have schooling fences on grass. Meanwhile, on the local GAA scene, Gordon lauded Summerhill's achievement in claiming their second outright Keegan Cup triumph in the space of three years. By his own admission, he never set the gaelic football fields alight as a youngster but he's delighted to see his former club back in the winners enclosure. “It's great to see Summerhil going so well. There's a lot of people putting in a lot of hard work and it's good to seem them getting their rewards. I played underage with Summerhill but that was a long time ago!” As regards the county team, he's hopeful that Mick O'Dowd and his team can build on this year's displays in 2014. “Meath did okay this year but I'd be hoping they can improve on that next year.” Now firmly established as one of the country's leading horse trainers, Gordon is already well on the way to another lucrative season. It has also been a year to remember for him from a GAA point of view.

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Gordon and jockey Davy Condon in good form following Realt Mor’s success in the Powers Gold Cup at Fairyhouse

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Football Team designed_Layout 1 23/11/2013 11:23 Page 1

CLUB FOOBALL TEAM OF 2013

CLUB FOOTBALL TEAM OF THE YEAR

T

ty

Shane Geragh

here were no shortage of top class individual displays on the local club scene this year.

Summerhill landed a seventh Keegan Cup success while Gaeil Colmcille and Drumbaragh inscribed their names on the Intermediate and Junior football roll of honour respectively. Na Fianna forward Shane Barrett's 54 against Moynalvey in the hoganstand.com SFC quarter-final grabbed the headlines while Conor Gillespie was a deserving recipient of the 'man-of-the-match' award in the county final. Across all the grades, there were a number of performances that caught the eye and we select our 2013 Football Team of the Year. 1. Shane Geraghty (Na Fianna) The Na Fianna number one has proven himself to be a goalkeeper of the highest calibre over a number of years now. He enjoyed a great year between the posts and helped lay a solid foundation on which the Enfield/Baconstown built their runs to championship, league and Feis Cup finals. Honorable mentions: Kevin Jordan (Kilmainham), Justin Carry-Lynch (Gaeil Colmcille)

2. Stephen O'Brien (Ratoath) O'Brien and his Ratoath team-mates flattered to deceive when falling to a shock IFC quarter-final defeat to eventual winners Gaeil Colmcille but

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Stephen O’Brien

they steamrolled their way to FL Division 3 honours and should be a force to be reckoned with for many years to come. Captain O'Brien was a model of consistency in the full-back

Peter Carry

Padhraig Geraghty

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Caolan Youn

g

line. Honorable mentions: Ross Mooney (Kilmainham), John Baldwin (Na Fianna)

3. Caolan Young (Summerhill) Young has been one of the top defenders on the club scene for quite a few years now and his performances were rewarded with promotion to the county squad this year. He did his chances of getting a couple of more run outs in the green and gold jersey no harm at all in the 'Hill's successful championship campaign. Honorable mentions: Kevin Reilly (Navan O'Mahonys), James Macken (Rathkenny)

4. Peter Carry (Drumbaragh) Was asked to fill the void created by the absence of the injured Brian Forde and he was outstanding as Drumbaragh secured the local bragging rights following their replayed JFC final victory over parish neighbours Kilmainham and Tailteann Cup success. Honorable mentions: Johnny Quigley (Gaeil Colmcille), Willie Lyons (Summerhill) 5. Padhraig Geraghty (Summerhill) The young 'Hill defender produced a string of top notch displays as the Keegan Cup winners went six games undefeated after losing their opening two rounds to Skryne and Rathkenny. He will be a mainstay of the Summerhill defence for many years to


Football Team designed_Layout 1 23/11/2013 11:23 Page 2

Donal Keogan

come. Honorable mentions: Dara O Griofa (Clann na nGael), Stephen Reddy (Gaeil Colmcille)

6. Donal Keogan (Rathkenny) Keogan and Rathkenny were left empty-handed following their semifinal defeat to eventual winners Summerhill but no fault could be placed at the door of the county defender who was a revelation all year for in the number six jersey. He beats off stiff competition from Na Fianna captain Michael Foley. Honorable mentions: Michael Foley (Na Fianna), Eoghan Harrington (Wolfe Tones) 7. Dean Henrick (Na Fianna) Henrick provided the platform for many a Na Fianna attack and often popped

Ollie Lewis

up at the other end of the field to finish off a move. He scored two points in the Keegan Cup final defeat to Summerhill. Honorable mentions: Darren Brennan (Moynalvey), Stephen Husband (Summerhill)

8. Ollie Lewis (Na Fianna) It was a close call between Lewis and his club-mate Jamie Queeney. Few midfield partnerships got the better of the pair during the course of the year and they both played instrumental roles in Na Fianna's march to the county final. Honourable mentions: Jamie Queeney (Na Fianna), Padraic Harnan (Moynalvey) 9. Conor Gillespie When Summerhill's back was against

Conor Gillespie

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Dean Henric

k

the wall in the second half of the Keegan Cup decider, the county man stood up and was counted. He was a unanimous winner of the 'man-of-thematch' accolade. He also caught the eye on the intercounty stage in 2013. Honorable mentions: Brian Meade (Rathkenny), Micheal Byrne (Summerhill)

10. David Larkin (Summerhill) County panelist Larkin was full of industry as the 'Hill captured their second SFC title in the space of three years. His goal after 35 seconds of the SFC final may have been of the 'sloppy' variety but it put his team on the forward foot and he produced the goods on a consistent basis. Honorable mentions: Mark O'Sullivan (Moynalvey), Eamon Wallace (Ratoath)

David Larkin


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Stephen Bray

11. Stephen Bray (Navan O'Mahonys) The 2007 All Star lined out at centreforward in the FL Division 1 final win over St Peter's, Dunboyne and helped himself to 1-2. He followed that up with 1-4, 1-2 from general play, in the 2-12 to 1-11 Feis Cup final victory over Na Fianna. Honorable mentions: Kevin Ross (Castletown), Brian Ennis (Summerhill)

12. Shane Gillespie (Navan O'Mahonys) The Brews Hill outfit failed in their number one objective of retaining the Keegan Cup but they gained plenty of consolation in the form of the FL Division 1 and Feis Cup titles. 'Man-ofthe-match' in the 2012 county final, Gillespie continued this year where he left off and there are not too many defenders who will recall marking him

Shane Gillespie

with any fondness. Honorable mentions: Darragh McNamara (Drumbaragh), Adrian Kenny (Summerhill)

13. Shane Barrett (Na Fianna) The former League of Ireland soccer player scored a remarkable 5-4 as last year's Intermediate champions romped to a 7-10 to 2-10 quarter-final victory over Moynalvey. He followed that up with 1-4 in the last four success at the expense of Wolfe Tones. If he were a few years younger, the 31 year old could expect a call from Mick O'Dowd. Honorable mentions: Cathal O'Dwyer (Dunshaughlin), David Geaney (Dunboyne) 14. Mickey Newman (Kilmainham) Newman caught the eye on his debut year with the county senior team which

Shane Barre

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earned him an All Star nomination and he continued to lead from the front for Kilmainham. They may have come up short in their bid to win the JFC title against their parish rivals but Newman was at the forefront of their quest for honours. Honorable mentions: James Connolly (Drumbaragh), Donal Curtis (Rathkenny)

15. Seamus Mattimoe (Gaeil Colmcille) Mattimoe raised seven white flags four from play - in the 13-point IFC final win over Clann na nGael and supporters of the Kells club will be hoping he can replicate that form when they make the step up to senior next year. Honorable mentions: Brian Hanlon (Gaeil Colmcille), Dalton McDonagh (Na Fianna)

Seamus Mat

an

Mickey Newm

timoe

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LORETO GIRLS DO SCHOOL PROUD ST. MICHAEL’S LORETO, NAVAN

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t Michael's Loreto just came up short in their bid for AllIreland Post Primary Schools Junior C honours but the Navan girls did their school and clubs proud in reaching the AllIreland decider. Christ the King of Cork proved to be one step too far for Loreto in the national final at Nowlan Park as the Meath outfit finished on the wrong end of the 4-8 to 4-4 scoreline. It wasn't the ending they had hoped for but the Aisling Cassidy captained side can look back on an eventful year which saw them crowned Leinster champions. They opened their campaign with a 4-9 to 2-2 victory over Malahide CS and qualified for the provincial decider against Scoil Criost Ri courtesy of wins over Holy Faith, Clontarf, Castleknock CS and Mount Anville. They got their hands on the provincial silverware following a hard-earned 313 to 3-8 final victory over Scoil Criost Ri and booked their All-Ireland final ticket with a convincing 6-14 to 1-6 semi-final success over Carrick-onShannon. A large and colorful support made the trip to Kilkenny to cheer on the team in maroon and white and they certainly made their voices heard. The team responded to the encouragement from the sidelines

and, despite playing against the elements, shaded the first half exchanges. The mood in the dressing room at half-time would have been a confident one as they held a slender 2-2 to 2-1 advantage. Midfielder Stacey Grimes opened the scoring in the third minute but they were knocked back on their heels when their Cork opponents struck for the game's opening goal at the end of the first quarter. But Loreto conjured up the perfect response when Niamh Cassidy was first to react to the rebound from a Naoise De Graaff shot to find the back of the Christ the King net. The Cork goalkeeper was beaten again in the 20th minute when fullforward De Graaff finished off good work by her Simonstown club-mate Kelly-Marie Harris but that effort was cancelled out by a second Cork goal and the Meath girls led by the minimum at the change of ends. Shauna Fitzgerald extended her side's lead with the first point of the second half but Christ the King took over the in the driving seat and led by 3-4 to 2-3 within seven minutes of the resumption. Substitute Ruth Coughlan reduced the deficit with a goal but Christ the King countered with their fourth green flag of the contest. De Graaff caused all sorts of

problems for the Munster champions defense and she set up a nail-biting final 10 minutes when hitting her second goal to leave the scoreboard reading 4-5 to 4-3 in the Cork side's favor. Try as they might, the Loreto girls were unable to break down the Christ the King defense and all they could engineer in the closing stages was a Harris point. It was a heart-breaking loss for the Meath students but their manager Michelle Delaney put it into context afterwards when commenting: "I am very proud of the girls, they didn't drop their heads, they didn't give up, they fought all the way through, they battled like champions and they're the Leinster champions, they can be proud of their own achievements." The St Michael's, Loreto team that contested the All-Ireland decider was: Nicole Byrne; Aine Treanor, Aisling Taaffe, Hannah Heskin; Emma Cassidy, Regina Hand, Roisin Mallee; Aisling Cassidy, Stacey Grimes (0-1); KellyMarie Harris (0-1), Rachel Gardiner, Shauna Fitzgerald (0-1): Ruth Commons, Naoise De Graaff (2-1), Niamh Cassidy (1-0). Subs: Ruth Coughlan (1-0), N Cassidy, Jamie O'Mara, Rhiannon Hoey, Aisling Duffy, Caoimhe McKenna, Alex Healy, Maedbh Dardis, Jade Johnson, Caoimhe O'Hare, Martina O'Neill, Sophie McDermott, Orla McMahon, Claire Mallon.

The St Michael’s Loreto junior side celebrate their Leinster final win

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1993 HURLERS

HURLERS CLAIMED ALL-IRELAND ‘B’ TITLE TWENTY YEARS AGO

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inning the All-Ireland ‘B’ SHC proved frustratingly elusive for the Meath hurlers over many years, but previous disappointments were put firmly to one side during the summer of 1993 when a team managed by Westmeath native John Davis earned the reward for much hard work by claiming the title. The nearest Meath had come to outright success in the ‘B’ competition was in 1985 when they lost the final to London at Trim, but eight years later they put the record straight when capping a memorable campaign with a thrilling final victory over the London men at Ruislip.

The signs had been promising on the run up to the 1993 championship campaign. Meath had done well in Division 2 of the 1992/’93 National League, achieving victories over Westmeath, Derry, Kildare, Carlow and Wicklow and suffering just two defeats, away to Kerry and Laois. They didn’t gain promotion, but they did get valuable experience which stood to them later on. Meath also claimed the Kehoe Cup early in 1993, though not exactly in the manner they would have hoped for. They beat Westmeath and Wicklow and were due to meet London in the final, but proposed dates didn’t suit their opponents and the Royal County were awarded the title. Push the clock forward a couple of

months to a bitterly cold March day at O’Moore Park, Portlaoise. It was Meath’s last league game and they lost to Laois by 0-9 to 0-12. The performance was hugely encouraging, but the players were disappointed. They felt they could have beaten a team which dominated the division. They were clearly ambitious and wanted to be winners. Their day of glory was on its way. Meath’s first round game in the ‘B’ Championship was switched from Newbridge to Athy at short notice and there was no doubting their superiority as they trounced Kildare by 2-21 to 26. They had also beaten them with ease in an earlier league meeting, but another comprehensive success seemed unlikely when Alan Murphy

The 1993 All-Ireland SHC B winners, front l/r: Richie Kelly, Sean Kealy, Mike Cole, Pat Potterton, Anton O'Neill, Martin Ennis, John Gorry, Martin Smith. Back: Paul Donnelly, Eunan McCaffrey, Philip Cahill, Mark Gannon, Paddy Kelly, Martin Massey, John Andrews

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scored a ninth minute goal for the home team which drew them level at 1-0 to 0-3. However, wind assisted Meath soon took complete command and cruised into a 0-17 to 1-2 interval lead. Team captain Pat Potterton was superb in the first half and his nine points included four brilliant efforts from play. Martin Smith was another star performer and got four great points from play in the opening period and three more in the second. Phil Cahill and Martin Massey dictated matters at midfield and with Paul Donnelly a tower of strength at centre-back Meath looked very solid overall. They never looked in any danger of capitulating when playing against the wind in the second half and when Ivor McCaffrey scored a stunning goal on 51 minutes they were home and hosed with a 1-20 to 1-5 lead. Mike Cole, a rising young star of Meath hurling two decades ago, added another goal four minutes later and when Ken Kelly raised a second green flag for the losers near the end it was no more than a consolation score for an outclassed team. Things were always going to be more difficult in the ‘home’ semi-final against Derry at Keady and Meath’s cause wasn’t helped by their late arrival which resulted in a rushed warm-up. But they still pulled off a 0-18 to 2-8 victory as Potterton – undoubtedly one of the greatest hurlers the county has ever produced – contributed 14 points. Meath played well in the first half and led by 0-13 to 0-2 at the interval after Potterton had tallied nine points courtesy of three magnificent scores from play, five frees and a ‘65’. The loss of Donnelly to an injury was a massive blow and Derry had cut the deficit to 1-7 to 0-14 by the threequarter stage. The danger signs were there for Meath, especially with Donnelly missing from the heart of the defence, but the pressure was eased when Richie Kelly and Potterton (free) pointed to push them six clear. They leaked a second goal, but thankfully the five points they scored in the second period were sufficient to leave them four clear at the finish. Tullamore was the venue for the

‘home’ final against Westmeath and the Royal County took a giant step on the road to the title with a fully merited 2-17 to 1-12 win. It proved to be a searching test which stood to them later in Ruislip, with Cole’s goal four minutes from the end killing off any hopes their neighbours may have entertained of staging a winning rally. Cole also goaled in the first half when he found the net after Cahill’s kicked effort had been blocked and Meath held a 1-9 to 0-9 lead at the break. The advantage still stood at three points (112 to 0-12) by the three-quarter stage, but they then edged five clear, before Declan Gillen struck back with a Westmeath goal 10 minutes from the end. A 1-14 to 1-12 lead looked anything but safe, but it was significant that Meath responded positively to the concession of the goal when Paddy Kelly and substitute Cathal Sheridan pointed. Cole’s second goal put them firmly in the driving seat and Potterton concluded the scoring with a point. Apart from the contributions of Cole with two goals and Potterton with six points, there were also vital scoring efforts from Massey and Paddy Kelly, who both notched three points, Richie Kelly on two and John Gorry, McCaffrey and Sheridan with one apiece. A good contingent of Meath supporters travelled to Ruislip for the final which took place on Sunday, 11th July and they returned home in a happy mood after a thoroughly deserved 2-16 to 1-16 victory in a superbly contested game. All previous disappointments – and there had been many of them in pursuit of the AllIreland ‘B’ title – were forgotten on that beautifully sunny day. Potterton played a true captain’s role by scoring 1-11, but it was a great team effort in which Donnelly was a star at centre-back and Paddy Kelly turned in a mighty performance at centreforward, contributing 1-4. It was a victory build on a strong work ethic and a fierce desire to win. Accuracy was an issue for Meath in the first half, but despite hitting 11 wides they still managed to lead by 18 to 1-6 at the change of ends. They had opened up a 0-6 to 0-3 advantage,

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but Offaly native Colm Spain goaled to get London back on level terms and they then edged ahead. However, a goal from Potterton helped Meath to that two-point interval cushion and they made a decisive burst on the restart when Potterton pointed twice and Paddy Kelly goaled to leave them ahead by 2-10 to 1-6. Goalkeeper Mark Gannon, whose mighty puck-outs were a feature of the campaign, made a fine save as London pressurised and Meath shipped a blow when Gorry was forced off with an ankle injury. Meath were still looking good with a 2-12 to 1-9 lead at the three-quarter stage, but London seemed to raise the intensity of their play after the dismissal of Westmeath man Michael Murtagh and boosted by five points from Tipperary native Tim Moloney they reduced the gap to just three (115 to 2-15). Potterton pointed a free to ease the pressure, but London raised a white flag of their own to stay very much in the hunt. Meath battled with fierce determination to hold out and when the final whistle sounded after a lengthy spell of added time there were scenes of wild jubilation. They had completed the journey and Potterton was presented with the cup by GAC chairman Sean McCague. Meath subsequently lost an AllIreland SHC quarter-final by 4-10 to 327 to Antrim at Castleblaney. Goals from McCaffrey and Massey helped them to lead by 2-9 to 2-7 at the interval, but Antrim took over in the second period when Cole and Massey added to the losers’ goal tally. That was a particularly memorable year for Potterton and Paddy Kelly who won Railway Cup medals with Leinster, with Potterton playing in all of the semi-final and final. It was also a year to savour for Gorry, Cole and Smith who helped Rathmolyon to their first SHC title, with Cole scoring the winning point in the final against Wolfe Tones from a brilliantly struck free. Meath manager in 1993 John Davis has fond memories of that year, particularly the ‘home’ final of the ‘B’ Championship against Westmeath and the main event in London. “There had been a fair few


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disappointments along the way before Meath won the ‘B’ Championship,” he said. “They took a few years to come up through the divisions in the National League to a standard where they were good enough to win it. “They were a great bunch of players, so dedicated and so committed. Most of them are either managing teams or involved with teams now, like Martin Ennis and Martin Massey who were in

campaign in 1993 with a comfortable win against Kildare and steadily gained momentum after that. “We beat Kildare in our first game in Athy and then beat Derry, but the match I remember best is the ‘home’ final against Westmeath in Tullamore,” Davis added. “I saw something that day which made me think we were nearly there. They were beginning to gel together. I remember John Gorry

Leinster. “We led Antrim at half-time in the AllIreland quarter-final, but we fell away in the second half. That was down to lack of experience at that level. We later got up to Division 1 of the league which was a big step up and a big achievement. They are great times to look back on.” The Meath team in the final against

Meath captain Pat Potterton receives the 1993 All-Ireland Senior B Cup from GAA President Sean McCague

opposition in last year’s SHC final between Kiltale and Killyon. You can see the passion for the game in them. That’s great to see. They are giving something back. “When we won the ‘B’ Championship 20 years ago things were very different than they are today. Facilities are so much better for starters. But the players deserve it for the amount of time they put into it. Things have certainly changed and it’s good to see that.” Meath opened their championship

played out of his skin, but it was a good performance by the team in general. “The final in Ruislip was a very tough game. There was nothing easy about it. It was just great to win, great for the players who had put so much into it. We had some superb players, like Pat Potterton who scored 1-11 in the final. He was one of those natural hurlers who could take scores from play and from frees. He was a brilliant hurler, so skilful and stylish. Paddy Kelly was another. It was great to see lads going on to play at a higher level with

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London was: Mark Gannon; Anton O’Neill, John Andrews, Martin Ennis; John Gorry, Paul Donnelly, Sean Kealy; Phil Cahill, Pat Potterton (1-11); Mike Cole, Paddy Kelly (1-4), Martin Massey; Richie Kelly (0-1), Martin Smith, Ivor McCaffrey. Subs – Declan Murray for Gorry, Cathal Sheridan for Massey. Other panel members were: Sean Garrigan, Donal Curtis, John Curtis, Cathal Davis, Thomas Duignan, Seamus Ennis, Eunan McCaffrey, Tom McKeown and John Nolan.


Colour Funny A_Layout 1 22/11/2013 17:08 Page 1

‘That’s a red card’ – referee Ciaran Flynn sorts everything out after a Golf had a little bit of a braking problem at a match in Dunderry

Shoes off for the Pat’s as the Navan School received the Leinster Colleges title


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SPECIAL FEATURE

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MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICE

his year marked the opening of Choice Homestore sixth outlet in Kells. To coincide with the opening, the 100% Irishowned, family-run retailer took over the sponsorship of the local Gaeil Colmcille hurling team. Established by the Brett family almost 30 years ago, Choice Homestore has grown through the recession to become the leading retailer of its kind in the North-East. Stockists of such products as Kitchenware, Household, Hardware, Petcare, Gift & Home, Health and Beauty, Electrical, Stationery, Partyware and Toys, it has become the number one choice for thousands of customers who have helped to make Choice Homestore the

success story it is today. They opened their first store in Drogheda in 1984, followed by a store in Navan and 2nd store in Drogheda a couple of years later. These stores were continually extended and expanded in order to meet customer demand. In recent years there has been further expansion with new Retail Park stores in Drogheda, Navan and Naas, plus a sixth store was opened in Kells last July. Choice Homestore stores can be found at M1 Retail Park, Drogheda, Co. Louth; Blackwater Retail Park, Navan, Co. Meath; Newhall Retail Park, Naas, Co. Kildare and Bective Street, Kells, Co. Meath. Choice Homevalue stores are located at 98/99 West Street, Drogheda, Co. Louth and

Navan Shopping Centre, Navan, Co. Meath. Choice Homestore’s Head Office and Distribution centre is located in Ashbourne, Co Meath and between this location and the six outlets, over 100 people are employed. So what’s the difference between Choice Homestore and Choice Homevalue? Operations Manager Gavin Brett replies: “The Homestores have a bigger offering, but you’ll still find everything you’re looking for in our two Homevalue stores.” Choice Homestore’s unique selling point is maintaining a large variety of products all at everyday low prices, thus ensuring significant price savings to customers. As well as its primary product ranges, Choice Homestore specialises in a wide range of seasonal

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products, including gardening, Easter, Back to School, Halloween and Christmas. The family-run business also bulk buys many ‘clearance’ and ‘end of line’ products, meaning it can pass on great savings to customers. The Choice Homestore product selection is constantly changing, with 100’s of new products every week you are guaranteed new and exciting products on every visit. Why not call in to see the range of 10,000 products over 15 departments? Each store is bright, attractive and welcoming, while Choice Homestore’s well-trained and courteous staff are always on hand to offer customers a first-class shopping experience. “As anyone in business will tell you, the last few years have been quite challenging, but thanks to the loyalty of our customers, we’ve been able to expand and develop through the recession,” Gavin explains. “The loyalty of our staff has also stood to us, with some of them being with us for the last 25 years. Of course, our low prices and varied range of products has also been a key factor in our growth. We’re able to give our customers the best deals, all in a nice, friendly environment in which to shop. We strive at all times to make the shopping experience as pleasant as possible.” Choice Homestore ability to compete against the bigger chains, is a major reason for its success and according to Gavin, they have one major advantage? “Unlike many of the bigger chains, we are 100% Irish and able to react

Danny O’Gorman of Choice Homestore presents a set of jerseys to Gaeil Colmcille hurling captain Keith Reilly

quickly to queries about products which might not be in stock. In most cases, we will have the product sourced and available within 24 hours. We have a very hands on and experienced management team that

Gaeil Colmcille - Meath IHC finalists 2013

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especially busy around Easter, Halloween and Christmas time. “We’re a one stop shop for everything seasonal. The Irish go all out for both Halloween and Christmas, and we’re happy to be able to cater for their needs,” Gavin continues. With its 30th anniversary just around the corner, Choice Homestore plans to launch a new e-commerce website in early 2014 which will allow customers to buy products online and to receive updates on the latest in-store offers. The Choice Homestore team were delighted by the response to the opening of their Kells store that they immediately decided to sponsor the local Gaeil Colmcille hurlers, who had the Choice Homestore logo emblazoned across their jerseys in their narrow defeat to Blackhall Gaels in October’s IHC final. “There was a phenomenal response to the Kells opening. The people there were really welcoming and made us feel at home straight away. A lot of them would have already known us from our Navan stores, and were delighted to have us on their own doorstep. “We’ve always made a point of supporting local sporting organisations and giving something back to the community, so when the Gaeil Colmcille sponsorship came up, we had no hesitation in helping them out. It was the least we could do after the great welcome the people of Kells afforded us.” Sadly for Gaeil Colmcille, they failed to better Blackhall Gaels, losing an exciting final at Pairc Tailteann on a 413 to 3-17 score line. Entering the final 20 minutes, Blackhall held a seemingly unassailable 12-point lead, but the

Gaeil Colmcilles Eoin O’Sullivan in a race for possession with Blackhall Gaels Tom Murphy during the IHC final at Pairc Tailteann

Kells boys refused to throw in the towel and almost pulled off a sensational comeback when outscoring their opponents by 3-6 to 0-4. Half-time substitute Barry Tormay rattled the net twice, with another sub, Richard Bradley, also raising a green flag in the dying moments. But Gaeil Colmcille left themselves with too much to do as a mightily relieved Blackhall held on for a two-point victory. A week later, Gaeil Colmcille’s disappointment turned to joy when they claimed IFC honours. Gavin is hoping 2014 will bring further success for Gaeil Colmcille and his local club, Donaghmore-Ashbourne.

“We had high hopes for the Donaghmore-Ashbourne senior football team this year, but they were sucker-punched early on in the championship. Having said that, they have come a long way in the last few years. When I was growing up, they were only a junior/intermediate club, but now they are senior, have a couple of lads on the Meath panel and have some of the best facilities in the country. “I think it’s only of time before they deliver on their promise.” Just as Choice Homestore has done for the past three decades!

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SIMONSTOWN

013 Meath senior panelist Sean Tobin reflects on a disappointing year for Simonstown who failed to make the knock-out stages of the hoganstand.com  sponsored senior championship.

On the back of a historic first ever U21 success towards the end of 2012, Simonstown entered this year’s Meath SFC with big ambitions of building on their quarter-final appearance the previous year. Events didn’t materialise according to plan, however, as three defeats in Group C sent the north Navan outfit crashing out of the competition at the group stages. Former Meath senior manager Eamonn O’Brien replaced Sean Barry, who left to take charge of the Meath U21s, and he was joined in his backroom team by ex players Ned Kearney and Kenneth Cantwell. Mullingar native Johnny Mills was responsible for the physical training end of things as Simonstown plotted to go a couple of steps further than their quarter-final exit at the hands of town rivals Navan O’Mahonys in 2012. They faced an uphill struggle, however, after getting off to the worst possible start against Dunshaughlin on the championship opening weekend at Pairc Tailteann. A lack-lustre Simonstown display combined with a strong Dunshaughlin showing resulted in a 0-17 to 1-9 defeat

Eve Wardick raises the Ladies Division 3 FL Cup at Walterstown

for the Navan men. They suffered a similar fate in round two at the hands of Dunboyne (0-11 to 2-7) but consecutive wins against Wolfe Tones (1-17 to 2-5) and Blackhall Gaels (0-15 to 0-10) resuscitated their championship hopes and set up a winner takes all clash against senior newcomers Na Fianna in the final group game. Trim was the venue for the round 5 encounter as the senior championship

novices taught Simonstown a lesson. Backed by a strong wind, John Lyons’ Na Fianna side cut the Simonstown defence to shreds in the opening period, hitting them for four goals, and the game was effectively over as a contest at the halfway stage when the team in yellow and black held a commanding 4-8 to 0-5 lead. The Eanna Donoghue captained side showed a bit of pride in the jersey when hitting five unanswered points after the resumption but they had left themselves with too big a mountain to climb and 5-13 to 1-15 was the final scoreline. Sean Tobin lifted the silverware following Simonstown’s memorable U21 final success over Donaghmore/Ashbourne and is one of the emerging young players that the north Navan club is hoping can spearhead a major challenge for a first ever Keegan Cup success. “Failing to get out of the group was a massive disappointment,” recalled Tobin who wore the number 13 jersey against Na Fianna. “At the end of the day it’s up to the lads on the pitch to perform and we didn’t do that against Na Fianna. “We didn’t play anywhere near our potential but, in hindsight, we probably got our tactics wrong. “We should have dropped one or two back into defence playing against the wind in the first half. I know it is easy saying that after the event but we gave away some soft goals and we were

BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD

Prior to the hoganstand.com senior football championship game with Dunshaughlin in Pairc Tailteann, front l/r: Robbie Burlingham, Shane Gallagher, Andrew Kearney, Niall McMahon, Joe Lyons, Shane McGivney, Stephen O’Reilly, Donagh Fitzpatrick, Colin Wickham, Declan Gaffney, Seamus Kenny. Back: James Heaney, Mark Gardiner, Podge McKeever, MacDarragh Fitzpatrick, Ronan Duffy, Sean Tobin, Eanna Donoghue, Stephen Moran, Ian O’Rourke, Conor Sheridan, Shane Barry, Michael O’Rourke, Mark McCabe, Wayne McCarthy

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the game. “We were expecting a tough game and we certainly got that. They are not a team that we would have been familiar with but we didn’t take them for granted. “As I said, it was a mistake on our behalf going 15 on 15 against them against the wind in the first half. We should have dropped bodies back. “I’m not blaming anyone, as I said, it’s easy to be wise after the final whistle.” The round 3 victory over neighbours Wolfe Tones was The juniors prior to their championship clash with Dunboyne in Dunsany, front l/r: Niall O’Mahony, Nicky O’Brien, Hank Traynor, Donagh Fitzpatrick, James O’Dwyer, Cormac McHugh, Paul Meade. Back: James Heaney, Andy the highlight of an otherwise Faulkner, Robbie Quinn, Podge Gaffney, Garry Lynch, Keith Boland, Colm O’Reilly, MacDarragh Fitzpatrick, disappointing championship Shane O’Neill, Andrew Burlingham campaign and it marked the return to competitive action “That certainly wasn’t the case. A few never going to fight our way back from of Shane O’Rourke who has been of us were preaching beforehand that being 15 points down.” they were a goal hungry team and had The 22 year old rubbished the plagued by injury in recent years. very dangerous forwards. That was said suggestion that they might have been “The Tones have held the upperhand over and over again in the build up to guilty of taking Na Fianna for granted. on us in recent years so it was nice to Aisling Clery presents the Junior Football Championship Cup to Eve Wardick

Kyle McEvoy

Sean Tobin

Meath Ladies Chairperson Aisling Clery presents the Div 3 FL final player of the match to Naoise De Graaff

Ladies Junior Championship winners, front l/r: Eleanor Lane (Vice Captain), Karen Foran, Regina Hand, Kelly Marie Harris, Alannah Wardick (mascot), Ailbhe McHugh, Niamh Murray, Fiona McCabe, Shona Lister, Niamh Lister, Aisling Sheridan, Niamh Sheridan, Jane Smith. Back: Miriam Dungan, Grainne Harrington, Naoise de Graaff, Eve Wardick (Captain), Rachael Flynn, Aisling Cassidy, Nicole Byrne, Emma Flynn, Chloe Keoghan, Annemarie Carragher, Rachel Gardiner, Sinead Flanagan

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The ladies claimed the Division 3 FL title with a good win over Summerhill in the decider, front l/r: Chloe Keoghan, Emily McAteer, Jane Smyth, Ailbhe McHugh, Pauline Flanagan, Kelly Harris, Regina Hand, Niamh Murray. Back: Fiona McCabe, Eleanor Lane, Naoise De Graaff, Grainne Harrington, Aisling Sheridan, Nicole Byrne, Rachael Flynn, Aisling Cassidy, Niamh Sheridan, Eve Wardick (captain), Miriam Dungan, Annemarie Carragher

Player of the match in the ladies JFC final Niamh Sheridan receives her award from Aisling Clery Ladies Board Chairperson

Stephen Moran

Meath Juvenile Secretary Ciaran Flynn presents the U14 Reserve League Cup to Simonstown captain Adam Ryan

put one over them. Lads really stepped up to the plate that day. “It was a great boost to get Shane back, he is a massive influence and presence on the pitch. He leads by example and you need look no further than him to see what you should be doing and how you go about your business on the field.” Another positive for Simonstown supporters was their strong showing in Division 1. They claimed Division 2 honours in 2012 and consolidated their position in the top flight with a fifth place finish. With a bit of luck they could have reached the league decider. “We probably should have reached the league final. We threw away points when we drew against Wolfe Tones and lost to Skryne with the last kick of the game but, overall, we would be happy with how the league went. “We were in Division 2 for a couple of years so it’s important to be in Division 1 from the point of view of the team’s

Keith Netufo

future development. “We have some serious young footballers coming through and I genuinely thought we were in with a great chance in the championship this year. So it is a massive disappointment but it’s a case of onwards and upwards now.” Following their disappointing showing in the championship, Simonstown and O'Brien parted company and the north Navan club turned to Colm O'Rourke to take over as manager for the 2014 season. The RTE 'Sunday Game' pundit returns for a third spell as manager of the Gaels. He guided them to the Meath senior football final in 2003, their first ever appearance in the Keegan Cup decider, and 2004 but they suffered disappointment at the hands of Blackhall Gaels and Skryne respectively. Simonstown supporters will be hoping O'Rourke can go one step

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Michael Gavin

further on his third coming. Certainly Sean and his team-mates will be eager to make up for this year's poor showing while he will also have the added incentive of trying to force his way back into Mick O'Dowd's plans. A former Royal County minor and U21, Tobin received a call up from new manager O'Dowd this year and marked his debut in the senior jersey with three points against Wicklow in the second round of the FL Division 3 in Aughrim. His attempts to build on that promising display were frustrated by a series of hamstring injuries and he failed to make the cut when O'Dowd and his selectors decided on their 2014 squad. The Simonstown which lined out against Na Fianna in the hoganstand.com  SFC was as follows: Robbie Burlingham; Niall McMahon, Eanna Donoghue, Stephen O'Reilly; Mark Gardiner, Shane


simonstown designed GOOD_Layout 1 22/11/2013 16:35 Page 7

O'Rourke, Ciaran Kenny; Seamus Kenny, Conor Sheridan; Joe Lyons, Padraig McKeever, Shane Barry; Sean Tobin, Mark McCabe, Stephen Moran. Subs: Declan Gaffney for O'Reilly, Niall O'Mahony for Barry, Colin Wickham for McCabe, Wayne McCarthy for Moran, Shane McGivney for Ciaran Kenny.

GOALS CRUCIAL AS LADIES CLAIM JUNIOR HONOURS

Following on from their Feis Shield win in 2012 and their Division 3 League win in June, Simonstown were victorious in the Junior A Championship final over a strong Dee Rangers side in challenging weather conditions. It has often been said that goals win games and Simonstown were fortunate enough to put six passed Dee Rangers keeper, Aoife Burke. Leading by nine points at half time, Simonstown faced into the wind for the second half and commanded much of the possession to finish strongly. Take nothing from Dee Rangers, who threw everything at the North Navan side and reduced the gap Seamus Kenny

to two points midway through the second half, but Simonstown had enough to retain the lead and be crowned champions. Ailbhe McHugh was first on the scoreboard for Simonstown when she found the back of the net. Dee Rangers responded before a superb run from Aisling Sheridan led to the half back splitting the posts. In a tightly contested first half Simonstown added a point from Naoise de Graaff. Three scores brought Dee Rangers back into the game, however a brilliant run and finish from Kelly Harris was goal number two, and just before half time, Niamh Lister bagged herself her first goal of the Junior Championship to send Simonstown in 3-2 to 0-4 in front at half time. Simonstown's Kelly Harris bagged her team's fourth goal on the restart but this was cancelled out moments later by Aoife Conlon for a now wind backed Dee Rangers. The teams traded points with Eleanor Lane pointing for Simonstown. Dee Rangers were awarded a penalty, which Rebecca

Goodwin duly converted to reduce the gap to two points. With just over ten minutes left, the game hung in the balance. Niamh Sheridan, Aisling Cassidy and Eve Wardick prevented Dee Rangers from further attacks. Two goals from Naoise de Graaff, the first a hallmark of her soccer skills and the second smashed into the top of the net within minutes of each other, paved the way for victory for the Navan side. When the full time whistle blew, Simonstown were worthy champions on a 6-5 to 2-10 scoreline. Simonstown's Niamh Sheridan was awarded the Player of the Match award, while the Junior A Championship trophy was presented to Eve Wardick. Simonstown: Nicole Byrne, Karen Foran, Grainne Harrington, Niamh Murray, Aisling Cassidy, Niamh Lister (1-0), Aisling Sheridan (0-1), Eve Wardick, Ailbhe McHugh (1-0), Kelly Harris (2-1), Eleanor Lane (0-1), Rachael Flynn, Sinead Flanagan, Naoise de Graaff (2-2), Niamh Sheridan. Subs: Regina Hand for Flanagan, Rachel Gardiner for Flynn.

Mark McCabe against Dunshaughlin

Colin Wickham

Manager Eamonn O'Brien and selector Ned Kearney

Eanna Donoghue is under pressure U14 Reserve League winners, front l/r: Jack Dunne, Jack Gallagher, Arron Ayers, Shane McEnery, Eoghan Gaffney, Arron O’Connell, Eoghan Gough, Chris Clarke, Keith Netufo. Back: Kyle McEvoy, Tom Phillips, Jacob Dziados, Adam Ryan, Michael Gavin, Conor Coogan, Ronan Higgins, Sean Gough, Shane Kavanagh, Sean Foley, Jamie Borez

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A

BALLINLOUGH

tragic loss off the field of play put gaelic football into perspective for members of the Ballinlough club this year.

Ballinlough struggled to make an impression in this year’s Meath IFC, winning just one game in Group C, but their failures on the field were insignificant when compared to the untimely passing of promising young player Ricky McDermott back in April. Hours before the accident that claimed his life, the 17 year old had lined out at corner-forward and scored two points in the Lough’s 3-8 to 1-10 A-League Division 2 victory over Nobber at Moylagh. It was a pertinent reminder that there is more to life than gaelic football. “He was an exceptional young player,” said Intermediate selector Bernard O’Reilly who trained Ricky as he made his way up through the underage ranks with the north Meath outfit. "In the weeks immediately after his passing people worked really hard together, we had a real focus for the first round of the championship. It helped a lot of lads to deal with the feeling that was there at the time."

County man Peadar Byrne

"I suppose as the year went on the impact of his loss became more apparent for various reasons, maybe a couple of younger players didn't have the appetite that they would of had before." "And, obviously then, there is the loss of the player himself, he was a huge part of our plans. We were looking at Ricky as being our top scorer not only this year but for the next 15 years, he

really was that good." "There’s the bigger picture outside of football too, the loss he was to the young lads as a friend. They would have spent a huge amount of time with him off the field as well as on it." "It left a huge void for those young lads, in the dressing room and outside it and when you look at how tough it is on his family, and the parish as a whole it certainly puts football into context." Ricky was a key member of the St Oliver's side - an amalgamation of Ballinlough, St Brigid's and Moylagh - that captured MFC Division 3 honours last year. In 2011, as a 15 year old he registered 1-8 from the number 11 position as Ballinlough claimed Division 4 U-17 league honours at the expense of Wolfe Tones. "The first time I saw Ricky was when Sean Smith and Tom Brady asked me to give a hand with the U-14 team back in 2009, he was still only 12 years old at the time and I had worked with him all the way through underage level and again this year when he broke into the club's first team."

LOSS CASTS SHADOW OVER ‘LOUGH

Prior to the championship clash with Ratoath in Castletown, front l/r: Paul Farrelly, Junior Reilly, Lorcan Gibney, Padraig Muldoon, Ronan McGuinness, James O'Higgins, Benji Smith, Keith McGuinness, Mark McCullen, Robbie Farrell, Colm Mallon, James Baugh, David Lynch, Ken Rothwell. Back: Derek Muldoon, Ollie Brady, Matthew Farrell, Dara Farrelly, Gary Reilly, Kevin Devine, Kevin Mallon, Sean Geraghty, Niall Farrelly, Peadar Byrne, Michael Geraghty, Cian Mallon, Kevin Beirne, Tommy McCullen, Johnny Reilly

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Best Wishes To Ballinlough GAA In 2014, From


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"He showed phenomenal improvement year on year, that was the one thing with Ricky that made him stand out. You coach a lot of young lads and you know they don't pick up the ball from one training session to the next, but I could see that Ricky would take on board what he was being told and he was improving all the time." "I really thought he had the makings of an outstanding player, when we were playing a match, as soon as he got the ball you could see the rest of the young lads expecting something to happen. There was almost a feeling of when he got the ball we were safe!" "He was a very natural score taker and some of the scoring he did in underage games was quite remarkable, we won an U-14 final over in Bohermeen one evening and he got so many scores that we lost count. A couple of years later he scored 1-15 in an U-16 semi-final with two lads James O'Higgins gains possession against Castletown

marking him for most of the game." "Looking back at all the games probably his best performance was when we won the U-17 league against Wolfe Tones, he had scored the winning point in the semi-final against Seneschalstown a couple of weeks earlier but the weekend before the final he badly damaged his front teeth while he was working at home on the farm with his father, Ritchie.” “Gary Mc Donnell, Kevin Reilly and I were looking after the team at the time and we were very concerned that he wouldn't be available to play and he didn't train with us during that week and was obviously in a lot of discomfort but one of the lads asked Ita, his mum, would he be able to play, she said it wouldn't be held without him and he'd definitely be there on the Sunday." "And he turned up on the day and scored a goal and eight points, he was the difference between winning and losing." A fine catch from county man Peadar Byrne

On the field of play, Ballinlough got their championship campaign off to a positive start with that win over Ballivor but things went down hill after that and they failed to register another win. To compound their woes, they finished second from bottom in the Division 2 table later in the year but were spared the ignominy of relegation on account of the restructuring of the county’s football leagues. Former Gaeil Colmcille player Tommy Shine took over the reins this year from Seamus Kiernan and he was joined in his backroom team by Bernard, John Reilly and Aidan Finlay. "In general, the lads put in a good effort but we never really picked up any momentum during the year, we had a good win in the first round of the championship but never really got to build on that or make any further progress. "A major problem for us throughout the year was that we were missing key

Tommy McCullen

The St Oliver’s squad that lost out to Trim in the U16 Division 2 Summer League decider at Cortown

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Kevin Devine


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This talented bunch won the North Meath Under 10 league, front l/r: Samuel Kinghorne, John Ryan, Brendan Flemming, Katie McCaul, Aine Rooney, Cara Finnegan, Emma Jane McKeon, Clara Muldoon, Kit Og Lynch. Back: Tom Garry, Oisin McDermott, Ellen McCabe, Seamus Rooney, Dara Shine, Tommy McKeon, Ethan Coyle, Leo Brunton, Ronan Cunning, Breen Casserley, Jack Connell, Conor Roundtree, Tom Shine, Ben Jordan, Stan Ryan. Missing from photo Matthew Farrelly and Matt Wiseman. Mentors at back: John Jordan, Martin Lynch

Keith McGuinness delivers another kick out

Ronan McGuinness

players for matches. Against Ratoath, we were missing four players that would have started, we were missing Derek Muldoon (suspended), Jonnie Reilly (injured), Gary Reilly and Michael Geraghty (exam-tied)." "Continuing on from that, for different circumstances we were missing five

Gary Reilly goes highest

Niall Farrelly

Cian Mallon

players against Ballinabrackey. We lost the game by three points, I suppose you could say if you have those five available it probably would have swung the game." "A small club like us needs everyone. Obviously, everyone has an important role to play and you need all your

players, missing lads for matches like that does have a massive impact.” Despite their lack-lustre performances in 2013, Bernard – who also served as PRO for five years from 2008 to 2012 – is optimistic about the club’s prospects on and off the field. "We have an excellent committee

Padraig Muldoon with Ratoath's Bobby O'Brien

Benji Smith

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Mark McCullen

Manager Tommy Shine with Peadar Byrne and Tommy McCullen


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The Under 8 squad - plenty of up and coming senior stars here

which is led by our chairman Bernard O' Reilly (Ballinlough) and we are undertaking a massive development of our pitch, it will be great for the club to get back playing games on our own pitch in the latter half of 2014." On the pitch he says their hand will be strengthened by the experience that young players have gained during 2013. Â "We have good talent coming through and in a difficult year a couple of players really stood out for us; Tommy McCullen led by example, he was 21 earlier this year and he has already played five years of adult football, his commitment and attitude towards playing football are exceptional."

U13 Division 5 finalists, front l/r: Fergal Gibney, Robert Ryan, Sean Tunney, Daragh Caffrey, Jack Smith, Adam Kane, Jamie Casserley. Back: Ciaran Farrelly, Colin Cunning, Harry Finnegan, Harry Ryan, Senan McDermott, Daragh McCaul, Joshua Lynch, Hugh Briody

The U6s with mentors Gary Corcoran, Derek Lynch and Simon Dardis

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ballinlough designed_Layout 1 23/11/2013 11:47 Page 9

Jack Smith

Jamie Casserley

young players coming through so it will "Then younger again, there's Michael be very competitive.” Geraghty who's 19 years old this year. "Despite being mentioned among the He's a player I'd be hoping will break favorites for the I.F.C. for the last few into the Meath U-21's if not next year, years we have actually only made it to definitely the year after. Again he has the last eight of the championship once a great attitude and he just always in the last four years, so the primary seems to have plenty of time on the aim has to be to get out of our group ball, he's an excellent reader of the and after that it's a knock-out game and you could put him anywhere competition and everyone has the and he'd play well.” same chance.” "We are lucky in that we have a lot of "You have to hope you're in with a good young players coming through great shout, I certainly feel that the with the potential to be a big part of the players we have in Ballinlough who are club in the future, but its a very thin line capable of making a right good go of and what they go on to achieve the championship in the year ahead." depends on the amount of Best Wishes To Ballinlough GAA In 2014 From motivation and dedication they have." He added: "If you Sports Therapists MS.PT. SCS.Dip. SMT look at the intermediate Trigger Point Therapy championship I Sports Injury Massage Therapy think it will be even Deep Muscle Massage tougher next year Swedish Massage Therapy • First Aid Training with Nobber back in PNF Stretching • Pro-Argine+ the grade and then the likes of Ratoath, Castlepole, Carnaross, Kells, Co. Meath St. Michael's, Trim Contact Trevor Mulvany on 085 1654492 and St. Colmcille's Email: trevormulvany@gmail.com have plenty of good

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C

CASTLETOWN

astletown again recovered from a defeat in their opening group game to reach the knockout stages of the Intermediate Football Championship and after getting the better of Dunderry in a quarter-final they suffered disappointment at the semi-final hurdle for the second successive year when losing to Gaeil Colmcille. It will be recalled that Castletown won Division 2 of the All-County A League in 2011, beating Oldcastle with ease in the final, and there is no doubt that operating in the top flight of the league in the last two years aided their development. Na Fianna beat them by four points in a championship semifinal last year but there was enough in that campaign to suggest that they would again be serious contenders this term. All-Ireland senior medal winner Donal Curtis certainly had a busy schedule this year. As a player he helped Rathkenny reach the Senior Championship semi-finals in football and Wolfe Tones to advance to the same stage in the Intermediate Hurling Championship. He was also the Castletown coach, with Aidan Young

Mark Kelly raises the Under 14 Division 8 Cup at Nobber

and Christy Meehan acting as selectors. Castletown made a favourable start to their competitive year when they defeated Duleek / Bellewstown by 0-9 to 0-8 in the league but three defeats in succession followed before the main event as they went under to strong senior teams Donaghmore / Ashbourne, Navan O’Mahonys and Wolfe Tones. They were drawn in group C of the

Intermediate Championship, a section which also included last year’s junior winners Ratoath, Ballivor, Ballinlough and Ballinabrackey, and it was against the Ratoath men that they opened with a customary first round defeat at Skryne. This was a very well contested match in which Tommy Smith and Kenny Smith scored first half goals for Castletown who led by 2-3 to 1-2 at the interval. Bryan McMahon got the Ratoath major in that period and with Eamon Wallace and Gareth Rooney also finding the net in the second half they ran out winners by 3-9 to 3-5. Tommy Smith scored Castletown’s third goal but it was the same old story as they lost in the first round yet again. Ballinabrackey trounced them to the tune of 10 points in an opener last year but Castletown exacted a measure of revenge in the second round this time when winning by 1-7 to 0-8 at Dunsany. The Offaly-border outfit held a 0-5 to 0-3 lead at the interval but a goal from Tommy Smith was a huge boost to Castletown who went on to shade the verdict and revive their qualification hopes. Castletown were the team with a bye in the third round and when they did

CASTLETOWN EDGING CLOSER

Prior to their IFC win over Ballinlough in Carnaross, front l/r: Robbie Hoey, Noel Smyth, Jamie McMahon, Kevin Ross, Alan Smyth, Gerry Farrelly, Joey Carry, Darren Finney, Johnny Metry, Tommy Smith, Barry Smith, Noel Farrelly. Back: Declan Cribbin, Mark Donegan, Shane Farrelly, Paul Cribbin, Francis Hoey, Shane Hoey, Paul Smith, Ross Blaney, Damien Ginnitty, Kenny Smith, Jason Ross, Robert Duffy

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Robbie Hoey

Damien Ginnitty

Manager Donal Curtis

The club's under 10 squad looking good in their new jerseys, front l/r: Ciaran o'Dea, Cormac Farrelly, Killian Smyth, Josh Faherty, Adam Mathews, ewan Sheridan, Kelan Sheerin. Back: Patrick McKenna, Seamus Doherty, Conor Price, Niamh Young, Charlie Duffy, Rian McConnell, Conor Finney, eva McConnell, Aaron Monaghan, John Paul o'Byrne. Mentors at back: James McConnell, Fergus and lavania Faherty (First Class Fireplaces), Joey Mathews, Colin Price

Kenny Smith

Tommy Smith

Smith scored the second half points which sealed a deserved win and a precious semi-final ticket. Unfortunately for Castletown, that game against Gaeil Colmcille started disastrously when their captain Francis Hoey, who was playing at centre-back, was sent off by referee Jack Gordon after only five minutes. Losing such a key member of their defence so early in such a big match had a telling impact and the Kells men took advantage for the remainder of the first half.

eventually resume their group campaign they recorded a surprisingly comprehensive 3-17 to 0-4 win over Ballivor at Athboy where Barry Smith top scored with 2-1 and Damien Ginnity notched the other goal. Carnaross was the venue for Castletown’s concluding group match against Ballinlough and a 1-11 to 0-9 victory booked their ticket to the knockout stages. When Robert Hoey’s long delivery ended up in the net it handed Castletown a 1-7 to 05 lead at the change of ends and with both sides adding four second half points the outcome rarely looked in doubt. Castletown did have a scare when goalkeeper Paul Smith was called on to produce a great save which denied Cian Mallon. Kevin Ross was their leading point scorer with three from frees and Barry Smith and Darren Finney both contributed two. Goalkeeper Smith was again a prominent figure in the 0-11 to 0-7 semi-final victory over Dunderry at Simonstown where he made a couple of important saves in the second half. Castletown were in front by 0-6 to 0-3 at the break after Finney (two), Declan Cribbin, Kevin Ross, Tommy Smith and Kenny Smith had pointed but they were denied a goal when David Jennings saved from Barry Smith. Full-back David Callaghan pointed for Dunderry within a minute of the restart but they then went 23 minutes without a score as goalkeeper Smith performed his heroics for Castletown. Ross (two), Cribbin, Barry Smith and Kenny

CoNTINUeD SUCCeSS To CASTleTowN GAA

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The U14 Division 6 Championship winners, front l/r: Micheál Doherty, Killian Price, Jamie Hickey, evan Carry, Jack Farrelly, Ríain Monaghan, Jack Sheerin. Back: Ross Blaney (mentor), evan Hoey, Paul Bellew, Mark Kelly (captain), Christopher Deans, Killian Markey, Thomas McManus, Alan weldon, Vincent Farrelly (mentor)

Gerry Farrelly

Mark Kelly

Alan weldon

Kevin Ross

They cruised into a 2-8 to 0-5 lead at the interval and remained on top in the third quarter but Castletown deserve enormous credit for the manner in which they rallied subsequently when the odds were stacked against them. Three minutes after Hoey’s dismissal Gaeil Colmcille pounced for their first goal which was scored by Seamus Mattimoe and when Martin Barrett added a second on 24 minutes they were in control. Castletown found themselves nine points adrift as they headed for the dressing rooms for half time but it might have been worse because Mattimoe also

Barry Smith

hit the crossbar and Paul Smith produced a great save to deny Brian Hanlon. There were few signs of a Castletown revival in the third quarter but they took over to such an extent subsequently that they won the remainder by 0-8 to 0-1. What they really needed was a goal but it never arrived as Gaeil Colmcille prevailed by 2-13 to 0-15. The nearest they came to netting was when Tommy Smith was inches wide in the second period at a time when they had the Kells men under all sorts of pressure.

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The U14 Division 8 Fl winners, front l/r: Ross Blaney, Matthew Gaughran, Adam Smith, evan Carry, Jack Sheerin, Killian Price, Jack Farrelly, Michéal Doherty, Riain Monaghan. Back: Colin Price, Killian Markey, Thomas McManus, Christopher Deans, evan Hoey, Alan weldon, Mark Kelly, Paul Bellew, Jamie Hickey, Vincent Farrelly

Ten different Castletown players scored points, headed by Declan Cribbin, Tommy Smith and substitute James Finnery who all notched two, but it wasn’t enough as they were left asking what might have happened if they hadn’t lost the experienced Hoey so early on. It was a hugely disappointing outcome but once again

they demonstrated this year that they are right up there with the main contenders for the Mattie McDonnell Cup. Pairc Tailteann was the scene of double disappointment for Donal Curtis on the last Sunday of September, firstly when he lined out for Rathkenny in a senior semi-final against

Summerhill and later when he was manager of the Castletown team in the intermediate semi-final against Gaeil Colmcille. “The sending off certainly didn’t help,” he said as he reflected on Castletown’s elimination at the penultimate hurdle for the second successive year. “It took us a while to

More success for the club's talented Under 14's as they celebrate the Division 7 Summer Shield title win in Kells

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Killian Price

Rian Monaghan

Paul Bellew against Moynalty

sort things out after that. Francis is such a key figure for Castletown and he is also the team captain. Gaeil Colmcille opened us up a few times in the first half. They got two goals and they could have got a couple more.” Had the manager resigned himself to defeat when Castletown trailed by nine points at the interval or did he believe it was possible to recover? “I had played in Pairc Tailteann earlier in the day in the senior semi-final and I know there was a fair bit of a wind,” he added. “It favoured Castletown in the second half. I would have thought that a five or six point deficit could be manageable but nine points is a lot. But the Castletown players are great battlers and I knew that they wouldn’t lie down. They have shown that all year. That’s what you expect from a Castletown team. They are renowned for it. “We have been scoring quite freely all year and they really came back well in the second half. But I suppose what we really needed was a goal and we didn’t get one. We scored 15 points in that game. That’s a total that wins a lot of games. Summerhill scored 15 points against Rathkenny in the senior game earlier in the day and they won. “It was just one of those days really. Looking back on it, anything that could go wrong for Castletown in the first half did go wrong. It was disappointing to lose but the way they battled in the second half was very encouraging. There are a lot of good young players in the club, plenty of talent. It certainly augurs well for the future.” Castletown fielded a second string team in the Junior C Championship where they were drawn in group A along with Duleek / Bellewstown, Simonstown Gaels, Blackhall Gaels, Summerhill and Dunsany but they were idle in the opening round when they were awarded a walk over from Duleek / Bellewstown. When they did get their group campaign up and running they suffered a 0-5 to 3-10 defeat against Simonstown, before losing to eventual beaten finalists Blackhall by 2-6 to 410. Castletown bounced back from those reversals when defeating Summerhill by 1-12 to 2-5 and they completed their schedule with a 0-8 to 2-6 defeat suffered at the hands of Dunsany. Blackhall Gaels and Dunsany qualified for the quarter-finals from the group and the four points picked up by Castletown weren’t sufficient to propel them into the knockout stages.

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Another cup for Mark Kelly as he raises the U14 Division 6 Championship Cup at Seneschalstown

Best Wishes To Castletown


clonard designed_Layout 1 22/11/2013 14:52 Page 1

A

CLONARD

fter winning the Junior B championship in 2011, Clonard didn’t progress beyond the group stages of the JFC for the second year in succession. However, their second team did well to advance to the last four in the Junior D FC.

One of the smallest clubs in the county, Clonard had been one of the main contenders for Junior B outright honours before eventually claiming the title. They lost the 2006 final to St Brigid’s before losing two quarter-finals, against Trim in extratime in 2007 and to Donaghmore / Ashbourne the following year. But there was no stopping the team captained by Alan Farrell in 2011 as they returned to the decider in which Ratoath were overcome. That success enabled the club to bridge a gap of 40 years as their only previous success in the grade was recorded in 1971. Meath hero of the ‘80s and ‘90s, Kevin Foley, was manager of the 2011 winning team and has remained at the helm since then. In 2012 his charges won two and lost three of their JFC outings and this year they finished fourth of five teams in group B. Veteran forward Niall Walsh, an AllIreland minor medal winner of two

Alan Farrell

decades ago, retains the knack of putting the ball between the posts and was Clonard’s main marksman in the 2013 JFC. He put over their first point in the opening championship outing in which Dunshaughlin were decisively defeated on a 1-19 to 0-7 scoreline at Boardsmill. That was a clash between the two previous winners of the Junior B FC and the long-serving forward went to finish that game with a total of seven points. Four of the scores were put over in the first half, at the end of which

his side led by 0-8 to 0-3. Johnny Fitzsimons shot the goal in the second half, Bernard Reilly contributed three points and Eoghan and Stephen Connolly were others to impress for the winners. While Clonard had 15 points to spare in that opening round clash, curiously Dunshaughlin recovered from the defeat to take second place to Cortown in the group. Clonard went down to a minimum margin loss to keen rivals of the last few years, St Brigid’s, with the men from Ballinacree getting the points on a 35 to 1-10 scoreline in a round 2 tussle at Trim. Clonard held a 0-6 to 1-1 advantage at the interval and Niall Walsh again made his mark with four points. For the second game in a row, Johnny Fitzsimons found the net but a late green flag effort denied the side from the south-west of the county. In their third round outing Clonard proved too strong for Trim’s second string, winning comfortably on a 2-16 to 1-7 scoreline at Summerhill. Niall Walsh was again in impressive scoring form, registering 1-9. Adam Flanagan was in top form at centrefield and Walsh’s goal boosted the eventual winners to a 1-7 to 1-4 interval advantage. Bernard Reilly

BIG PLANS IN CLONARD

On duty for the junior championship clash with St Brigids at Trim, front l/r: Simon McNevin, Bernard Reilly, Owen Connolly, Johnny Fitzsimons, Owen Treacy, Darren McNevin, Kenneth Darby, Steven Connolly, Alan O'Donoghue, Joey Darby. Back: Jason Dowdall, Adrain Boland, Niall Walsh, Ger Foley, Adam Flanagan, Peter McNevin, Alan Farrell, Robert Hoey, Ryan Raleigh, Conor Foley, Jason Moore.

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clonard designed_Layout 1 22/11/2013 14:53 Page 2

netted their second goal and substitute Ryan Raleigh came on to contribute two points. There was a heavy defeat for Clonard in their concluding group game in which Cortown romped to a 4-11 to 0-9 victory in Athboy. Clonard performed creditably in the A Football League Division 4, winning eight of their 12 games as well as getting a walkover from Slane. They finished up in fourth place, below eventual winners Meath Hill, beaten finalists St Brigid’s and Longwood. After opening with a win over Dunsany, there was a minimum margin defeat to St Mary’s before victories were recorded over Curraha and St Vincent’s. Losses to Meath Hill and St Paul’s dented promotion prospects and although Clonard won in five of their next six outings, it was not enough to enable them go up. The victories were recorded at the expense of Boardsmill, Moylagh, Johnny Fitzsimons

Moynalty, Kilbride and Longwood with St Brigid’s inflicting another narrow defeat, this time by two points. Clonard’s second team performed well to reach the semi-finals of the Junior D FC only to lose out to Seneschalstown on a 3-9 to 2-9 scoreline. Such was a fine achievement for a small club and kept them in adult championship action until the middle of September. In Group C wins were recorded over Ballinlough (2-14 to 2-9) and Gaeil Colmcille (2-13 to 0-9) as well as getting a walkover from Dunderry. There was also a defeat to Donaghmore / Ashbourne’s fourth team, 0-11 to 2-16, and Clonard finished in second place in the section. Clann na nGael were the quarter-final opponents and the Athboy side was overcome by five points, 3-10 to 2-8. However, the good run by Clonard’s second side came to an end at the penultimate hurdle. Although performing well against Adam Flanagan

Seneschalstown’s third team in a close contest at Summerhill, the Yellow Furze men earned a place against Kilmainhamwood in the decider. In 1992 Niall Walsh was among the substitutes for Meath’s All-Ireland MFC triumph when Armagh were defeated in the final. One of his fellow subs was Michael Farrelly from Kells who went on to score a dramatic late winning goal to give the young Royals a sensational 2-5 to 0-10 victory. A youngster called Ollie Murphy was also on the bench and other future senior stars out on the pitch were Trevor Giles and Brendan Murphy. Twelve months later Walsh wore the number 12 jersey as Meath returned to the Tom Markham Cup decider but there was a disappointing outcome as Cork took the title on a 2-7 to 0-9 scoreline. The defeat was surprising considering that Meath had a more star-studded team than in 1992 with Giles and Murphy also eligible again

Peter McNevin

Conor Foley

Goalkeeper Paul Sheridan Minor football league Division 6 finalists, front l/r: Mark Daly, Conor Leech, Eoghan Dowdall, Ben Clarke, Ger Killeen, Brian O'Reilly, Ryan Raleigh, Adam Dowdall. Back: Ian Campbell, Jason Daly, Nevin O'Connor, Aaron Duff, Cathal Fitzsimons, Eric Adamson, Dylan Flanagan, Brendan Roe, Aaron Duignan, Stephen O'Reilly, Niall Walsh

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MORAN’S HILL OF DOWN Wishing Clonard GAA  All The Best for 2014 from

and other future senior All-Ireland winners like Darren Fay, Paddy Reynolds, Hank Traynor and Barry Callaghan on the team. Fast forward 20 years and Niall Walsh is one of only a handful of the minors of those years still lining out for their clubs in 2013. While rueing the fact that ‘time has flown so quickly,’ he still plays a key role for Clonard and, as well as playing, holds the position of club secretary. Niall was disappointed that his side again missed out on reaching the knockout phase of the JFC for the second year running. “Last year perhaps we were still on a high after eventually winning the junior B title and this year we didn’t know what to expect when meeting the 2012 winners of that championship, Dunshaughlin, in the first round,” he said. Walsh continued: “They had an experienced side out including Niall Kelly but we ran out surprisingly easy winners. But they recovered from that defeat to get out of the group while we missed out. “Losing to St Brigid’s by a point in the second round was where we slipped up. We led by two points at half-time in that game before increasing the advantage but they recovered and hit us with a late goal. “It was disappointing to lose in such a manner and if we had held on we could have qualified. After that we had an easy win over Trim but that followed by a heavy defeat to Cortown. “Conor Foley and Peter McNevin had gone abroad before the game against Cortown and they were both missed. When you have a small panel you can’t afford to lose key players.” Clonard went close to gaining promotion from Division 4 of the A League and Niall Walsh feels that losing to St Mary’s and St Brigid’s cost them a top two spot. “We could have gone up if we won either of those games, one more win would have put us in the final. We also lost to Meath Hill and St Paul’s. In the game in Meath Hill we played with 14 men for the entire first half before having 15 for the second half. St Paul’s came to Clonard and caught us on the hop, Anthony Moyles was in good form in that match. “We finished our league programme with a good home win over local rivals Longwood. They were in the running for a final place and after beating them last year, we wanted to prove that such a result was not a fluke. That was a big win for us. “Our second team did very well to get to the last four of Junior D Championship only to lose out to Seneschalstown. We played well in that game and could have won it. We were ahead by four points at half-time and could have been further in front. “That team was made up of some experienced players and a number of younger lads. Among the players to show up well included the brothers Ian and Eamonn Campbell, who was a super sub, another Campbell, the unrelated Johnny, David Rowley and team captain Ray Brennan. “As well as managing the junior A team, Kevin Foley was also in charge of the junior Ds. Kevin has done great work for us over the last few years. He brought a number of underage players up to the junior B team and after we were so close to winning that championship a few times, he played a big part in getting us the title eventually. “Kevin put in serious work for the club, first in the underage grades and then with the junior teams. He has earned great respect from all of us. “Our main aim for 2014 will be to get out of our group in the Junior Championship and to play knockout football. For a number of years the club hasn’t had its own pitch but we bought a field and hope to get planning permission to develop badly-needed facilities. So we have much to look forward to,” concluded Niall.

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SPECIAL FEATURE

T

HARNEY DRIVES ST PAT’S FORWARD

his year saw St Patrick’s crowned the junior 2 hurling champions for the second time in their history (the first coming in 2004). The 3-13 to 1-07 win over Longwood made up for their heartbreaking defeat in the same competition 12 months earlier. In 2014, the club will ply their trade in the junior A campaign and this is a championship that they have also won twice (2005 & 2007), that’s four adult county titles in just nine years, a very decent return for any club, but it was all the more remarkable for St Patrick’s as they didn’t field a team for three years before the 2012 campaign. St Patrick’s will always be first and foremost known as a football club, but the Stamullen based outfit are making big strides in the small ball code and for this year’s edition of the Royal County we speak to player/manager Phil Harney about their success in recent

years. Despite having a small panel of players to work from, St Pat’s have produced players that have represented Meath with JP Ryan, Paul Tobin and Mark Scanlon winning AllIreland junior hurling medals with the county. Phil arrived in Stamullen back in 2002 when he and his wife Sinead and the kids Ciara, Luke and Rebecca moved out to the rural village and set up home there. “Over the years Sinead has made more sacrifices than most would to facilitate me doing what I love, and I often wonder how she put up with the hectic schedule, missed family commitments, changes to holidays and running the family when I was off chasing the dream. She played herself with St Vincents and was always there to support and encourage along the way.” The Dublin native plied his trade with the St Vincent’s club for many years

before hand and was part of their SHC winning side in 1993 alongside his uncle Eamonn Clancy, now a Clann na nGael clubman. Phil had the honour of hurling for Dublin at inter-county level for a number of years in the 90’s, an opportunity he dreamed about as a young lad. Both his father and grandfather had hurled with the renowned Thurles Sarsfields club. His grandfather won an All-Ireland medal in the 1930 with Tipperary, so it was not surprising that Phil developed a love of the game at an early age. “My father Jim and mother June were the major influences on my hurling career from day one. My Dad painstakingly educated me in the intricacies and skills of what I believe is the greatest game in the world. Hurling was always the number one sport in our house, there were five lads and one sister and we all would be out with Dad nearly every evening and there would

Phil Harney lets fly during the Junior 2 HC final win over Longwood

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would they agree to it and be skin and hair flying half the thankfully they did. The problem time, but it stood to us in later was getting lads out, the few of years. We would always have a us that were there at the start hurley in our hands,” said Phil. were that bit older and we knew His grandfather Tom Clancy and that it wasn’t going to be easy, uncles Tommy and Eamonn but luckily we attracted a five or Clancy had a big impact on his six younger lads to the club and hurling in St Vincents in terms of they made a huge difference. advice and motivation. “Tom is a great club man and Following his move to he did Trojan work for us, but he Stamullen, Phil linked up with the had decided that he wanted a St Patrick’s club and in his first break, so I knew coming in that year there he was part of the side there was a lot to be done, but that claimed the junior 2 title. This from the start at training we was followed up by success in concentrated on the skills of the the junior grade in 2005. Two game and everything was done years later and they were junior JP Ryan and John Finnegan with sponsor Mark Power of AK Signs with the ball.” champions again, but they The 2012 campaign ended in couldn’t build on that success as disappointment when St some players moved on and Patrick’s lost out to Killyon in the there wasn’t anyone to replace final, but they learnt a huge them, so the hurling club was amount from that experience forced to cease for a spell. and they decided a bigger push “When I first arrived there was would be made this year to try a good few lads after moving to and claim some silverware at the the area, but we were all around end of the year. the same age. There were five or “As a group we were a small bit six of us that had great naïve and one dimensional in experience so we used that to games. The lads needed more good effect at that level and were hurling, so we mainly successful over the first few concentrated on improving our years winning three first touch, striking, championships. Pats hurling men Martin Curran and John Finnegan communication and intelligence “However, when a few lads on the ball. We did a bit of work travelled abroad, we just didn’t see would they facilitate a hurling team on the strength and conditioning side of have the numbers to field and that was once again and although the idea was things with Dundalk FC’s Graham it. I actually went back to my old club St met with a lot of understandable Byrne which helped also. The other Vincent’s for two years and in 2010 we scepticism, he was given the green light selectors John Finnegan, Colm Stafford won a junior title with the club on a team to try and form a side once again. and Damien Scott also did great work run by my Dad and I played alongside Tom Kirwan had been the driving during the year. John does a fierce three of my brothers, Mark, James and force of the hurling team in its fledgling amount of stuff in the background that Ciaran. That was an unforgettable year years, but he had stood down and Phil goes unnoticed by most people but to for the family.” knew that he would have to take on that me he is invaluable. Another of the At the start of 2012, JP Ryan and GAA’s unsung heroes.” role, which meant looking after John Finnegan convinced Phil and The hard work paid off as the junior 2 everything. Mark Scanlon to approach the club to title was annexed, but not one for “We approached the club to see

St Patrick’s - Meath Junior 2 hurling champions 2013

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phil harney designed_Layout 1 23/11/2013 12:11 Page 4

es the Junior

JP Ryan rais

Phil holds hi

2 HC trophy

resting on his laurels, Phil is already planning ahead to next year and safe guarding the future of the club. “We seriously want to make an impact in the junior grade in 2014. We are always looking for new players and anyone interested in playing hurling should get in touch with us at the club. There is a great social aspect to the hurling scene here, but there is a need to look at forming an underage structure in the club. We realise that unless we start catering for underage teams, then we have no chance of surviving in the long term. “There is talk maybe that we would combine the junior hurling and football fitness training and it’s a good idea, sure the rising tide lifts all boats. The club has appointed Mick Bohan as director of coaching. His ideas will definitely help. With the likes of evergreens Fergus Minogue, JP Ryan, Mark Scanlon, Ciaran Calvey and Brian Farrelly all going well, we are confident that we can do well next year and we will be back training in January.” Away from the hurling field, Phil has been the Financial Controller with JC’s Supermarket in Swords, Co Dublin since

s ground agai

nst Longwood

2001. It is a family run business that has been trading in Swords, County Dublin for over 150 years. Their Supermarket on Rathbeale Road opened in November 1977 and has been going from strength to strength ever since. “You couldn’t hope to work for better people. JC passed away in 2010 but he was a legend to me and a truly unique character. He had such insight and was able to see the angles most of us would never see. He changed the way I thought about decision making and problem solving. His sons have the baton now and the lads are putting their own stamp on things. The family have been very good to me and Sinead and the kids these past 12 years. They are the largest “truly” independent retail grocery outlet in Ireland. The retail area is over 25,000 square feet and they have 21 checkouts for added customer convenience. There is an excellent selection of locally sourced fresh produce and grocery all at exceptionally good value, while they pride themselves in providing their customers with Big Brands at Low Prices.

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michael mchale designed_Layout 1 23/11/2013 12:28 Page 1

SPECIAL FEATURE

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QUALITY IN QUANTITY

s far as dedication to your club goes, Michael McHale owes very little to Dunshaughlin GAA. Royal County spoke to the three-time Meath SFC winner about the highlights of his 12-year career at senior level with the black and ambers and the frustration of injuries which eventually ended his career at a young age. 2013 won’t likely to go down as a

stellar year for Dunshaughlin, but with their senior status secure the club can look forward to next season with plenty of optimism having rightfully earned their place in the top tier of club championship football in Meath. Under the management of former Dublin All Star Paddy Christie, Dunshaughlin’s bid at the start of this past season would have been to take each game as it came to them in both league and championship with a plan

Michael out in front of O’Mahonys’ Kevin Reilly

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to try and gather some momentum for the latter competition. As the 2013 unravelled, however, a relegation battle to hold on to their senior status ensued and with it came Christie’s departure with two games remaining and a win needed. Enter Michael McHale. The Dunboyne-based Quantity Surveyor has been a loyal servant to the club since his juvenile days and indeed stepped up to the mark when making


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threat of them playing intermediate football in 2014. It was at the when Michael stepped in after some of the club’s trusted officials came knocking on his door. “The committee has an executive meeting and decided to terminate Paddy’s contract. They wanted to appoint somebody internal for the last two games and when they asked I said I would do it,” he explained. “We had a lot of players missing and I don’t think that did any favours for Paddy, in Michael McHale has manned all the central positions fairness. They have a for Dunshaughlin over the years nice little minor team coming through there the transition to senior as a mature and that might push some of the senior adolescent, donning the number 6, 9, players on. It comes down to the 11 and 14 jersey for some 15 years. In players though and hopefully they will that time, the club went through be able to push on and improve on this somewhat of a golden era, the year. highlight of which was a historic “Due to a mixture of reasons they Leinster club senior football found themselves in a relegation battle championship success in 2002. by the end of the season. I took over Now, however, things are different. for the last few games and needed a Like with many clubs across the result going into the last two games country, emigration has become a and once we got the win over Nobber huge problem for Dunshaughlin and it we were safe. We lost our last game to was evident in some of their below Oldcastle, but we’d done enough to performances during 2013 which stay up.” happened all too often from their Dunshaughlin had been buoyed by prospective, leading to the possible

The Leinster club final winners from 2002

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the returns of Fergal Delaney and Tommy Johnson from the US for the Nobber game in late September and the team put in a work man like performance at Brews Hill to overcome the 2010 intermediate champions on a 1-11 to 1-9 score-line. The win was a hard fought one, and one that sees Michael maintains an impressive winning record with club, despite not playing any part of the field. This time, he was doing his utmost along the side-lines and in the end his team did just enough to secure a stay at senior for 2014. Michael doesn’t take much credit for helping steer the team to the much needed win over Nobber, and has been disappointed with the team that it’s never developed / progressed after losing the senior county final in 2011 to Summerhill. But there can be no questioning the vital role he played some 11 years ago for the club when it made history on a very special day in Navan. “At the minute, I’m actually part of the management with the ladies team in the club – Royal Gaels,” he explained. “I was asked by team manager Hugh McCarthy to get involved so I did. They are a very young team who play in the intermediate grade and we are looking to put a development plan in place and compete for the senior championship in two to three years time. “When I took the senior team for their last two games I was just glad we managed to stay up. I’m involved with the club 15 years now and in that time


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Michael up against Rathnew’s Trevor Doyle in one of the sides’ epic Leinster encounters

we won three Meath senior championships, a Leinster club championship, two Feis Cups, one A League, two B League titles and an U21 A Special. At that, he still firmly believes that the team vastly under achieved and that a lot of major trophies were left behind during that golden era of Dunshaughlin gaa. Most of Michael’s career was blighted by injuries so in 2010 he entered management within the club where Dunshaughlin went on to win the Meath Junior B championship in 2012 under his guidance. So there’s a tradition to keep up there and hopefully next year things can turn around and the team can eventually start competing for silverware at senior level again.” Of all the precious medals he’s won, Michael cites the historic provincial success of 2002 as the most special one. Having dominated in Meath with back-to-back senior championship triumphs, Dunshaughlin entered that season under the managership of Eamonn Barry bidding to retain their Keegan Cup for a second successive year and finally end the club’s long wait for senior provincial glory having already twice knocked on the door. Michael himself recalls it as a special season for the club, which saw the senior team at the peak of their powers heading in against Leinster’s finest. “I’d have played full back, centreback, mid field, centre forward and full

forward throughout most of my career and I guess the highlight during all those years was winning the Leinster club in 2002. We beat Mattock Rangers in the final and Eamonn Barry was over the team then,” said the former player. “We were after having two cracks at it and the second year we were beaten by Rathnew and once we beat them the following year we really started to believe. That year you had the likes of Dermot, Denis and Richie Kealy, Niall Kelly and David Crimmons all really outstanding for us.” The 0-13 to 0-7 win saw Dunshaughlin become the first Meath winners of Leinster club SFC Championship in 18 years. Louth champions Mattock, from the village of Cullen, started well in their first ever provincial final with fullforward David Reid scoring two quick points to put them in front. However, the Royal County kingpins quickly settled and 11 minutes in David Crimmons turned well to point and put a lead they never relinquish. They continued to dominate the game and commanding midfielder Niall Kelly pointed on 20 minutes to stretch their lead to three points. Rangers had chances to pull themselves back into the match and right-half forward Robert Brennan grabbed a third point with a calmly taken effort. However, Dunshaughlin's power game proved too much for Mattock and they lead by 0-08 to 0-03 at the interval.

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David Tonge added an impressive point for Barry’s team early in the second-half, while at the other end Mattock's inexperience showed. Niall Kelly converted another good point from distance in the closing stages to hammer home Dunshauglin's advantage as they ran out comfortable winners with the Sean McCague trophy returning to Meath for the first time in almost two decades. The win was met by sheer delight in the club and its supporters marked the success with fantastic celebrations. Michael will be hoping that it won’t be too long before Dunshaughlin are able to get themselves in a position for similar success but knows that it will come down to the club and especially the players putting in the required amount of work across all levels. Summerhill’s example this past season will certainly be examined by Dunshaughlin, amongst other clubs, when they set out their objectives for 2014. Along with Dunshaughlin, Michael will be hoping that Meath can make further strides in 2014 after achieving promotion from Division Two of the National Football League and reaching the latter series of the All-Ireland series. Only an in form Tyrone outfit denied the Royals a quarter-final berth and next season should be an intriguing one for the team as they bid to gain promotion into the top tier and halt Dublin’s dominance in the Leinster SFC. “I followed most of Meath’s games this year and they started off on the good foot with the way performed in the league,” said Michael. “Promotion from Division Three was important to get and they have to be looking at getting to Division One next year because that’s where you need to be. “I hope the county board stay behind this management because the last five years were lost with the chopping and changing that went on and lack of investment in under age football and development. Hopefully next year they’ll push on in the league again and maybe go one further in the championship too.” Here’s hoping! For the past five years Michael McHale has been working as a Quantity Surveyor with Minnis Development. The company was founded by Paul Reilly and Colm O’Dwyer and is based in Dunboyne, Co Meath since 2003.


na fianna designed_Layout 1 22/11/2013 15:41 Page 1

W

NA FIANNA

hat an amazing adventure the Na Fianna footballers have embarked on over the last couple of years.

Having lost at the quarter-final hurdle to Dunderry in 2011, they were hugely impressive winners of the Intermediate Championship last autumn and any fears that they would struggle at the highest level this term were knocked firmly on the head as they made it all the way to the Keegan Cup decider. Their first year in the Senior Championship was marked by some sensational scoring feats, including a contribution of 5-4 from Shane Barrett in a quarter-final against Moynalvey, and while it ended in bitter disappointment when Summerhill edged them out in the decider it was a campaign which suggested that the best has yet to come. Na Fianna won Division 3 of the A League last year, beating Moynalvey in the final, and they added the Division 2 title this year when getting the better of new intermediate champions Gaeil Colmcille in the final. So, to say it was a successful 2013 would be putting it mildly. Last year’s intermediate final win over Trim was a huge boost to the club and

Michael Foley and Tommy Cosgrave raise the Gaughan Cup at Pairc Tailteann

with John Lyons again at the helm this term Na Fianna would at least have hoped to hold their own but few could have predicted the manner in which they warmed to the greater challenges of senior football. They were drawn in group C along with last year’s runners-up Wolfe Tones, Blackhall Gaels, Simonstown Gaels, Dunshaughlin and Dunboyne and they got off to a dream start when beating the St Peter’s men by 2-10 to 1-11 at Trim. The distinction of scoring the team’s first Senior Championship

point went to Jamie Queeney when he converted a free and they edged into a five point lead after 19 minutes. Dalton McDonagh was denied a goal by a superb Johnny O’Connor save late in the first half and the lead stood at 0-7 to 0-5 at the interval. Dunboyne were level (0-8 each) by the 43rd minute but a Dan Queeney goal helped Na Fianna to a 1-10 to 08 lead, by which stage O’Connor had denied Dean Barrett with another great save. Dunboyne reduced the arrears to three points but Shane Barrett’s goal killed off their challenge. Ger Robinson netted from a late penalty for the losers. Under-strength Na Fianna suffered their only group defeat when Blackhall beat them by 1-12 to 0-12 in the second round at Summerhill. Lyons’ team scored the first five points while aided by the wind but the loss of Shane Barrett through injury was a significant blow. They still led by six points at one stage in the opening period and by 010 to 0-6 at the break. Blackhall had Tadhg Brosnan dismissed early in the second half but they battled back to parity, helped by a Stephen Morris goal. They edged ahead for the first time, before Na Fianna had Michael Farley sent off and

AMAZING YEAR FOR NA FIANNA

Senior football championship finalists, front l/r: Christy Cosgrave, Tommy Cosgrave, Damien Downey, Lee Hyland, Dean Henrick, Conor Downey, Michael Foley, John Baldwin, Dalton MacDonagh, Pauric Hogan, Michael Farley, Anthony Neary, David Lyons, Daniel Gleeson. Back: Dean Barrett, Ailbe Mahon, John O'Lone, Gavin Gillespie, Ollie Lewis, Daniel Queeney, Harrison Silke, Shane Barrett, Shane Geraghty, Jamie Queeney, Michael Collins, Jamie McCormack, Sean Griffin, Diarmuid Bailey, Brian Queeney, Patrick Haslam

Log onto dlynchpics.com to view more club photos

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when the lead stretched to five points the writing was on the wall. Dean Hendrick got Na Fianna’s first point of the second half with three minutes remaining and Jamie Queeney scored the second from a free. Losing was a setback but they bounced back well when beating Dunshaughlin by 312 to 0-9 at Trim where 16 wides failed to halt their progress. Two brilliant goals from Shane Barrett helped Na Fianna to lead by 2-5 to 0-5 at the interval and while Dunshaughlin reduced the deficit to four points within nine minutes of the restart, a third goal from Dean Barrett put the issue beyond doubt. Trim was also the venue for a fourth round game against Wolfe Tones and Na Fianna grafted their way to a 1-10 to 0-11 victory. A brilliant Shane Barrett goal on 18 minutes boosted them to a six point lead but the advantage was down to 1-5 to 0-5 at the change of ends. Tommy Cosgrave was dismissed on Noel O'Sullivan raises the U16 B hurling championship cup at Kilmessan

56 minutes and Tones battled back to level terms but two late pointed frees from Shane Barrett secured a sweet victory. He contributed 1-4 overall. The goals started to flow for Na Fianna after that, starting with a 5-13 to 1-15 win over Simonstown in their last group outing at Trim. Outstanding goalkeeper Shane Geraghty saved Mark McCabe’s penalty after 20 minutes and wind-assisted Na Fianna opened up a 4-8 to 0-5 interval lead after Conor Downey (two), Jamie Queeney and Dalton McDonagh had scored the goals. Simonstown notched six points in the opening seven minutes of the second half but their goal from Shane O’Rourke came too late to matter. Dean Hendrick scored a fifth goal for Na Fianna near the finish and it was on to a quarter-final meeting with Moynalvey which was a thriller. Shane Barrett’s tally of 5-4 must be a record for a Senior Championship game and helped Na Fianna to win by Shane Barrett skips away from Willie Lyons

7-10 to 2-10. He found the net after only a minute, before Geraghty denied William Harnan with a great double save. Barrett scored three more goals in the first half, one from a penalty, while John Donoghue netted from the spot for Moynalvey who trailed by 1-5 to 4-5 at the break. With substitute Ray Ryan netting Moynalvey cut the gap to 2-9 to 4-8 during the third quarter, before Dan Queeney got a fifth Na Fianna goal. Geraghty continued to impress between the sticks, while at the other end Barrett got his fifth goal before retiring injured. The magnificent seven was completed when Harrison Silke netted from a penalty. Na Fianna scored only two goals in the semi-final against Wolfe Tones at Pairc Tailteann but they notched points with regularity to earn a 2-19 to 1-12 victory in a thoroughly enjoyable match. Thirty of the 34 scores came from play and, once again, Geraghty was highly impressive.

Dalton MacDonagh has Summerhill's Stephen Husband for company

Michael Farley has Summerhill's Micheal Byrne for company during the county final

Tommy Cosgrave gets past Brian Ennis U14 A hurling championship finalists, front l/r: Daire Flynn, Andrew Holton, Oisin McCloskey, Sean Coffey, Daire Slattery, Stephen Slevin, Kean Flynn, Oisin Coffey, Alex Maxwell. Back: Oran Smullen, Ryan McLoughlin, Oran Ryle, Shane Walsh, Kevin Coffey, Daniel Devine, Sean Martin, Adam Farrell, Luke Kelly, Cormac Redmond

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na fianna designed_Layout 1 22/11/2013 15:41 Page 4

MFL Division 3 finalists, front l/r: Glen McDonnell, Sean Ryan, Ciaran Gilna, Anthony Neary, James Geagan, Mark Slevin, Eoin Downey, Jonathan McCloskey. Back: Noel O'Sullivan, Joshua Devine, Evan Mullally, Cian Slattery, Alan Gillespie, Paul Kennedy, Paddy McCarthy, Ben Cauldwell, Evan Henrick

Mark Kelly

Christy Cosgrave raises the 2012 ACFL Division 3 Cup at Trim

Anthony Neary and James Geagan go highest against St Michael’s

The winners were very solid as a unit, with Ollie Lewis, Jamie and Dan Queeney and Shane Barrett also among the stars and a superb goal by Barrett helped them to lead by 1-4 to 05 after 20 minutes. Barrett and Lewis were denied by great David Nolan saves in the first half and after being

Luke McNally

Minor keeper Jonathan McCloskey

ahead by five points at one stage the advantage stood at 1-8 to 0-8 at the interval. That lead had stretched to 1-11 to 0-8 within six minutes of the restart but a great Eoghan Harrington goal revived Tones. However, boosted by a Dan Queeney major Na Fianna were ahead

Barry Slevin is about to gain possession

by 2-13 to 1-9 at the three-quarter stage. When the same player landed a brace of points they were nine clear and with Geraghty saving from Cian Ward and Alan Fox they were safe. There was still time for Stephen Sheppard to make a fabulous block which prevented Shane Barrett from netting again.

Hurling keeper Dave Reilly

147

Evan Henrick

Meath Juvenile Chairman Paul Mooney presents the U14 Division 1 Cup to Na Fianna captain Sean Raftery


na fianna designed_Layout 1 22/11/2013 15:41 Page 5

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Prior to the senior hurling championship game with Dunboyne in Boardsmill, front l/r: Donal Curran, Dave Reilly, David Coffey, David Lyons, Diarmuid Bailey, Evan Mullaly, Jonathan McCloskey, Barry Slevin, Shane Burke, Mark Burke, Niall Burke. Back: Sean Griffin, Shane Greany, Tony Healy, Alan Burke, Brendan Flynn, Eoin Reilly, Mark Kelly, Christy Cosgrave, Jordan Nolan, Niall Reilly, Daniel Gleeson, Jamie Queeney, Joe McGuinness

Summerhill defeated Rathkenny in the other semi-final, so the decider pitted Lyons against the club he had served with such distinction as a player. South Meath had never experienced anything like it before and for the people of the Enfield / Baconstown area it was something new. Sadly for Na Fianna, their dream of winning the senior title at the first time of asking ended in disappointment as Summerhill’s greater experience enabled them to finish the final with a flourish and claim the Keegan Cup for the second time in three years and the seventh occasion in all. This was a very enjoyable game in which Na Fianna couldn’t get the ball into their scoring forwards with the consistency of earlier games. But they still gave it one mighty effort which just came up short as Summerhill won by 113 to 1-10. With a little over 30 seconds gone Na Fianna suffered a big blow when Summerhill got their goal. Shane

Geraghty – one of the true stars of the campaign – made a superb save from David Larkin, only for the ball to cannon off the same player and over the goal line. It was the start the first time finalists didn’t want. Seanie Dalton added a lovely point to maintain Summerhill’s dream start but Na Fianna replied like a team which meant business as Dalton McDonagh forced the ball over the line for a goal after four minutes and Dean Hendrick followed up with the equalising point. Captain Brian Ennis restored Summerhill’s lead from a free and after Micheal Byrne had been wide with a far easier kick Na Fianna moved ahead with points from Dan Queeney and Hendrick. Dalton tied things up again, before Geraghty denied Paul Rispin with another fine save. Ennis pointed two frees and Adrian Kenny and Stephen Husband scored from play to leave the ‘Hill four clear and after Tony McDonnell had saved from McDonagh, Shane Barrett slotted

over a free to leave Na Fianna adrift by 1-4 to 1-7 at the interval. Dean Barrett replaced Brian Queeney for the second half and proved influential, but Summerhill pushed six ahead when Dardis, Byrne and Ennis split the uprights. A superb point from impressive captain Michael Foley triggered a Na Fianna revival and they got back to parity 11 minutes from the end with points from Shane Barrett (two frees), Dan Queeney, Conor Downey and Dean Barrett. It was in the minutes which followed that the final was won and lost. After they drew level Na Fianna missed chances to move ahead and Summerhill seized the initiative with the last three points from Rispin, substitute Richie Hatton and Kenny to close out the final. “I wasn’t surprised that they adapted so well to senior football but I was surprised that they got to the final,” said Na Fianna manager John Lyons who

Prior to their memorable win over Simonstown in the hoganstand.com SFC game at Trim, front l/r: Christy Cosgrave, Lee Hyland, Damien Downey, Michael Farley, Dalton MacDonagh, Michael Foley, Conor Downey, Dean Barrett, John Baldwin, Dean Henrick, Tommy Cosgrave, Davy Lyons. Back: Michael Collins, Evan Henrick, Ailbhe Mahon, Shane Geraghty, Brian Queeney, Jamie Queeney, Paddy Haslam, Daniel Queeney, Jamie McCormack, Shane Barrett, Sean Griffin, Diarmuid Bailey, Pauric Hogan, Ollie Lewis

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The squad that defeated Moynalvey in the 2012 ACFL Division 3 final at Loman’s Park Trim, front l/r: Johnny Baldwin, Dean Henrick, Michael Farley, Christy Cosgrave, Jamie McCormack, John O'Lone, Conor Downey, Michael Foley, Tommy Cosgrave, Damien Downey. Back: Brian Queeney, Dalton McDonagh, Shane Geraghty, Michael Collins, Jamie Queeney, Gavin Gillespie, Daniel Queeney, Pauric Hogan, Harrison Silke, David McCormack, Shane Barrett

The U14 Division 1 FL (Feile) winners, front l/r: Stephen Slevin, Sean Coffey, Alan Flynn, Bernard Mcinerney, Sean Raftery, Luke McNally, Colin Flynn, David Maher, Kean Flynn, Cian O’Hare. Back: John Raftery, James McNally, Sean Martin, Kevin Coffey, vincent Ward, Shane Walsh, Jack McNally, Conor Heffernan, Daniel Devine, Oran Smullen, Eamon Gilna, Joe Maher, Dmitriy Simanovich

The U16 hurling squad, front l/r: Oisin Coffey, Sean Coffey, Will Flynn, Ethan Devine, Kean Flynn, Stephen Slevin, Shane Walsh, Sean Martin. Back: Tiarnan McCloskey, Ethan O'Gorman, Noel O'Sullivan, Thomas Nolan, Charlie Bockett, Ronan Byrne, Peter Slevin, Michael Dixon, Kevin Coffey, Ciaran Holton, Cian Slattery, Michael Keogh, Mark Slevin

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The squad that created history … on duty for the club’s first ever senior championship game. St Peter’s Dunboyne were accounted for at Loman’s Park, front l/r: Lee Hyland, Damien Downey, Sean Griffin, Diarmuid Bailey, Jamie McCormack, John O'Lone, Johnny Baldwin, Michael Foley (captain), Michael Farley, Conor Downey, Shane Farrell, Dean Henrick. Back: Christy Cosgrave, Dean Barrett, Pauric Hogan, Michael Collins, Gavin Gillespie, Aron Farrell, Shane Barrett, Ailbhe Mahon, Harrison Silke, Daniel Queeney, Shane Geraghty, Dalton McDonagh, Jamie Queeney, Brian Queeney, Paddy Haslam, Daniel Gleeson

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found himself in the unusual position of trying to plot the downfall of his native club on county final day. “We did harbour ambitions of getting out of the group and after that it was bonus territory. “Na Fianna are a team with players who are very good with ball in hand. They have scoring forwards. That was demonstrated in the amount of goals they got in the championship, though we could have done with one or two of them in the final when we had chances to score more goals. “I think Summerhill were the best team on the day but we had a real chance to win the final. We did well to come back from six points behind. We reeled off six points in succession but, crucially, we missed three or four chances when the momentum had swung back in our favour. “I suppose Summerhill’s experience was a factor but when they conceded those six points in a row they weren’t able to bring their experience to bear. If Sean Martin was outstanding in the Feile decider at Pairc Tailteann

Na Fianna had scored from one of those missed chances I think we would have won. The players feel they didn’t play as well as they can in the final but perhaps they played as well as they were allowed.” Na Fianna were back at Pairc Tailteann a week later for the A League Division 2 final against Gaeil Colmcille and this time they headed home with the silverware after a 2-12 to 2-4 victory. They dominated the first half when aided by the wind and points from Dan Queeney (three), Ollie Lewis and Shane Barrett (two each), Downey and McDonagh gave them a 0-9 to 0-1 interval lead. Geraghty had denied Brian Hanlon a goal in the 15th minute, while a two goal salvo early in the second period put the issue beyond doubt. Downey and McDonagh found the net and with a 210 to 0-2 advantage the title was secured. Danny McGovern and Hanlon replied with goals for the Kells side but they were too far behind. Kean Flynn

“It was nice to bounce back with a win in the league final,” John Lyons added. “Na Fianna have had an outrageous run over the last two years. They have been so consistent. They were probably too strong for Division 3 last year and were able to step up and win Division 2 this year. “Looking ahead, I really believe they can win a Senior Championship. Of course I do. But after their run this year the surprise element is gone. Belief is the key. The lads want to play for each other. They have good young players coming along which means they can freshen things up.” The Na Fianna teams in those finals were: SFC – S Geraghty; D Bailey, C Cosgrave, J Baldwin; M Farley, M Foley (0-1), D Hendrick (0-2); O Lewis, J Queeney; B Queeney, D Queeney (02), C Downey (0-1); S Barrett (0-3), T Cosgrave, D McDonagh (1-0). Subs – D Barrett (0-1) for B Queeney, H Silke for Downey, M Collins for Farley.

Sean Raftery clears

Oran Smullen is determined

Brian Queeney moves into block Dunboyne's David Gallagher The celebrations begin with the Gaughan Cup (Division 2 FL) at Pairc Tailteann

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A FL Division 2 – S Geraghty; D Bailey, C Cosgrave, J Baldwin; M Farley, M Foley, D Hendrick; O Lewis (0-2), J Queeney; D Barrett, D Queeney (0-4), C Downey (1-1); S Barrett (0-4), T Cosgrave, D McDonagh (1-1). Subs – B Queeney for D Barrett, S Griffin for Hendrick, D Lyons for Baldwin, A Mahon for Lewis, M Collins for S Barrett. Na Fianna’s second string enjoyed a very good run in the Junior C Championship, winning three of their group games and drawing one to reach the quarter-finals where they defeated Dunsany by 0-10 to 1-4. Navan O’Mahonys had been among their earlier victims but they got their revenge in a semi-final at Trim when winning by 2-8 to 0-11. The Na Fianna hurlers recovered from a shaky start to the Senior Championship to revive their qualification hopes but a defeat to Trim in the last round proved their undoing. Michael Foley wins this aerial duel with Dunboyne's Donal Lenihan

Kit Ennis was their manager this year and they were drawn in group A along with Rathmolyon, Navan O’Mahonys, Dunboyne, Drumree and Trim. O’Mahonys provided the first round opposition at Athboy where Eoin Reilly’s goal helped Na Fianna lead by 1-5 to 0-4 at the break. A Paddy Skehan goal enabled the Navan men to draw level with nine minutes remaining, before Sean Griffin and Diarmuid Bailey pointed Na Fianna back in front. They looked to have done enough but Paddy Smyth’s goal deep in injury time gave O’Mahonys a 2-9 to 1-11 victory. Neil Hackett scored 16 points as Dunboyne beat Na Fianna by 2-23 to 111 at Boardsmill. Barry Slevin contributed 1-9 for the losers, including a late goal from a penalty, but with Niall Smyth and Gary Watters netting in each half the St Peter’s men won comfortably. Na Fianna bounced back with a 4-9 to 2-11 victory over Rathmolyon in a thriller at Boardsmill. Jack Fagan and

Mike Cole (penalty) goaled for the Village in the first half and with Slevin netting at the other end Na Fianna’s half time deficit stood at 1-4 to 2-7. They were a transformed team in the second period when goals from Mark Coffey and Slevin (penalty) drew them level. Rathmolyon led narrowly near the end but Na Fianna finished best as substitute Evan Mullally pointed, Coffey goaled and Slevin added the last point to claim victory. When a 2-18 to 1-9 win followed against Drumree at Trim they were back in the hunt for a place in the knockout stages. Na Fianna led by 0-7 to 0-6 at the break and extended their advantage to 0-15 to 0-8 within nine minutes of the restart. Coffey and Reilly copperfastened their position of supremacy with goals and Josh Wall’s late major for Drumree was of no use. Slevin contributed 11 points. Hopes of a quarter-final place were dashed when Trim won a fifth round

Talented defender Michael Farley

Tommy Cosgrave

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The celebrations get underway as Na Fianna are crowned Division 2 camogie league winners

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game at Boardsmill by 2-12 to 2-6. Joey Toole’s goal from a penalty helped the town team to lead by 1-8 to 0-5 at the interval and when Aaron Winters added their second goal they were 10 points clear. Slevin and Jamie Queeney replied with late goals for the losers. Na Fianna’s second string opened the Division 2 HC with a 3-15 to 1-3 win over Wolfe Tones but successive defeats suffered at the hands of St Patrick’s (1-8 to 3-12) and Drumree (1-5 to 1-14) killed off their hopes of knockout action. The future of football in the Na Fianna club is bright if the efforts of the under-14 team this year are an accurate guide. They scored a comfortable victory over Ratoath in the Division 1 final and later represented Meath with distinction in the National Feile at Newbridge, Co Derry. After winning the Division 2 title last year, Na Fianna stepped up to the top level successfully and defeated Ratoath by 3-15 to 2-5 in the final at Pairc Tailteann. Bernard McInerney scored a first half goal and they led by 1-8 to 0-3 at the interval. Jack McNally and Kean Flynn stretched the advantage with points early in the second period but Ratoath cut the gap to three points after Tom Fadden and Leigh Sullivan had found the net from penalties. But a brilliant McNally goal settled Na Fianna again and he added another before the finish. Goalkeeper Conor Heffernan was one of many stars, as was McNally who contributed 2-3. Na Fianna won their three group games in Division 2 of the Feile - against hosts Sean O’Leary (2-8 to 1-9), Derry’s Shaughtneil (6-10 to 0-2) and Wexford’s Glynn Barntown (110 to 0-5) but after topping the section they lost to O’Donovan Rossa in a semi-final. The Na Fianna panel was – Sean Martin, Kevin Coffey, Vincent Ward, Shane Walsh, Jack McNally, Conor Heffernan, Daniel Devine, Oran Smullen, Eamon Gilna, Joe Maher, Dmitry Simanovich, Stephen Slevin, Sean Coffey, Alan Flynn, Bernard McInerney, Sean Rafferty, Luke McNally, Colm Flynn, David Maher, Kean Flynn.

2013 was under the management of Michelle O’Malley, Hugh Dorgan and John Cosgrove. The senior team had a great start to their championship with beating reigning champions St Ultan’s in their  opening round in Walterstown with a margin of three points to spare. The team once again made it to the semi–final stages of the championship and came up against Seneschalstown. That was a repeat of the 2011 County Final pairing and although got closer this time with only two goals separating the teams on the final whistle. Na Fianna were missing a lot of key players for this game due to a late change in the fixture and  it was Seneschalstown’s experience on the day that helped them book their place in the 2013 final. The ladies had a mixed run in their league campaign but maintain Division 1 status. The Feis Cup competition saw the ladies remain unbeaten throughout and make it to the semifinal stages where this time it was St. Ultan’s  turn to get one over on Na Fianna. The team of 2013 was under the management of Bertie McLoughlin, Seani Kirby and Christy Colgan. The ladies club can look forward to progressing further in the junior and senior campaigns with such a young team at both grades.

GAELiC4GiRLS

The Gaelic4Girls programme in Enfield was a tremendous success, with 58 girls taking part over the 8 weeks. This LGFA national programme was held in association with Na Fianna Ladies Football Club. The programme targeted girls between the ages of 9-13yrs who were not part of a Ladies Football Club and introduced them to the sport in a fun environment. The girls were taught the basic skills of Ladies Gaelic football and then

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LADiES FOOTBALL

Na Fianna Ladies once again this year participated in both the Junior and Senior grades of the Meath Ladies Championship. One of the only three clubs in Meath fielding two teams at adult level, it is a testament to the work the club is putting in at both juvenile and adult levels with ladies football. This junior team failed to advance to the play off stages in the championship but with many of the panel still very much underage this is very much a developing team. The team of

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demonstrated their new skills through a series of mini games. The Gaelic4Girls programme concluded on Saturday 15thJune in Enfield with the presentation of t-shirts and certificates to all participants. The Co-ordinator of the programme recognised the effort put in by all involved to ensure the programme was a success in particular the coaches (Trisha Hanley, Mikey Lawlor, Ann Wall, Rachel Walsh, Sarah-Jane Farley, Leanne Farley, Ges Hanley, Nikki Kelly and Sarah Scully) for all their work over the past number of weeks. The girls were individually presented with their t-shirts and certificates by Meath Ladies County Manager Lar Wall and Na Fianna/Meath Ladies Senior players, Shauna Ennis and Meabh Downey. It has been clear to see for all involved what a fantastic initiative this programme was and the consistent turnouts every  Saturday  were justification that the girls enjoyed the 8 weeks and partaking in the blitz in Croke Park in July. It was fantastic to see the dramatic improvement in the girls’ skills levels throughout the programme and all the participants really enjoyed the programme. Many of the girls went on to join Na Fianna and are now participating in the underage girls structure.

CAMOGiE

The club’s senior camogie side had a difficult year with the loss of players through injury and emigration. With that, they still managed to maintain senior status even though they were lucky to have the bare 15 for some championship games. Hopefully players will be back from injury for the 2014 season. They had dropped down to the division two league last year but won all of their games and the final which means they’ll play in division one next year. Playing stronger teams should benefit them for their championship campaign. Thankfully there is a fantastic underage structure as Na Fianna has put out teams for U8’s and U10’s in the Go Games. They’ve also had teams from U11 right up to U16. The U13’s team represented Meath in Feile this year and will do the same next year. We also had success with our senior player Emma Coffey as she won an All-Ireland medal playing for Meath in the U16 All Ireland final. Emma’s older sister Claire played for Meath Intermediate team. They reached the All Ireland semi-final

but were unfortunately beaten by Limerick. This was a huge achievement given that it was Meath’s first year at Intermediate level A special thanks to Manager/Trainer Matthew Coffey for his hard work and dedication to improving the standards of camogie in Na Fianna. Selectors: Declan Martin and Miah Henricks have assisted in this task. Secretary Geraldine Geraghty does monumental work for Na Fianna Camogie and keeps everything ticking over. Words of thanks to Ann Coffey for ensuring the senior camogie team are togged out in clean jerseys. If you would like to get involved in playing or mentoring any camogie team please contact the Secretary Geraldine Geraghty on 0861999417 or Manager Matthew Coffey on 0863409396.

UNDERAGE HURLiNG

What a difference a few years can make as the saying goes and this is very apt for Na Fianna’s underage hurling who in a few short years have gone from fielding four teams up to now fielding double that, with team’s donning the club colours in all eight of the county board ran competitions from U8 to U18. U8 and U10 - The clubs U8 and U10 teams has a very successful year participating in the Meath Games and Development Group Go Games program with especially the younger age group seeing a huge uptake in the “small ball” code with up to 40 children attending the Thursday night training sessions. U12, U13 and U14 - Not to be outdone by their older club mates Na Fianna’s U12 and U14 teams both reached their respective “A “Championship finals having completed all matches unbeaten. However great rivals Trim proved too strong in both finals while the U13 team lost their semi to a very strong Rathoath team. U15 and U16 - A decision made in 2012 to field an U16 team proved to be a very shrewd one as the team won the U16B competition. This title was retained in 2013 after a fantastic final replay win over Wolfe Tones. Having won the Leinster Cross Border Division 3 U15 hurling late last year, the Na Fianna team again took part in this competition with 4 Kildare teams, winning 3 and drawing one, finishing top of the competition. The u15 also won the County U15 blitz beating Trim in the final. Minor - The final part of the jigsaw saw

161

the club field a minor hurling team and while no titles were won, it provides the players with the training and preparation to step up into the clubs adult teams. The team did reach the semi final stages but didn’t progress.

UNDERAGE FOOTBALL

Na Fianna teams from U8 to U18 and in all uneven ages also, with all participating well in their respective competitions. At the time of going to print the clubs U13 and U15 teams have completed their group stage matches and have finished in the top 2 so await home semi-finals. The U17 competition has not started yet but again the panel has assembled over the last number of weeks and continues to train in preparation for same. U6 and U8 – Club identity and passion for parish begins here and training begins for these ages with the Nursery on a Saturday morning.  Here the basics are imparted from very patient coaches to the stars of the future U10 – U12 - Both age groups have an abundance of talent with our U10 team competing in County organized blitzes introducing the children to the rigors of rules. The U12 seven a side narrowly beaten in the County blitz final. This was an incredible performance given the struggle this team had at the beginning of the year. It is just a pity the U12 Summer League final was never played as the U12’s had qualified for it. U14 Feile Success -U14 football goes from strength to strength and this year the club’s U14 team became the first football team from the club to win the Meath Feile Football competition and represented Meath in the 2013 competition which was hosted by Derry. The team represented both the club and Meath with distinction and reached the semi- final stage of All- Ireland Feile Division 2 This team also reached the summer league final and the 7 a side final unfortunately unable to repeat the highs of the Feile competition.. U16 and Minor -Both teams participated in their respective competitions but with exams, summer holidays and other commitments there were seldom games where either team could field at full strength. The minors reached the final of their competition but came up short. Where our U16s performed very well and achieved results which surprised many there seems to be a dearth of young men at maximum age in this age group. Reaching a semi-final far out done


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targets set for these men.

their first ever girls Cumann na mBunscoil title this year in either code, It was a tremendous achievement. Let’s hope it’s the first of many.

UNDERAGE CAMOGiE

Na Fianna has put huge efforts into increasing the profile of camogie. It is so true that success breeds success and the number of young girls now attending the camogie nursery every Thursday evening and Saturday mornings training sessions are on the increase. U6 and U8 -Training on a Thursday evening from late spring to the end of the season and play mini games against other clubs in the area, Camogie is beginning to that a strong foothold in the club’s diary. The training and skills transfer these girls are given is very apparent even at this tender age and learning with the young hurlers is instilling a sense of competitiveness very difficult to attain at this age. U10 - At this age group the children are introduced into the game culture through Blitzes organised and played in clubs throughout Meath. As most of the girls are now in the third and fourth year with sticks in hand they are a force to be reckoned with. U11 and U12 - Even though there are no “competitive” competitions for these age groups it would be hard to guess this given the intensity the girls who represent their club in these age groups play with. Neither Camogie teams were defeated in the multitude of games and blitzes provided for these age groups and the girls also played in the older U13 and U14 teams U13 Feile and U14 – Na Fianna added further U13 and U14 titles to the titles they won last year overcoming Rathoath in all 4 finals. There is no denying Na Fianna’s supremacy in these age groups over the past few years and given the success of the U11’s and U12 it looks good to continue for the years to come. The U13 Feile team played their group, semi final and final of Division 1 without a single point being scored against them. Where the U14’s retained their U14 title it was hard fought and a measure of the grit and determination synonymous with these girls that saw them retain their crown U15 and U16 - At the time of writing the U16 Camogie competition is reaching the knock out stages with Na Fianna still in the running, where the girls U15 lost at semi-final stage. Both these teams are heavily relying on players from U13 and U14. Congratulations to Miss Murphy and the St Patrick’s National School, Baconstown’s Camogie team who won

LADiES UNDERAGE FOOTBALL

Jamie Queeney

Dalton McDonagh

Dean Barrett breaks the challenge

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During the summer of this year Na Fianna ran “GAA for Girls” and over 70 girls under 14 who traditionally wouldn’t have joined the club or played Gaelic turned out to Enfield pitch to learn new skills. The adventure was so successful, Na Fianna were able to enter two U13 girls teams into competition this year U6 and U8 - The nursery and Cul Camp had very encouraging numbers of girls playing football. For parents who want their children to integrate into their community, to learn lifelong lessons on team playing and making new friends this is the place to be. U 10 and U12 - U10 is a “noncompetitive” competition which means only there are no semi-finals and finals. Each girl who put on the Na Fianna colours played as if there was an AllIreland title to be won and the skill levels were in some cases were quite staggering with soloing, over-head catching and point scoring the norm rather than the exception. Having played some sublime football the U12 team was very unlucky to lose a very hard fought final replay against Oldcastle possibly being very unlucky not to win the first game. The U11 season started only in September and the girls are unstoppable at the moment. U13 and U14 - Having won their U11 and U12 competitions, the U13 team continued in this winning vein this year and gained promotion to Division 1 by beating Boardsmill in the U13 Division 2 competition. The U14 squad was unlucky to lose their final earlier this year when they came up against a very strong Royal Gaels from North Meath. U15 and U16 - Being heavily supplemented by U13 and U14 girls and struggling to field suitably aged girls both our U15 and U16 girls done extremely well. The U15 girls were beaten in their semi-final by Trim and the U16 girls unfortunately lost in their final. We would not have a successful underage structure in our club without the co-operation, guidance and support from managers/mentors. We are very lucky to have so many wonderful people involved.


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SPECIAL FEATURE

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SET IN STONE

eing involved with your local GAA club for over 40 years, and helping them transform along the way, isn’t something that too many can boast. It’s safe to say that Greg Twomey owes nothing to the Donaghmore/Ashbourne club after his endeavours down the years Since his days as a juvenile player Greg Twomey has been giving his all for the Donaghmore/Ashbourne cause and has watched the club evolve into one of Meath’s leading lights thanks to the hard work of it’s devoted members. Greg has been one of those devoted members for 41 years now and is confident the club can continue to make the right strides that he hopeswill see it back to the pinnacle of Meath club football – a place they were last in back in 1942, when the Keegan cup made its way to the club for the third time in it’s history Greg won a minor football championship in 1977 and the following year made his adult debut for the club in the intermediate championship, while also representing Meath in both minor football and hurling that year. He continued to play through the 70’s and 80’s and his performances would eventually see him don the number one jersey for Meath under the great Sean Boylan It came as a great honour to Greg, a Sales Director at his family’s Dublin based business Natural Stone Yard, to be involved with the Meath senior team. “I’m involved with the club 41 years now” Greg explained. “Basically since I started playing under 14 in 1972 when we had one adult team and underage consisted of under 14s, 16s and minor. “Facilities consisted of a hedge to tog out under and Mick Long’s sheep kept the grass down on the pitch but as now, back then the committee of the time were forward thinking had started

work on the new clubhouse and we looked forward to dressing rooms, a sports hall and something unheard of in GAA clubs at the time – showers. The Wotton served us well and we have great memories from the old stomping ground. “We didn’t win an awful lot at adult level, a Division 4 league title was won in my time as numbers were small so winning that title was a good achievement for the club.” During a season under Sean Boylan Greg gained valuable experience with Meath, going to the quarter-finals of the national league, winning the O’Byrne Cup and in the first round of the Leinster championship lost to Dublin after a replay and extra time.

Meath teams were well looked after back then but Greg remembers one trip to Tyrone in particular: “We travelled to Tyrone for a round of the national league and the team bus broke down about ten miles from the venue in Pomeroy. The supporters bus was sent back to collect us and we togged out on the way back running from the bus straight on the pitch. “At the time Meath had the old fashioned set up of seven selectors. During the second half they decided to replace Eamonn Barry but couldn’t agree who would replace him and the debate went on for about ten minutes. Then Eamonn scored a cracking goal to level the game, the debate ended and Eamonn stayed on. After the

Greg has high hopes for the club in 2014

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game we had to wait for nearly three hours for a replacement bus, arriving back in Navan after midnight. The following year Sean was manager with two selectors.” Greg continued to play for his club until eventually having to hang up his boots due to injuries bringing down the curtain on his playing career in a league match in Kells in 1996. However it wasn’t long before the club came knocking on his door this time in an administrative role – and he was happy to oblige. He went on to hold key positions as secretary and chairman on the Donaghmore/Ashbourne committee as the club moved into a new era which saw its volunteers work vigorously to bring

Greg Twomey with his daughter Laura at Donaghmore/Ashbourne GAA club

it to the status it holds today. “I was lucky as a chairman to have a group of people so dedicated and driven to move this club forward both on and off the pitches. “On the pitches we were making great progress, underage structures were paying off and trophies started to fill the shelves. The number of teams increased and we needed to expand at the Wotton or look for a new base in the town of Ashbourne where 90% of our players lived.” The club decided for the second option and were grateful to two developers in the town who made a site available. “This was a massive undertaking, we had to sell the idea to our members and convince them we could deliver, at the same time not take our eye off the ball and ensure the day to day running of the club and games would not be affected.” A development committee was formed and led by Gerry Delany with clear instructions to oversee the development and move to Ashbourne. The executive committee and various other sub committees continued with the running of club affairs May 4th 2008 was a landmark date which saw the club unveil its impressive new facilities at a cost of €6.5m, but Greg explained that the original plans for raising funds had been made more than ten years previous. “We started raising funds as far back as 1997, we’ve had major Christmas draws every year since then which still continue to service the debt. We’re here five years now and the membership as grown from 300 to over 1,200.” Greg believes that every child that joins the club is entitled

Greg helps a customer at the display area in Natural Stone Yard

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to play the games regardless of ability and it’s up to the club to ensure this happens. 2007 was a great year as the club won the intermediate and minor championships, finished the development and moved in by end of December. They were a senior club again with facilities to match. “We officially opened the new grounds in May 2008. Meath and Cavan playing the first match on the new pitch and it dawned on me that we had come a long way from a hedge row and hunting sheep off the pitch before the game could start.” The ultimate breakthrough in the top tier is still pending for the club, who have reached senior semi-finals twice, but in 2013 Greg admits the team took a step backwards with regards the senior championship. “We were disappointed with our senior championship campaign this year but our intermediate team preformed well and our fourth team won their league. The important thing is to be competing at the top level in all ages from U14 through to adult in leagues and championship. We will do better in 2014 in the senior league and championship.” Greg is also very optimistic over Meath’s chances in 2014. With the side back in Division 2 of the Allianz FL and having pushed AlIreland winners Dublin all the way in the Leinster final, there is great potential in the side says Greg. “I’m very impressed with the Meath management. Mick O’Dowd comes across as a very apt individual and has a good team of men in his backroom I know Sean Kelly personally as he was involved with Donaghmore/Ashbourne and we’re in good hands,” he said. “Meath need to be playing Division one football as with club or county, you need to be dining at the top table,” Adds greg, who feels that will be the target and then the foundations will be in place to build for All-Ireland glory. “Michael Newman, Eamon Wallace and Paddy O’Rourke were superb this season but with regards to where you can improve, maybe the half back line needs to be strengthened up a bit. There are a lot of quality young lads around the county that can come in and hopefully they will and the results will continue to improve.” No doubt Greg isn’t the only one

Greg was full back on the Donaghmore side that won the 1977 MFC and 30 years later the trophy came back to the club. Greg is pictured with 2013 captain and full back Jack McCarney

keeping fingers crossed. Greg Twomey is Sales Director with Natural Stone Yard, a successful stone merchants company in the Irish industry which is based near Ashbourne in Bullstown, the Ward, Co Dublin. Established 13 years ago, Greg’s brother Timmy is the company Managing Director, while Timmy’s wife Gillian and brother Johnny are also part of the business. Natural Stone Yard sources its stone from around the globe to offer its customers a wider choice, variety, value and quality at all times. They stock a large quantity at their depot in Bullstown, where they are ready for dispatch and collection. For an in depth view of what products the company has to offer , they have extensive display areas on site or visit www.naturalstoneyard.ie

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Best Wishes To Greg Twomey


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SPECIAL FEATURE

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THE LAST LINE OF DEFENCE

ormer Royal County net minder Conor Martin dusted the cobwebs off the boots to line out for St Paul's in this year's Meath JFC 'B' competition. It was a far cry from the heady days of competing in All-Ireland finals but he found it an enjoyable experience nonetheless. 2013 marked the 20th anniversary of the Royal County's one and only All-Ireland success at Under 21 level. Conor Martin was between the posts for that memorable 1-8 to 010 final win over Kerry at Portlaoise and it was one of many highlights that the goalkeeper packed into a glittering intercounty career. Along with Graham Geraghty, Enda McManus, Trevor Giles and Cathal Sheridan, he holds the

Conor Martin has set up his own Financial Advisory firm

Conor has this situation under control against Sean Grennan of Offaly

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distinction of being the only Meath men to boast All-Ireland minor, Under 21 and senior medals in their collections. The halcyon days of the eighties and nineties are, unfortunately, a distant memory but the Ballivor native is optimistic that there could be an upturn in the county's fortunes just around the corner. He was pleasantly surprised by what he witnessed from the Kevin Reilly captained Meath side this year. “I think, if you look back, we're probably our own worst critics, it's hard for a prophet to be recognised in his own land,” Conor observed. “But, looking at it sensibly, you'd have to say we had a better year than most would have expected. We were ahead of Dublin by two points at half-time and only lost


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In the colours of St Paul’s - Conor clears his lines against Slane

to Tyrone by a point. “At one point we were staring Division 4 football in the face so it was a huge lift for Mick, Trevor, Sean and Colm to get promotion. They have to be given time to develop their ideas. “Obviously they have decided to dispense with the services of some of the older guys on the panel. There is plenty of experience on the sideline and Division 2 football will stand to them in the New Year. “It's a good sign when a team is behind that they fight back. That neversay-die spirit had disappeared

somewhat from Meath football over the last decade or so but it's great to get it back. “Teams like Wexford didn't fear playing us anymore but I think there were signs this year that we are getting that back.” The All-Ireland MFC success of 1990 gave Conor his first taste of the big time and it proved to be a stepping stone for bigger and better things to come. Goals from Cathal Sheridan and substitute Conor Macken boosted the young Royals to a 2-11 to 2-9 over a

Best Wishes To Conor Martin, From

Kerry team that included future Footballer of the Year Seamus Moynihan at centre half-back. It would have been a different story at the final whistle, however, had Conor not come to his team's rescue by producing a match-winning penalty save from John Cronin with three minutes left on the clock. “The manner in which it was won, saving a penalty in the last few minutes, it was 'Roy of the Rovers' stuff. Paul Kenny, our manager, said to us at the time that if we won it, it would change our lives forever and he was

Best Wishes To Conor Martin

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right. “Some of my best friends in life are from that minor team, the likes of Hugh Carolan and John McCarthy,” revealed the 41 year old whose cousin Conor Loftus followed in his footsteps this year by winning a, All-Ireland minor medal with Mayo. “It was a great start to my career and then the Under 21 came along. It was a few years before I broke into the senior team. Mickey McQuillan and Donal Smyth were there at that time and I was lucky to come along when they were nearing the end of their careers. “I was also lucky that Brendan Murphy was in England with Wimbledon at the time. I would have been under pressure for the number one jersey if he was available at that time.” The minor and Under 21 victories paved the way for the Sam Maguire victory of 1996.

Best Wishes To Conor Martin

Skin Deep

“Sean (Boylan) built a new team and he got success again after hammering Carlow in the first round. It’s only now, when you look back on the 80s and 90s, that you realise how lucky we were. The county has been starved of success since 2002 to the present day, with the exception of the 2010 Leinster final but we dare not speak of that! “Being an intercounty football demands big sacrifices but fellas lives change with work getting in the way and then you have partners and children coming along. The way it's gone now, I'd be very surprised to see lads playing beyond 30 years old. It's virtually professional.” Togging out with St Paul's in the Meath JFC B competition doesn't demand the same level of commitment but that doesn't in any way diminish the determination to do well. Conor married into a staunch St Paul's GAA family, the Keague's, so he couldn't say no to his brother-inlaw, former Royal selector Tom, when he came knocking, asking him to come out of retirement and transfer from Ballivor to the Clonee parish outfit. “He's been asking me for 17 years so I eventually gave in!” joked Conor who is married to Louise Keague, Tom’s sister. “Anthony Moyles came back from Dublin to finish his career with his home club and it was an attractive proposition for me to be kicking the ball out to him. “I enjoyed it, there's a good bunch of lads involved with the club – the likes of the Moyles' and the Barkers - who are very passionate about their football.” A 0-8 to 2-10 quarter-final defeat at the hands of Seneschalstown's

second string signalled the end of St Paul's interest in the competition. “We actually beat the eventual winners Boardsmill this year and we beat the finalists Moynalty twice. We kicked too many wides early on against Seneschalstown, I think we kicked eight when we were enjoying a purple patch early on and they got two goals. “Seneschalstown were a good team with a lot of lads who had experience of playing senior over the last two to three years. Ashbourne is a big pitch which probably didn't suit us either. They were a fitter team.” Workwise, Conor has just resigned from his job as an associate director with Smith & Williamson, the private client investment firm, after almost twenty years in the industry to set up his own Financial Advisory firm. “Having been advising individuals and families for many years of how to preserve and grow their wealth through good times and bad, I feel the time is right to start my own company using my experience to assist people in planning their financial future.” Currently residing in Maynooth, having moved there in 2007, Conor is involved with underage coaching in the local club where his sons Ronan (Under 7) and Fiachra (Under 5) are currently learning their trade. He has also lent his experience to the County Development Under 14 squad this year, giving manager Eamon Moyles a help out by coaching the goalkeepers, and he helped his good friend, Andy McEntee with his Meath Minor goalkeepers throughout the year too. The county's future goalkeepers couldn't learn from a safer pair of hands!

Best wishes, continued success and looking forward to continuing to work with you into the future Conor from Conor Woods at Woods and Partners.

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SPECIAL FEATURE

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IS YOUR HOME A COSIHOME?

rom its base in Ashbourne, County Meath, Cosihomes Insulation Services has developed into Ireland’s premier retrofitting insulation specialist. ‘Royal County’ caught up with managing director and keen GAA enthusiast Dermot Byrne to take a closer look at the range of services provided and to chart the astonishing success of his company in a relatively short space of time.

Part of the Derchil Group, Cosihomes Insulation Solutions is Ireland’s leading provider of home energy saving and reduced heating costs. Experts in installing all types of home insulation - from external and cavity wall fill to attic insulation - as well as installing heating controls and boilers to maximise energy efficiency in homes, the company was established by Dermot Byrne in 2007 and has made remarkable progress in the space of six years. The range of services provided includes external render and internal insulation;

Minister Phil Hogan TD opening Cosihomes’ showroom in 2011

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attic and cavity wall insulation; boiler and heating control; warm roof; and demandcontrolled ventilation. Cosihomes is the largest external wall insulation company in Ireland. With grants available through the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) and a growing appreciation that improved home insulation

The impressive Cosihomes showrooms in Ashbourne

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Stephen O’Brien and Ratoath celebrate with the Division 3FL trophy

offers a great return on investment, retrofit insulation is a rapidly-growing sector and Cosihomes is at the forefront of that trend, having started out as an external insulation company before evolving into a one-stop shop for all retrofitting measures. In addition to its showroom and office in Ashbourne, Cosihomes also employs a network of installers nationwide. While the bulk of work is carried out in the greater Dublin area, projects have been completed as far away as Cork and Sligo and everywhere in between.

Up to 35% of heat is lost through the roof of a standard home, with another 40% lost through the walls. With Cosihomes insulation retrofitted, customers can save as much as 50% on their annual home heating bill – a massive saving considering the manner in which fuel costs have soared in recent years! A free advice centre is part of the service. Cosihomes will look at every aspect of your insulation, from top to bottom, both internal and external, before coming up with the ideal way of minimising heat loss from your

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property. Dermot and his team provide a consultation, free of charge, at your home. These consultations will advise homeowners on the most simple, basic energy and heat-saving steps to be taken – all this before suggesting any work by Cosihomes! Pioneers in their field, Derchil and Cosihomes are behind many of the new initiatives on the retrofit market, having pioneered numerous new techniques, systems and policies. Cosihomes can also organise the grant aid on its clients’ behalf, which eliminates the paperwork and allows


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home owners to know their bottom line and in turn maximise their home heating with the absolute minimum of fuss and expense. Offering energy efficiency at an affordable price, Cosihomes Insulation Solutions is one of the most impressive new companies to emerge in the Royal County in the past decade and one gets the distinct impression that there are a few more chapters remaining to be written in this particular success story. Before the recession effectively debilitated the entire construction sector, Derchil was one of the largest plastering contractors in Ireland. Six years ago, while he was taking stock and planning his next move, Dermot spotted the opportunity of diversifying into the area of retrofit insulations; his new company – which is not only the biggest external insulation contractor in the Republic of Ireland but also the only one to be ISO 9001, 14001 and 18001 accredited – is fully sustainable and environmentally-friendly. Their quality of work is widely recognised as the best available and Cosihomes is at the very cutting edge of its chosen field of expertise. For this reason, coupled with the affordability of the service and the subsequent savings to be made, they benefit from an extremely large number of referrals. As well as private homes, Cosihomes also works on schemes for local authorities and the founder’s attitude has always been that no job is ever considered too big or too small. All enquiries are welcome! A substantial employer, Dermot Byrne provides direct employment to some 80 people as well as a large number of indirect employees. Cosihomes is a member of Éasca, which was formed to promote sustainable building in Ireland and to facilitate positive change in order to mainstream sustainable building practices. All members of Éasca are companies which pledge to work for the betterment of the environment and to carry out appropriate quality-assured procedures. Originally from the village of Knockbridge in County Louth,

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Dermot played football for the local St Brides GFC during the ‘70s and ‘80s. Nephew of the former famous Louth player, Micheal (Huckle) Byrne, he relocated to the Royal County in 1991 after spending a few years in England. His son Conor lines out for the Ratoath U16s and Dermot is a big supporter of the local GAA club, noting: “It’s a growing club and there’s a lot happening there. They are going very well. There are a lot of very dedicated lads working in Ratoath and you can’t but admire them. I’d go down to the pitch when I get a chance to watch Dermot Rooney putting the lads through their paces. It’s a fantastic club and it’s only natural to support them in any way you can.” For further information on insulation, grants or for a noobligation, free consultation drop in to the Cosihomes showroom in Ashbourne Business Park or use the contact details below. Cosihomes Insulation Solutions, Unit 11, Block 4 Ashbourne Business Park Ashbourne County Meath Tel: 1890 315315 Fax: 01 8010099 Email: info@cosihomes.ie

Best Wishes To Cosi Homes History makers - the Ratoath U21FC winners

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ST. MARY’S

Joey Moore keeps his eye on the ball

hree decades ago St Mary’s were persistently banging on the door to gain entrance to the senior ranks of Meath football. They could not find the key in the ‘80s and after dropping down two grades the recent focus has been on trying to get up to the highest of the four junior grades.

They have been in the Junior B FC ranks since 2010 and after reaching the final last year only to lose to Dunshaughlin, the 2013 campaign saw the footballers from Donore and Rosnaree bow out as Boardsmill reversed a semi-final result at the same stage of the championship 12 months earlier. Dunshaughlin actually defeated Mary’s twice in the 2012 championship and it was suggested that with their bogey team gone up, they could go one better. But after going through the group phase unbeaten and then overcoming local rivals St Vincent’s at the quarter-final stage, there was a fall at the penultimate hurdle for the second time in four years.

Mary’s had a new manager in charge with Brian Carroll taking over from Mark O’Neill and Martin McCann and dual All-Ireland medal winner of the ‘80s Liam Smith as selectors. The wearers of the green and red were drawn in Group A along with Moynalty, Slane, St Paul’s, Ratoath

and Gaeil Colmcille and Moynalty, the only side to take a point off them. Gaeil Colmcille provided the opposition in the opening round and in a game played in windy conditions at Simonstown St Mary’s scraped a 1-8 to 1-7 victory. The Kells side was favoured by the breeze in the first half and led by 0-6 to 0-3 at the interval. In the third quarter a Robert Victory goal following a pass from Cormac Drew to draw the sides level. After David Smith put the east Meath lads into the lead with points from a free and play, Gaeil Colmcille regained the advantage with their goal However, Mary’s finished well with points from Drew, Joe Moore and Robbie Callaghan to snatch a winning start. There has been little between St Mary’s and Moynalty over the last few years and they finished level (0-10 to 1-7) in the third round tussle at Drumconrath. A goal from Ollie Sheridan was the difference in the first

ST MARY’S KEEP KNOCKING ON THE DOOR

Prior to the Junior B championship clash with Moynalty in Drumconrath, front l/r: Fergus Flood, Bernard McKeown, Robert Callaghan, Cormac Drew, Eoin Craven, Brian Smith, Nicky Gogan, David Smith, Eoin Everard, John Lynch. Back: Gary Teelan, Conor Lenehan, Michael Everard, James Lynch, Eoin Morrison, Derek O'Brien, Eirin Madden, Paul Scanlon, Joe Moore, Pat McHugh, Mick Lynch, David Gogarty

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Robert Callaghan

Goalkeeper Derek O'Brien is put under pressure

Eoin Everard

Eirin Madden

as close as they got. However, the scores continued to flow freely for Mary’s with James Lynch netting the goal. St Mary’s finished on top of their group with nine points from St Paul’s (eight) and Moynalty (seven) and they advanced to meet St Vincent’s in their last eight tie. That tie took place at Duleek and the Donore side remerged as narrow 0-9 to 0-8 winners. There was also one point in it at the break with the Ardcath men ahead by 0-5 to 0-4. The game was played in windy conditions and St Vincent’s got the first three scores, favoured by the elements in the first half. James Lynch erased the Mary’s blank and Eirin Madden,

half as the north county side led by 1-4 to 0-4 at the break. St Mary’s got back on the winning path with a 1-15 to 2-9 win over St Paul’s in a Thursday evening tie at Dunsany which the eventual winners led by 1-9 to 2-4 at the halfway stage. After starting in sprightly manner with early points from David Smith and Robbie Callaghan, Mary’s conceded two goals. After leaking the second goal, James Lynch took a pass from Morrison before firing to the net and points from Drew and Lynch left them ahead by the smallest possible margin at the halfway stage. In a closely-contested second half, Mary’s slightly increased their advantage with points from Cormac Drew, substitute Stephen Bishop and Eoin Morrison seeing them home in front by three. The men in green and red chalked up a comfortable fourth round win when outscoring Ratoath’s second team by 1-16 to 0-8 at Kilberry. They had already qualified for the knockout phase but the victory ensured a table-topping position with Slane not fielding against them in the last round. Eoin Morrison fired over three points in the opening six minutes and it was 0-9 to 0-0 after 20 minutes. Morrison’s early burst was followed by white flag efforts from Cormac Drew, Nicky Gogan and Robbie Callaghan before David Smith converted three points. Ratoath eventually got on the board and had reduced the deficit to seven points (0-3 to 010) at the break. Ratoath got the first two scores on the restart but that was

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Eoin Morrison and Stephen followed up with points. Bishop shot the first two points on the restart to edge his side ahead and with the sides on level terms in the closing exchanges and extra-time looking likely, Robbie Callaghan took a pass from Lynch to strike the winning score. St Mary’s defeated Boardsmill by 10 points in a Junior B FC semi-final clash in 2012. However, the tables were turned when the sides met at Walterstown last September with the ‘Mill men prevailing on a 1-10 to 0-10 scoreline. The east Meath team was left to rue a string of missed scoring chances, kicking a total of 13 wides compared to just four by the winners. Boardsmill got the decisive goal in the early stages and could have found the net before that but for a fine save by Derek O’Brien. After falling four points in arrears, Mary’s eventually got on the board with a Robert Victory point. Similar scores from Joe Moore, Eoin Morrison, Robbie Callaghan, Cormac Drew and Stephen Bishop brought Mary’s back into contention and the sides were level (1-3 to 0-6) at the break. However, Boardsmill outscored them by seven points to four in the second period with Callaghan finishing up with 0-4 for the losers. After holding high hopes of going one better on their 2012 efforts, it was a disappointing exit for St Mary’s, who were tipped to go all the way this year. After winning their first three games, including a victory over Boardsmill in the third round, the Donore – Rosnaree side went on to lose six times in Division 4 of the All County Leagues, finishing in joint sixth place. Among the successful outings were victories over higher grade teams Longwood and Meath Hill but they lost their way after the bright beginning. They finished on 13 points, along with Moylagh and St Vincent’s, and were below winners Meath Hill, beaten finalists St Brigid’s, Longwood, St Paul’s and Clonard. Lack of playing numbers is a problem for a number of clubs in the lower grades and St Mary’s is no exception. “This year we had a panel of 23 players and, with some players not always available, we struggled to field a team for some league games,” said selector Liam Smith. It was so different during Smith’s playing career. After winning the JFC

James Lynch

title in 1979 they lost out in two IFC finals, to Moynalvey in 1983 and Harps in a replay in 1985. As well as being on Meath’s Centenary Cup winning team in 1984, the star forward was on two All-Ireland and three Leinster winning panels. Liam was also a member of the 1987-88 National League winning squad and gave remarkable playing service to his club, wearing the green and red at adult level from 1974 when

Eoin Morrison

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he was a 16-year-old up to the 1998 JFC final when Drumree dashed the hopes of a second medal in the grade. “Since retiring from playing, I still like to keep fit by going for runs, I have regularly been involved with Mary’s teams and this year we had Louth man Brian Carroll as manager. He has managed a few teams in Louth as well as the Seneschalstown women. “He was good, he tried a few things which were new to us and Martin McCann was a selector along with me. “We have a few players who are over 30 and there is a bit of a gap between some of the older lads and the younger players. Some of the team members around the 20/21 mark are promising and should improve. “Emigration is a problem for most clubs and this year we were affected with Luke Sullivan and Leon and Stephen Madden of last year’s squad abroad. “After getting to the Junior B final in 2012, we had hoped to get that far again. We were unbeaten in the group games, Gaeil Colmcille were sticky opponents and Moynalty, who like ourselves, have been there or thereabouts in the last few years, drew with us. “We finished top of our group but that may have been a disadvantage to us as Boardsmill seemed to have an easier passage on the other side of the draw. But, I suppose you should be able to beat the best teams in order to win it out. “The quarter-final against St Vincent’s was a hard game. The wind spoiled it and we were glad to get through by a point although we could have had more to spare. “We kicked 13 wides, including missed frees, in the semi-final against Boardsmill. We were level with 10 minutes to go before they put over three points without reply. We beat them by 10 points at the same stage last year but they obviously improved with some good young players on board. All our misses cost us. “It was disappointing not to get as far as last year but will have to look ahead to next year and hope that we can do better. We should eventually get the title,” concluded Smith.


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DRUMCONRATH

ural clubs tend to suffer most during recessionary times and Drumconrath have certainly been hit in a big way by emigration in more recent years but there have been definite signs that the dedicated work being carried out is having the desired affect and this year they reached the quarter-finals of the Junior Football Championship where they were edged out by Cortown after extra time in a thriller.

Last year they secured their status in the junior grade by defeating Slane with comfort in a relegation semi-final but there was a lot to admire about their form in Division 4 of the AllCounty A League where they were consistent enough to earn a final place. Cortown denied them the title but there was the considerable consolation of achieving promotion. And any fears that they might struggle to hold their own in Division 3 this year were certainly wide of the mark as the Tom Smyth-managed team just missed out on a second successive promotion when finishing level with who else but Cortown in second position behind Ratoath. Both ended up with 15 points but the Bohermeen parish side had a better score difference. Overall, it has to be viewed as a year

Stephen Crosby beats Clann na nGael’s Jamie Shaw to the ball at Grangegodden

of progress which suggested that Drumconrath are heading in the right direction, especially when considering the type of player they have been missing. Among them is former county senior panellists Terry Skelly who is in Australia. Drumconrath had started their competitive year with back to back victories in the league against Clann na nGael (1-7 to 0-6) and Bective (0-9 to

1-5). They then lost to Ballinabrackey (0-7 to 0-12) and defeated Ballivor (16 to 1-5) so they headed into the championship with a 75 per cent success rate. They were drawn in group C along with Kilbride, Moylagh, Dunsany and Kilmainham and made the desired winning start when getting the better of Kilbride by 0-12 to 0-10 at Seneschalstown. They were the idle team in the second round but maintained their progressive start to the qualification process when beating Dunsany by 1-14 to 1-8, again at Seneschalstown. Wayne Sherlock made his first championship appearance in almost a decade while Alan Byrne was the leading marksman with an impressive personal haul of nine points. Derek Duff notched the goal and got 1-2 overall in an impressive victory. Kilmainham were always going to provide much sterner opposition in the fourth round at Moynalty and so it proved as they won comfortably by 512 to 0-7. When the sides had clashed in a Tailteann Cup quarter-final a couple of weeks earlier Kilmainham won by two points but this time there was no denying their superiority. Tommy Carolan, Derek Duff (two each) and Stephen Crosby scored first half points for Drumconrath but it was

DRUMCONRATH ARE BACK IN BUSINESS

Prior to their win over Moylagh in the junior championship at Moynalty, front l/r: John Lynch, John McDermott, Jamie Myles, Peter Tighe, Damian Glass, Patrick Dunne, Alan Byrne, Oran Finnagan, Terry Halpenny. Back: Brendan Lyons,Thomas Carolan, Eoin Martin, Christopher Tighe, Sean Kane, Aidan Tighe, Stephen Crosby, Conor O'Halloran, Derek Duff, Keith Sheerin, Danny Myles, Padraig McMahon, Niall Martin

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WONDERTOTS

all over bar the shouting at that stage as Kilmainham held a commanding 4-3 to 0-5 lead. Carolan and substitute Padraig McMahon scored second half points for Drumconrath but there was never going to be any way back. To their credit, Drumconrath bounced back well to defeat Moylagh by 4-8 to 0-12 in the fifth round, also at Moynalty, to book their place in the quarter-finals. Eoin Martin scored two first half goals and with Crosby also finding the net they led by 3-2 to 0-8 at the interval. Goalkeeper Sean Kane had produced a series of saves from a parried penalty which helped Drumconrath to be in front at that stage. Derek Duff scored a fourth goal in the second period but on a less positive note there was a doubt about Sherlock’s participation in the quarter-final after he was forced off with an injury. With the group action completed Kilmainham were on top with a maximum haul of eight points and Drumconrath also made it through on six. Sherlock was passed fit for the eagerly awaited quarter-final against Cortown at Kilmainhamwood and what a thrilling encounter it turned out to be before Drumconrath were just edged out after extra time. It finished 1-16 to 2-12 in favour of Cortown but both sets of players deserved enormous credit for serving up such an entertaining game. Drumconrath scored the first two points courtesy of Alan Byrne frees but Cortown got back to level terms and would have hit the front but for a fine save by Kane in the 10th minute. Byrne slotted over his third free but the winners opened up a three point lead before Duff goaled from a penalty to leave Drumconrath level (1-3 to 0-6) at half-time. The third quarter belonged largely to Drumconrath who pushed into a 2-7 to 0-8 advantage, with Duff again getting the goal from a penalty. Gary Coyne pulled two points back for Alan Byrne

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Another fine save from Sean Kane

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Niall Martin on league duty against Clann Na nGael

Drumconrath Meath Hill U14 Division 4 Summer Shield winners, front l/r: Darragh Dunne, Cathal McEvoy, Ryan Carry, Jack McMahon, Dean Martin, Shaun Murray, Thomas Carolan. Back: Alan Dunne (coach), Kieran Slavin, Paddy Mathews, Eoin Muldoon, Cathal Marry, Thomas Duff, James Carolan, Paddy Halpin, James McMahon, Pat McMahon (coach)

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Best wishes to Drumconrath GAA, From

Cortown from frees but they then had a player sent off which appeared to hand the initiative to the men in red. However, Cortown were soon in front as Glen Loughran pointed a long range free and Ryan O’Rourke found the net from a penalty. It was the first time that Kane was beaten from the spot this year. The sides were level with seven minutes of normal time remaining but points from O’Rourke and David Rispin edged Cortown two clear. Drumconrath were in trouble but Duff and Crosby rescued them with late points to force extra time as it finished 2-9 to 112. Byrne and Jamie Myles scored the first two points of extra time but Loughran and O’Rourke replied at the other end to leave the sides still locked together on 2-11 to 1-14 at the mini break. There were only three points scored in the second 10 minute period as bodies tired and mistakes were made. Duff pointed a free for Drumconrath but Byrne and Crosby missed tricky late frees and it was Cortown who found most at the end as Coyne slotted over twice to see them home. It was tough on Drumconrath who had contributed so much to a thoroughly memorable match. None of the nine forwards they used managed to score from play and that was bound to prove costly in such a tight game. Coach Tom Smyth, while disappointed with the narrow loss in the quarter-final, rightly viewed it as a year of progress. “We gained promotion in the league last year and we just missed out on promotion again this year,” he said. “Cortown just pipped us on score difference. They seem to be our bogey team. We started the championship with the goal of winning a game but ended up reaching the quarter-finals. That was a very good achievement, especially when considering the calibre of players we were missing. “Terry Skelly is in Australia. He hasn’t played for Drumconrath in the two years I’ve been there. He’s a great footballer and has been a massive loss to the team. They have done so well without a player of his quality. Sean McMahon and Graham Tighe also went to Australia and they are also very big losses to us. “When you add in the problems we have had with injuries the lads have done remarkably well. They deserve a lot of credit

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for that. Leighton Irwin has been a huge loss due to injury. Alan McEvoy is out with a long term injury and Niall Martin got injured in training before our championship game against Moylagh. He tore shoulder ligaments. He’s a really great prospect; he’s only 20. “I’m 24 or 25 years managing teams and I know from

The North Meath Gaels squad that won the MFL Division 5 title, front l/r: Edward Cassidy, Martin Shields, James Mooney, Dominic Yorke, Conor Marry, Daniel Byrne, Colm McEvoy. Back: Conor O'Halloran, Ryan Owens, Ian Malone, Martin Meegan, Padraig Carolan, Shane McCabe, Tomas Conlon, Conor Kieran, Brendan Crosby

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Stephen Crosby

Damien Glass

Daniel Byrne heads for goal

experience that you expect to pick up injuries during a season but you just hope that there aren’t too many of them. That’s where you need a strong panel of players.” Coming through the group stages of the championship was a fine achievement for Drumconrath and a real sign that they are heading in the right direction but once they got there they wanted to push on. That quarterfinal against great rivals Cortown proved to be a step too far but only just. “We were, naturally, very disappointed to lose that game, especially the way we did, with a late score and so narrowly,” Tom added. “But we are going in the right direction. People are saying that we are a lot better than we were last year. The team is progressing at a very good rate. “Overall, we would have to be happy with our year, especially when considering the players we were missing. Other young players like Eoiny Martin and Conor O’Halloran came in and did really well. That’s a very encouraging sign. We have some other very good young players, like Oran Finnegan who is 22. He was with the Meath juniors last year. “We have other good young lads coming through too. It augurs well. There was great commitment from the players. We had some gruelling training sessions but they got on with it. We had an environment where the players could learn and perform. We challenged them and they loved it. “Sean Kane took a lot of the sessions. He was great. He’s also a great goalkeeper. He saved six out of the seven penalties he faced this year. That’s some record.”

A great catch from Conor O'Halloran

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Eoin Martin

Sean McMahon

Derek Duff


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KILLYON

aving reached the 2012 decider and only narrowly lost to Kiltale in the final, hopes were high that Killyon could emulate that achievement this year.

However, before a ball was even thrown in, they were dealt a setback with the loss of many key players through emigration as the likes of Ray Massey, Padraig McKeown and Conor Foley headed for pastures new. Killyon are a club that have become accustomed to losing players through emigration as it has been an annual problem for many years now, just as it has for the majority of rural clubs in the country. Nonetheless, they are considered genuine contenders for the championship on a yearly basis and this is a testament to the club’s structure and the work of the people involved. But, it will be nine years since Killyon last won the county senior hurling championship title when they take to the field again in 2014 after this year’s campaign came to an abrupt end. It was tough enough for the club to lose such key players, but if that wasn’t bad enough, the draw for the SHC was far from kind to them also.

Stefan Kelly

Amazingly all last year’s semi finalists were paired in the Group A along with arguably the other top sides in the county as Killyon were joined by Kilmessan, Kildalkey, Kiltale, Longwood and Boardsmill. Killyon vice-chairman and selector PJ Keoghan revealed to the Royal County Yearbook that despite the setbacks, they were in a confident mood heading into the championship. “There was a great mood in the camp early in the year and even though we knew that it was going to be a tough

group to get out of, we were confident of doing so,” said PJ. “Of course losing key players was a big setback, but we still felt that with the players available we could drive on from last year. The general opinion was that we should have beaten Kiltale in the final the previous year, but we didn’t take our chances and I think that’s what was driving a lot of lads on. “Emigration is always a problem in small parishes and every year we have been affected by it, but you just have to deal with it the best you can and carry on.” In the first match of the SHC, Killyon took on old rivals Kilmessan and as always the emphasis was to get off to a good start in the campaign. For long periods in this game Kilmessan dominated but had to rely on three second half goals to see off Killyon. Kilmessan played with the elements in the opening half and held a 1-8 to 03 lead at the end of it. Keith Keoghan, who was Killyon's only scorer in the opening half, landed a free to put his team on the scoreboard first. Kilmessan led 0-4 to 0-1 after ten minutes and then they held a 0-7 to 02 lead with five minutes remaining but

KILLYON COME GOOD AT THE END

Prior to the senior championship clash with Kilmessan at Trim, front l/r: Stephen Quinn, Brendan Quinn, Cillian Canavan, Calvin Ryan, David Raleigh, Josh Ryan, Thomas Raleigh, Michael Delacey, Andrew Feeney, Joe Connor. Back: Clayton Keegan, Keith Keoghan, Adam Flanagan, David Kennedy, Stefan Kelly, Brian Perry, Ray McKeown, Ger Foley, Adam Gannon, Tom Fay, Adam Farrell, Paddy Ryan

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they outscored Killyon by 1-1 to 0-01 in the closing stages to hold an eightpoint interval lead. A goal from Sean Doyle after five minutes of the second half put Kilmessan 2-9 to 0-5 ahead and in cruise control. Killyon worked themselves back into the game with three points from Keoghan and one from Clayton Keegan but again they were rocked by Kilmessan's third goal. With ten minutes remaining Killyon trailed by nine points but did not give up. Keoghan pointed twice, Stefan Kelly goaled and further scores from Keegan and Adam Gannon had the gap down to 3-10 to 1-13. Yet again the 2012 finalists were rocked when Kilmessan raised their fourth green flag of the evening. Killyon kept going till the end and were rewarded with a Tommy Raleigh point and a Keoghan goal to narrow the gap once again but time ran out for them and Kilmessan held on to win by two points, 4-10 to 214. “We conceded too many soft goals against Kilmessan and they were the losing of the game, but in fairness the lads never gave up and battled right to the final whistle.” The pressure was on to get a result in the second round as near neighbours and fierce rivals Kildalkey were the next side to face them. Played in Trim, this game turned out to be the humdinger that many people expected it to be. Kildalkey went into the match having lost their opening round also, so the stakes were high for both sides. Killyon passed up on chances to extract something from this fixture with top scorer Keith Keoghan and cornerback Thomas Raleigh both off target from frees in the closing minutes.

Adam Gannon

Kildalkey posted 16 wides over the course of the game - 12 in the first-half. Killyon had ten - seven in the secondhalf. Two of their three first-half wides arrived in stoppage time. After a high-scoring opening 20 minutes, the remainder of the game produced just eight scores. As the hour progressed the scoring rate diminished. No flag was registered between the 43rd and 62nd minutes. Yet the contest remained engrossing. Attempting to bounce back from their two-point loss to Kilmessan at the same venue first time out, Killyon bossed the early exchanges. Two David Raleigh points boosted them to a 0-4 to 0-1 lead nine minutes in. There followed an uncharacteristic error by Killyon 'keeper Stephen Quinn that allowed David Harmon goal from free close to the pavilion sideline about 65 metres from the end line. That levelled matters for the first time, 1-1 to 0-4. Stefan Kelly restored Killyon's lead in the 14th minute. Following a mazy run county minor Martin Healy fired to the net at the town end. Killyon got back on terms on four subsequent occasions, but never led again. Sean Heavey's 23rd minute point earned Kildalkey a 2-3 to 0-8 interval lead. On an overcast and relatively still evening both teams struggled to trouble the scoreboard operator, especially when playing into the town end. Harmon's score in the third minute of added time was the final act of a fixture where no more than three points separated the sides throughout. The final score was 2-06 to 0-11. “Once again, another soft goal was our undoing, but we definitely had the

David Raleigh keeps possession

Bravery from Clayton Keegan

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chances to win this one, especially in the second half of the match. This was always going to be a close game and when you don’t take your chances in a close game then you will pay the price. “The defeat to Kildalkey was a massive setback to us and it was always going to be difficult to qualify for the knockout stages from there.” A repeat of the 2012 final was in store in round three as Killyon faced Kiltale, but on this occasion the defending champions ran out comfortable winners by 2-22 to 0-09. “In fairness to the lads, even after that defeat they stuck at it and numbers at training were decent. The heads were down against Kiltale and we never got going in that match at all.” Round four paired Killyon with a Longwood side that have been improving in recent years and the ‘wood were the more determined side when the teams clashed in Kildalkey. A 0-16 to 0-09 victory was no more than they deserved and this left Killyon without any points after four rounds and a relegation battle became a real threat. “The lads knew that they would have to put in a good performance against Boardsmill in the last group game, if they were to avoid a relegation final. “Boardsmill are a decent side and we knew that this would be a tight game and that’s how it turned out.” The match proved to be one of the best in this year’s campaign. A goal from substitute Joe Connor was the only thing to separate the teams in the opening half. Connor's strike came on the stroke of half time. Charlie Bird, who was outstanding throughout the game, got the opening score for Boardsmill. Bird fired over five first half points while Adam

Ace marksman Keith Keoghan


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David Kennedy against Kilmessan

Thomas Raleigh

Adam Gannon

Joe Connor lets fly

with Longwood at minor, but at under-14 and under-12 we have very good numbers. The likes of Lar Tyrell and Katie Mullen are doing massive work with the kids and hopefully they can be brought through to adult level in a few years’ time.” For the record the Killyon team that defeated Boardsmill in their last group game was as follows: Stephen Quinn, Andrew Feeney, Brian Perry, JJ Gilsenan, Adam Flanagan, Ger Foley, Thomas Raleigh, David Kennedy 0-2, Brendan Quinn 0-1, Adam Gannon 0-9, Clayton Keegan 0-2, Cillian Canavan 01, Calvin Ryan, Keith Keoghan, David Raleigh. Subs: Joe Connor 1-0, Ray Massey, Conor Foley.

Gannon was Killyon's top scorer in this half with four points. With twenty minutes gone Boardsmill held a seven to five advantage but Killyon finished the stronger and Connor’s goal along with points from Clayton Keegan and Gannon gave them a 1-7 to 0-7 interval lead. Gannon and David Kennedy extended Killyon's lead early in the second half. Bird and Tommy Leonard replied for The Mill before two pointed frees from Gannon had Killyon 1-11 to 0-9 ahead. Points from Thomas Reilly, Eoin Corrigan and Bird cut the deficit to two before a Keegan point and another from Gannon restored their four point advantage. Three massive scores from county minor Bird and one from Leonard reduced the margin to one with time almost up. Boardsmill, who needed a least a draw to avoid a relegation battle, came searching for that point and corner forward Leonard duly obliged to the delight of his team mates. The game was tied 0-17 to 1-14 deep in to injury time. Their joy was cut short as from the puck out Killyon went up the field and when the sliotar fell to midfielder Brendan Quinn he duly dispatched it over the bar to give Killyon victory and spark wild scenes of jubilation among players and supporters alike. “It was great to get the win against Boardsmill and to win it like the way we did was great. It was a very disappointing campaign overall, but we had to avoid a relegation final.” PJ along with Tommy Raleigh, Eanna Greene, Kit Mitchell and Brendan Foley made up the management team for 2013. And he is confident that the work is being done at underage to safeguard the future of the club. “There is a lot of work being done at underage, we are joined

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B

BOARDSMILL

ack in the autumn of 2003 Boardsmill suffered a sickening defeat in the final of the Junior B FC and a decade later it was their turn to inflict similar misery on Moynalty in the decider to claim the Larry Kearns Cup. Richie Dunne goaled from a late penalty to earn St Vincent’s a dramatic victory over Boardsmill at Pairc Tailteann just over 10 years ago and this time it was substitute Cathal Flattery who made a telling contribution just days after his brief return home from Arizona as the south Meath team snatched the win from the jaws of defeat. Boardsmill’s efforts to win a first Junior B title since 2005 met with disappointment last year when they lost a semi-final to St Mary’s by 10 points but this time they defeated the Donore / Lougher combination at the same stage, before finishing the job against Moynalty who were suffering their third final reversal in the space of five years. Boardsmill were managed by Vinny Guy, with Ian Darby and Paul Dunne acting as selectors, and they were drawn in group C of the championship

Manager Vinny Guy and chairman TJ Reilly with the Junior B FC cup at Pairc Tailteann

along with St Vincent’s, Nobber, Donaghmore / Ashbourne and Wolfe Tones. Their form in Division 4 of the A League ahead of the main event was mixed as they drew with Longwood, lost to Dunsany and St Mary’s and then beat Curraha. Their championship journey started and ended in Pairc Tailteann. Headquarters hosted their opening group game against Wolfe Tones and

a draw (2-13 each) wasn’t exactly what they were looking for. It got a great deal better when they defeated St Vincent’s by 3-9 to 1-7 at Skryne and they made it five group points from a possible six when they got the better of Donaghmore / Ashbourne by 1-11 to 1-8 at Ratoath. Boardsmill were awarded a walkover from Nobber in their scheduled fourth round match and it was on to the more serious business of knockout action and a quarter-final meeting with Dunderry at Kildalkey. Kyle Dixon and Charlie Bird made welcome returns for this game and the ‘Mill led by 2-7 to 0-5 at the interval en route to a comprehensive 4-12 to 0-9 victory. Memories of last year’s heavy semi-final defeat must have been on the minds of the Boardsmill players as they headed to Walterstown for a semi-final against St Mary’s and they exacted revenge with a 1-10 to 0-10 win as the accuracy of David Farrell from play and frees proved highly significant. The teams were level (1-3 to 0-6) at the change of ends and as St Mary’s squandered far too many scoring opportunities for their own good,

A WRONG RIGHTED

Junior B football championship winners, front l/r Alex Eivers, Paul Dunne, John Flood, Jack Bird, Eoin Corrigan, Ray Hatton, Stephen Gibbons, Sean Dixon, John Mitchell, Peter McGuinness, Liam O'Brien, Eric Cribben, Cathal Flattery, Paudie Guy. Back: Joe Cotter, David Farrell, Niall Weir, Evan Dixon, Kyle Dixon, James Durkin, Jim Bird, Thomas Leonard, Neil McLoughlin, Fergal Flattery, James Pratt, Charlie Bird, Doanl Flattery, Thomas Eivers, Sean Newman, Conor Darby

187

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Boardsmill finished strongest to book their ticket to the final. Dixon, Bird, Thomas Leonard and Neil McLoughlin were other key performers in the win. The final against Moynalty was the curtain-raiser to the SFC decider between Summerhill and Na Fianna and was a hugely entertaining appetiser which had a gripping finish. For the ‘Mill there was joy after the long whistle, while the men from Ireland’s loveliest village were left devastated. Ollie Sheridan put Moynalty ahead with a point inside the first 15 seconds, before Leonard drew Boardsmill level. The north Meath men enjoyed a purple patch which yielded points from Paul Lynch, Michael Lynch and Christy Cahill but a brace of frees from David Farrell left the ‘Mill the minimum behind. Sheridan edged Moynalty further in front but with Farrell splitting the uprights from play and a free and Stephen Gibbons also on target Boardsmill hit the front. Sheridan Kyle Dixon gains possession against Moynalty

levelled but with Farrell on the mark with two more frees the ‘Mill were ahead by 0-8 to 0-6 at the interval. Moynalty had a great chance to go ahead when they were awarded a penalty at the start of the second half but Boardsmill goalkeeper and captain Sean Dixon produced a fine save to deny Sheridan. Points from Ray Hatton and Farrell, in reply to a similar score from Sheridan, left the ‘Mill in front by 0-10 to 0-7.but Moynalty were soon level when David Murtagh found the net. Cahill edged them ahead with a point, before Sean Dixon turned a Sheridan shot onto the crossbar. Michael Lynch and Evan Dixon traded points but when Murtagh scored his second goal Moynalty were four points clear at 2-9 to 0-11. Farrell cut the deficit with a point four minutes from the end and when Flattery fired over Boardsmill were only two adrift. There was still hope and that soon turned to ecstasy when another Ray Hatton with Moynalty's Plunkett Tormey

substitute Eric Cribbin supplied Flattery who scored the winning goal. It finished 1-13 to 2-9, with Farrell contributing eight points, seven of them from frees. Moynalty - who had lost the 2009 final to Duleek / Bellewstown and the 2010 decider to Trim – were shattered and understandably so. The fact that they had contributed so much to a highly entertaining game was of no consolation. Boardsmill captain Sean Dixon, who had played a big part thanks to that penalty save, received the Larry Kearns Cup and the celebrations could begin in earnest. The Boardsmill team in the final was: Sean Dixon; John Mitchell, Liam O’Brien, Jim Bird; Ray Hatton (0-1), Eoin Corrigan, Thomas Leonard (0-1); Neil McLoughlin, Fergal Flattery; John Flood, Kyle Dixon, Stephen Gibbons (0-1); David Farrell (0-8), Evan Dixon (0-1), Charlie Bird. Subs – Cathal Flattery (1-1) for Flood, Eric Cribbin for

Neil McLoughlin heads for the Moynalty goal

Thomas Leonard was outstanding in the Junior B decider

The Junior B squad on championship duty against Wolfe Tones in Pairc Tailteann, front l/r: Eoin McKay, Peter McGuiness, James Pratt, Cathal Flattery, Bertie McLoughlin, Jack Bird, Conor Darby, Evan Dixon, Jim Bird, Eoin Corrigan, John Flood, Eric Cribbin. Back: Thomas Leonard, Pascal Roche, James Durkin, Thomas Eivers, Kyle Dixon, David Farrell, Liam O'Brien, Sean Dixon, Niall Weir, David Kealy, Paul Dunne, Fergal Flattery, Joe Cotter

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The talented U14 squad, front l/r: Hugh Johnson, Conall Bird, Gary Regan, Mark Hatton, Jack Dixon, Stephen Dixon, Conor Wall, John Halton. Back: Turlough Bird (coach), Ben Tuohy, Rory Gordan, Danny Dixon, Iain McGrath, Luke O'Toole, Cathal Wall, Ivan Bagnall, Evan Gordan, Tadhg Bird, Pauric Bagnall (coach)

Thomas Leonard about to gain possession ahead of Kiltale’s James Kelly

Liam O'Brien is under pressure from Moynalty's Ollie Sheridan

F Flattery, Alex Eivers for Gibbons.

LUCK DESSERTS BOARDSMILL

For the second consecutive year, Boardsmill competed in the senior hurling championship and like all clubs that achieve their goal of staying in the top flight in their first year back there, the aim in 2013 was to progress further.

On paper, a relegation final win over Drumree may not be seen as progress, but given the fact that they rural club were in the tough side of the draw and the performances that they produced throughout the year, it was a year that a lot of the Boardsmill team came of age. Club chairman TJ Reilly admits that it was disappointing to end up in a relegation final, but stressed to the Royal County Yearbook that the senior

Ray Hatton clears

Liam O'Brien

side certainly made strides this year. Having stayed up last year, there was high hopes that Boardsmill could reach the knockout stages this year, but those hopes took a big setback when the senior hurling championship draw was made. A group with the defending champions Kiltale, 2012 finalists Killyon as well as last year’s semifinalists Kildalkey and Longwood, and annual contenders Kilmessan meant that Boardsmill were set with a huge task to reach the knockout stages. “Following on from last year, we thought we could do well. It was a tough group to be drawn in, but even so we felt that we could do well enough in it,” said TJ. “From the start, the lads put in a big effort and that certainly reflected in some of our performances.” Boardsmill couldn’t have asked for a tougher opener as they faced title holders Kiltale. The 2011 intermediate champions found the going tough in

189

Sean Dixon raises the Larry Kearns Cup at Pairc Tailteann

this match and Martin Ennis’ charges ran out winners on a scoreline of 0-16 to 0-07. The fixture schedule was not to get any easier for Boardsmill as next up were Kilmessan; one of the most experienced teams in the county. However, manager Vinny Guy and his selectors had ensured that the sky blues worked hard following their defeat to Kiltale and they went into their second group game with a renewed confidence. The match with Kilmessan turned out to be an exciting Ted Murtagh SHC Group B round two fixture played at a sunny Longwood. Boardsmill faced the elements in the opening half and by the interval had exceeded the tally they recorded in losing to Kiltale eight days earlier. Tommy Leonard cancelled Richie Donnelly’s opener with a great effort from the right wing. Then Kyle Dixon knocked team captain Eoin Corrigan's delivery into the path of Fergal Flattery who fired to the net


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Prior to the senior hurling championship game with Kiltale at Kildalkey, front l/r: Bernard McLoughlin, Stephen Gibbons, Peter McLoughlin, Paudie Guy, Eoin Corrigan, Ray Hatton, Jim Bird. Back: Niall Weir, Liam O'Brien, James Pratt, Cathal Flattery, Neil McLoughlin, David Farrell, Fergal Flattery, Thomas Leonard

from close range. That seventh minute score kept Boardsmill in front until Kilmessan's late rally. The pick of Donnelly's windassisted points included frees from his own 65 and 45. The latter left it 0-7 to 1-5 after 26 minutes. Two Jimmy Pratt efforts from play saw Boardsmill lead by 1-7 to 0-7 at the break. The second of Ray Hatton's trio of points extended Boardsmill's lead within a minute of resumption. His first score was the pick of the first-half scores from play. Boardsmill moved five points clear on two occasions. The first time being in the 41st minute when county minor dual star Charlie Bird's excellent fetch and score left it 1-10 to 0-8. Top scorer Richie Donnelly got the Kilmessan recovery rolling with a pointed free. Then his long delivery led to Danny Maguire goaling. The latter pointed to lock scores at 1-12 each with 57 minutes gone. Seconds later

Charlie Bird played county minor hurling and football

Pauric Burke found the range to leave Kilmessan in the lead for the first time since the third minute of the hour. The clock had ticked into stoppage time when Fergal Flattery pointed at the pavillion end to tie the scores for the third time in the fixture. The next twist in the drama saw Donnelly land a 65 into the breeze. His ninth point of the looked to have settled matters until Hatton salvaged something for the team in sky blue jerseys. “We really put it up to Kilmessan and in fairness we should have beaten them. It was a great performance by the lads and you could see that they were growing in confidence after that game, even though results mightn’t have shown that.” Boardsmill then suffered a 2-14 to 111 defeat to high flying Longwood in a game that Guy’s charges charges started brightly, but faded in the second half. “I felt we should have got something from the Longwood game,

Paudie Guy

6. Three early second half points had Kildalkey eight ahead before Tommy Leonard got Boardsmill's first score of the half after 10 minutes. But Kildalkey hit back and a fine goal from Doran on the 15th minute had the points in the bag for Pat O'Halloran’s men. Boardsmill kept plugging away and outscored Kildalkey 1-5 to 1-0 in the final ten minutes. A goal and a point from Charlie Bird, Leonard (2) and one from Flattery painted a better picture on the scoreboard. Kildalkey could afford the luxury of a missed penalty, Conor Flynn's shot was well saved on the line by Charlie Bird but their second goal did arrive on the 25th minute when Sean Heavey cut through the Mill defence to score a cracker to leave the final score, Kildalkey 2-15 Boardsmill 1-11. “This was another game that we faded badly in, just as we had done

Goalkeeper James Pratt

191

we played well for long periods, but they managed to pull away at the end, which was disappointing.” Neighbours Kildalkey were next up and as the recent champions had lost their opening game too, a win for both sides was imperative. The Village got off to a great start with three early points from Derek Doran and two frees from David Harmon before Fergal Flattery opened Boardsmill's account. Doran was giving the Mill rearguard a torrid time and two fine efforts from his hurl had Kildalkey 0-7 to 0-3 up after 15 minutes. Half back Niall Weir kept Boardsmill within touching distance with three excellent long range points. Francis Doran closed out the scoring with two fine efforts and Kildalkey led at the break 0-11 to 0-

James Pratt strikes before Kiltale’s Philly Garvey can block


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next few years. If all the lads that are there stay for next year I’d be confident that we can reach the knockout stages and once you get there, anything can happen. “There is a huge amount of work being done at underage level in all codes and the people over every team deserve great credit for the work they have done. We reached the junior hurling semi final as well and we’re very unlucky to lose to a strong Moylagh side that went on and won it out.”

against Kiltale in the opening round. We had a few young lads come onto the team this year, and even though they did very well, it took time for them to settle into the side and for the lads to find the right places for the youngsters to play in. It is not easy to step up from minor to senior and fair play to the young lads they did very well and they will benefit from having one year at senior under their belt.” Heading into the last group game, Boardsmill had one point from their campaign so far, but they faced a Killyon side that had lost all their games, so a win or draw for the Sky blues would have seen them avoid a relegation play off. Charlie Bird, who was outstanding throughout the game, got the opening score for Boardsmill. Bird fired over five first half points while Adam Gannon was Killyon's top scorer in this half with four. With twenty minutes gone Boardsmill held a seven to five advantage but Killyon finished the stronger and Joe Connor’s goal along with points from Clayton Keegan and Gannon gave them a 1-7 to 0-7 interval lead. Gannon and David Kennedy extended Killyon's lead early in the second half. Bird and Tommy Leonard replied for The Mill before two pointed frees from Gannon had Killyon 1-11 to 0-9 ahead. Points from Thomas Reilly, Eoin Corrigan and Bird cut the deficit to two before Killyon restored their four point advantage. Three massive scores from county minor Bird and one from Leonard reduced the margin to one with time almost up. Boardsmill, who needed a least a draw to avoid a relegation battle, came searching for that point and corner forward Leonard duly obliged to the delight of his team mates. The game was tied 0-17 to 1-14 deep in to injury time. Their joy was cut short as from the puck out Killyon went up the field and when the sliotar fell to midfielder Brendan Quinn he duly dispatched it over the bar to give Killyon victory and spark wild scenes of jubilation among players and supporters alike. “The draw would have saved us, but it wasn’t to be. To their credit, the lads gave it everything as they had done all year, but not for the first time, luck wasn’t on our side. We never had any luck throughout the year and had we done, I’m sure the group standings would have been a lot different at the end of the year.” Still Boardsmill had a job to do and they duly obliged when they saw off Drumree in the relegation final comfortably. It was no more than the deserved and TJ stressed that there was many positives to take from the campaign. “The results might not show it, but we did perform very well during that campaign. The young lads coming through was a bonus and hopefully we can bring some more through in the

BOARDSMILL CAMOGIE CLUB

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and U10s competed in numerous blitzes throughout the year and made great strides with the help of their dedicated mentors Mary Durkin and Lisa Cloak at U8 level while Cathy Nolan and Audrey Smith looked after the U12s. Our U12s also took part in a noncompetitive league and also improvedwith every match. After this the U13 league started and at the time of going to print they had already made it to the semi-final stage. The squad that took on Ballinabrackey in the U12 Group D decider at Longwood, front l/r: James Ashe, Niall Bagnall, These two teams were Jack Kelly McLoughlin, Cormac Ryall, Conall Bird, Dylan Farrell, Kailum Johnson, Conan McHugh. Back: Eddie mentored by Karen Ryall (coach), Evan Walsh, Eamon Roche, Michael Kennedy, Dean McGettigan, Ben Tuohy, Jim Roche, Calum Cloak, Gerard Smith (coach) McCarthy, Christine O’Brien and Maedbh each girl on the day and all their hard work paid off. This team Smyth. was mentored by Linda Ryall and Caroline Loughran. Our U14s had great success winning the Shield final against Our U15 and U16 were mentored by Ciaran Garrigan and Clan na Gael in Kildalkey. A superb display was given by Linda Ryall and although they did not qualify for their respective competitions, they improved with every game as the season went on. Some of our U16s have also stepped up onto the intermediate panel. This time last year our intermediate side were fighting relegation but this year was a different story. We started off the championship with a win over a favoured Donaghmore/Ashbourne team. This win was a great boost for the girls and the start we needed. We followed on with another win over neighbours Kildalkey in a very tight match. We went on to beat both these teams again. Unfortunately in earlier rounds both Kilmessan and Ratoath beat us but with other results in the competition we were still in a good position coming into the last two rounds. Ratoath beat us away, but we still had a chance to qualify but needed to beat Kilmessan. Unfortunately on the night we met a very strong Kilmessan and it was not to be. Considering where we were this time Boardsmill U16s Michela Stellini, Niamh McEvoy, Alannah Hannon & Susan Kealy with mentors Linda Ryall and Ciaran Garrigan who last year this team of youth and experience are one to watch took part in the Caman & Run on Camogie All Ireland Finals day in Croke Park. for the future. Thanks go out to Manager Ciaran Garrigan and selector Karen McCarthy.

Boardsmill U14 Camogie team winners of Shield Final

Boardsmill U8s

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D

DUNDERRY

underry displayed uncanny consistency in their 2013 championship campaigns with three teams exiting at the third last hurdle. Both the intermediate football and hurling sides bowed out at the quarter-final stage as also did the junior B footballers.

Tom Hanley from neighbouring Athboy, who captained Meath to their only All-Ireland Under-21 FC title 20 years ago, was installed as manager of the Dunderry intermediate football team and there were hopes of a stronger bid for the Mattie McDonnell Cup than in 2012 when failing to reach the knockout phase. However, after winning their first three games, the promising run took a turn for the worse with a four-point loss to Castletown spelling the end of the  road. The first test in Group A was provided by Syddan at Kilberry and passed on a 1-13 to 1-8 scoreline. It took Dunderry 17 minutes to get their first score in that opener with the north county side going into a 1-4 to 0-0 advantage. The deficit was reduced to a goal (0-5 to 1-5) at the break with Stephen Coogan and Paddy Kennelly, both Meath minors of the previous year, prominent in attack.

Evan Stephens has it under control

Points from Coogan (two) and the long-serving Damien Clarke had Dunderry on level terms five minutes after the restart and Coogan edged them ahead soon afterwards. The latter netted the winners’ goal and finished up with a total of 1-5 while Kennelly put over four points. Two weeks later local rivals St Ultan’s provided the opposition in a second round tussle played at Boardsmill and the outcome was a 1-9 to 0-8 success for Dunderry. There was an early boost in the shape of a goal netted by Paddy Kennelly and his side held a 1-3 to 0-4 interval

advantage. Kennelly went on to add two points and Coogan kicked five points, three from frees and a 45. There were three wins from three outings on the board following the 0-11 to 1-4 win over Carnaross in a Saturday evening clash at Millbrook. A penalty save by David Jennings near the end proved crucial. Dunderry led by 0-6 to 1-2 at the break, Ollie Murphy having netted the game’s only goal. There was little besides the sides in the second half and the eventual winners were two points to the good when Jennings kept out Patrick Nugent’s spot kick. The lead was doubled before the final whistle. However, that turned out to be Dunderry’s last win in the 2013 IFC and after a break of 11 weeks, the losing run began with a 0-6 to 0-7 loss to St Michael’s in a mid-August clash at Simonstown. Points from Damien Clarke and Aaron Newman helped Dunderry to hold a 0-5 to 0-2 interval advantage but then they only managed one point in the second half. A late point from substitute Peter O’Connell decided the tie in favour of the Carlanstown side. Paddy Kennelly missed this game and

DUNDERRY MISS THAT SCORING TOUCH

The hurlers prior to their IHC quarter-final clash with Wolfe Tones at Lomans Park Trim, front l/r: Alan Casey, Dillon Keenan, Darren Callaghan, David McCormack, Conor Dempsey, Jordan Martin, Brendan Wright, Christopher Harrington. Back: Gareth Dooley, Johnny Moran, Luke Martyn, Stephen Coogan, Evan Stephens, Thomas Doherty, Liam Dempsey, Bob Doherty, Conor O'Shea, Kevin Dowd, Simon Carty, Stefan Clarke

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also the last two outings because of a knee injury and Dunderry were hampered by the loss of the talented young forward who has been in such impressive form in the earlier rounds. Tom Hanley took the strange decision not to take charge of Dunderry for the clash with his home club, Clann na nGael, and Barry Callaghan took over for one game. The Athboy side edged a close contest on a 1-9 to 1-8 scoreline at Cortown with the win giving them top of the table status. The minimum margin also separated the sides at the halfway stage with Clann na nGael ahead by 0-5 to 0-4. A goal from Damien Clarke gave Dunderry the lead but the opposition hit back with a similar score from the Athboy side’s full-back Darren Kelly to level at 1-7 each with 11 minutes left. Stephen Coogan’s fifth converted free was all Dunderry could manage after that and a late point from Gary Hanley proved to be the winning score. Tom Hanley returned for the quarterThomas Doherty

final but Dunderry bowed out of contention for IFC honours when Castletown outpointed them by 0-11 to 0-7 at Simonstown. The eventual winners had been ahead by 0-6 to 0-3 at the break. Stephen Coogan accounted for all of Dunderry’s scores in the first half, two of them kicked over from frees, and the deficit was reduced with a David Callaghan point soon after the restart. However, they didn’t register for another 23 minutes. Aaron Newman was denied by opposing ‘keeper Paul Smith with two goal attempts, the second of them at the expense of a point. Further white flag efforts from Andy Coogan and Newman completed Dunderry’s total but they weren’t enough as another disappointing campaign ended. According to goalkeeper David Jennings, hopes were high at the beginning of the year. “I thought we’d go very close to winning the Intermediate Championship and the confidence was Luke Martyn

high after winning our first three games,” he said. “We played quite well in the wins over Syddan and St Ultan’s but the display in the third round against Carnaross was not so good. I saved a penalty at the end of that game when they put us under a bit of pressure. “Then was a long break of 11 weeks before our next game in the middle of August and that seemed to upset our rhythm. The loss of Paddy Kennelly, who picked up a knee injury and did not play after the first three games was a serious blow.” The Racing Post journalist rates Kennelly very highly. He said: “Paddy is an exceptional player and we missed him a lot, especially as we are lacking in scoring forwards. That has been our Achilles heel over the last couple of years – the departure of TJ Garry to Australia was another blow. Some people within the club were remarking that we would struggle to score more than 10 points in games.

Conor O'Shea

On Intermediate championship duty against St Ultan’s in Boardsmill, front l/r: David Callaghan, Damien Clarke, Conor Farrell, David McCormack, Darren Callaghan, Andy Coogan, Jordan Martin, Eoghan Dempsey, David Stephens. Back: Alan Casey, Thomas Doherty, Bob Doherty, Kevin Dowd, Stephen Coogan, David Jennings, Paddy Kennelly, Liam Dempsey, John Kelleher, Aaron Newman, Evan Stephens, Trevor Conaty, Michael Keaveney, Killian Minogue, Peadar Callaghan

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Kevin Dowd

David Gilkenson


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Dunderry players and supporters celebrate with the Junior Comogie Championship Cup

Team manager Tom Hanley

Evan Stephens

“We weren’t conceding much in matches, 1-9 against Clann na nGael was the most we gave away in the six IFC outings but we weren’t getting enough at the other end of the pitch. “After the three wins we only needed one point from our last two group games to qualify for the semi-finals but our finishing let us down and we missed out on a last four place. We lost eight or nine games in the championship and league by one or two points, such statistics points to our lack of scoring power. “In 2011 we beat Na Fianna by four points in the IFC in Kildalkey and last year they beat us by one point in a cracking game which could have gone either way. The two teams have gone in the opposite directions over the last couple of years and that is frustrating for us. “Despite the disappointment of not progressing further this year, I feel there are good reasons to be optimistic about the future. The return of Paddy Kennelly would be a big boost and we have a few

Martin Heneghan presents the Meath Junior Camogie Championship Cup to Aoife McCormack

Kevin Dowd

more good young players on the way up. “Alan Garry, who figured with the county minors, missed all of this year because of injury, Simon Carty showed up well on the Meath under-21 team this year and Stephen Coogan and Conor O’Shea are other players who should be improving. With such up-and-coming

Stephen Clarke raises the MFC Division 5 Cup at Pairc Tailteann

197

Liam Dempsey

talent, the potential should be there to go closer,” concluded David Jennings.

Dunderry showed decent form in the Junior B FC. After being tipped to finish sixth of the six starters in Group B, they managed third place with seven points, below Walterstown and Seneschalstown, both of whom garnered eight points. A draw with St Colmcille’s got Dunderry’s campaign up and running and that was followed by wins over Moynalvey, Walterstown and St Patrick’s before a four points defeat to Seneschalstown completed the group schedule. Boardsmill provided the quarter-final opposition and the Saturday evening clash at Kildalkey resulted in a decisive victory for the ‘Mill men on a 4-12 to 0-9 scoreline. Dunderry trailed by 0-5 to 2-7 and matters did not improve for them after the switching of ends. Dunderry were in Group B of the IHC and won two, lost two and drew one of their five games before being ousted by


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The Minor Football Championship Division 5 winners, front l/r: Stephen Gartland, Eoin Smith, Aaron Feeney, Alan Casey, Jack Brady, Alex Walsh, Cillian Conway, Calvin Coffey, Michael Dowdall, Peter Casey. Back: Tomas Conroy, Pierce Hickey, Mark Kane, Stephen Clarke, Conor Dempsey, Killian Leonard, Robert McCabe, Luke Martyn, Eoghan Daly, Cormac Harten, Christian Lawless

Wolfe Tones in a quarter-final clash. David McGuinness was in charge and the campaign began with a 0-10 to 1-7 draw with Dunboyne at Kilmessan. That was followed by a 1-6 to 1-12 defeat to Kilskyre in Athboy. Dunderry’s best result came in round three with a 1-13 to 1-9 victory over Gaeil Colmcille in Athboy. Killian

Minogue shot seven points, Jordan Martyn netted the winners’ goal and Brendan Wright, Daithi and Evan Stephens and David McCormack were others to impress. After suffering a 1-10 to 1-11 defeat to Kiltale at Ratoath, Dunderry went on a scoring spree with an 8-17 to 2-8 trouncing of Kilmessan at Boardsmill.

David Gilkeson (1-8) and Luke Martyn (3-1) took the scoring plaudits and Bob Doherty (two), Conor O’Shea and John Moran also found the net. However, some of those surplus scores should have been saved for the semi-final which Wolfe Tones won by 1-17 to 2-8. After getting so far in their title bids this year, Dunderry will be hoping to take a few steps forward in 2014.

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A

CORTOWN

second successive promotion in the AllCounty A League represented a significant achievement for Cortown in 2013 but they also suffered the considerable disappointment of losing the Division 3 final to Ratoath and a Junior Football Championship semi-final to Drumbaragh.

It will be recalled that Cortown were relegated from the intermediate ranks in 2011 but they certainly regrouped to good effect last year when they won Division 4 of the league and reached the quarterfinals of the Junior Championship where they were edged out by Donaghmore / Ashbourne in a hugely entertaining game. Any concerns that the team jointly managed by John Henry and Con Cleary would struggle in Division 3 of the league this year proved well wide of the mark and their form in that competition ahead of the championship was so consistent that they won their four matches against Kilmainhamwood, Carnaross, Syddan and Clann na nGael. They remained consistent enough to reach the final but last year’s junior champions Ratoath – a side tipped by

Glen Loughran with Ratoath's Bobby O'Brien

many shrewd observers to add the intermediate title very soon – proved much too strong as they coasted to a 216 to 1-9 victory at Pairc Tailteann. Cortown’s Stephen Clarke and Ratoath’s Eamon Wallace were sent off by referee Donal Smyth before the start of the second half which meant they would miss their respective championship quarter-finals but overall this was a sporting encounter in which Gary Coyne impressed for Cortown with a contribution of 1-5. He scored an early point from a free but Ratoath soon gained the upper

hand and led by seven points at one stage in the first half after Coyne (free) and Brian Casserly had added scores for Cortown. The hard working Glen Loughran and Coyne were also on the mark late in the opening period and that reduced the interval deficit to 0-5 to 0-10. Coyne opened the second half scoring but Ratoath pushed on to open up a 0-13 to 0-6 advantage. Loughran replied with a superb point but Eamonn Barry’s team soon wrapped up victory and the title when Bryan McMahon and Cian O’Brien (penalty) scored goals which left them ahead by 2-14 to 0-7 with 10 minutes remaining. Coyne scored a late consolation goal for Cortown and David Wright and Coyne added points but they were too far adrift to be in a position to mount a comeback. The Cortown team in the final was: J McFadden; I O’Halloran, J McGearty, M Casserly; S Clarke, D O’Halloran, C Kerrigan; D Coyne, G Loughran (0-2); J Casserly, B Smith, T Smith; G Coyne (15), B Casserly (0-1), R O’Rourke. Subs – D Rispin for Smith, K McGuinness for J Casserly, D Clarke for B Casserly, D Wright (0-1) for I O’Halloran, R Flanagan for D Coyne. Cortown were drawn in group B of the Junior Championship along with

CORTOWN’S CLIMB BACK UP THE LADDER CONTINUES

The squad that took on Drumbaragh in the JFC semi final at Kells, front l/r: Michael Reilly, David Wright, Mark Casserly, Ivor O'Halloran, Daragh O'Halloran, Michael Costello, Kevin McGuinness, Brian Casserly, David Rispin, Conor Mulroe, Ryan O'Rourke, Pearce Clarke, Conor Whelan. Back: Oisin Smith, Gary Coyne, Brian O'Rourke, Glen Loughran, Thomas Smith, David Coyne, Thomas O'Brien, Stephen Fitzmaurice, John McFadden, Brian Smith, Richard Flanagan, Declan Coyne, Colm Kerrigan, Vincent Keating, Trevor Coyne, Martin Henry, John McGearty, Brian Casserly, David Brady

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Clonard, St Brigid’s and the second string teams representing Dunshaughlin and Trim and it was against Brigid’s that they opened with a 3-9 to 2-9 victory at Moynalty where Gary Coyne scored 23. Ryan O’Rourke and Coyne scored first half goals for Cortown who led by 2-5 to 1-4 at the interval and when Coyne raised his second green flag they were well on the way to a winning start. Killian Kiernan notched his second goal for the losers near the end. It was a good championship debut for O’Rourke who contributed 1-3. Helped by a Declan Coyne goal, Cortown led by 1-10 to 0-4 at half-time in their second round match against Trim at Summerhill and with O’Rourke bagging a brace of goals in the second period they won by 3-14 to 0-12. The talented young forward tallied 2-4 overall. Cortown were the team with a bye in the third round and they resumed their group campaign with a surprisingly Ryan O'Rourke

comfortable 4-11 to 0-9 win over Clonard at Athboy, a success which booked their passage to the knockout stages for the second successive year. The pressure was off going into the last round against Dunshaughlin at Bective where it finished level (1-11 each). Cortown led by six points at the break but Dunshaughlin battled back to secure the point which helped them earn a quarter-final ticket as runners-up in the group. Cortown and Drumconrath have built up a keen rivalry over the last couple of years and they met again in a quarterfinal at Kilmainhamwood. This was a terrific match which went to extra time and it took two late points from Gary Coyne to earn Cortown a minimum margin (1-16 to 2-12) victory. Derek Duff scored a goal from a penalty for Drumconrath in the first half of normal time and the teams were level (0-6 to 1-3) at the break. Duff added another goal from the spot in the second period and the side in red opened up a Declan Coyne

2-7 to 0-8 advantage. Despite having a player sent off, Cortown rallied well and helped by an O’Rourke goal from yet another penalty they took the lead. However, Drumconrath had no intention of accepting defeat and they scored the last two points to draw level (2-9 to 1-12) and force extra time. They were looking good when they notched the first two points of the additional spell but Loughran (free) and O’Rourke replied to tie the scores once again at the mini break. Duff edged Drumconrath back in front with a point but as legs began to tire seriously it was left to Gary Coyne to score the last two points which earned Cortown a thrilling victory. The ace attacker made a telling personal contribution of eight points. A dozen wides proved costly for an under-strength Cortown in the semi-final at Kells where Drumbaragh won by 311 to 2-7. Loughran, Coyne (free), O’Rourke and Rispin scored first half points but a goal from James Connolly

Ivor O'Halloran

Kevin McGuinness

Tommy Smith Reserve league Division 4 finalists, front l/r: Michael Reilly, Glen Flanagan, David Rispin, David Wright, Declan Clarke, James Costello, Michael Costello, Conor Mulroe, Trevor Coyne, Conor Whelan, Pearce Clarke. Back: Patrick Watters, Liam Carey, Mervyn O'Brien, Alan Heary, Thomas Brien, Stephen Clarke, Richard Flanagan, Stephen Fitzmaurice, Martin Henry, Thomas Smith, Richard Reilly, Liam Rennicks, Vincent Keating, Brian O'Rourke

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The squad that lost out to Ratoath in the Division 3 league final at Pairc Tailteann, front l/r: Glen Loughran, Ryan O'Rourke, David Rispin, Conor Mulroe, John Casserly, Declan Clarke, David Rispin, Ivor O'Halloran, Karl Sheridan, James Costello, Pierce Clarke, Conor Whelan, Brian Casserly. Back: Gary Coyne, Glen Flanagan, David Coyne, Tommy Smith, Thomas Brien, Daragh O'Halloran, Colm Kerrigan, Brian Smith, John McGerty, Kevin McGuinness, Richard Flanagan, Stephen Clarke, Declan Coyne, Mark Casserly, Stephen Fitzmaurice, Keith Flanagan, Brian O'Rourke, Conn Cleary, Trevor Coyne, Vincent Keating

helped the winners to hold a 1-5 to 0-4 lead at the interval. John Smith and O’Rourke exchanged points at the start of the second half and when Loughran got his second score Cortown were only a goal behind. However, aided by a Colm Carry goal, Drumbaragh pushed into a seven point lead and looked likely to coast home. Cortown have never been quick to accept defeat and they found a response when substitute Brian Casserly goaled. Drumbaragh edged clear again as Thomas Carry scored their third goal but again Cortown came back for more. Coyne found the net from a free and Rispin added another point but their hopes of a successful revival were halted when another Coyne free was turned away by Willie Arkins. It was disappointing but this still represented a year of considerable progress for Cortown whose second string team reached the quarter-finals of the Junior C Championship. They made a bad start to their group campaign when going under to Dunboyne by 0-6 to 3-15 but things got much better after that as they beat Oldcastle by 2-12 to 0-

Colm Kerrigan

8 and Ballivor by 0-18 to 1-9, as well as receiving a walk over from St Michael’s. However, Blackhall Gaels proved marginally too good in a quarter-final at Dunsany when winning by the minimum margin on a 1-9 to 1-8 score line. “Our aim at the start of the year was to achieve promotion in the A League and we did it,” said selector Brian O’Rourke. “That was our second successive promotion. It means we will be playing against stronger teams in Division 2. We are bringing through a lot of young players and that will help their development. “I had spent several years working with St Cuthbert’s in under-age football and decided last year to take on the training with Cortown. John Henry and Con Cleary are managing the team. It’s working out very well. It’s better to keep it inside the club. “We have been getting unbelievable commitment from the players. They have been great. We have an average of 35 lads at training. There is never a bad word. They work hard and they show great respect. “Overall, this has been a very

Daragh O'Halloran

Gary Coyne

203

progressive year. We reached the semifinals of the Junior Championship and the quarter-finals of the Junior C. Blackhall Gaels beat us by a point there and they went on to reach the final. We reached the A League Division 3 final where we lost to Ratoath but, as I said, getting promoted in that competition was very important. Our B League team also had a very good year. “Reaching the Junior Championship semi-finals was a very good achievement. Unfortunately, we were without Paddy Kerrigan, Stephen Clarke and Declan Clarke against Drumbaragh. They were very big losses. A rural club can’t afford to be without that many players. You really need everybody. “It was disappointing to lose but we are really looking forward to next year. I am optimistic that we can push on in the championship and consolidate our position in Division 2 of the league. We have good young players and more experienced lads like Glen Loughran and Trevor Coyne who are there to guide them. That’s important.”

Manager Con Cleary


skryne designed_Layout 1 19/11/2013 15:20 Page 1

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Skryne, Tara, Co. Meath - Beside Ken Reilly Motors 204


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S

SKRYNE

kryne reached the knockout stages of the hoganstand.com Senior Football Championship for the first time since they last claimed the Keegan Cup in 2010 but there was disappointment when a strong rally in the closing stages fell short in a quarter-final against Wolfe Tones.

It will be recalled that a brilliant performance of point kicking enabled the Tara men to overcome the concession of four goals and defeat Seneschalstown in a memorable final three years ago. Liam Harnan was manager then and when he stepped aside former Dublin forward Barney Rock took over. This year former Meath minor manager Pat Coyle was in the hot seat, with Paul Clarke, Pat McCabe and Ciaran Murphy completing the backroom team, and with a panel of players which contains many youngsters they must have been encouraged by a campaign which saw them finish fourth in Division 1 of the All-County A League and reach the last eight of the championship. Ahead of the commencement of the

Jarlath Jordan

race for the Keegan Cup Skryne had won their opening two league matches against Blackhall Gaels (2-13 to 0-1) and Simonstown Gaels (2-11 to 2-10), drawn with Summerhill (0-12 to 1-9) and lost to Seneschalstown (0-12 to 110). For the main event they were drawn in group B along with Summerhill, Rathkenny, Oldcastle, St Patrick’s and Donaghmore / Ashbourne and it was against 2011 champions Summerhill

that they opened up with a battling victory in very windy conditions at Bohermeen. Two goals in the final nine minutes were vital in a 2-8 to 1-10 win in a match which only swung into life in the closing stages. Skryne were guilty of shooting 15 of the game’s 28 wides and they trailed by 0-2 to 1-4 at the interval after Seanie Dalton had scored the Summerhill goal late in the first half. The ‘Hill looked more likely to win for much of the second period but the switch of county goalkeeper Paddy O’Rourke to the edge of the square aided Skryne’s cause considerably and when he gathered an Ian Davis free in brilliant fashion and then found the net the Tara men were level (1-7 each). Summerhill edged to the front again by 1-9 to 1-7 but when Mark Battersby scrambled home a goal and then added a point Skryne were two ahead. Goalkeeper Felim O’Rourke then denied Micheal Byrne at the expense of a 45 which broke to Barry Dardis whose goal-bound effort was deflected over for a point. That had all the appearances of a

TARA MEN BACK ON FORM

The senior squad that defeated Summerhill in the championship at Sean Newman Park, front l/r: Paul McGoldrick, Patrick Fox, Kevin Mulvaney, Kevin O'Reilly, Dermot Brennan, Ciaran Lenehan, Mark Battersby, Niall Lenehan, Ronan McCabe, Conor O'Brien, Jack Conroy. Back: Cian Byrne, Tommy Farnan, Patrick O'Rourke, Oisin Ciaran Coyle, Felim O'Rourke, Ian Davis, David McGoldrick, Aidan Tuite, Harry Rooney, Alan Carty, Neil Burke, Conor Keogh, Declan Morley

205

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real morale boosting win for Skryne, so their second round loss to Donaghmore / Ashbourne by 1-8 to 313 at Ratoath was something of a surprise. Andrew Tormey scored a hattrick of goals for the winners who were bouncing back emphatically from their first round defeat to St Patrick’s. Donaghmore / Ashbourne led by 1-5 to 0-5 at the interval after playing against the wind but when Kevin Mulvaney goaled on 37 minutes Skryne were level. However, that was as good as it got and after Mulvaney was denied by the crossbar, Tormey completed his hat-trick of majors for Leo Turley’s side who won the last quarter by 2-6 to 0-1. Ashbourne provided the setting for a third round meeting with St Patrick’s and when wind-assisted Skryne led by only 0-6 to 1-2 at the break they appeared to be under pressure. Paddy O’Rourke was moved out from fullColm O'Doherty

forward to partner young Harry Rooney at midfield and that helped to improve their fortunes. They had started well with early points from O’Rourke (two) and Battersby but were rocked by the concession of a 24th minute goal scored by Shane Landy. Skryne also had 15 wides over the hour but still did enough to scrape through in a tight contest. O’Rourke (four) and Battersby (three) were their leading point scorers. A draw in the fourth round against Rathkenny at Dunshaughlin suited both clubs – Rathkenny because it assured them of knockout football and Skryne because it kept their hope alive. This was a thrilling match and a superb goal from Brian Davis helped Coyle’s side to a 1-5 to 0-4 interval advantage. Rathkenny were on level terms within 10 minutes of the restart and edged Frank Carty

three points clear as Skryne failed to add to their tally. Paddy O’Rourke got them off the mark for the second period with a point six minutes from the end and when Davis scored his second goal they were ahead. Rathkenny didn’t deserve to lose and the brilliant Brian Lenehan salvaged a draw with a late levelling point as it finished 0-12 to 2-6. Skryne’s score difference improved enormously when they beat Oldcastle by 2-20 to 0-9 in the last round at Simonstown, an outcome which enabled them to top the group. Such a wide margin success appeared highly unlikely when the teams were level (06 each) at the break but a series of switches aided the winners who pushed well clear, with substitute Kevin Mulvaney and Brian Davis scoring the goals. Wolfe Tones, who lost last year’s final to Navan O’Mahonys, were always

Kevin Mulvaney

Paddy O'Rourke

Conor O'Brien On duty for the U14 Division 2 Shield final against Seneschalstown in Stamullen, front l/r: Niall Finnerty, Jack Dardis, Padraig Finnerty, Shane Smyth, Craig Nolan, Dillon Bissett, James O'Brien, Colm O'Doherty. Back: Luke Thorpe, Seán Byrne, Lloyd Carolan, Shane Dowling, Frank Carty, Jarlath Jordan, Tommy Carpenter, Eoin Quinn, Colm Craigie, John Quinn (manager)

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On junior championship action against Bective in Trim, front l/r: Brian Smith, Paul McGoldrick, Tommy Farnan, Conor Keogh, Johnny Quinn, John Morley, David Harrington, Niall Morley, Adam O'Sullivan, Jack Conroy. Back: Des McAvinney, Cian Byrne, Alan Carty, Vincent O'Reilly, Oisin Ciaran Coyle, Mark Harrington, Gordon Geraghty, Ian Gilette, Stephen O'Brien, Declan Morley, Donal Ryan

Patrick Fox

Dermot Brennan

going to provide stern opposition in the quarter-final at Pairc Tailteann but they were made to sweat in the closing stages as Skryne battled back well from what appeared to be a nearly hopeless position. Tones led by 1-8 to 1-5 at the change

John Morley shoots

David McGoldrick

Harry Rooney

of ends. Team captain Ian Davis had scored the Skryne goal from a penalty to open their account but Stephen Sheppard punched home the winners’ major in the 18th minute to help them to be deservedly in front going into the second period.

Mark Harrington

Battersby gave Skryne real hope when he pointed twice after the restart but Tones hit back with goals from Eanna Harrington and Cian Ward in the space of five minutes to take a firm grip. They led by seven points heading into the last 10 minutes but battling

Goalkeeper Felim O'Rourke

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Mark Battersby

Ciaran Lenehan


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Skryne hit back with goals from substitute Kevin Mulvaney and corner-back Mark Jordan. The deficit stood at two points in the dying moments and then Paddy O’Rourke pointed a free. The same player was then narrowly wide from a long range effort as he went for the equaliser. Skryne had corner-back Declan Morley sent off on receipt of a second yellow card and their brave recovery was thwarted when the influential Ward slotted over a simple free to bring his personal tally to 1-9 and steer Tones over the line. There was also a fine save from David Nolan to deny Battersby in those hectic closing stages. It finished 3-12 to 310. It had been a courageous effort from Skryne which augurs well for next year. “This was Pat Coyle’s first year with us as coach,” said Skryne club secretary Senan McGrath as he reflected on the campaign. “Barney Rock had been there in both 2011 and 2012. Barney was a bit unlucky because we had a fair few injuries in those years. We were missing key players which didn’t help. “Pat, Paul Clarke and selectors Pat McCabe and Ciaran Murphy seemed to work very well together this year. They were a good team. To reach the Senior Championship quarter-finals in Pat’s first year with us was a good achievement but, of course, when you get to that stage of a championship you hope to win, you hope to push on. “We had started the year quite well in Division 1 of the A League but there was a bit of a slump after that. We opened the championship with a good win over Summerhill at Bohermeen and did enough to get through to the quarterfinals after that.” “We had a big win over Oldcastle in our last group match which left us on top of the section,” Senan added. “As I said, you would hope to push on after that but it just didn’t happen for us in the quarter-final against Wolfe Tones. “We fell behind but we made a good comeback in the closing stages and almost caught them. Unfortunately, it was a case of too little, too late. It was very disappointing. Cian Ward was very impressive for Tones that evening. He was back to his best scoring form. He got 1-9.” Losing championship games at the knockout stage is always a huge disappointment as team mentors, players and supporters start to dream of that big day out on final day. But the 2013 campaign certainly offered Skryne plenty of hope for the years ahead, especially with several exciting young players steadily finding their feet, like Harry Rooney, Conor O’Brien and Niall Lenehan to name but a few. “We are very hopeful for the future,” Senan said. “We have a fair few young players on the panel who will have benefited from the extra year. The experience will help them. We have a lot of under-21 players and players coming out of minor. It takes time for them to develop.” Skryne’s second string team operated in the Junior Championship where they were drawn in group A along with Navan O’Mahonys, Drumbaragh, Curraha, Bective and Duleek / Bellewstown. The Pat McCabe-managed team opened up with a draw (35 to 2-8) when they played neighbours Curraha and then ran a strong Bective side to just two points (0-10 to 0-12). That was followed by a comprehensive 1-12 to 0-9 victory over Duleek / Bellewstown and a 0-5 to 2-15 loss against O’Mahonys. A walk over was awarded to Drumbaragh in the last round.

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T

ST. PAUL’S

hanks to the addition of a few high profile players with inter-county experience and a renewed effort from all involved St Paul’s enjoyed something of a renaissance in 2013, qualifying for the knockout stages of the JFC B.

After playing in the colours of Blackhall Gaels and St Oliver Plunketts in Dublin, Anthony Moyles, returned to his roots to line out with the Clonee side. All-Ireland winning goalkeeper of the ‘90s, Conor Martin, also transferred to Paul’s as also did Paul Nestor, who figured on Meath’s Tom Markham Cup winning team in 1992. St Paul’s also had former club stalwart Tom Keague back in the role of team manager. Keague along with Anthony, Barry and Eamonn Moyles and Philip Connolly of this year’s team were among the heroes when the JFC title was lifted with a final victory over Moylagh in 1999. St Paul’s slipped down the ranks since that triumph and the first game for them in Group A of the 2013 Junior B FC was against Ratoath’s second string at Skryne. The Clonee side got off to a winning start on a 1-8 to 0-6 scoreline, having been in arrears by 02 to 0-3 at the break.

New recruit Conor Martin

The respective sets of forwards struggled to master the blustery conditions in the first half. Alan Barker and Dave Sweeney put over the points for Paul’s but they could have been more in arrears but for smart saves by Conor Martin. The sides remained closely matched for much of the second period before the winners tagged on 1-2 in the home straight. Kit Doyle and Anthony Moyles, the former county player’s third score, shot points before a late goal netted by Danny Coyne left five in

it at the end. St Paul’s made it two wins from as many outings with a 1-12 to 14 success over Slane in a Thursday evening tussle at Stamullen. The old adage that a good start is half the battle was given credence in this game with Tom Keague’s charges galloping into a 0-5 to 0-0 lead in the opening quarter. It was 0-7 to 0-3 at the break before the five-point advantage was restored when Eamonn Moyles found the target from a difficult angle soon after the restart. Slane revived their hopes with a goal but that score was answered when Anthony Moyles was taken down for a penalty kick which fullback Paul Nestor slotted to the net. After that Paul’s outscored the Boynesiders by four points to one and they finished up with nine different scorers. There was a setback for the Clonee side in round three as last year’s beaten finalists, St Mary’s, finished the stronger to secure a three points victory on a 1-15 to 2-9 scoreline at Dunsany. After the Donore side opened the scoring, Paul’s replied with a goal from Anthony Barker and a point put over by Mark Henry. A goal netted by Philip

PAUL’S TURN A CORNER

The squad prior to the championship meeting with Slane in Stamullen, front l/r: Darren McGurn, Conor Coyne, Brendan Thornton, Conor Martin, Paul Fitzpatrick, Paul Watters, Mark Reilly, Nicky Gogan, Paul Nestor, Fergal O'Neill, James Maguire, Anthony Barker, Mark Henry, Eamon Moyles, Barry Moyles, Joe Barker. Back: Philip Connolly, Rory Kissane, Dave Sweeney, Jason Moore, Alan Barker, Simon Barker, Anthony Moyles, Christopher Doyle, Robbie Coogan, Robbie Barker, Andy Conroy, Tom Keague, Sean Moyles, Brian Conran, Paul Barker, Bob Higgins, Stephen Higgins

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Anthony Moyles back in the Paul’s colours

Connolly left the Dublin border outfit five points to the good before Mary’s hit back strongly to gain a 1-9 to 2-4 interval advantage. After Mary’s increased their lead to three points, Paul’s rallied and with James Maguire impressing from frees, they got on level terms. However, in a seesaw contest, the Donore men had the final say with three points without reply. In round four St Paul’s came up against another side which has been ‘there or thereabouts’ in the race for Junior B honours over the last few years, Moynalty, in another close contest at Kilberry in which Tom Keague’s men held out to win by the minimum margin, 1-7 to 0-9. It was level pegging (0-3 each) at the end of the opening quarter and Paul’s led by 0-6 to 0-4 at the break. Two points enabled Moynalty to draw level on the restart but a Rory Kissane goal around the three-quarter stage proved decisive with the Clonee holding out for the win as strong late Moynalty pressure yielded just one points and a few wides. St Paul’s returned to Kilberry for their final group game and recorded a 4-8 to

Former Laois star Dave Sweeney

Paul Nestor

1-14 win over Gaeil Colmcille to bring their points total to eight, just one off St Mary’s. A remarkable statistic emerged from that game with veteran full-back Paul Nestor scoring three goals from penalties. His side started the tie on a positive note, going into a 1-2 to 0-0 lead with Nestor netting the first of his spot kicks and Philip Connolly and Anthony Moyles putting over points. The Kells side rallied to be on level terms (1-5 each) at the break. St Paul’s also began the second half strongly with a point from Connolly and Nestor’s second penalty goal. Connolly helped himself to a goal before Nestor converted his third spot kick. Gaeil Colmcille reduced the arrears to three points but the Clonee side stayed in front to reach the last eight. However, there was to be no joy for St Paul’s in the quarter-final clash with Seneschalstown in Ashbourne as the Yellow Furze men advanced on a 2-10 to 0-8 scoreline. St Paul’s performed very creditably in Division 4 of the All-County A League to finish fifth of the 14 teams taking part with a total of 17 points, gained from

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eight wins and one draw. They proved to be competitive against teams plying their trade in higher championship grades like St Brigid’s, Longwood, Dunsany and Moylagh. Tom Keague’s charges started off with a 2-5 to 1-5 home win over St Brigid’s, who would go on to claim one of the promotion places. However, losing two of their next three outings, away to St Vincent’s and away to Meath Hill, the eventual winners, was a blow to hopes of finishing in the top two. St Paul’s recovered in admirable manner to win in five of their next six outings with victories over Slane, Clonard, Boardsmill, Dunsany and Moylagh recorded and the defeat suffered at the hands of intermediate side Longwood. A draw with St Mary’s followed before the league campaign was wrapped up with a win over Moynalty and a narrow defeat to Curraha in the concluding round. Veteran goalkeeper Conor Martin really enjoyed his first year with St Paul’s. The man from Ballivor is married to Tom Keague’s sister, Louise. “I’ve been with Louise since

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Anthony Barker

Rory Kissane

with Ballivor for two years, in 2009 and 1996 and, after trying to persuade me to 2010. Then they won the Junior join them for a good few years, he Championship the year after I left. eventually succeeded. I really enjoyed “I thought my playing career was the last few months, St Paul’s is only a finished until Tom ‘twisted my arm’ and I small club but there is great camaraderie have really enjoyed the year with St between the players,” he said. Paul’s, they’re a great crew. Unlike other The Paul’s team could be called the teams, we only trained one night a week, Dads’ Army of the Meath club football maybe with a few of the lads being in the scene. Although now 41-years-old, veteran stage, they wanted rest. Martin was not the oldest member of the “John Evans, who was a member of 2013 side. Seamus McEnaney’s management team “Barry and Eamonn Moyles, who have with Tom (Keague), called on us a couple been playing regularly, are older and of times during the year. He was the Sean Moyles, the oldest of the brothers, Roscommon manager this year, he has and Tom Keague also played during the year. There was an over-35 game at the a lot of experience, working with different club sports day and our team included a teams, and it was interesting listening to number of the junior B players. him. Different voices are good for teams. “The return of Anthony Moyles gave the “The club has a small player base and club a big boost and he was a good man there is no underage section. Overall it to have aim kick-outs at. He was well was a good year, we performed well able to dominate at centrefield in the against teams a grade or two above us lower grade. Tom Keague came back too in the league and there were some good and the experience gained with a results in the championship. number of clubs and being part of the “After the defeat to Seneschalstown, Meath senior set-up under Seamus the players were already looking forward McEnaney was a valuable asset.”  to next year and it is hoped that Tom will Conor Martin has been with a few clubs continue in  charge. This year was so and has been in out of the game over the enjoyable that I would love to give it last 20 years plus. While with Ballivor, he another season,” concluded Conor was netminder for All-Ireland triumphs in Martin. three different grades, minor in 1990, under-21 1n 1993 and senior in 1996 before being the substitute ‘keeper for Meath’s last annexation of the Sam Maguire Cup in 1999. “After all that success, I retired at the age of 27. I was disappointed at Dunboyne. being dropped by Meath and haven’t played a lot since then. In 2006 Gerry McEntee asked me to play with St Brigid’s, whom he was managing in Dublin. “We had a starstudded team with players like Barry Cahill, Kevin Bonner, Declan Darcy and Rory and Raymond Gallagher. Unit 1 & 2 Littlepace Shopping Centre, However, we lost to St Clonee, Co. Meath. Vincent’s at the quarterfinal stage of the Senior Championship. Mossy FOR ALL YOUR DELI, NEWSAGENTS, Quinn put an early goal past me and Pat Gilroy LOTTERY AGENTS ETC. was on their team. OPEN 7AM-10PM DAILY “I only spent one Continued Best Wishes to season with St Brigid’s and returned to play St. Pauls GAA In 2014

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T

DRUMREE

he 2013 senior hurling campaign may have ended in disappointment for Drumree, but club chairman Martin Ryan is confident that they can bounce back.

Like all rural clubs in the country, emigration played a massive part in the fortunes of Drumree this year as they were missing no fewer than five players, who departed these isles for pastures new. Added to this was the fact that another five players had retired from the previous year and no matter how big or small a club is, the loss of up to ten players would be detrimental to their cause. “We suffered big time this year between emigration and retirements, it was a lot for us take in such a short space of time. Even with the lads there, it would be difficult, although we’d be confident of staying up senior,” said Martin. One of those retirees, David Troy managed the side in 2013 and despite having a small panel of players to work

John Gilsenan shows determination against Trim

with, there was a positive feeling in the camp. “We knew it was going to be very difficult, but on our day, we could match most sides, especially the teams we were drawn against in the group stages of the championship.” Drumree were pitted in Group B alongside Dunboyne, Trim, Navan O’Mahonys, Rathmolyon and Na

Fianna, thus avoiding the big guns like Kilmessan, Kiltale and Kildalkey. The red and whites began the campaign against Dunboyne and it was not be to be the happiest of starts for Troy’s charges as St Peter’s recorded a 6-16 to 1-08 win. On a blustery, mainly dry, day Dunboyne dominated from the off with three goals in each half quelling any chance of a shock outcome. Once the early rain passed the strong cross wind remained. Though Johnny Gorry's men were bossing matters, it wasn't until the 20th minute that more than three points separated the teams. In the ten minutes before the break, Dunboyne chalked up 3-3 while Drumree managed just two points, both from Shane Troy frees. The Drumree number 11 posted five points from frees and was the only one of his side to register more than a single score. When the interval arrived there were

DRUMREE PLAN FOR THE FUTURE

Prior to the SHC clash with Na Fianna in Trim, front l/r: David Reilly, Keith Commons, Brendan Walsh, Duncan Geraghty, Joshua Wall, Liam Carey, Keith Rooney, James Reilly, Stephen Doyle. Back: GT Troy, Darragh Walsh, John Gilsenan, James Gaughnan, Christopher Doyle, Brian Coughlan, Paul Walsh, Shane Troy, Gavin Byrne, Mark Devaney, Gareth Rooney

215

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drumree designed_Layout 1 19/11/2013 16:15 Page 3

The Blackhall Drumree amalgamation that defeated Dunderry in the 2012 U21 B HC decider after a replay in Lomans Park Trim, front l/r: James Reilly, Shane Whitty, Paul Kelly, Philip Carey, Conor Delaney, James Rattigan, Colm Whitty, Niall Kelly, Brendan O'Malley. Back: David Reilly, Stephen Doyle, Niall Mangan, Conor O'Sullivan, Gareth Rooney, Stephen Morris, Andy Kiernan, Keith Rooney, Gavin Byrne, Sean Gavin

14 points in it, 3-9 to 0-5. Within 90 seconds of the restart Shane Troy landed a free but it only offered temporary respite to the 2010 IHC champions. Shane Troy was narrowly wide with a goal attempt ten minutes into the second-half. By the time the same player posted Drumree’s next score in the 53rd minute, Dunboyne had 5-13 on the board. With David Reilly providing the assist, sub GT Troy fired home a fine goal that improved the complexion of the scoreline somewhat for Drumree. Dunboyne raised two more white flags before Drumree's Duncan

Manager David Troy

Geraghty closed the scoring with a fine point from play with time up. Just five days later, Drumree were back in action when they faced Trim in the second group match of the campaign. Drumree gave a good account of themselves in this clash and the final scoreline of 2-11 to 0-04 did not do them justice. In a very lack lustre low scoring opening half Trim led at the break 0-4 to 0-3. The opening score didn't arrive until the 10th minute when Shane Troy pointed for Drumree, Their traditional red and white hoops were replaced by the Dunshaughlin colours because of the clash of jerseys. Trim replied with

three points before David Reilly and Troy got points two and three for Drumree before Trim finished the first half scoring from a free. The town side tagged on 1-5 without reply at the start of the second half. Drumree's only response was a second point from Troy. Trim finished the last ten minutes with another scoring burst that included a well taken goal. The performance of the championship for Drumree came in round three when they pushed O’Mahony’s all the way and indeed they will have been disappointed to lose this match by 1-14 to 2-08.

Stephen Doyle heads for the Na Fianna goal

Duncan Geraghty

216

Shane Troy


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Gilsenans

Once again Shane Troy was the scorer in chief for Drumree, who played to their full potential for the majority of this match. That performance should have given great confidence, but a resounding 2-18 to 1-09 defeat to Na Fianna was the outcome of round four. Playing against a strong wind in the first half, Na Fianna were able to restrict their opponents to just six first half points, the majority from frees, while Na Fianna scored seven as Drumree struggled to get enough ball into their forwards. Na Fianna dominated the second half back with a strong breeze as they recorded their second win of the campaign, while Drumree remained pointless. The last group game was a must win match for both Drumree and Rathmolyon as the loser was heading for a relegation final against Boardsmill. However, this clash turned out to be a one sided affair as Rathmolyon cruised to victory and in doing so preserved their senior status for another year. The highlight of the game was a record breaking magnificent seven goals from former Drumree manager Mike Cole. The relegation final against Boardsmill went the way of the sky blues and Drumree’s two-year stay in the top flight was at an end much to the disappointment of all involved with the club. “It was disappointing to be relegated, but we do have a few young players coming through the ranks and it might stand to them playing in the intermediate ranks for a year.” At underage level, Drumree are joined with Blackhall Gaels and Martin revealed that there is a lot of work being done to safeguard the future of both clubs. “We would be doing well at underage. For the past few years, there have been players coming through to the adult team and hopefully we can continue that. It has been very beneficial for us joining Blackhall and hopefully we can continue that for many years yet. “We are also doing a lot of work in the local schools and the work is paying off. This year, we had three lads in with the county minors which shows that we are heading in the right direction.” Not only is the club making strides in underage hurling, but the camogie team has made huge progress also. This year, we had 12 players involved with Meath teams.” Relegation may have been the outcome at senior level for Drumree, but this is certainly a club heading in the right direction as their hard work and endeavour at underage level will ensure that it may not be too long before Drumree are dining at the top table in senior hurling and camogie.

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B

BALLINABRACKEY

allinabrackey possess a passionate desire to play their football with the big boys in the senior grade but an inconsistent qualification campaign dashed their hopes of claiming the Intermediate Championship title in 2013 as they won twice and lost twice and failed to reach the knockout stages.

The Offaly-border outfit were worthy winners of the Junior Championship in 2010 when a team managed by former Offaly player Paschal Kelleghan defeated Ballivor in the final to claim the title for the first time in 25 years. They added the Leinster crown for good measure during a glorious spell for the club. Their first campaign back in the intermediate ranks brought disappointment when they missed out on the business end of the battle for the Mattie McDonnell Cup but last year was much better. With Emmet McDonnell at the helm they negotiated the group stages and then edged out St Michael’s in a well contested quarter-final. However, their dreams of a big day out at Pairc Tailteann were shattered when Trim defeated them by two points in a semi-final. It was a huge disappointment but their form during that campaign was impressive enough to suggest that the big breakthrough might be just around the corner. Ballinabrackey had to deal with the departure of another manager as

David Carroll

McDonnell became the latest man to step into the Offaly hot seat. Aidan Dalton and Darren Bannon took on the role jointly, with Christy Cooney and Mick Carroll acting as selectors, and they started their competitive year on a winning note when welcoming junior champions Ratoath to Ballinabrackey and beating them by 0-9 to 0-4 in the AllCounty A League Division 3. The winning habit was maintained when Ballinabrackey scored a 0-12 to 07 victory at home to Drumconrath, before a long early morning trip to north Meath to face Drumbaragh brought a 011 to 2-10 defeat. With the early stages of the league out of the way it was on to the main event, with hopes high of another progressive run in the

Intermediate Championship. Sadly, in early February, county senior player Damien Carroll sustained a broken ankle in training at Dunganny. Carroll has steadily developed into an outstanding footballer and his value to the team was demonstrated in the starring role he played in last year’s quarter-final win over St Michael’s when his pace and accuracy helped them through in a tight game. By the time the championship action commenced in mid-April Ballinabrackey were the side without a match in a five team group C and when they did get up and running it was against the previous year’s semifinalists Castletown. Thankfully, Carroll was back in action by then. When these teams clashed in the opening round in 2012 ‘Brackey coasted home by all of 10 points on a 1-12 to 05 score line, but this time the Donal Curtis-coached north Meath outfit got their revenge when winning by 1-7 to 08 at Dunsany as they bounced back from a first round reversal suffered at the hands of Ratoath. Tommy Smith’s goal proved to be the difference between the teams in a tight game and losing first time out in a small group meant that Ballinabrackey were immediately under pressure in the race for qualification places and badly in need of a win when they played Ballivor in the third round at Boardsmill. Again Ballinabrackey failed to score a goal but they notched points with

BRACKS AIM TO GET BACK TO THEIR BEST

The intermediate squad before championship action against Ballivor in Boardsmill, front l/r: Kevin Darby, Derek Flynn, Nicky Judge, Trevor Bannon, Andrew Munnelly, Michael Kearney, Stephen Donoghue, Kevin Glennon, Evan Daly, Keith Quinn, Chris O'Connor, Mark Kavanagh. Back: Kevin Coyne, Paddy Lee, David Finn, Danny Quinn, Paddy Munnelly, David Cooney, Seamus Curry, Damien Carroll, Brendan Byrne, Paddy Kenny

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sufficient regularity to carve out a 0-12 to 0-6 victory. At that stage of the group campaign Ratoath were flying high in their first year back in the intermediate ranks as they topped the section with a maximum haul of six points from their three outings. It was a tight situation behind them, with Ballinlough, Castletown and Ballinabrackey all on two points from as many outings. Ballivor were enduring a real struggle as they lay at the bottom without a point in the bag from their three matches. Ballinabrackey’s fourth round meeting with Ballinlough at Kildalkey was hugely important in the battle for knockout places and they really boosted their prospects when winning by 2-9 to 0-9. Ratoath had been idle in that round and with Castletown getting the better of Ballivor with plenty to spare it meant that they and Ballinabrackey had closed the gap on the leaders. It was all to play for going into the final round on the last Thursday of August, but that’s where Ballinabrackey’s hopes of climbing into the senior ranks ended for another year as Ratoath defeated The Bracks celebrate with the U12 Group D Cup at Longwood

them by 2-9 to 0-11 at Longwood to make it four wins from as many outings and confirm their position as group winners. A tally of 12 wides over the hour proved disastrous for the losers. Ratoath, managed by former Meath senior coach Eamonn Barry, struck with two goals in the first quarter from Bryan McMahon and Joey Wallace which helped them to hold a 2-4 to 0-4 lead at the interval. Carroll scored three points in the opening half from a brace of frees and a 45 and Danny Quinn also split the uprights in that period for Ballinabrackey. Trailing by six points, they faced an uphill battle in the second half but the response to the challenge was positive and with five minutes remaining the deficit was down to just two points (0-11 to 2-7) after Carroll had scored three more from a variety of placed balls and Quinn (two), Kevin Darby and Chris O’Connor also hit the target. They looked capable of catching last year’s junior kingpins at that stage but this is a talented Ratoath team and they found most when it really mattered as they tagged on two late points to be four Chris O'Connor

clear at the final whistle. To say that Ballinabrackey were disappointed is an understatement in the extreme. With the group C action completed it was Ratoath on eight points and Castletown on six who advanced to play knockout football. Ballinabrackey finished on four points and missed out, as did Ballinlough on two and Ballivor who, surprisingly, failed to pick up a single point. Overall, it was a less than satisfactory campaign for Ballinabrackey, especially after going so close to reaching the final last year. There wasn’t much joy in the league either as they finished out of contention on 12 points after winning six games and losing five. “It was disappointing not to get out of the group in the championship, especially after reaching the semi-finals last year,” said Ballinabrackey’s Thomas Quinn as he looked back on the campaign. “Losing our first game to Castletown left us playing catch-up. Castletown have a habit of losing their first game of the championship and winning their second.

Danny Quinn

Michael Kearney

Barry Thompson U12 Group D winners, front l/r: Jamie Cooney, Sean Fitzpatrick, Luke McNamee, Barry Thompson, Niall McCormack, Eoin Dalton, Kenneth Thompson. Back: Jim Cooney, Jack McLoughlin, Louise Coyne, Adam O'Brien, David Carroll, Dean Pluck, Emma Holt, Mark Coffey, Sean Coffey, Colin Quinn, Gabriel Thompson

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U14 Division 4 Championship winners, front l/r: Sean Kavanagh, Sean Bannon, Neil McCormack, Dean Pluck, Richie Coffey, Jamie Kearney, Sean Coffey, Cathal Donoghue. Back: Simon Finn, Daragh Dunne, Daniel O'Brien, Oisin Gannon, Jack Gearthy, Odhran Cully, Ronan Thompson, David Carroll, Gavin Quinn, David Dunne

Sean Bannon

Kevin Darby

Gavin Quinn raises the U14 Division 4 Championship Cup at Boardsmill

Trevor Bannon with Ballivor's Brian Perry

“We beat them well in the first round last year but things didn’t go our way this time. Chris O’Connor, who is one of our best players, went over on his ankle in the warm-up and couldn’t play. It swelled up. That upset us from the start. He was a big loss. “We were also missing a number of regulars this year, players we could ill afford to be without. Our goalkeeper John Curry emigrated to Africa and our centre half-back Ray Kearney went to Australia at the end of last year’s championship. Neville Brazil and Ger Glennon didn’t come back this year. They were missed but we will hopefully have them back for next year.” Their defeat to Castletown – who also reached the championship semi-finals last year where they lost to eventual winners Na Fianna – represented a bad start to the race for the Mattie McDonnell Cup for Ballinabrackey but they responded well to that setback by achieving back to back wins which revived their qualification hopes. “Losing that game to Castletown got us off to the sort of start to the championship that we didn’t want,” Thomas added. “But we then beat Ballivor and Ballinlough in our next two games to stay in contention. Unfortunately, Ratoath beat us in the last round. They are a very fast team but I felt we had the beating of them. We missed some handy frees which proved costly in the end.” This was Ballinabrackey’s third year back up in the intermediate ranks and while they didn’t manage their first big target of the championship by reaching the knockout stages there can be little doubt that with a full panel of fit players to choose from they are fully capable of making a serious drive towards their major goal of joining the big boys in the battle for the Keegan Cup.

Oisin Gannon

“Looking forward to next year the hope is that lads won’t retire,” Thomas said. “We hope we can push on again.” Ballinabrackey’s second string team operated in the Junior D Championship and despite a very encouraging start to the group campaign which saw them win their first two games they failed to advance to the knockout action. They defeated Boardsmill by 1-12 to 3-5 in the opening round at Longwood and after having a bye in the second round they beat Bective by 1-8 to 1-7 at Boardsmill. However, that was as good as it got and after losing to Dunshaughlin by 1-6 to 1-15 in the fourth round at Summerhill they gave a walk over to Kilmainhamwood. The ‘Wood and Dunshaughlin advanced to the quarter-finals from the section.

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S

ST. BRIGID’S

t Brigid’s would dearly have loved to mark the 50th anniversary of the founding of the club by winning the 2013 Junior Football Championship but while the big prize eluded them and they also experienced the disappointment of losing the All-County A League Division 4 final, there was the considerable compensation of achieving promotion.

Jim Hyland from Denn took over the role of coach this year, with Hugh Gilsenan and Jim Maguire acting as selectors, and the undoubted hope was that the Ballinacree juniors could improve on the previous couple of years when they failed to reach the knockout stages in the race for the Matthew Ginnity Cup. They achieved two victories from their four group games but two defeats inflicted damage to their prospects and in the end they were edged out for second place by Dunshaughlin’s second string who had beaten them by a couple of points in the third round. The league provided invaluable game time for the many talented young players St Brigid’s are bringing through and their form in Division 4 was

St. Oliver’s team captain Andrew Geraghty receives the U16 Division 3 Cup from Ultan Fitzpatrick, Minor Board PRO

consistent enough to enable them to top the section on score difference from Meath Hill who went on to deny them the title when winning the final by three points. St Brigid’s achieved 10 victories in the division (including a couple of walkovers), drew with Meath Hill and lost twice which meant they finished on 21 points. That was the same tally as

the Hill but Brigid’s claimed top spot because their points difference of 58 was superior. The final took place at Pairc Tailteann in early September and resulted in a 0-13 to 0-10 victory for Meath Hill. It was a huge disappointment for all associated with the St Brigid’s club but at least they can look forward to playing their league football in the more competitive environment of Division 3. It was the Hill who were fastest out of the blocks as points from Mark Tully (two), Keith Ginnity. Karl Page and Jason Yorke enabled them to lead by 0-5 to 0-0 by the end of the opening quarter. St Brigid’s didn’t help their cause by kicking six wides in this period but they eventually got off the mark when Oisin Kiernan slotted over a free. Ryan Tighe – with the best point of the final – and AJ Gilsenan added to the Ballinacree side’s tally in the opening half and the Meath Hill lead stood at 0-7 to 0-3 at the change of ends. Tully stretched that advantage with the first two scores of the second half but Oisin and Killian Kiernan replied at the other end to keep St Brigid’s ticking over. However, Meath Hill then took a firm

PROMISING FUTURE AS BRIGID’S HIT THE 50 MARK

Division 4 league finalists, front l/r: Brendan Gibson, Peter Moore, Michael Flood, Pauric Plunkett, Shane Connell, Ryan Tighe, Philip Tuite, Stephen Browne, Killian Kiernan, Anthony Doyle, Oisin Kiernan, Peter Clerkin. Back: Jack Tighe, Leonard Tuite, Hubert Fanning, Fergal Hennessy, AJ Gilsenan, Michael Briody, Jamie Maguire, Karl Kiernan, Darragh Geraghty, Brendan Smith, Eugene Gilsenan, Shane Gilsenan, Stephen Skelly

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st brigids designed_Layout 1 19/11/2013 15:46 Page 2

grip on proceedings when reeling off three successive points courtesy of Tully, Pearse McGrath and Ian Malone to push clear by 0-12 to 0-5. Brigid’s were in trouble but, to their credit, they battled back bravely in the closing stages and notched five scores on the bounce to trail by just two. Oisin and Killian Kiernan both split the uprights twice and substitute Pauric Plunkett also hit the target during that productive spell but with their lead threatened Meath Hill responded positively as Tully concluded the scoring with a late point which left three between the teams at the finish. The St Brigid’s team in the final was: Darragh Geraghty; Brendan Smith, Hugh Fanning, Karl Kiernan; Philip Tuite, Peter Moore, Stephen Browne; Michael Briody, Ryan Tighe (0-1); Oisin Kiernan (0-4), AJ Gilsenan (0-1), Stephen Skelly; Brendan Gibson, Killian Kiernan (0-3), Fergal Hennessy. Subs – Pauric Plunkett (0-1), Shane Brendan Gibson in Division 4 league final action against Meath Hill

Connell, Michael Flood. St Brigid’s group in the Junior Championship also included Cortown, Clonard and the second string teams representing Dunshaughlin and Trim and it was against Cortown that they opened up with a narrow 2-9 to 3-9 defeat at Moynalty. Killian Kiernan gave them a significant boost with a well-taken goal after 11 minutes and Brigid’s led by 12 to 0-2. Ryan O’Rourke and Gary Coyne replied with goals for Cortown and those scores helped them to a 2-5 to 1-4 advantage at the interval. Coyne found the net again early in the second period to open up a telling advantage and Killian Kiernan’s second major came too late to rescue Brigid’s who were left to regret their 12 wides over the hour. A fine recovery which culminated in Killian Kiernan’s late goal yielded a 35 to 1-10 victory over Clonard in the second round at Trim and St Brigid’s were back on track. A superb goal by Darragh Geraghty makes sure

Stephen Browne on 10 minutes was a highlight of the first half for the winners who trailed by 1-1 to 0-6 at the break after playing against the wind. Ryan Tighe scored another goal three minutes into the second period but Clonard hit back when Johnny Fitzsimons found the net to leave them ahead by 1-6 to 2-1. That advantage stretched out to 1-10 to 2-2 with eight minutes remaining but Brigid’s refused to accept defeat and rallied to achieve a minimum margin victory. The switch of goalkeeper Darragh Geraghty to midfield for the last quarter reaped rich dividends and when Oisin Kiernan slotted over three points, including a brace from long range frees, St Brigid’s were in with a chance. Killian Kiernan completed the recovery with an injury time goal which came too late for Clonard to reply. With that morale boosting win behind them Brigid’s would probably have expected to beat Dunshaughlin at Bective but a 2-8 to 1-13 defeat proved

Manager Jim Hyland with his assistant Jim Maguire

Stephen Browne

AJ Gilsenan The St Oliver’s combination that defeated neighbours Oldcastle to win the U16 Division 3 title in Millbrook, front l/r: Maurice Quinn (coach), Ciaran Gibney, Aaron Kiernan, Paddy Caffrey, Alan Clarke, Adam Fox, Andrew Geraghty, Conor Fleming, Darren Gibney, Jonathan Montgomery, Shane Gibney, Jamie McGee, Kevin O'Growney, Sean Martin (coach). Back: Adam Segarty, Kevin Gilsenan, Shane Barkey, Dylan Tighe, Christopher Clinton, Conan Smyth, Sean Reilly, Eoghan McCabe, Dillon Montgomery, Ben O'Reilly, Joseph Blake, Alan Moore

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very pro-active. He brought in outside influences. He organised Oisin McConville to come down to us for a night which was great for the players. “We had a very good league campaign. Naturally, we were very disappointed to lose the final but that’s the way it goes, that’s sport. It’s always a disappointment when you lose a final but our main priority was to gain promotion in the league and we did that.” St Brigid’s experienced mixed form in the Junior Championship, winning The U10 panel that took part in the North Meath League twice and losing twice, but the whole experience very damaging in the long run. It was Dunshaughlin who is sure to have benefited the development of the many young made the more productive start as they scored 1-3 in the first players they are bringing through. Also, the two championship six minutes but with Killian Kiernan and Fergal Hennessy games they lost were by small margins. notching goals the Ballinacree men were only narrowly in “Our form in the Junior Championship was up and down,” arrears at the interval. However, they were still marginally Barry added. “We finished on a high with a great performance behind at the end and faced a big task in their bid to reach in the last round against Trim but unfortunately we didn’t get the knockout stages. through to the quarter-finals. They had a bye in the fourth round and despite a runaway “The games against Cortown and Dunshaughlin slipped 3-23 to 1-2 win over Trim in the last round at Athboy they failed to advance. Goals from Fergal Hennessy and Killian Kiernan helped to open up a commanding 14 point lead at Best Wishes To St. Brigids GAA In 2014, From the break and Hennessy added a third goal in the second period as the one-way traffic continued. Hennessy with 2-3, Kiernan with 1-5 and Stephen Skelly on five points were the chief marksmen. When all was said and done in group B Cortown were on Farrell Street, Kells top with seven points and Dunshaughlin accompanied them into the quarter-finals as runners-up on five. They drew with Cortown in their last game. St Brigid’s just missed out on four, the same total as Clonard, and Trim were pointless at the bottom. St Brigid’s secretary Barry Kevin was rich in his praise for coach Jim Hyland and expressed the hope that he would still be at the helm in 2014. “Jim was very popular with the players and the committee,” Tel: 086 2710753 he said. “He was innovative with his training methods and was

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Fergal Hennessy

Stephen Skelly

Oisin Kiernan

The U8's

away from us. Dunshaughlin had two or three former senior players in action when we played them in the third round. That made a big difference. I felt Cortown and Dunshaughlin were both there for the taking but unfortunately we just fell short. “We had a tough battle with Clonard. We made a very good recovery to win that one.” It is three years since the men from Ballinacree reached the knockout stages of the Junior Championship. Back in 2010 they lost a quarter-final to Ballivor who went on to claim the Matthew Ginnity Cup in some style a year later. The three championships since then have seen St Brigid’s fall short in their quest for action in the

Killian Kiernan under pressure against Clonard in the championship at Trim

227

business end of the competition but the signs are certainly encouraging looking to the years ahead. “We are really looking forward to next year,” Barry enthused. “We have a lot of young players at the moment. We have a very good crop coming through and that has to give us hope for the future. We hope that Jim Hyland stays with us. We will hope to hold our own in Division 3 of the league and give the championship a good run. This was a highly significant year for St Brigid’s with the celebration of the 50th anniversary of their founding. As the club heads into the early days of its second half century in existence the signs are certainly very promising.

Paul Gorman


Inny Gaels_Layout 1 20/11/2013 16:17 Page 1

INNY GAELS – U21 B FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP WINNERS

The successful Inny Gaels U21 B FC squad, front l/r: Sean Peyton, Willie McGrath, Shane Grall, Stephen Browne, Nathan Doyle, Darragh Geraghty, Jack Tighe, Shane Gilsenan. Back: Karl Kiernan, Kieran Hannon, Kieran Foley, Aaron Skelly, Rory Gibney, Jamie Maguire, Oisin Kiernan, Ryan Tighe, Pauric Plunkett

Shane Grall raises the Meath U21 B football championship cup at Moynalty


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F

MOYLAGH

Eamon Boyle raises the JHC Cup at Pairc Tailteann

ew could have predicted at the start of 2013 that Moylagh would claim the Junior Hurling Championship title and the scenes which followed the comprehensive victory over Navan O’Mahonys in the final at Pairc Tailteann in September demonstrated what it meant to all concerned.

Like many rural clubs, Moylagh have suffered at the hands of emigration and club officials had wondered about the feasibility of fielding a hurling team this year. But they clearly took the correct decision and the rewards for their tenacity and desire to promote the game in the north-west of the county were clear when elated captain Eamonn Boyle took possession of the cup. When Moylagh opened their championship campaign with a 0-9 to 2-8 defeat against O’Mahonys at Athboy back in June any hopes of outright success appeared quite remote but the Sean Dolan-managed team was gradually strengthened subsequently, won their remaining four group matches and then accounted for Boardsmill and O’Mahonys on the run-

in to clinch the title. The strongholds of hurling in the Royal County are traditionally to be found in the south and that makes Moylagh’s success all the more noteworthy. County senior footballer Paddy Gilsenan was the most high profile player to share in the triumph which must have given all those who work so hard towards the promotion of the small ball code in the Moylagh club a tremendous sense of satisfaction.

Moylagh, who won three of their five games in Division 3A of the Hurling League, revived their championship hopes when bouncing back from that early defeat to O’Mahonys with a gutsy 2-11 to 3-4 win over Killyon at Kilskyre. They overcame the concession of two ‘soft’ goals and the sending off of one of their players in the process. This was a solid team display in which Eanna Brody, Tommy and Colm Melia, Paddy, Ciaran and Philip Grall and Darren Hawdon starred. Brody topscored with seven points and substitute Stephen Tierney got both goals. It was back to Kilskyre for a third round meeting with Rathmolyon and a hard-earned 3-12 to 3-10 victory kept the drive for a semi-final place on track. Moylagh led by three points during the first half and by one at the break, before they pushed six clear in the third quarter. Rathmolyon battled back and it took a point from Eoin Gilsenan to settle Moylagh nerves as they shaded the verdict in hot conditions. Eanna Brody contributed 1-6 and the other goals

MOYLAGH STRIKE WHILE THE IRON IS HOT

The JHC winners, front l/r: Daire Flood, Tom Rahill, Cian McPartland, Ciaran Grall, Paddy Grall, Sean Doyne Jnr, Eamonn Boyle, Darren Hawdon, Maurice Quinn, Paddy Rahill, Philip Grall, Tommy Melia, Enda Grall. Back: Karl Clinton, Willie McGrath, Ciaran Foley, James Tuite, Eoin Gilsenan, Colm Melia, Stephen Tierney, Éanna Brody, Mike Corrigan, Niall McNelis, Kevin Foley, Paddy Gilsenan, Luke Nolan, Ollie Melia Jnr

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were scored by Stephen Tierney and Paddy Grall. The winning run was maintained when Moylagh scored a comfortable 217 to 2-6 win over Trim at Athboy. They scored points with regularity in the first half and led by 0-10 to 1-3 at the interval, while goals in the second period from Sean Og Doyne and Maurice Quinn helped them to assume control. Philip Grall, Eanna Brody, Eoin Gilsenan and Eamonn Boyle were among those to impress. Moylagh made it four wins on the bounce as they completed their group campaign with a 1-15 to 0-16 victory over Boardsmill at Kildalkey. Maurice Quinn’s goal boosted the winners to a 1-10 to 0-5 interval advantage but the previously unbeaten ‘Mill battled back well, before late points from Willie McGrath and Quinn helped Moylagh to victory. Despite that less than positive start to the campaign Moylagh had successfully negotiated the Paddy Rahill with O'Mahonys’ Brendan Corbett during the JHC final

qualification process and again came face to face with Boardsmill, this time in a semi-final at Trim. They conceded four goals but notched points with sufficient consistency to carve out a 114 to 4-4 win and a precious final ticket. Boardsmill led by 2-3 to 0-5 at halftime, by which stage Moylagh had lost Colm Melia and Sean Og Doyne to injury. Despite those setbacks they added 1-9 in the second period, including an Eanna Brody goal, to edge through by the minimum margin. Brody was their leading marksman with 1-5 and Willie McGrath contributed three valuable points. It was a big occasion for all associated with the Moylagh club as they headed off to Pairc Tailteann on Friday evening, 20th September for the final against O’Mahonys. When they headed back home they had that previous piece of silverware in their possession and the celebrations could begin in earnest. Hurling manager Ollie Melia

This time there was no denying their superiority over the town team as they won by 3-15 to 0-6, with McGrath rowing in with an impressive personal haul of 2-4. Moylagh really pressed home their advantage in the second half which they dominated almost completely to run out comprehensive winners. O’Mahonys fared well in the early stages and were unlucky not to goal when Chris O’Connell’s effort hit the woodwork but Moylagh steadily settled and warmed to the occasion to such an extent that they worked their way into a very useful 1-7 to 0-3 interval lead. Paddy Rahill scored their goal in the 30th minute and the advantage stretched to eight points when McGrath split the uprights within 10 seconds of the restart. When McGrath goaled three minutes later they were home and as good as hosed but just to make sure the same player netted close to the end.

Paddy Gilsenan has it under control

Maurice Quinn heads for the O’Mahonys’ goal

Willie McGrath St Oliver’s Under 16's celebrate with the Division 3 FL cup at Millbrook. Neighbours Oldcastle were defeated in the decider

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The squad for the championship meeting with Dunsany at Trim, front l/r: Aaron Hand, Daire Flood, Peter Fox, Keith O'Reilly, Danny O'Growney, Eamon Boyle, Kevin Foley, Shane Grall, Sean Martin, Kieron Hannon, Ciaran Foley, Willie McGrath. Back: Colm Fanning, Eanna Brody, Brian Farrelly, Evan Grall, Aengus Fanning, John Brody, Mike Corrigan, Niall McLarney, Niall McNelis, Tommy O'Reilly, Paddy Grall, Sean Peyton

Kevin Foley

Colm Fanning

Their final tally of 3-15 demonstrated the effectiveness of the Moylagh attack but they also defended well, with Darren Hawdon making a fine block to deny O’Connell a goal in the second half. Both midfielders contributed to the scoring, with Brody registering four points and Eoin Gilsenan getting one.

Willie McGrath

Eanna Brody

Stephen Tierney

The victorious Moylagh team in the final was: Tommy Melia; James Tuite, Philip Grall, Colm Melia; Darren Hawdon, Eamonn Boyle, Ciaran Grall; Eanna Brody (0-4), Eoin Gilsenan (01); Paddy Gilsenan, Kevin Foley (0-3), Sean Og Doyne (0-2); Stephen Tierney (0-1), Paddy Rahill (1-0), Willie

Paddy Grall

Tommy O'Reilly

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Sean Og Doyne

McGrath (2-4). Subs – Maurice Quinn for Doyne, Thomas Rahill for Tierney, Karl Clinton for Tuite, Paddy Grall for P Rahill, Niall McNelis for P Gilsenan. After dicing with the relegation trap door in the 2012 Junior Football Championship, Moylagh managed to avoid the dreaded battle for survival

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The talented U10 squad that took part in the North Meath Leagues

this year when one group victory achieved over Kilbride helped to steer them to safety. It was Kilbride who set the alarm bells ringing last year when they beat Moylagh in a relegation semi-final but when the pressure was on the men from the north-west of the county responded positively as they defeated Slane comfortably in the decider to secure their status. Colm Fanning was the Moylagh coach this year and they were drawn in group C of the Junior Championship along with Dunsany, Kilmainham, Kilbride and Drumconrath. Their form in Division 4 of the All-Couinty A League ahead of the main event was quite consistent as they defeated Slane and St Mary’s, drew with Dunsany and lost to Longwood. Trim provided the setting for their championship opener against Dunsany and the outcome was a defeat for Moylagh which they didn’t deserve. The sending off of Eamonn Boyle in the 35th minute was a blow and so too was the concession of three goals which helped Dunsany to a 3-5 to 0-11 win. Moylagh played against the wind in the first half and conceded a goal to Danny Maguire in the 13th minute but with Willie McGrath proving influential they went on to lead by 0-6 to 1-1 at the break. It might have been a more substantial advantage as Tommy Reilly hit the crossbar.

Despite the loss of Boyle, Moylagh were ahead by 0-11 to 1-3 at the threequarter stage but they failed to score again. Steven Clynch scored Dunsany’s second goal and they were denied another when ‘keeper Niall McNelis saved Mark Brennan’s penalty. Two minutes later Maguire got what proved to be the winning goal and despite all-out attack Moylagh couldn’t retrieve the situation. Kilmainham defeated Moylagh by 010 to 0-5 in the second round at Drumbaragh. The winners led by 0-6 to 0-4 at the interval and despite losing county player Michael Newman to injury, they limited Moylagh to just one point in the second period and they won by double scores. Moylagh were the team with a bye in the third round but they achieved that all-important group victory next time out when they beat Kilbride by 2-13 to 0-4 at Bective, an outcome which consigned the losers to the relegation battle. Moylagh held a 0-6 to 0-2 lead at the change of ends after playing against the wind and with Aengus Fanning and McGrath scoring goals in the second period they were well clear at the final whistle. Tommy Reilly and McGrath scored early points when Moylagh played Drumconrath in the last round of group matches at Moynalty but the concession of four goals proved very costly. Drumconrath found the net three times in the first half and led by

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3-2 to 0-8 at the interval and they added a fourth in the second period to carve out a 4-8 to 0-12 win which helped them through to the quarterfinals. That victory achieved against Kilbride in the fourth round was Moylagh’s only success of the group campaign but it proved hugely significant in steering them clear of a relegation dogfight for the second successive year. Kilbride, in turn, went on to secure their status in the Junior Championship when getting the better of Trim in a play-off. Whatever successes the Moylagh club may experience in the years to come they will always recall 2013 with great pride and satisfaction as their determination to continue to promote the great game of hurling in the northwest corner of the county reaped rich rewards. Well done to one and all.

Football manager Barry Geraghty


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C

KILBRIDE

ome 2014, the Kilbride club will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of their first Meath SFC triumph. Having dropped two rungs down the ladder, it’s mainly about setting the foundations to build for the future.

The current Kilbride crop of adult players may be some distance from winning a senior title but there can be no doubt that pride in the shirt is still alive and well in the parish. It has been a case of all hands to the pump for the last couple of years as the club’s junior A status came under threat. After failing to win a group game in 2012, this year was not different with no victory from four outings and a couple of very heavy defeats. With Eamonn Clarke the manager and Pat McDonagh his assistant, Kilbride put up a decent enough performance in the opening JFC Group C outing against Drumconrath at Seneschalstown, losing by just two points to opposition which went on to reach the quarter-finals. In winning by 0-12 to 0-10, Drumconrath were gaining a first group success in six years. The sides were on level terms (0-6 each) at the break before Kilbride were foiled of a couple

Conor Coyne in action against Nobber in Pairc Tailteann

of good goal chances. Although Clarke’s charges kept battling to the end, they just fell short. The second round opposition was provided by Dunsany at Dunshaughlin and Kilbride failed to repeat the first round display, losing by eight points on a 2-5 to 3-10 scoreline. In the third round Kilmainham inflicted a 2-19 to 0-2 defeat, having led by 0-10 to 0-1 at the break.

Kilmainham were trying to put down a marker in the championship and had 23 points to spare. Before the start of the JFC it was suggested that the losers of Kilbride’s clash with Moylagh would go into the relegation play-offs. The visit to Bective was another bad experience for Kilbride, who lost by 0-4 to 2-13, having trailed by 0-2 to 0-6 at the break. Trim, who finished at the bottom of Group B, provided the opposition in the relegation play-off at and Kilbride rose to the challenge to record a 3-9 to 0-7 victory. The win enabled them to retain their junior A status. What a difference there is between the years from 1960 to 1971 when Kilbride celebrated title triumphs in the junior, intermediate and senior grades and the present time when the club is battling for its survival. Junior team manager Eamonn Clarke found some difficulty in fielding teams over the last few months and with some of his players in the veteran stage of their careers, new young footballers will be needed to keep the ship afloat. “This year we struggled with some lads having emigrated and a few more sidelined with injuries. Ollie Nolan,

KILBRIDE WANT TO RISE AGAIN

Prior to the championship meeting with Kilmainham in Kilmessan, front l/r: Brian White, Shane Ryan, John Smith, John Bruton, Robert Bruton, Liam Courtney, Adam Brennan. Back: Liam Storey, Niall Farrelly, Dave Barron, Cathal McKeon, Emmett Farrell, Paul Smith, Stephen McMullen, Finbarr Clarke, Robbie Rooney

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Winners of the Under 10 East Meath League, front l/r: Ben Sloggott, Max Barrett, Conor O'Driscoll, Josh Harford, Aaron Nulty, Mark Dempsey, Eoin Murray, Callum Ruddan, Ben Donnelly. Back l/r: Gareth McWeeney manager, Harry Keenan, Zack McGovern, Hugo McPeake, Timmy Farrell, Andrew McWeeney, Garvan McQuaid, Ben Sweeney Leahy, Liam Molloy, Matthew Broderick, Brian Donnelly, Dave Keenan (manager)

Peter Roche and Jeff Sheridan were out for the entire season and Gareth Lynch missed part of the year. “We have an ageing team with Brian White (aged 37) and Bobby Bruton (38) among the older players. John Bruton is another experienced player although he is only 28,” said the manager. “We began the championship with a game against Drumconrath, a match which we lost by two points but one we could have won. We missed a few chances of scores that day and cornerforward Callum McGovern had to go off with an injury late in the first half. Some

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The club's U12s represented Meath in Croke Park during the half time interval of the Meath versus Tyrone All-Ireland qualifier, front l/r: Brian Duignan, Brian Donnelly, Andrew McWeeney, Eric Nulty, Ross Sheehy, Timmy Farrell. Back: Jack Donnelly mentor, Harry Keenan, James Gavin, Zack McGovern, Hugo McPeake, Liam Molloy, Niall Chase, Kevin Gavin mentor

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Craig Manning raises the U16 Roinn E Summer League Shield at Pairc Tailteann

Adam Malone against Rathkenny

Mark Dempsey

Sean Duffy

James Gavin The U16 Roinn E Summer League winners, front l/r: Brian Donnelly and Zack McGovern (mascots), Ronan O’Leary, Cadhla McKenna, Michael Farrell, Craig Manning, Joseph Donnelly, Cameron Coyne, Conor Mahon and Kian Harford, Timmy Farrell (mascots). Back: (selectors) Adam Brennan, Darren Keogh, Players; Jake McGovern, Jimmy Stapleton (mentor), Finn Hughes, Karl Stapleton, Dean Stapleton, Conor Doyle, Conor Story, Sean Moran, Jonny McIvor, Conor Coyne, Paul Donnelly, David O’Leary, Eamonn McGovern (team manager), Tommy Mahon (mentor)

the same during the year. points at the end of the first half. But of the missed chances could have “We were still in with a chance in the then Brian White was sent off, they got been goals and Stephen Crosby got Moylagh game when behind by four two goals and went on to win by 15 some vital scores for Drumconrath. “In the second round against Dunsany they got two early goals and we were beaten soon after the game started. We put out a very weak team against Kilmainham, who beat the lard out of us despite their Meath star Mickey Newman having to retire with an injury in the first half. “Despite losing that game by 23 points, I thought we had a decent chance against Moylagh in the last round of the group. However, three players didn’t turn up and selector Pat The U12 Group F finalists before the decider with Rathkenny at Brews Hill, front l/r: Timmy Farrell, Andrew White, Brian Dignam, Cian Harford, Mark Dempsey, Andrew McWeeney, Eric Nulty, Ross Sheehy. Back: Niall Chase, Liam Molloy, McDonagh had to play in James Gavin, Hugo McPeake, Adam Malone, Garvin McQuaid, Harry Keenan, Sean Duffy. Mentors from goals, I was forced to do left at back: Kevin Gavin, Jack Donnelly and Kieran Malone

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The U14 Division 5 league winners, front l/r: Pearse Fenlon, Martin Courtney, Ronan O'Leary, Finn Hughes, Sean Duffy, James Gavin, Joseph Donnelly, Kian Harford. Back: Paul Donnelly, Eoghan Fleming, Jamie McWeeney, Adam Courtney, Jack Sweeney-Leahy, Adam Malone, Cadhla McKenna, Jake McGovern, Michael Farrell. Mentors at back from left Derek Duggan, Tadgh Farrell and Art Hughes

“There have been suggestions that we should amalgamate with another club but I would not be in favour of that. Kilbride has a proud tradition and let’s hope the club can rise again,” he said.

points. “Then we moved to the relegation play-off against Trim. We were without Dave Barron, who had to work on the day, but the attitude was right for that game and we recorded an easy victory against poor opposition. “We also struggled in Division 4 of the League, winning just one game. That was against St Mary’s when I was in goals and there was a full-back line in front of me with an aggregate age of nearly 150! I don’t know how we won that game.” But, having played junior football with the club since 1998, Eamonn Clarke is fully committed to Kilbride and hopes the results will be better in 2014. “There is a good underage structure in the club with a number of people putting in a lot of good work with young players. But it will be a few years before such efforts bear fruit at adult level. “Some of our older players may retire before next season although one or two could be persuaded to stay on for another year. We need 10 or 11 new, younger footballers and we will need to be on the look-out for them.

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F

RATHMOLYON

or any team coming up from the intermediate ranks, the first aim is to consolidate their place in the top flight and Rathmolyon were no different than any other side in that position this year. Having surprisingly lost the 2011 IHC final to Boardsmill, the Village bounced back to claim the title in ’12, finally making their return to the senior ranks. In 2013 there was an added incentive to retain their senior status as it was also the club’s 50th anniversary. Hurling has been played in the area for many, many years, but the current genesis of Rathmolyon occurred in 1963 when a group of men who were playing with Moynalvey decided to start a team in Rathmolyon. This new team had to start playing at intermediate level because the previous year a number of them had won a Junior championship final with Moynalvey. During their inaugural year the club’s first juvenile team was started and the fruits of this venture were to be seen in 1975 when Rathmolyon won their first intermediate hurling championship title. The club always placed a great emphasis on its underage structure and men like Mike Cole snr (RIP) and Seamus Murray did great work down

Mike Cole against Trim in Longwood

the years. After losing three SHC finals in the ’80s their first senior title success came in 1993 and their second came along just three years later in 1996, before Kilmessan denied them in the ’97 decider. The club has had to wait a further ten years before the third was added when a late Gary Cole goal ensured victory against St Peter’s Dunboyne. However, their next success at adult level would come in the intermediate grade last year before their return to senior. Club secretary Colin Brennan has just

completed his first year in the role and he spoke to the Royal County Yearbook about the senior team’s year and their plans for their 50th anniversary celebrations. The draw for the group stages of SHC was kind to Rathmolyon as they avoided the so called group of death and were placed in Group B with Trim, Dunboyne, O’Mahony’s, Na Fianna and Drumree. The opening round of any championship is crucial as sides look to get off to a good start, but when you are the ‘new kids on the block’ so to speak, there is an added incentive to winning the first game. However, they would have to face into the championship without two of their best hurlers, Noel and Kevin Fagan, who emigrated to Australia. Rathmolyon went into the first round against Trim in confident mood as manager Martin Curran and his selectors Paul Gunning and Paul Ennis had prepared the side well. It may have been June 14th, but it was more like a late October evening as pouring rain and strong winds made it almost impossible for the players to play in. Before the throw in, the lights were switched on at Longwood and had this game been at a venue with no floodlights then there is no chance it could have been played.

VILLAGE BREATHES SIGH OF RELIEF ON 50TH ANNIVERSARY

On duty for the Senior Hurling Championship game with O'Mahonys at Kildalkey, front l/r: Anthony McEnroe, John Farrell, Mike Cole, David Colgan, Tommy Cosgrove, Neil Cole (captain), Gary Doherty, Jack Fagan, Vinny O`Brien. Back: Eamon Regan, Gary Cole, Mark Lynch, Tommy Lynch, David Morgan, Joey Gantley, Tom Henderson, Davin Myles, Gerard Doherty, Alan Smyth, John Harnan

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rathmolyon designed_Layout 1 19/11/2013 16:24 Page 3

Credit must go to both sets of players, who battled bravely over the course of the hour, while the few hardy souls that turned out to cheer their teams were also worthy of a mention. Last year's intermediate champions started the game brightly and raced into a 0-3 to 0-0 lead before Trim finally opened their account in the 15th minute. The sides were evenly matched for the remainder of the half, but Rathmolyon went in leading by 0-08 to 0-06. Trim were the better team in the second half and held their opponents to just three points for the final 30 minutes, but they still needed a fortuitous goal in the 52nd minute to help them claim the points on a scoreline of 1-11 to 0-11. The long serving Mick Cole was once again outstanding for Rathmolyon and the former county star was ably assisted by Mark Lynch, David Colgan and Jack Fagan. “It was disappointing to lose that opening match,” said Colin. “In fairness, I don’t think the game should have been played in such conditions. It was a scrappy goal that cost us the match and it was through no fault of our goalkeeper Joe Gantley, who played very well throughout the game. Close control from John Farrell

“The lads took that defeat to heart, they knew they were good enough to win it, but they had no luck and that set the trend for most of the campaign.” A second defeat of the campaign followed when Navan O’Mahony’s came out on top in a closely fought affair, before they met Na Fianna. Rathmolyon’s bid for a first win of the campaign got going against Na Fianna with Jack Fagan's fine sixth minute goal. When John Farrell pointed three times in the opening quarter, this helped Rathmolyon moved five points clear. They were to lead by the same margin on one further occasion in the first 30 minutes. Mike Cole's 17th minute goal from a penalty also contributed to the 2012 IHC winners' 2-7 to 1-4 interval lead. Things were looking good for Rathmolyon. But, within two minutes of the restart, Na Fianna had a goal. By the 42nd minute it was level for the second time after Na Fianna had outscored their local rivals by 2-1 to 0-2 from the resumption. The scoring rate dropped as the stakes rose. Between the 42nd and 58th minutes there was never more than point between the sides with the

A goal for Mark Lynch against O'Mahonys

Gary Doherty

scores tied on four occassions. The men in yellow and black hit the front for only the second time, 3-7 to 29, in the 52nd minute from a close range free that skied over the bar. Points from Mike Cole (free) and Farrell restored Rathmolyon's lead, 2-11 to 3-7, by the 58th minute. They proved insufficient to clinch the win as Na Fianna's late surge decided matters yielded their fourth goal as the ran out winners on a scoreline of 4-09 to 2-11. “Some people suggested at the start of the year that we should beat Na Fianna easy, but that was never going to be the case. They are an experienced senior team now and we knew that we would be up against it. Nonetheless, just like the previous two games against Trim and O’Mahony’s, it was one that we should have won.” Rathmolyon then faced what was on paper their toughest match to date when they took on a highly fancied Dunboyne side. This was certainly one that ‘got away’ as 19 wides for the village proved fatal as they lost out on a scoreline of 3-10 to 3-09. “It was amazing how we lost the game against Dunboyne; we were by far the better team, but our shooting let us Jack Fagan

Defeated by eventual All-Ireland champions Thomastown in the Leinster JHC decider at Pairc Tailteann, front l/r: Stephen Forde, Jack Fagan, Colin Brennan, Mark Lynch, Noel Fagan, Anthony McEnroe, John Farrell, Eamon Regan, Gary Doherty, Neil Cole, Gerard Doherty, Gary Ryan, Robert Kelly, Daniel Whelan, Stephen Ennis. Back: Connel Stafford, Terry Pearle, Tom Henderson, Alan Smyth, Thomas Cosgrove, Stephen Lynch, Tommy Lynch, Gary Cole, Joey Gantley, Vinny O'Brien, Aaron Fagan, Graham Whelan, Kevin Fagan, David Morgan, Shane Doherty

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Senior captain Neil Cole

down big time. To lose by a point and hit 19 wides was incredible, but it left us under a great deal of pressure going into the last game against Drumree.” Despite being raging hot favourites against Drumree, the threat of relegation always means anything is possible on the day and so Rathmolyon were certainly not taking their opponents for granted. However, the game will always be remembered not for the result, but the performance of the mercurial Mick Cole whose tally of 7-01 paved the way for the comprehensive win. To score seven goals in any match at

Tom Henderson

Eamon Regan

any level against any opposition is quite a remarkable achievement and to do it in the twilight of your career is even more significant. Rathmolyon ran out winners by 7-15 to 0-05 with five of Cole’s goals coming in the first half as the 39-year-old produced a five star showing. “What can ya say about Mick that hasn’t been said before? It was an incredible performance. I’m not sure if it’s some sort of record, but I’d imagine it could be,” added Colin. “Our aim was to stay up and we achieved that but I’d have to admit that the lads were disappointed not to reach

Gary Cole in control

the knockout stages. That would certainly be the aim for next year.” Colin revealed that the club have been doing sterling work at underage level in order to safeguard the future of the club. “Any Friday evening there would be up to 90 kids in the park from under-6 right up to minor. “There is a huge amount of work being done by the juvenile committee and we hope to push into other areas and promote hurling in the community.” To mark the club’s Golden Anniversary, the club have produced a book retelling the history of Rathmolyon over the past 50 years.

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CLANN NA NGAEL

t the start of the 2013 intermediate football campaign not many would have backed Clann na nGael to reach the knockout stages, never mind the county final, but they defied their critics to do just that.

The end result may not have been to the Athboy/Rathcairn outfit’s liking as Gaeil Colmcille recorded a victory in the decider, but there were many positives to take from the campaign. Having struggled in last year’s championship, morale in the camp was low when former Meath star Graham Geraghty took on the player/manager role, while working alongside him was Brian ‘Moss’ Connor and Aidan Walsh. This was Aidan’s first year involved as selector and he speaks to the Royal County Yearbook about how they transformed the side’s fortunes from an average intermediate side into genuine championship contenders. The 2013 campaign certainly did not get off to the best of starts for Clann na nGael as they lost their opening league match to junior side Drumconrath, while they only managed a draw against another junior outfit, Drumbaragh in their second outing.

Graham Geraghty makes a fine catch in the semi final win over St Michaels

They eventually got a win over St Ultan’s, but a second defeat of the campaign followed when Cortown were victorious and although it was still the early stages of the campaign, it effectively ended their hopes of gaining promotion to division 2. “Morale was very low at the start of the year and that reflected in our performances early on. It was as if lads

were still hung up on the previous year’s performances,” said Aidan. “It may sound an old cliché, but we decided to take it just one game at a time and see what happens.” This approach seemed to work as their league form slowly began to change and then it was championship where Carnaross would be the first opponents. The game itself was far from a classic, played in poor conditions, but a 0-9 each draw was the outcome. “The game against Carnaross could have gone either way. We knew we still had a lot of work to do, but the main thing was that we weren’t beaten and even though it wasn’t the best of performances, it did give the lads some confidence.” If that match was to give them confidence then their second one certainly would as they met a St Michael’s side that they lost to in the corresponding fixture last year. Going into the match, Clann na nGael were without two of their most experienced campaigners Gary Woods (suspension) and Graham Geraghty (injury). However, Clann’s young guns really stood up to the plate on this occasion and a 0-10 to 0-08 win gave them three

FOOTBALLERS MAKE PROGRESS

Intermediate Football Championship finalists, front l/r: Damien Tuite, Peter Garry, Ciaran Fitzsimons, Gary Woods, Graham Geraghty, Ronan Mac Donnacha, Carl Kelly, Gary Hanley, Gary Mangan, Gavin Browne, Philip Garry, Oran Fitzpatrick. Back: Aaron Mac Donnacha, Aaron Ennis, Darren Kelly, Caoimhin O Griofa, Alan Fox, Damien Tuite, Jamie Shaw, Luke Swaine, Brian Duffy, Aaron Ryan, David Smith, Paddy Tiernan, Anthony Swaine, Trevor Wallace, Ciaran Smith

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points from their opening two matches. “I think the St Michael’s game was a real turning point in our year. We went in to it missing Gary and Graham, but the younger players really stood up to the plate that day and played very well.” Aidan admits that there is a good core of youngsters coming through the ranks at the moment and the experience of this year will stand them in good stead for next year. “We are very lucky in that we have some exceptional young footballers. The likes of the Griffin brothers Caoimhin and Darragh, along with Ronan McDonagh, Oran Fitzpatrick and Aaron Ryan really did well this year. They are all very talented footballers and they would give you a lot of hope for next year.” Despite their form picking up, Clann na nGael suffered a setback in the championship when St Ultan’s inflicted their first defeat on them. Pointless going into the match, the Bohermeen Aidan Walsh celebrates as Clann na nGael reach the IFC final

outfit rallied on the day to record a 0-10 to 1-06 win. A well taken goal by Ciaran Fitzsimons early on, set Clann na nGael on their way, but St Ultan’s hit back and two late scores earned them a surprise victory. “We played very badly against St Ultan’s and we were stuck to the ground that evening for some reason. It was a bit of a setback as we had been making progress.” However, following the third round of the championship, a long break ensued as the focus of attention was on Meath for the next few months. The format of the club championship and its scheduling is the source of great debate in most counties, never mind Meath, but Aidan believes finding a solution to the problem is easier said than done. “There is no question that the long break is far from ideal for club players. It is very hard for a side to keep the momentum going when there are no championship games for two or maybe

Gary Woods makes a great catch against Gaeil Colmcille

three months and another problem that has become more common is that lads tend to head away for the summer now, knowing that they could come back and not have missed any championship games, but they will have nothing at all done with the club. “In saying that I understand where the county board is coming from in not scheduling championship games during that period as county players can then concentrate solely on Meath, and it is very hard to suggest what could be done about it.” Despite the long break, Aidan feels during that time, Clann na nGael grew even more in confidence as two wins in the Feis Cup as well as continued improvement in their league form was a massive boost for them. “We played Rathkenny in the Feis Cup and beat them after extra time. That was a huge confidence boost for all our lads. To be able to go out and play so well against a decent senior team and beat them just showed the

Darren Kelly with Michael Foley in the IFC decider at Pairc Tailteann

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Gary Mangan On duty in the IHC at Kilberry, front l/r: Paul Daly, Gary Mangan, Matthew Mullen, Alan Fox, Andrew McCormack, Luke Swaine, Eddie Doherty, Keith Doherty, Jack Doherty, Brendan Fitzsimons. Back: Benny Murray, John Sullivan, Aaron Ennis, Pat Shore, David Geraghty, Ciaran Fitzsimons, Paddy Geraghty, Chris Fitzsimons, Gary Woods, Caoimhin Griffin, Sean Reilly, Darren Heaney, Aaron Doherty, Cathal Bird

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On duty for the U12 Group 2 final against Seneschalstown in Simonstown, front l/r: Tom Doyle, Mathew Smith, Ryan McNamee, Michael Coffey, Sean Ivors, Liam Gough, Paul Tuite, Darragh Canny, Eoin Griffin, Liam McNamara, Niall Reilly, Drew Hamilton, Liam Tuite, Gary Monaghan, John Garry. Back: Tom Canny, Jamie Timmons, Christopher Uchena, Sam Black, Tomas Doyle, Tommy Hanley, Jack Castles, Darragh Swaine, Michael Tiernan, Josh McGrath, Conor McGovern, Darragh Doherty, Leo Anderson, Alex McGovern, Kevin Brady, Tom Hanley

Goalkeeper Darren Heaney

lads what they were really capable of. “Dunboyne were the opposition in the next round of the Feis Cup and we had a good win over them also. These games really brought us on a lot and it reflected in our league form which picked up a lot during this time.” When the championship break was finally over, Clann na nGael were chomping at the bit to get going again and this reflected in their performance against Syddan. In recent years, the Athboy-Rathcairn outfit have struggled against these opponents, but Geraghty’s charges produced a workmanlike performance to run out winners by 1-09 to 0-10 with Gary Hanley getting the all-important goal in the second half after good work by Geraghty. The return of the All-Ireland winning captain was a huge boost for the side, but they were soon to suffer a setback following the news that another former Meath captain, Shane McAnarney’s GAA career had been cut short through illness.

Paddy Geraghty heads for the Ratoath goal

Chris Fitzsimons

“Everyone in the club was hugely affected when they heard the news about Shane. It really put things into perspective and showed that at the end of the day, your health is far more important than anything. “It is great to see him make a full recovery and hopefully that will continue. He came in and gave Graham a hand out with the training for the remainder of the year and it was great to have him involved. I’ve no doubt that a successful managerial career beckons for him,” stressed Aidan. Clann na nGael went into their last game knowing that a win over Dunderry would see them through to the IFC semi-final, but if they lost the match, there was a possibility that they wouldn’t even get out of the group. A large crowd turned out at Cortown to see the local rivals do battle and they weren’t disappointed as an enthralling encounter ensued. It looked as if Dunderry were going to take the points when they scored a goal to gothree

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Alan Fox

points up with just ten minutes remaining, but the impressive Darren Kelly came up from his full back position to score a goal just moments later before Gary Woods hit the winning point right at the death to leave the final score at 1-09 to 1-08. “The Dunderry game was our best performance of the year, we showed great character in that match to come through. When they got they goal, it looked as if there was no way back for us, but we scored one ourselves almost immediately and I feel that showed how much we had come on from the start of the year. “If we had conceded a goal like that in the past, the heads would have dropped and that would have been it, but credit to the lads they dug deep and ground out the win.” In the semi-final, St Michael’s would once again be the opponents. Another hard fought game was the outcome as Clann na nGael dug deep to record a 1-13 to 1-12 win after extra time. Substitute Aaron Ennis was the hero on


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this occasion, kicking a late free to secure the victory. The win was marred by the sending off of experienced midfielder Jamie Shaw, who was having a magnificent year in the middle of the field, while talented youngster Oran Fitzpatrick picked up an ankle injury in the game and was also ruled out of the final. “We never gave in against St Michael’s. It wasn’t the best display, but the conditions were difficult and Graham stressed to the lads all year that they mustn’t give up and keep going for the full hour, which we done on that occasion. “The loss of Jamie and Oran was a big blow to us as both of them had been playing so well. Added to the fact that Shane and Ciaran Smith were already missing meant we were down four lads going into the final. “But we did feel that we had the panel to overcome the losses and we certainly wouldn’t use their absences as an excuse for the defeat to Kells.” Gaeil Colmcille ran out 0-18 to 0-05 victors in the final, and although Aidan admits that the Kells men thoroughly deserved their victory, he feels the scoreline could have been somewhat different. Kells could even afford a penalty miss after Trevor Wallace made a good save from Brian Hanlon, but Aidan was disappointed by the scoreline more so than the result. “There is no question that Kells were worthy winners; they are a fine footballing team that will do well in the senior grade. But, I do feel had we taken our goal chances in the first half, it would have been a lot closer. We also dominated for ten minutes at the start of the second half, but we couldn’t get the scores during that time.” Even though the year ended in disappointment, Aidan feels that there was many positives to take from the campaign, but he stressed that the work had to be done again next year. “Look, it was great for us to get to the final and that in itself was an achievement. If there was relegation this year, we would have been many people’s favourites to go down, so it just goes to show you that when teams put in the effort, they can make things happen. “The one thing that I would stress is that we must start next year with the same work ethic as this year. There is no guarantee that we will be back in the final again next year. There are seven or eight teams capable of

Stars for the future. The under 8's with their managers

winning the intermediate championship and if you look at the teams that have lost finals in recent years like Trim last year and Carnaross the year before, they have not even got out of the group the year after. “So we are under no illusions that there is a lot of work to be done. The lads know they are good enough to compete, and if they put in the proper preparation then we could match this year’s performances. “I also think that it would be good for us to get promotion out of division 3 and play at a higher level in the league. This would bring us on a lot and if we could do that it would be a massive benefit to us,” concluded Aidan.

MULLEN REMAINS CONFIDENT

The 2013 intermediate hurling campaign did not go as Clann na nGael planned. Failure to get out of the group was a massive setback for a club with such a proud hurling tradition. Following on from their IHC semi-final appearance in 2012, hopes were high that a return to the senior ranks could be achieved this year. Long serving player Matthew Mullen

revealed to the Royal County Yearbook that more needs to be done in order to make a return to the top flight, but he is confident that their goals can be reached in the very near future. However, these goals cannot be achieved without the required commitment and Matthew feels that is something that was lacking in 2013. Clann na nGael or Athboy as they were known before joining up with An Gaeltacht would have been regarded as the kingpins of Meath hurling at certain times down through the years. Since winning their first senior hurling title in 1924, they added a further eight titles to their tally as the Jubilee Cup headed for Athboy in 1926, ’28, and ’29 before the three in a row was claimed in 1966, ’67 and ’68. Two further titles were added in 1970 and ’72, but that was to be the last time the club would get their hands on the senior cup. However, they did come close on a number of occasions since then as finals were contested in 1977, ’81, ’86 and ’87. Over the years, the club has produced many outstanding hurlers, most of who represented Meath at senior level. Despite, being away from contesting senior finals for so long, Clann na nGael would still be considered a hurling stronghold and sit

The talented U10 squad that took part in the North Meath league

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third on the senior hurling championship roll of honour list. And Matthew feels that possibly some of the younger players don’t realise the history of the club and what playing for Clann na nGael means to so many. “I’m sure it’s the case in a lot of clubs where the younger lads won’t be that well up on the history of the club. I do think if they knew more, then they would have a better understanding of what it means to represent your club,” stressed Matthew. “This year in particular was very disappointing. We knew last year that Rathmolyon would be the team to beat and we lost to them in the semi final, but this year, we felt that we could go all the way and feared no team in the grade.” Matthew admitted that right from the start of the year, it was an out of sorts campaign. “We got it very hard to get the same team out for consecutive games as we always seemed to be missing four or five for one reason or another. “I think it showed when we did have all the lads back, we were more consistent, but by that stage it was a case of too little too late.” The group stages of the championship saw Clann na nGael take on Donaghmore/Ashbourne, Blackhall Gaels, Ratoath, Kildalkey and Wolfe Tones. The Athboy/Rathcairn amalgamation were favourites to emerge from the group, but the campaign couldn’t have got off to a worse start as Donaghmore/Ashbourne claimed a 013 to 0-10 victory. “It was the worst possible start that we could have got. Even though, we hadn’t be going well in the league, I thought we would pick it up for the championship and we were confident that we could beat Ashbourne, but they were the better side on the evening.” Then Blackhall Gaels produced an excellent display to defeat Clann na nGael by 3-12 to 0-11 and the pressure to qualify was beginning to show. Nonetheless, a fantastic display in the next round against Ratoath got Clann Na nGael’s title aspirations back on track. In a fairly even opening half Clann Na nGael held a one point advantage at the break. Points from Darragh Kelly and Padraig Hanrahan had Ratoath 0-2 to 0-0 up after five minutes. Aaron Ennis got his first two points to level matters before Ratoath opened up a three point gap with two fine scores from Hanrahan and another from Kelly. Ciaran Fitzsimons got in on the scoring act for the Athboy side before another brace from Ennis had the game tied at 0-05 apiece after twenty minutes. Kelly (2) and Hanrahan put Ratoath ahead again but three late points from Ennis had Clann Na nGael one up at the break 0-9 to 0-8. Hanrahan had the teams level again with two fine efforts early in the second half before Clann Na nGael began to dominate. Ennis got his ninth point and two great scores from Paddy Geraghty had the eventual winners 0-13 to 0-10 ahead with 15 minutes left. Ratoath were on the racks and a further 1-3 from Ennis put Benny Murray's charges in control. Fitzsimons and Alan Fox completed their scoring. Ratoath finished with a flourish as Eoin McMahon pointed and a Hanrahan goal left the final score Clann Na nGael 1-18 Ratoath 1-13. “We played very well against Ratoath and without doubt it was our best performance of the year. There was a good mood in the squad after that game.” However, Clann na nGael were soon brought back down to earth when they faced Wolfe Tones in the penultimate group match in Kells on a fine Sunday morning in August. The Tones stunned their opponents to record a comfortable victory on a scoreline of 3-16 to 1-08 and that ruled out any

chances they had of qualifying from the group. “Losing to Wolfe Tones the way we did was terrible, we never put up a fight at all and that was the most disappointing aspect of that game. We knew that we had to win, but they were on top for most of the game. “In fairness, there are a lot of good teams in the intermediate grade and they are evenly matched and unless you are willing to put the effort in, then you haven’t a hope of achieving anything. “I felt sorry for Benny Murray this year, he was doing his best top get lads out to training and games, but the interest just didn’t seem to be there for some of them, which is a great shame.” Clann na nGael finished their campaign with a facile 2-16 to 1-06 win over neighbours Kildalkey and although it will go down as a disappointing campaign for the Athboy men, Matthew feels that they still have the ingredients to build for next year. “There is no question that we have the talent in the club to win the intermediate championship. There are a lot of young lads coming through, while there has been a huge amount of work done at underage level in the club over the last few years. “The one problem that we do have is that there is a massive age gap between some of the players. You have about six or seven of us over 30 and then there is a huge gap down to lads at 19 or 20. We have very few that are in their mid-twenties, Paddy Geraghty might be the only one actually. “So we have to try and find a way of uniting both groups and try to build from there, but I do think that if everyone gives the same commitment then we will be heading in the right direction.”

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M

MOYNALTY

oynalty’s dedication reaped rich dividends in 2013 when the beautiful north Meath village won the National Tidy Towns’ Award but their footballers weren’t similarly rewarded when they lost the Junior B Championship final for the third time in five years.

It was a painful defeat as Boardsmill pounced late to secure the title in dramatic fashion at Pairc Tailteann in the curtain-raiser to the Senior Championship decider between Summerhill and Na Fianna. Having lost on the big day to Duleek / Bellewstown in 2009 and Trim the following year the men from Moynalty are certainly overdue a change in fortune. Former Meath forward Ollie Murphy took over the coaching duties this year, with Ben Smith and John Cassidy acting as selectors and hopes were again high that Moynalty could get into the shakeup in the race for the Larry Kearns Cup. They had shaped quite well before the main event by winning three All-County A League Division 4 games against Kilbride, Slane and Dunsany and losing once, to intermediate opponents Longwood. They were drawn in group A of the Junior B Championship along with Slane, a much strengthened St Paul’s, Ratoath, Gaeil Colmcille and last year’s runners-up St Mary’s and it was against Slane that they opened up with a very

Ollie Sheridan keeps his eye on the ball in the Junior B decider

comprehensive 3-16 to 0-4 victory at Drumconrath. Moynalty led by 1-3 to 0-4 at the interval after playing against the strong wind and took complete control in the second period when they held their opponents scoreless. Gavin Lynch, Ollie Sheridan and Christy Cahill scored the goals and it was then on to what was always going to be a more searching test against St Mary’s, again at Drumconrath. Damien Kangley, Adrian Lynch and Gavin Lynch settled Moynalty with early points and when Sheridan goaled they were looking good. Mary’s reduced the arrears to 0-4 to 1-4 at the break and then scored five successive points on

the restart to hit the front. Paul Lynch replied with a point for Moynalty but the east Meath team were two clear going into the closing stages, before the side in red notched the last two points to force a draw (1-7 to 0-10). Carlanstown provided the setting for a third round meeting with Gaeil Colmcille and Moynalty appeared to be in trouble against the town club’s second string when they had Alan Brogan sent off and trailed by three points with 11 minutes remaining. Adrian Maguire gave them a significant boost with a goal but it still necessitated a great save from Tommy Owens and two late points by Paul Lynch to earn a 1-5 to 0-7 win which left them at the head of the group on score difference from St Mary’s. St Paul’s defeated Moynalty by the minimum margin (1-7 to 0-9) in the fourth round at Kilberry and they were then awarded a walk over from Ratoath. It all meant that they were safely through to the knockout stages and a potentially tricky quarter-final meeting with Walterstown’s second string at Rathkenny. In the same week that Moynalty were crowned National Tidy Towns’ winners their footballers reached the last four of the championship with a 2-10 to 0-9 victory. They made a productive start with points from Paul Lynch (three), Gavin Lynch (two) and Ronan

THAT FINAL HURDLE

Junior B championship finalists. Front l-r: Sean Lynch, Emmet Tormey, Adrian Lynch, Adrian Maguire, Gavin Lynch, Paul Lynch, Paddy Clarke, Kevin Maguire, Plunkett Tormey, Damien Kangley, Ollie Sheridan, Paddy Sheridan, Ronan McMahon, Michael Lynch, Cormac Kearney, Andrew Lynch, Raymond Owens. Back l-r: Patrick Byrne, Ronan McMahon, James Nevin, Adrian Lynch, Thomas Owens, Christy Cahill, Joseph Curley, Kenny Coldrick, David Murtagh, Conor O'Loughlin, Jonathan Lynch, Stephen Blackburn, Padraig McMahon, Michael Dorrigan, Nicholas McKenna, Alan Brogan, Jamie Maloney, Donal Lynch, Paddy Farrelly, Kevin Doyle

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McMahon and when Christy Cahill found the net they were in a very favourable position. Moynalty held a 1-7 to 0-4 advantage at the break and with Cahill scoring his second goal they ensured that there was no real prospect of a Walterstown revival. Cahill contributed 2-2 overall and they could start to set their sights on a semi-final meeting with another second string side, Seneschalstown. This game took place at Meath Hill where Moynalty won a well contested encounter by 0-15 to 0-12 to reach the final yet again. They were ahead by the minimum (0-7 to 0-6) at the change of ends but Seneschalstown went ahead during the third quarter as the exchanges remained close. Moynalty responded well to lead by three points with seven minutes remaining, Seneschalstown then reduced the arrears to the minimum and it was left to Damien Kangley and Ollie Sheridan to split the uprights in injury time and steer Moynalty through to Ronan McMahon gets away from Boardsmill's David Farrell

another big day out at Pairc Tailteann. Sadly for Moynalty, it was the same old story in Junior B Championship finals as Boardsmill stunned them with a goal and a point from substitute Cathal Flattery in the closing stages to earn a 1-13 to 2-9 victory. To say it was disappointing would be an understatement in the extreme. Moynalty played with the aid of the wind in the first half and led by 0-4 to 01 after seven minutes thanks to points from Ollie Sheridan, Paul Lynch (free), Michael Lynch and Christy Cahill. However, Boardsmill steadily settled and outscored them by 0-7 to 0-2 for the remainder of the period to lead by 0-8 to 0-6 at the interval. Both sides had missed goal chances in that half – David Farrell for Boardsmill and David Murtagh for Moynalty – and Moynalty continued to be wasteful in the early stages of the second period. Their missed opportunities included Sheridan’s 33rd minute penalty which was saved by the winners’ goalkeeper Plunkett Tormey with Boardsmill’s Neil McLoughlin

and captain Sean Dixon. Boardsmill led by 0-10 to 0-7 by the 39th minute but Moynalty then took what appeared to be two giant strides towards the title. Murtagh fisted to the net following a Stephen Blackburn delivery and when Murtagh added his second goal they appeared to have every chance of making amends for previous disappointments. Moynalty outscored Boardsmill by 1-2 to 0-1 in a productive nine minute spell and were three points to the good heading into the last five minutes. That’s where things started to go wrong. Flattery reduced the arrears with a point and with all of Moynalty praying for the long whistle the same player goaled after Ray Hatton and dual county minor player Charlie Bird had been involved in the build-up. That long whistle did sound and it signalled more final heartbreak for Moynalty. “It was a massive disappointment, especially the way we lost,” said club

David Murtagh celebrates the first of his two goals in the Junior B final at Pairc Tailteann

Christy Cahill

Conor O'Loughlin The club’s U8's in Carlanstown, front l/r: Sean Cussen, Niall Gilsenan, Eoin Wilson, Jane Kirwan, Shane Bennett, Shane Cahill. Back: Dylan Farrelly, Jude Gilsenan, Patrick Gallagher, Kasey Bennett, Siobhain Cahill, Ethan Holt, Tadgh Dardis

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The U14 Division 8 finalists, front l/r: Evan Govern, Richard Gilsenan, Christopher Connolly, Kian Lynch, Joseph Gilsenan, Kyle Cussen, James Lynch, Mark Clinton. Back: Charlie Reilly (selector), Hugh Byrne (selector), Mark Smith, Adam Reilly, Bryan McCormack, Michael Collins, Niall O'Connor, Thomas Carolan, Shaun Nevin, Eoghan Gallagher, JJ McCartan, Luke Ward, Beano Cussen (manager)

Manager Ollie Murphy

Michael Collins

Jonathan Lynch gains possession

Donal Lynch

Paul Lynch

the two goals but we got caught at the end. It was hugely disappointing. “David played with our Junior D team earlier in the year but got his place back on the first team later on. He’s 42. David, myself and Pat Bennett made up the full-forward line in a Junior D Championship match against Clann na nGael. We had a combined age of 130 but we still managed to win.” Joey was rich in his praise for manager Ollie Murphy, saying “he had a great way of getting on with the players and there was no roaring or shouting at any stage”. He remains hopeful that the breakthrough in the Junior B Championship will come for Moynalty. “Our older players aren’t getting any younger but we have good young lads coming along,” he added. “A lot of our players are in their 30s and most of the The squad before the championship clash with St Mary's at Drumconrath, front l/r: Michael Lynch, Thomas Owens, rest are in their early 20s. Adrian Lynch, Ollie Sheridan, Adrian Maguire, Paul Lynch, Damien Kangley, Sean Lynch, Christy Cahill, Ronan McMahon, Kevin Maguire, Emmet Tormay, James Nevin. Back: Nicholas McKenna, Paddy Clarke, Donal Lynch, There’s a gap in between. Adrian Lynch, Kenny Coldrick, Alan Brogan, Jonathan Lynch, Conor O'Loughlin, Gavin Lynch, Stephen We have to remain Blackburn, Cormac Kearney, Mick Dorrigan, Paddy Sheridan

secretary Joey Curley as he reflected on the final. “There was a feeling of disbelief after the final whistle. The place was in a state of shock. What did we ever do on anyone? “There had been a degree of confidence going into the final but we had decided to keep the build-up more low key than in previous years. We had played well in the semi-final against Seneschalstown and we played well in the final as well. “When I referee games involving

teams which also play hurling they seem to have an extra cut about them. Boardsmill had that. I thought the crucial period in the final came after we had opened up a four points to one lead. Boardsmill built momentum after that and led by two points at half time after we had played with the wind. “It was a blow to miss the penalty early in the second half. It would have helped if we had scored it but I don’t think it was absolutely crucial. We looked to be in control when David (Murtagh) scored

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The U10's at the North Meath finals in Carlanstown, front l/r: Brian Carolan, Daragh Gaynor, Tommy Cahill, Dylan Smyth, Jack Kirwan, Peter Olwill, Muireann Reilly, Paddy Lacey, Aisling Cahill. Back: John Cahill, Jake Smyth, Jack Smyth, Luke McQuade, James Murray, Harley Smith, Kian Lynch, Katie Smyth, Cait Gallagher, Grainne Nevin, Darragh Cussen

hopeful that we will win the championship.” Moynalty have certainly experienced their fair share of disappointments on big days out at Pairc Tailteann in more recent years and the manner in which they had victory snatched away from them at the end of the 2013 final was particularly hard to take but there is every likelihood that they will again mount a serious challenge for outright honours next year. They deserve their overdue day in the sun. The Moynalty team in the Junior B FC final was: Jonathan Lynch; Alan Brogan, Donal Lynch, Ronan McMahon; Paddy Sheridan, Plunkett Tormay, Michael Lynch (0-2); Damien Kangley, Conor O’Loughlin; Stephen Blackburn, Paul Lynch (01), Gavin Lynch; Ollie Sheridan (0-4), David Murtagh (2-0), Christy Cahill (0-2). Subs – Sean Lynch for G Lynch, Adrian Lynch for Sheridan, Joseph Curley for Brogan, Kenny Coldrick for M Lynch.

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Before the U16 Division 5 final at Grangegodden, front l/r: Sean Nevin, Thomas Carolan, Ben Lynch, Edward O'Brien, Fiachra Gallagher, James Cassidy, Luke Murphy, Niall O'Connor, Michael Reilly. Back: Brendan Lynch, Michael Collins, Pete Rogers, Eoin Donegan, Mark O'Brien, Cathal Reilly, Ronan Lynch, Anthony Nevin, Robert Nevin, Padraig O'Connor, Ciaran Collins, Kevin Farrelly, Tomas Lynch

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A

ST. MICHAEL’S

ll associated with the St Michael’s club must still be scratching their heads and wondering how their intermediate footballers failed to reach the 2013 championship final.

They had every chance of beating Clann na nGael at the penultimate hurdle but ended up shattered when the Athboy / An Gaeltacht combination pulled off an extraordinary victory after extra time. The last few years have certainly been eventful for the players from the Carlanstown and Kilbeg amalgamation. They were edged out by neighbours Carnaross in a semifinal in 2010, survived the relegation shootout a year later and reached the quarter-finals last year where Ballinabrackey beat them narrowly. A nice consolation followed when they won the U21 B title. Tom Halpin was again at the helm this term, with Thomas McQuaid, Pete Cassidy and Derek Flood acting as selectors, and St Michael’s didn’t make a particularly encouraging start to their competitive year when they lost their first three games in the All-County A League Division 2 to Gaeil Colmcille, Walterstown and St Colmcille’s. Ahead of the championship they achieved their first victory when getting the better of Dunderry by a couple of points and it was then on to the main event where they were drawn in group

Jamie Reilly raises the MFL Division 3 Cup at Pairc Tailteann

A along with Clann na nGael, Carnaross, Syddan, Dunderry and St Ultan’s. And it was the Bohermeen / Martry combination which provided the first round opposition at Carnaross where St Michael’s earned a deserved 0-13 to 1-3 victory. They conceded a goal of the ‘soft’ variety in the first half but still managed to be marginally ahead at the break, 0-6 to 1-2. Michael’s were the dominant force in the second period when they added

seven points and conceded only one. Ronan Lynch was their top marksman over the hour as he contributed five points, Jamie Farrelly scored three, JB O’Reilly and Kevin Cassidy got two each and David Lynch registered the other. Clann na nGael certainly inflicted a fair bit of misery on St Michael’s this year, starting with a 0-10 to 0-8 win in the second round of the championship at Kells. With Ronan Lynch in impressive form Michael’s scored the first three points and he scored four in all in the opening half as they opened up a 0-5 to 0-4 lead at the change of ends. Goalkeeper Paul McCormack had come to the rescue when he saved a first half penalty and he produced another great block in the second half when the pressure was on. Clann na nGael eventually hit the front and despite an overall tally of seven points from Lynch Michael’s were two adrift at the finish. Hopes of reaching the knockout stages for the second successive year suffered another blow when Syddan inflicted a 2-11 to 0-11 defeat in the third round at Drumconrath but St Michael’s discovered the winning habit again after that as they won successive group matches against Dunderry and Carnaross to book their ticket to the quarter-finals. Simonstown provided the setting for that game against Dunderry where Michael’s won a low scoring contest by

EXTRA TIME AGONY FOR MICHAEL’S

Intermediate football championship semi finalists, front l/r (included are): Ronan Cassidy, Gary Dolan, Jamie Reilly, Johnny Reilly, Gavan Sweeney, John Farrell, Ronan Lynch, Daithi Reilly, Kevin Cassidy, Philip Rogers, Martin Dawson, Tommy Moriarty, Paddy Clarke, Aaron Kiernan, Oran Meehan. Back: James Farrell, Mark Stafford, David Lynch, Darren O'Connell, Felim O'Reilly, John Barry O'Reilly, Jamie Farrelly, Sam Briody, Paul McCormack, Peter O'Connell, Ben Farrell, Lee Morris, Barry McBrearthy, Eoin O'Sullivan, Paddy Murray, John Stafford, Brendan Ryan

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Meath Juvenile Board Chairman Paul Mooney presents the U14 Division 5 Summer Shield to Ben Reilly

Kevin Cassidy isn't over the line

Daithi Reilly in typical determined mood

Mikey Dunne gains possession against Na Fianna

U14 Division 5 Summer Shield winners, front l/r: Caolan McConnell, Alex Farrell, Jack Dunne, Jimmy McGivern, Scott Doyle, Patrick Tobin, Ciaran O'Reilly, Mark O'Brien, Harry Dunne. Back: Ewan Moran, Ethan McGrane, Thomas Robertson, Stephen Monaghan, Cian Sheridan, Ben Reilly, Corey McGivern, Jason O'Donnell, Conor Moran

0-7 to 0-6. Substitute Peter O’Connell was an undoubted hero when he notched the winning point but for a spell it looked like the championship might produce its first scoreless draw. Neither team managed to score in the opening 18 minutes but Dunderry managed to hit the target with sufficient regularity after that to edge into a 0-5 to 0-2 interval lead. The introduction of O’Connell provided a big boost for Michael’s and he scored the first point of the second half. Midfielder JB O’Reilly also proved to be a major influence and when he pointed on 40 minutes the deficit was down to the minimum. Dunderry’s only score of the second half put them two clear but Michael’s registered the last three scores courtesy of Ronan Cassidy, Ronan Lynch and O’Connell to shade the verdict. St Michael’s had things a lot more straight forward in the last round when a 1-12 to 0-6 victory over Carnaross at Meath Hill earned them a place in the

Michael’s made a great start to their quarter-finals. They wasted a lot of last eight meeting with St Colmcille’s at chances but still managed to hold a 0Seneschalstown where Jamie Farrelly 6 to 0-2 lead at half-time thanks to scored 1-2 in the opening five minutes. points from Ronan Lynch (three), JB With Ronan Lynch (two), David Lynch O’Reilly (two) and John Farrell. and Kevin Cassidy adding points they Carnaross threatened a revival but were in front by 1-6 to 0-6 at the break. points from Jamie Reilly, Philip Rogers, It could have been a bigger David Lynch, Jamie Farrelly, Ben advantage but Cassidy was wide with Farrell and Ronan Cassidy and a Farrelly goal from a penalty near the end steered Michael’s towards a comprehensive win. With the group action complete Clann na nGael were on top on seven points and went straight through to the semiAuctioneers & Kingscourt Marts Ltd. finals. Dunderry and Keenan Auctioneers St Michael’s were Main Street, Kingscourt, Co. Cavan on six and could Tel: 042-9667224 www.keenanauctioneers.com look forward to Best Wishes to St. Michaels GAA quarter-final action.

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Stars for the future. The U10s that took part in the North Meath league

Ben Tobin

Peter O'Connell in minor final action

a goal chance late in the first half. Michael’s endured a 17 minute barren spell in the second period and with Jack Reynolds scoring a goal for St Colmcille’s from the penalty spot their hopes of making it to the semi-finals soared. Aided by three points from Graham Reilly, the seasiders led by 1-10 to 1-8 on 55 minutes but just when they needed something big, JB O’Reilly scored a well-taken goal for Michael’s. Substitute Peter O’Connell added a point, before Cathal Hilliard raised a white flag at the other end to conclude the scoring. It had been a close shave but the Carlanstown / Kilbeg combination had progressed a step further than last year thanks to their 29 to 1-11 victory. What happened at Pairc Tailteann on the last Sunday of September may take the St Michael’s players some time to recover from. Clann na nGael led just once in the semi-final but crucially that was a couple of minutes into injury time at the end of extra time

Jordan Moran with the scars of battle

Ronan Lynch

as they prevailed by 1-13 to 1-12. All seemed to be going to plan when Michael’s led by 0-6 to 0-1 at the interval in normal time after Ronan Lynch (three), Kevin Cassidy, David Lynch and Jamie Farrelly had supplied the points. They pushed further clear early in the second period but battling Clann na nGael got back to level terms by the 53rd minute. Ronan Lynch edged Michael’s back in front, the hugely influential Graham Geraghty equalised, Lynch pointed again to regain the lead but the amazing Geraghty popped up with another mighty score to level things up and force extra time (0-10 each). When Ronan Lynch pointed and Farrelly fisted a goal to give Michael’s a four point cushion in the first additional period they looked home and hosed, especially as Clann na nGael were reduced to 14 players when Jamie Shaw was red carded. But the Athboy / An Gaeltacht combination refused to accept what appeared to be the inevitable.

261

Felim O'Reilly

Geraghty revived them with a superb goal at the start of the second period but Michael’s were still clinging on approaching the end. That was when substitute Aaron Ennis really made his mark as he slotted over the last two points to secure a sensational victory. To say that the losers were shattered would be putting it very mildly. “Losing the semi-final the way we did was a bit of a shock but I suppose when you get older you learn to accept things like that,” said selector Pete Cassidy. “When you lose by only a point it tends to pose a lot of questions. Graham Geraghty was the difference. He is an amazing man. The players were very disappointed. I also felt sorry for our manager Tom Halpin. He puts a huge amount of work into it. He has been a pleasure to work with.” St Michael’s had a mixed group campaign which included successive defeats but they did enough to reach the knockout stages. “We won our first game against St Ultan’s but we then lost to Clann na


st michaels designed_Layout 1 19/11/2013 16:20 Page 5

nGael and Syddan. We had beaten those teams last year. I suppose we were a surprise element last year but that was gone this year. The younger lads probably thought we would beat them again. “We beat Dunderry in a tight game after that. We had beaten them last year as well. We felt fairly confident going into that game because we were going well in training. Our backs were to the wall and we responded well. “I put the win over St Colmcille’s down to Tom (Halpin). We used a sweeper system to look after Graham Reilly. It worked well. He scored only three points. “When we were four points up in extra time in the semi-final I thought it was won. We had lost our centre-back Philip Rogers earlier. He was carrying a hamstring injury from the St Colmcille’s game. That was a factor. We had to reshuffle. It was unsettling. But, as I said, Graham Geraghty was the difference.” It was a sickening sort of defeat but Pete remains optimistic. “Ciaran Lynch and Robert Briody were big losses this year,” he added. “But we are lucky that we have good talent coming through in the older age groups.”

goaling they led by 1-7 to 02 at the break. Lee Morris was denied a second goal late in the first half when he was thwarted by Na Fianna ‘keeper Jonathan McCloskey. Na Fianna rallied in the second period and aided by a Peter Slevin goal they cut the deficit to 1-7 to 1-8 but with O’Connell a big influence St Michael’s regained the upper hand and a goal from Moran guided them towards victory and the title. Moran went close to adding another goal near the end.

Best Wishes To St. Michaels GAA

The St Michael’s team was: Aaron Kernan; Christopher Drew, Daniel Murphy; Adam O’Brien; Thomas O’Brien, Matthew Halpin, Ben Tobin; Jordan Moran (1-1), Jamie Reilly; Oran Meehan, Peter O’Connell (1-3), Stephen Dolan; Michael Dunne, Lee Morris, Ronan

Lynch (0-7). Subs – Ray Reilly for Meehan, Luke Kearney (0-1) for Dolan, Al Reilly for Tobin.

MINORS DEMONSTRATE RICH POTENTIAL

The St Michael’s minors completed a memorable campaign with a 2-12 to 18 victory over Na Fianna in the League Division 3 final at Pairc Tailteann Centre-forward Peter O’Connell was a key performer for the winners who made a very productive start when aided by the wind. Ronan Lynch scored six points (three frees) and with Jordan Moran also on target they built a solid foundation. With O’Connell

Minor Football League Division 3 winners, front l/r: Thomas O'Brien, Adam O'Brien, Christopher Drew, Ray Reilly, Mikey Dunne, Oran Meehan, Ronan Lynch, Luke Kearney, Al Reilly. Back: Stephen Dolan, Ben Tobin, Jordan Moran, Matthew Halpin, Aaron Kiernan, Daniel Murphy, Jamie Reilly, Peter O'Connell, Gary Dolan, Lee Morris

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ST. VINCENT’S

fter going to the last four in the 2012 Junior B FC, St Vincent’s again qualified for the knockout phase but lost narrowly to east Meath rivals St Mary’s in a quarter-final clash.

The Ardcath side were one of 17 starters in the fourth tier championship and also one of just six clubs fielding their first team. Remarkably two of the six are past winners of the SFC, St Vincent’s in 1955 and Moynalty in the 1930s. St Vincent’s were bidding to bridge a gap of 10 years, having taken the Junior B title with a dramatic final victory over Boardsmill in 2003 when David Beggy was in charge. This year the wearers of the maroon and white had Niall Flynn at the helm with Brian Carberry and Richie Dunne as his selectors. St Vincent’s were in the five-team Group C and had a first round bye before Boardsmill provided the opposition in round two. That was a Thursday evening tussle at Skryne and the ‘Mill men prevailed on a 3-9 to 1-7 scoreline. That turned out to be the only defeat in the group games for the Ardcath side

Davy Tallon

as they won on their next three outings. The three-in-a-row sequence of success began with a 3-15 to 1-7 win over Donaghmore / Ashbourne at Kilbride. In that game the Ardcath side had six points on the board before their opponents got on the board. Paddy Arnold opened the scoring and Paddy Muldowney, Tommy Field (free), Martin Byrne, Robbie Lynch and Bob Tallon

also got on target in the first 18 minutes. Then Arnold jumped highest to get a fist to a delivery from Ronan Sheridan for the first goal. Donaghmore / Ashbourne made a bit of a revival with a goal and a point but white flag efforts from Arnold, Byrne and Tallon left it 19 to 1-1 at the halfway stage. St Vincent’s increased their advantage after the switching of ends with Fields firing a penalty to the net for the second goal and Tallon netting the third goal. The Ardcath men scored a runaway 2-25 to 0-5 win over Nobber’s second team in a midAugust clash at Donore to make it two wins out of three games. A seven points win over Wolfe Tones on a scoreline of 3-10 to 33 at Kilmessan boosted the points difference of St Vincent’s to plus 39 as they claimed second place in the group with six points, just below Boardsmill, who were held to a draw by Wolfe Tones in their first game, on seven. The quarter-final clash with last year’s beaten finalists St Mary’s was a close affair with the Donore side edging out their local rivals by 0-9 to 0-8 in a game played in very windy conditions.

VINCENT’S BUILDING MOMENTUM

The Junior squad that took on Donaghmore Ashbourne in the championship at Kilbride, front l/r: Davy Tallon, Andrew MacDermott, Colm Hand, Shane O'Brien, Richard O'Sullivan, Ciaran Sheridan, Stephen Creed, Barry O'Sullivan, Eoin Hand, Martin Byrne, Paddy Muldowney, Jamie Harford. Back: Cathal Tallon, Tommy Kearns, Jonathon Hickey, Robert Lynch, Danny Dwyer, Robert Tallon, Cathal Byrne, Paddy Arnold, Martin Fox, Ronan Sheridan, Tommy Field, Niall Tallon (captain), Darren Hand, Declan O'Sullivan

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Darren Hand

Robert Tallon

Goalkeeper Andrew McDermott

Stephen Creed clears

Manager Niall Flynn The St Vincents Curraha panel that lost out to Jenkinstown Gaels in the U16 Division 2 final at Kilbride, front l/r: Sean Keogh, Patrick McGill, Fahri O’Driscoll, Ryan Hand, Conor Moriarty, Andrew McEntee, David Morgan, Mark Phelan. Back: Niall Murphy, Luke McCarthy, Ciaran Phelan, Brian Joyce, Andrew Battersby, Graham McDermott, Sean Moore, Brian Murphy, Kevin Laffey, Donal McDermott

Ardcath. St Vincent’s then made the long trip Moylagh and returned with a third brace of points, on a 3-7 to 1-10 scoreline. All the goals in that game came in the second half after the visitors led by 0-4 to 0-3 at the break. Moylagh scored a goal and two points at the start of the second half to gain the initiative. However, Vincent’s hit back with a point and a goal from Paddy Arnold to draw level. Two fisted goals from the visitors followed with Robbie Lynch and Paddy Muldowney getting the scores. Then St Vincent’s travelled to Moynalty and a keenly

St Vincent’s were favoured by the elements in the first half and went into a 0-3 to 0-0 lead in the opening quarter. However, the Ardcath side did not maintain the scoring momentum and only led by the minimum margin, 0-5 to 0-4, at the break. On the restart Mary’s put over two points to edge into the lead. St Vincent’s kept battling and when Tommy Fields levelled around the hour mark, extra-time looked likely. However, Mary’s then launched one last attack for Robbie Callaghan to fire the winning point to the delight of the Donore contingent and the dismay of the Ardcath followers. In Division 4 of the All-County A League St Vincent’s won five, got one walk-over, drew one and lost six games to finish in joint sixth place with St Mary’s and Moylagh, below winners Meath Hill, beaten finalists St Brigid’s, Longwood, St Paul’s and Clonard. The Ardcath men got off to a winning start with a home 2-12 to 2-6 success over St Paul’s, having been ahead by 2-5 to 14 at the break. Declan O’Sullivan netted both of the winners’ goals and Martin Byrne elected to take a point from a penalty in the closing stages. Their first three league outings were at home and there was a four-point loss to Meath Hill before a slender 0-9 to 1-5 win was recorded over neighbours Curraha. That was followed by two defeats, an away loss to Clonard by nine points and a 0-9 to 0-11 defeat to Boardsmill in

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contested tie finished all square with the visitors registering 0-14 to 1-11 for their opponents. It was 1-5 to 0-6 at the break and after Moynalty went five points clear, late scores from Bob Tallon and Martin Fox ensured a share of the spoils. There was another trip to the northwest of the county, to Ballinacree to face St Brigid’s and the Ardcath side lost out on a 0-13 to 2-4 scoreline. St Vincent’s got back on the winning trail with a seven-point success over Kilbride and in round 10 Slane did not field. The league schedule was completed with an 11-point loss to intermediate side Longwood and a narrow defeat to Dunsany before a home 1-11 to 1-9 win was recorded over St Mary’s to bring their final points total to 13. According to selector Brian Carberry, this was the third successive year for St Vincent’s to reach either the quarterfinal or semi-final stage of the Junior B FC. “It was an interesting year for the team. We had former Louth and St Patrick’s player Niall Flynn, who is a teacher in Gormanston College, in his first term as manager. He is very articulate and well organised and put in a lot of good work with the squad. “However, a few lads went abroad and that left us understrength. Sean Og Travers, one of our key players over the last few years, was in London and was a bit of a loss. He was injured last year but had recovered and would have been available this year. “Promising minor Shane O’Brien missed some games because he was in New York for a while. On the positive side, a couple of players joined the club. Robert Lynch came from Westmeath and Paddy Muldowney from St Patrick’s and both were strong additions to the team. “The commitment from the players was very good with some of them going back and forward from Dublin for training sessions. We had a small panel of about 22 or 23 players and it can be difficult when one or two are missing for a match,” said Carberry. Brian is a man of a number of parts and as well as being a St Vincent’s selector, he has filled a number of roles at county level over a number of years. After being Meath’s coaching officer for 10 years, he currently holds the position of Leinster Council representative as well as being a member of the Hearings Committee. Another club role is giving coaching sessions to young footballers in the two

primary schools in the parish, Ardcath and Clonalvey. “We lost to Boardsmill in our first championship game, having gone into that game with some niggling injuries for that game. After that, victories were recorded over Donaghmore / Ashbourne, Nobber and Wolfe Tones to put us into the quarter-finals. “We were confident enough going into that match against St Mary’s even though midfielder Martin Fox was ruled out because of suspension. He was a loss and it was a horrendous day with a strong wind making it difficult for both sides. “We had the advantage of the wind in the first half but we kicked wide after wide and should have led by more than one point at the break. It was an uphill battle for us in the second half and it was disappointing to lose out to a late winning point. “It is a struggle every year to get players on the pitch, having such a small pool of players to pick from. But being joined with Curraha for underage football is a big help in grooming adult players of the future. “The underage structure is very good with Seamus McEntee, Pat Brangan, James O’Brien, Patricia McGill, Graham Boylan and Garvan Savage among those putting in valuable work. “Hopefully some of the younger players will mature to strengthen the junior team and we can look ahead with hope,” concluded Brian Carberry. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the appearance of St Vincent’s in the 1963 SFC final. Having lifted the Keegan Cup with a 1-12 to 2-3 victory over Kells Harps in 1955, the Ardcath side won their back to the decider eight years later but Navan O’Mahonys proved too strong on a 4-6 to 1-2 scoreline. Winning their sixth title in seven years, O’Mahonys were always in control and led by 1-4 to 0-1 at the break. Although a point from Mick Dunican and a goal, fired to the net by Gerry Andrews in the early stages of the second half,  raised the hopes of St Vincent’s, they did score again as their opponents pushed on for a comfortable win.

The St Vincent’s team in the 1963 SFC final was: R Dunne; T Kearns, P Dunne, P Brannigan; V Cromwell, M Kearns, P Black; M Dunican, N McQuillan; J Carty, G Cromwell, J Moloney; J Curran, G Andrews, P Kearns. Sub: S Dunican for McQuillan.

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Robert Lynch

Ronan Sheridan

Martin Byrne


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SYDDAN

wo victories from their five matches weren’t sufficient to prolong Syddan’s interest in the 2013 Intermediate Football Championship beyond the group stages, while they also endured mixed fortunes in Division 3 of the All-County A League where they failed to challenge for promotion.

Last year, with former Meath player, selector and manager Eamonn O’Brien at the helm, they managed just one group victory from four outings in the race for the Mattie McDonnell Cup as the loss of a number of players to emigration impacted on their potential to challenge. O’Brien, who enjoyed a highly successful playing career with the outstanding Walterstown team of the late 1970s and early 1980s, departed to take over at Simonstown Gaels for this year. Dublin native Alan Stephens, a resident of Dulane, just outside Kells, took on the role of Syddan coach, with James Quail acting as his assistant and Pat Dillon and Sean Wall, who had moved from Rathkenny, acting as selectors. Cormac Rowe is one of the most talented young footballers to be produced by the Syddan club in recent years and the son of the former Meath senior player of the same name was a member of the county senior panel

Eoin Lynch Duff raises the U14 Division 6 Shield at Bohermeen

during the early stages of this year. He also captained the Meath junior team. Unfortunately, he sustained a broken leg during Syddan’s third championship game against St Michael’s which was a huge blow to the player himself and to Syddan who could ill afford to be without the services of such a key performer subsequently. The signs weren’t overly encouraging in the early stages of Syddan’s competitive year as they lost their first three games in the All-County A League Division 3 to Drumbaragh (1-12 to 211), St Ultan’s (0-11 to 1-9) and Cortown (0-8 to 3-7) but they received

a timely boost ahead of the main event when they scored a comprehensive 1-15 to 0-6 win over Kilmainhamwood in the fourth round. They ended up with 10 league points thanks to five victories but six defeats put paid to their hopes of progress in that competition. Syddan were drawn in group A of the Intermediate Championship, a six team section which also included Clann na nGael, Carnaross, Dunderry, St Ultan’s and St Michael’s, and it was against Dunderry that they got their campaign off to a losing start at an extremely windy Kilberry where it finished 1-13 to 1-8 in favour of the Tom Hanleycoached team. It was looking very good for windassisted Syddan in the early stages as they raced into a healthy 1-4 to 0-0 advantage, helped in no small way by a goal from the vastly experienced Philip Duff, but Dunderry recovered sufficiently to be just three points in arrears (0-5 to 1-5) at the change of ends With the advantage of the gale to come in the second period the odds were stacked in Dunderry’s favour and so it turned out. The sides were level entering the last quarter but when Stephen Coogan found the net for Dunderry they gained the upper hand

YOUNG SYDDAN BUILD FOR THE FUTURE

On duty for the Intermediate Championship win over Carnaross at Meath Hill, front l/r: Kevin Traynor, Philip Meade, Daire Rowe, Ian Curran, Pauric Young, Jack Reid, Mark Fedigan, Ben Bashford, Kevin Carry, Stephen Finnegan. Back: Robbie Farrelly, Stephen Dillon, Luke Halpenny, Patrick Meade, David Sullivan, Cormac Rowe, Barry McConnon, Brian Dillon, Paddy Rafferty, Gary Farrelly, Ben Corcoran, Michael Sweeney, Patrick Farrelly, Philip Duff

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and went on to win by five points. Syddan coach Stephens guided Carnaross to the Intermediate Championship final in 2010 when they lost to Nobber and he plotted the downfall of the Seamus Kiernanmanaged outfit in the second round this year at Meath Hill. The sides were locked together on 0-5 each at the break but with five minutes of normal time remaining Carnaross had pushed into a three point lead and were looking like favourites to win. Syddan’s response to the difficult situation they found themselves in was very positive as they reeled off five points – including one from a penalty kicked by Philip Duff – to win by 0-14 to 0-12. Victory looked unlikely entering those final minutes, though they were unlucky not to find the net in each half when the ‘woodwork’ intervened. St Michael’s, who exited the championship race at the quarterfinal stage in 2012 when they were Pauric Young

Ladies Board Chairperson Aisling Clery presents the Division 2 FL Cup to Dee Rangers captain Lisa Young Jack Reid

edged out by Ballinabrackey, provided the third round opposition at Drumconrath and when Syddan achieved a 2-11 to 0-11 victory they were very much in the hunt for one of the three qualification slots in the group. However, with Cormac Rowe ruled out for the remainder of the campaign following the leg break sustained in that match, that proved to be their last win in the group and Clann na nGael, who would later go on to top the section and earn the automatic semi-final place, inflicted serious damage to their qualification prospects when winning a fourth round game by 1-9 to 0-10 at Kilmainham. The win pushed the Athboy / An Gaeltacht combination above Syddan in the group but such an outcome looked highly unlikely when they failed to score during the opening 20 minutes. Syddan held a two point lead at the interval but the only goal of the game from Gary

Brian Dillon

The Dee Rangers squad that defeated Duleek Bellewstown to win the Division 2 Ladies Football League title at Seneschalstown, front l/r: Orlaith Malone, Sarah Halpenny, Grace Malone, Rebecca Goodwin, Aoife Traynor, Hannah Mulvaney, Briona Rowe, Lisa Young, Emma Rafferty, Shauna Rowe, Eleanor Gallagher, Christine Meade. Back: Aoife Conlon, Niamh McMahon, Cody McEvoy, Orlaith Duff, Katie Martin, Orlaith Sheehy, Miriam McQuail, Aine Duff, Aoife Burke, Ciara O'Connell, Sinead Hickey, Samantha Martin, Caroline Kieran

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Great control from Kevin Traynor

Manager Alan Stephens


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U14 Division 6 Shield winners, front l/r (included are): Oisin Lynch Duff, Jodi Donoghue, Padraic Dillon, Stephen Tallon, John McMahon. Back: Harry Evans, Ryan Summersby, Michael Clare, Eoin Lynch Duff, Cormac Rafferty, Greg weldon, Gavin Caraher, Cian weldon, Cathal Duff

Luke Halpenny clips over a point

Exciting prospect Daire Rowe

Hanley helped Clann na nGael to a valuable success. Carlanstown was the venue for the fifth round meeting with St Ultan’s who had demonstrated considerable improvement after losing their opening two group games. The outcome was in the balance at the break when Syddan held a 0-6 to 0-4 lead but the second period proved something of a disaster from a scoring perspective as they added only two points and that allowed the Bohermeen / Martry combination to push on for a victory on a 0-9 to 0-8 score line. When the group A action was over Clann na nGael were the surprise group toppers on seven points from a possible 10 and that earned them a passage straight through to the semifinals. Dunderry, St Michael’s and St Ultan’s all finished on six points and the superior score differences enjoyed by Dunderry and Michael’s propelled them into the quarter-finals. Syddan finished fifth in the group on four points and out of the reckoning

Stephen Dillon

Cormac Rowe

after achieving just two victories, while Carnaross brought up the rear on one. It means that Syddan’s dream of a first intermediate title since 1999 goes on. Coach Alan Stephens viewed the loss of Cormac Rowe as highly significant in

Syddan’s failure to reach the knockout stages. “Cormac was a massive loss to us for our last two championship games,” he said. “He’s a fabulous footballer. Being without Cormac was the same for us as

The U13 Division 5 winners

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Philip Duff


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Kilmainham being without Mickey Newman or Carnaross without John L McGee. Players like that are irreplaceable. “Looking back on the campaign we fielded a fair few young and inexperienced players. It’s the club’s policy to bring in young talent which is good. That inexperience cost us. You had to admire the commitment of the players. They were great. The more experienced lads, like Stephen Dillon and Philip Duff, gave great encouragement to the younger players. They are great clubmen. “The younger players needed this year. They will benefit from the experience. We struggled to close games down due to having inexperienced players but that’s something you would hope will come with time. It also takes time for the players to get used to a new coach and the coach to get used to the players. “There was a massive wind when we played Dunderry in our first championship game. Brian Dillon was still in Australia at that time and we fielded an experimental team. We still had 15 players in Syddan jerseys but the tight Kilberry pitch didn’t suit us. We led by seven points at one stage and by three at half time. That wasn’t enough given the strength of the wind. Dunderry made better use of it in the second half. “The game against Carnaross was an emotional one for me. They were three points up with four or five minutes left but we finished strongest to win by a couple of points. Cormac Rowe was brilliant in that game. Our match against St Michael’s was a strange one. We went a couple of point ahead. Cormac got badly injured early in the second half. The game was held up for 40 minutes while we waited for an ambulance. The referee, to his credit, asked if we wanted to play on. We decided we would and the lads played out of their skins after that. We won by six points.” With two group games still to play against Clann na nGael and St Ultan’s, Syddan had to come to terms with having to plan without one of their best players. “Our inexperience cost us against Clann na nGael,” Alan added. “We missed three or four frees which we should have scored. That proved costly. The game against St Ultan’s in the last round ended up as something of an anti-climax. The other game in the group between Clann na nGael and Dunderry started about 10 minutes earlier that ours so we knew the outcome before our match ended. It benefited neither of us.” Alan was rich in his praise for the Syddan players and applauded the great attitude and commitment of the more experienced campaigners. He also paid tribute to assistantcoach James Quail and selectors Pat Dillon and Sean Wall who he said were “great all year”. Syddan have some very talented young players – Daire Rowe and Kevin Traynor among them – and they have the potential to enjoy improved fortunes in the near future.

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T

KILDALKEY

he 2013 Meath senior hurling championship was not the most kind to Kildalkey as even before a sliotar was thrown in they had to deal with the loss of many key players. Throw in the fact that they were drawn in the so called ‘group of death’ in the SHC as well and they could be forgiven for thinking that fortune was not on their side this year. Long serving clubman Tony Fox, who was captain of this year’s side is confident that Kildalkey can push for honours once again in 2014. For any team to lose up to nine players that started the previous year’s championship is a massive blow, regardless of what team it is, even at county level it would be a huge setback, never mind a rural hurling club in Co Meath. Tony pointed out to us that the overall number of adult hurlers unavailable through one reason or another was even greater than the tally mentioned. “Between the senior and intermediate teams, we have lost up to 18 players over the last year or so for a variety of reasons. There was nine gone off last year’s senior team, which was a huge blow and these were not just fringe

Daire Lahart clears

players, but key players on the team,” stressed Tony. Kildalkey headed into this year’s SHC campaign without the likes of Enda and Padraig Kehoe, Eoin and Michael Potterton, Noel Kirby, Paddy Connelly, Dan Fagan, Gary Kelly and Conor Dunne to name just a few. Not only were some of these a loss to the club, but to the county as well, which gives you an indication of the talent mentioned. Throw in the fact that the 2011 champions were drawn in the same group as Kiltale, Kilmessan, Longwood, Killyon and Boardsmill meant that all of

last year’s four semi-finalists were drawn in the same group; a situation that Tony feels shouldn’t have occurred. “In my opinion, the draw should be seeded and you shouldn’t have so many of the top teams in the one group. It gave the teams in the other group a great chance of qualifying, while there was little room for error in our group.” Such a draw placed a great emphasis on winning the first group game and to do so, Kildalkey would have to beat an emerging Longwood side. Tony revealed that this was their first real test since they lost so many key players and it proved to be tough ask as Longwood’s tactics paid off as they ran out winners by 2-12 to 0-13. “Longwood came with a game plan and it worked for them and fair play to them. We were still blooding in a lot of young players and I suppose we were all looking around for someone to take the game by the scruff of the neck and lift it, but it never happened. To lose the first game was a huge setback and put us under pressure straight away.” To add to that pressure, Kildalkey’s next game was against rivals Killyon with both sides seeking their first win of the campaign.

FOX ON THE HUNT

Prior to the senior hurling clash with Kilmessan at Loman’s Park Trim, front l/r: Cathal O'Sullivan, Luke Rickard, Daire Lahart, Tony Fox, Podge Geoghegan, Conor Flynn, Stephen Forde, Martin Healy, Mark Healy. Back: Derek Doran, Sean Heavey, Mairtin Doran, Maurice Keogh, Sean Corrigan, Andrew Fagan, David Harmon, David Conneely, Matt Rickard, Francis Doran, Sean Kirke

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In a tight contest, it was Pat O’Halloran’s charges that emerged victorious by the narrowest of margins as they won on a scoreline of 2-06 to 011 with Francis Doran and David Harmon scoring the all important goals. “It was essential to win against Killyon. As a local derby, there is a different intensity to these games and this was no Conor Flynn

different. Killyon had their chances to win it and David Harmon showed great composure to knock over the winning point from a ’65.” Harmon is just one of a number of youngsters trust into senior action this year and their progress has delighted Tony. “In fairness to the young lads they have come in under very difficult

Mairtin Doran keeps an eye on the ball

circumstances, but you could see them growing in confidence with every game that we played. “David Connelly and Johnny Murray came into the defence and they settled very quickly. Francis Doran has really emerged as a good midfielder, while David Harmon, Mark and Martin Healy and Luke Rickard are all very talented.”

David Conneely skips away from Kilmessan's eoin Marsh

Nick Fitzgerald heads for the Kilmessan goal

David Harmon Minor Hurling Championship finalists 2012, front l/r: Ben Rickard, David Conneely, Adam Shelly, Mark Healy, Tiarnan Bird, Marc Chesser, John Murray. Back: Darren Reynolds, Sean Kirke, Kevin McKeown, Luke Rickard, Patrick Potterton, Martin Healy, Conor Kearney, Martin O'Leary, Jamie Brady

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The intermediate squad that took on Donaghmore Ashbourne in the championship at Dunderry, front l/r: Ross Flynn, Tosh Brady, Brian Reilly, Sean Kealy, Colm Kane, Cathal O'Sullivan, Michael Fagan, Sean Kirke. Back: Tommy Masterson, Cathal egan, Nigel Dunphy, Andrew Ledwith, Ben Rickard, Adam Shelly, eoin Redmond, Martin O'Leary, Tiernan Bird, David Brady, Kevin McKeown

Tony Fox

Francis Doran

Despite the win over Killyon, Kildalkey could not build on this and a 2-17 to 211 defeat to Kilmessan put a major dent in their hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages. This was Kilmessan’s first win over Kildalkey in a few years as the sides have enjoyed a great rivalry in recent

Sean Kirke keeps possession under pressure

Cathal egan

Adam Shelly

times. Nonetheless, Tony pointed out that with so many new players in the side, it took time for them to adapt a style of play that suited them. “Over the last few years, we would have had a big men down the middle, especially in the forwards where we had the likes of Noel Kirby, Dan Fagan and

Kevin McKeown

Andrew Ledwith

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Intermediate full back Cathal O'Sullivan

Nick Fitzgerald, who were all good target men, but with so many young lads coming in, we are now a smaller team and we had to change our tactics. This obviously took a while, but it started to come together against Boardsmill.” Kildalkey produced their best display of the year so far when they defeated a

Kildalkey were the first winners of the trophy which honours the late Brendan Davis


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Tony is confident that with one or two championship as both sides showed great players back from injury next year, they character and can once again be in the hunt for major determination to get a honours and at 31 years of age, he result. knows that the good times don’t last Kildalkey welcomed forever. back Enda Keogh who “We will have Padraig Kehoe and Eoin lined out at full forward Potterton back from injury next year, for this match and while Gary Kelly came back late on this caused the Kiltale year and he will be a lot fitter next year. defence a lot of Paddy Connelly will be home from the problems. The blue States also, so I’d be confident that we and whites were the can push on and compete for the title hungrier team and next year. played most of the “I’ve been playing senior hurling since A great honour for the club. County final referee Nick Fitzgerald with hurling as Kiltale 1997, so I’ve definitely seen the good his umpires Johnny Masterson, Gary Costello, Brendan Harmon and Tony Costello before the start of the senior county battled just to stay in times and the bad. You can take nothing decider at Pairc Tailteann the game. for granted in hurling and I think lads are The first half was nip Boardsmill side that had drawn with only realising that now, especially the and tuck with both sides guilty of some Kilmessan and pushed all the other younger players, who wouldn’t have bad misses but Kildalkey led by 0-6 to 0teams very closely, by 2-15 to 1-11. The experienced the bad times. Village got off to a great start with three 5 at the break with Seanie Heavey and “The club has been doing massive early points from Derek Doran and two David Harmon their scorers. work at underage level and that is frees from David Harmon before The second half was dominated by beginning to show at adult level with all Boardsmill opened their account. Doran Kildalkey but this was not reflected on the young lads that came through this was giving the Mill rear guard a torrid the scoreboard and Kiltale kept plugging year.” time and two fine efforts from his hurl away before taking the lead late on, Two thousand and thirteen was the first had Kildalkey 0-7 to 0-3 up after 15 which they held to the final whistle, year since ’04 that Kildalkey had not minutes. Francis Doran closed out the despite immense pressure from reached the knockout stages as they scoring with two fine efforts and Kildalkey, to leave the final score 0-12 to have enjoyed unparalleled success ever Kildalkey led at the break 0-11 to 0-6. 0-10.”Obviously, it was very since and Tony believes that is down to Three early second half points had disappointing to lose out at the end, but one man. from Derek Doran, Tony Fox and Gary looking at the positives and the “I don’t think we would have won the Kelly had Kildalkey eight ahead before performance of some of the younger championship were it not for Pat Boardsmill's first score of the half after lads in particular, gives us something to O’Halloran. He really brought us on to 10 minutes. But Kildalkey hit back and a build on for next year. the next level. The level of intensity he fine goal from Doran on the 15th minute “We played well against Kiltale and brought into training was something that had the points in the bag for Pat dominated for long periods, but just none of us had experienced before. Our O'Halloran’s men. Boardsmill kept couldn’t get the scores needed when on fitness levels certainly carried us through plugging away and outscored Kildalkey another day, they would have went over, some games and we owe him a lot,” 1-5 to 1-0 in the final ten minutes. but that’s hurling for you.” concluded the 2013 captain. Kildalkey could afford the luxury of a missed penalty, Conor Flynn's shot was well saved on the line by Charlie Bird but their second goal did arrive on the Best Wishes To Kildalkey Hurling Club In 2014 25th minute when Sean Heavey cut through the Mill defence to score a cracker. “We had to move the ball quicker and play the wings more now and we worked on that a lot in training. You could see as the championship went on that we were getting more and more use to the system.” The win over Boardsmill meant that Kildalkey needed to win their last game against Kiltale and hope that Longwood defeated Kilmessan to go through to the quarterfinals. The game against Kiltale turned out to be one of the best matches in the senior hurling

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B

BALLIVOR

allivor’s first string team endured a difficult campaign in both championship and league this year but the club did enjoy a success when Seneschalstown were overcome in the B League Division 6 final at Pairc Tailteann in September.

It will be recalled that 2011 was a year to remember for Ballivor when they won the Junior Football Championship with a comprehensive final victory over Navan O’Mahonys – thus making up for the disappointment of losing the previous year’s decider to Ballinabrackey – and later added the Leinster title. They failed to reach the knockout stages in their first year back in the Intermediate Championship when a gap of four months between their second and third round games certainly didn’t help and they again didn’t manage to successfully negotiate the qualification phase this year when they lost their four matches. Dessie Hamilton was Ballivor’s manager this year, with Seamus McKeown, Pat Gannon and Johnny Corrigan acting as selectors, and their form in Division 3 of the A League ahead of the championship wasn’t overly encouraging as they drew with Bective and then lost heavily to Ratoath and narrowly to Drumconrath.

Francis Flynn presents the Reserve League Division 6 cup to Paul Perry

They were drawn in group C of the race for the Mattie McDonnell Cup, a tough looking section which also included Castletown, last year’s junior champions Ratoath, Ballinlough and Ballinabrackey. They opened up with a four point defeat when they played Ballinlough and things got no better after that. That game took place at Kells where Ballinlough, powered by Peadar Byrne, won by 3-9 to 0-14. A Colm Mallon goal helped the north Meath side to lead by 1-7 to 0-4 at the interval and with Mark McCullen finding the net that advantage stretched to 2-9 to 0-6 by the three-quarter stage. Ballivor battled back and cut the

arrears to three points with seven minutes remaining but a third Ballinlough goal from Kevin Mallon killed off the revival. Kevin McKeown was the losers’ top marksman with seven points, six of them from frees. When a 1-9 to 0-16 defeat followed against Ratoath at Bective hopes of qualification had been dealt a severe blow. The sides were level on 0-5 each at the break, before Ratoath pushed clear in the third quarter. A Kevin McKeown goal 10 minutes from the end cut the deficit to the minimum but under-strength Ballivor just couldn’t cope as Ratoath reeled off six of the last seven points to win by four. McKeown was again the losers’ leading scorer, this time with 1-3. Ballinabrackey inflicted a 0-12 to 0-6 defeat on Ballivor in the third round at Boardsmill and a disappointing group campaign was completed when Castletown won by 3-17 to 0-4 at Athboy. Ratoath and Castletown qualified from the section but they later exited the title race at the quarter-final and semi-final stage, respectively. Ballivor’s difficult championship campaign was mirrored by their form in the league where they picked up just two points. “It was a big struggle,” said Ballivor selector Johnny Corrigan as he reflected on the campaign. “We were missing too many players this year,

NOT THAT FAR AWAY

Seneschalstown were defeated in the B FL Division 6 decider at Pairc Tailteann, front l/r: Johny Murray, Dave McGee, Richie Davis, Ed Kirby, Kevin Murray, Richie Sherrock, Gary Sherrock, Thomas Fay, Sean Heavey, Kevin Kelly, Paul Farrell. Back: Dean McGourty, Christopher Dunne, Mark Chesser, Shane Farrell, Shane Kenny, Martin Grundy, Paul Kelly, Raymond McKeown, Paul Perry, Michael Fagan, Conor Clarke, Joseph McLaughlin, Thomas Quinn, Francis Doran, Craig Fitzgerald, Eoin Holton, Mark Healy, Colm Kirby

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including Noel Kirby and Tony Fox. Tony committed himself to the Kildalkey hurlers. He was their captain this year. Those lads were big losses to us. Brendan McLaughlin had a knee injury and was also missing. Paddy Conneely emigrated but he played until Meath were knocked out of the Christy Ring Cup. “The fact that we have so many players who also play hurling is also a big issue. It makes things difficult. It’s a three-way situation with players lining out with both Kildalkey and Killyon in hurling. “It also increases the risk of picking up injuries and players have to ask themselves who they will commit themselves to. Work is another factor. Aisling Clery presents the Division 4 FL final player of the match to Andrea Ward

situation has changed due to the recession. A lot of them are back working for companies now.” Ballivor’s Intermediate Championship campaign was difficult from the word go, yet they might well have been in a position to challenge for a place in the knockout stages if they had been a bit more clinical in their opening couple of matches. “We lost our first championship game to Ballinlough by four points,” Johnny added. The celebration begin with the Minor Football Championship Division 4 Cup at Cortown “But it was a game we should really have won. When the boom was there and lads We had the chances to win it. Ratoath were self-employed they had no also beat us by four points but I felt we problem when it came to taking time off should have got at least a draw that for GAA commitments. But that day. We put up a good show in that Leah Kelly raises the Division 4 FL Cup at Walterstown

Evan Fitzgerald in determined mood

Conor Hayes raises the U14 Division 3 Championship Cup at Kells

Leon Duignan The Division 4 Ladies football league winners, front l/r: Amber McGourty, Orla Leonard, Dolores, Hannon, Louise Smith, Sinead Burke, Serena Ryan, Avril Gorman, Jennifer Corrigan, Pauline Massey, Leah Kelly (captain). Back: Stephanie Kelly, Liz Raleigh, Carol Nevin, Denise Fitzsimons, Sabrina Ryan, Sheena McMahon, Natalie Ryan, Colette McLoughlin, Kelsey Hynes, Ciara Kelly, Laura Brady, Andrea Ward, Rachel Brady, Hannah McKeon

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U14 Division 3 Championship winners, front l/r: Ciaran Dowling, Kyle Chesser, Nicholas Hanan, Martin Brown, Nicholas Potterton, Leon Duignan, James Clarke, Thomas Grant, Colin McKenna (mentor). Back: Chris Dunne (mentor), Ross Nolan, Aaron Dunne, Craig Hynes, Cathal McNally, Conor Hayes, Kevin Warren, Todd Kelly, Evan Fitzgerald, Jacob Ryan, Evan Burke, Thomas MacLeod, Brin Kelly, Bill Hayes (mentor)

Tommy Raleigh

match against a strong Ratoath team.” Those back to back defeats left Ballivor essentially out of the running for qualification and thankful that relegation wasn’t in operation in the intermediate grade this year. “If you manage to get a few wins under your belt you can get on a run and build some momentum but it just didn’t happen for us this year,” Johnny said. “When you lose your first couple of games it can deflate you and it’s hard to keep an interest in training. Ballinabrackey beat us in the third round of the championship by five or six points. We were struggling at that stage. The last game against Castletown didn’t matter. They beat us easily.” The club’s second string enjoyed a very productive run in Division 6 of the All-County B League, so much so that they qualified for the final against Seneschalstown. When the teams met during the divisional stages of the competition they finished level on 1-11

Brian Perry

Sean Heavey

each and only a point separated them in the final at Pairc Tailteann as Ballivor survived the late sending off of Richie Sherrock and a gutsy rally by the Yellow Furze men to clinch the title. Ten minutes of injury time were played because of an injury sustained by Seneschalstown’s Louis McAuley but when the final whistle eventually arrived Ballivor were in front by 2-8 to 1-10 and captain Paul Perry was presented with the cup by County Board secretary Francis Flynn. Ballivor, who were managed by Dessie Hamilton, fielded a mixture of young and experienced players and were looking good when they held a 24 to 0-4 interval advantage. Kevin Kelly and Ray McKeown scored the all important goals in the first half but they were thankful to ‘keeper Gary Sherrock when he produced a superb save to deny Tommy Duggan a goal in that period. When Thomas Fay scored a brace of points early in the second period

285

Kevin McKeon

Ballivor were eight clear and looking likely to coast to victory but they endured a lengthy barren spell without managing a single score, during which an Alex Igman goal helped Seneschalstown to reduce the deficit to just two. Eddie Kirby gave Ballivor some relief when he slotted over a free but they had to soak up a lot of pressure as the losers attacked furiously in a brave effort to rescue the situation. Gary Sherrock produced another great save to thwart Shaun Doyle, before Doyle was wide with another goal opportunity. The dismissal of Richie Sherrock was a blow to the Ballivor men and Seneschalstown cut the gap to the minimum eight minutes into added time, before Martin Grundy replied for Ballivor after losers’ goalkeeper Shane Corbally had made a superb safe. Tony McDonnell gave Seneschalstown hope with a point but time ran out on their spirited recovery


ballivor designed_Layout 1 20/11/2013 16:24 Page 5

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Prior to the iFC clash with Ballinabrackey at Boardsmill, front l/r: Thomas Fay, Dave McGee, David Raleigh, Pauric Geoghan, Sean Corrigan, Sean Heavey, Thomas Raleigh, Paul Kelly, Conor Clarke, Kevin Murray, Richard Sherock. Back: Shane Farrell, Colm Kirby, Gary Sherrock, Brendan McLoughlin, Joseph McLaughlin, Raymond McKeown, Kevin Kelly, Keith Keoghan, Steffan Kelly, Killian Canavan, Kevin McKeon, Brian Perry, Kevin McKeown, Adam Gannon

and Ballivor could savour a hard earned victory. The Ballivor team was: G Sherrock; K Murray, J McLaughlin, R Davis; C Clarke, S Heavey, P Perry; P Kelly, S Farrell; M Grundy (0-2), R McKeown (1-1), K Kelly (1-1); E Kirby (0-2), R Sherrock, T Fay (0-2). Subs – J Murray for K Murray, C Keegan for Farrell, F Doran for Kelly, A Collins for Perry, M

Rickard for Clarke.

CHAMPiONSHiP SUCCESS FOR TALENTED U14 TEAM

When Oldcastle and Ballivor met in the Summer League final the lads from the north-west of the county won by 48 to 2-12 but the outcome was

On duty for the U16 Division 5 final versus Moynalty in Grangegodden, front l/r: Josh King, Stephen Murray, Brendan McKeon, Aaron Byas, Brian Conneely, Jamie Smyth, James McNally. Back: Ciaran Smyth (mentor), Conor Kearney, Conor Hayes, James Kelly, Morgan Callaghan, Liam Hynes, Aaron Brennan, Fintan McLaughlin, Cian inglis, ian Rickard, Jake Dunne, Dylan Heavey, Odhran Henry, Jordan Doyle, Luke Doyle, Lorcan Holden (mentor)

U14 Division 4 Spring League finalists, front l/r: Kyle Chesser, Kevin Warren, Nicholas Hanan, Aaron Dunne, Conor Fitzgerald, Thomas MacLeod, Conor Hayes, Evan Fitzgerald, Cathal McNally. Back: Chris Dunne (mentor), Ciaran Smyth (mentor), Brian Kelly, Jack O'Connor, Craig Hynes, Ciaran Dowling, Jacob Ryan, Todd Kelly, Nicholas Potterton, Evan Burke, Leon Duignan, Thomas Grant, Ross Nolan, Bill Hayes Mentor, Colin McKenna (mentor)

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reversed later when Ballivor got their revenge in the Under-14 FC Division 3 decider at Kells, winning by 3-19 to 25. Conor Hayes was an undoubted star of the victory as he contributed 1-11 and his three points, allied to a goal from Aaron Dunne, helped Ballivor to open up a 1-7 to 0-1 lead after 25 minutes. They went on to hold a commanding 1-11 to 0-2 advantage at the change of ends and when Hayes scored a goal and a point early in the second period the outcome was beyond doubt. Oldcastle replied with 2-2 but Ballivor pushed on again and added 1-6 in the closing stages, with the goal being scored by Evan Fitzgerald. The Ballivor team was: K Warren; T McLeod, E Burke; L Duignan, J Ryan, C Dowling; R Nolan, E Fitzgerald (1-1); B Kelly (0-3), C Hayes (1-11), T Kelly (0-2); N Potterton (0-2), A Dunne (1-0). Subs – C Hynes for McLeod, C McNally for Nolan, M Browne for Kelly, J Clarke for Dunne, T Grant, K Chesser, N Hannon.

Aaron Brennan raises the U16 Division 5 shield at Grangegodden


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T

CARNAROSS

his year sees Carnaross GAA club celebrate its 125th anniversary and to mark the occasion they have launched a book on the history of the club and the local community. The book has been ten years in the making, but the publication produced was well worth the wait as it details the history of Carnaross on and off the field from its genesis in 1888 to the present day. This year also marks the anniversary of the club’s first county final when they won the Meath junior football championship in 1913 (although it was the previous year’s championship that they won, only for it to be concluded in the spring of 1913). Ironically, the club went on to reach the senior final of the same year, but for some unknown reason they refused to field against Bohermeen in the decider and this was to be the closest that the club ever came to winning the senior football championship in Meath. Six junior and two intermediate titles later and the club are still going strong. They have plied their trade in the intermediate since being relegated in 1999, but have annually been considered one of the favourites for the title up until recent years. Long serving clubman Eugene Comiskey was heavily involved in the publishing of the club’s history and he

Ollie Farrelly in a tussle for possession

revealed to the Royal County Yearbook that there were some very interesting facts discovered when researching for the book. “It was certainly time consuming as it was probably about ten years ago when we first decided to do the book. First off, it was meant to be the history of the club, but then we decided to incorporate the history of the community into it as well and this meant a lot more research, but with the help of the internet, we managed to compile the book,” said Eugene. “The book gives a detailed account of Carnaross’ history from when the club

was formed in 1888. We even discovered a championship medal from the club’s junior success in 1913. It belonged to a man called Joe Norris, who moved to Dublin after that and won three All-Ireland SFC medals with them. He also won ten championship medals with his club O’Toole’s. “We also discovered who the first Carnaross man was to play for Meath. His name was Edward McBride, who lined out for the county in the early 1900’s before he emigrated to the United States. There are a lot of interesting facts like that in the book and hopefully people will enjoy it.” Two years ago, the club reached the IFC final only to lose to Nobber in the decider. However, emigration and retirements have hit the club hard since then and they have struggled in the championship in the following campaigns. Nonetheless, Eugene stressed that despite failing to get out of the group this year, they produced some decent performances during the campaign. Carnaross began the IFC in April when they took on Clann na nGael at a wintry Moylagh. Carnaross got off to a flyer and had a three point lead after just five minutes. John L McGee opened the scoring in the first minute with a fine point from play and doubled the lead three minutes later with a fantastic point from a sideline ball. Ollie Murphy was

CARNAROSS MARK 125TH MILESTONE

Prior to the intermediate clash with Syddan in Meath Hill, front l/r: Peter Mullan, Cian Gillic, John Plunkett, Ian Donoghue, Shane Casserly, Tomás Plunkett, Barry O'Connor, Patrick Nugent, Liam Brogan, Patrick Smith. Back: Brian Comiskey, Peter Carpenter, Shane McNiffe, Charles Brogan, Dermot McGee, John L McGee, Stephen Flattery, Cillian Comaskey, John Carpenter, Micheal Brogan, Eamonn Comaskey, Peter Farrelly. Missing from photo: Ollie Murphy and Thomas Nugent

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Carnaross then drew level next to get on the score sheet when Ollie Murphy in the 5th minute with a point connected with a high ball from play. However, this to fist over the bar and was proved to be the final score of unlucky not to find the net. the half for Carnaross. Clann This was the final score of na nGael battled back into the the game as both sides game and the sides were level failed to find a winner in the on 0-3 each after fifteen closing stages as the minutes. The remainder of the game finished 0-07 each. half was tightly contested “The game against Clann which resulted in no further na nGael was one that score until first-half injury time certainly could have gone which came from Clann na either way. They went on to nGael to give them a slim 0-4 reach the final, so it just to 0-3 lead at the break. shows that with a bit of After the restart Clann na luck, we could have at nGael doubled their lead with a point from play. Carnaross The U10s that took part in the North Meath league final in Carlanstown, front l/r: least got out of the group,” Finn Mullan, Finn McGuire, Cian Murphy, Tommy Brady, Matthew Muldoon. said Eugene. were next to score when Back: Tiernan Farrelly, Kevin Carpenter, James Carpender, Leon Yore, Luke Sheridan, Peter Mullan The following month Dermot McGee split the posts Syddan provided the and the sides were level with be gaining a bit of momentum going into opposition and for long periods it looked twenty minutes remaining when Ollie the closing stages. However, Carnaross as if Carnaross would take home the two Murphy pointed from play. Clann na upped the pressure and Shane Casserly points. Syddan had the advantage of a nGael went on to restore their two point finished off a move with a well taken strong breeze in the first-half, but it was lead once again when they converted point to leave a single point in it. Carnaross who started best and led 0-3 two frees within a minute and seemed to Paul Donoghue gets to the ball ahead of Kilmainhamwood's Stephen Smith

Tadgh Skelly is under pressure

Manager Seamus Kiernan

John Carpenter

Ollie Murphy The Junior Ds that took on Kilmainhamwood in the championship quarter-final at Kilmainham, front l/r: Patrick Smith, Killian Porter, Ben Carry, Damian McArdle, Ollie Farrelly, Cian Gillic, Pierce Fleming, Declan Reilly. Back: Matthew O'Reilly, Tadgh Skelly, John Ward, Enda Gillic, Shane McNiffe, Colin Yore, Jack Yore, Paul Donoghue, Colm Carpenter

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The U8s pose for our cameraman, front l/r: Michael Yore, Paddy Morris, Oisin Farrelly, Oisin McInerney, Oisin Ennis, John Reilly, Cian Farrelly, Phelim Farrelly. Back: Ben Sheridan, Kaelan Sheridan, Callum Brady, Charlie Murphy, Oisin Yore, Eammon Whelan, Ronan Matthews, Adam McInerney, Emily Farrelly 

Peter Carpenter

Stephen Flattery

to 0-1 after fifteen minutes. Ollie Murphy opened the scoring with Dermot McGee and Stephen Flattery adding a point each. Syddan battled back to level matters with two points from play. John L McGee edged Carnaross back in front but the sides went in level at the break on 0-5 each after Charles Brogan equalised in the closing stages. Carnaross started well after half-time

Dermot McGee

Shane Casserly

and points from the McGee brothers, John L and Dermot, put them two up. Both sides then exchanged two points each with Ollie Murphy and Charles Brogan hitting the target for Carnaross to keep them two in front. Syddan then had the chance to take the lead but their goal attempt came back off the post but they pointed the rebound to leave just one point in it. Carnaross hit back and

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Thomas Nugent breaks out of defence against Syddan

scored two quick points through Patrick Nugent and Dermot McGee to leave them three in front with ten minutes remaining. However, the game then turned in favour of Syddan who levelled matters one minute into added time. Momentum was now with Syddan who went on to take the lead. They were then awarded a penalty in the closing stages which they put over the bar to seal

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only from under-16 down, so there will be a gap for a few years until these lads come through. “We have some players pushing on into their late 30s now, but we’d be hoping that they would give it one more year at least, until the younger lads come through. I suppose it’s a problem for the majority of rural clubs these days, but hopefully we can bring the young lads through and be battling for honours again shortly. In their penultimate championship game, Carnaross produced a hard work display against St Ultan’s, but their efforts fell short as they lost out by the narrowest of margins, 1-13 to 2-09 with John L. McGee scoring both The Blackwater Gaels panel that lost out to St Patrick’s in the U16 Division 4 decider at Seneschalstown, front l/r: Kieran Carolan, Frank O'Reilly, Ronan O'Connor, Liam Day, Conor Lynch, Conor Woods, Carnaross’ goals. In their last game Kieran Needle, Brian O'Connor. Back: Ben Farrelly, Cian O'Reilly, Eamon McGee, Stephen Meegan, and with nothing to play for St Aidan Lynch, Jamie Carry, Philip McDermott, Danny Farrelly, Gareth Muldoon, Luke Fagan, Stephen Gillic Michael’s recorded a 1-12 to 0-06 win. “It was a disappointing campaign, but victory over an unlucky Carnaross side who scored all their our performances showed that we were capable of matching points from play, but the end result was a 0-14 to 0-12 loss. anyone in the group. The result against St Michael’s counted for “This was a game that we threw away, we looked to be nothing, but we competed in the rest of the matches, which is a secured the win with just a few minutes remaining, but Syddan positive.” came back finished strongly. Losing this game was a major setback to us,” said Eugene. In the third round, a failure to convert the chances that came their way proved costly for Carnaross as they lost out by four points (0-11 to 1-4) after a tough battle with Dunderry. “Another game that we should have won,” stressed Eugene. “I don’t think the younger lads really believed in themselves all year and that is our big problem. I’d be confident that if they got a win or two under their belts in the championship then we could do well. “Unfortunately, we have lost six or seven players through emigration and retirement over the last few years. Our underage section is in good shape and we have good The club's U6s, front l/r: Evan Yore, Shane McKenna, Liam Farrelly, Liam Brady, Oliver Mooney, Aoife Muldoon. Back: Conor Yore, Zoe Farrelly, Eanna Bennett, Thomas Whelan, teams coming through, but their

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O

MEATH HILL

utright success in the AllCounty A League Division 4 made 2013 a year to look back on with pride and satisfaction for Meath Hill who also reached the quarter-finals of the Junior Football Championship and the semi-finals of the Tailteann Cup. With former Meath star forward Ollie Murphy at the helm last year, the Hill just missed out on securing qualification for the knockout stages of the Matthew Ginnity Cup race but there was a nice consolation prize in the shape of the Junior D Championship which meant a great deal to the club. Gordon Ward took over the coaching duties for this year, with John Maguire and Liam McCabe acting as selectors, and after suffering a first round defeat at the hands of St Mary’s when the league action got under way in the early spring, Meath Hill steadily found their feet. By the time the championship action commenced they had achieved three successive wins in the league – over Curraha, St Vincent’s and St Paul’s – and their subsequent form in Division 4 was consistent enough to bring them all the way to the final where they

Jason Yorke raises the Timmons Cup at Pairc Tailteann

defeated St Brigid’s to claim promotion and the Thompson Cup. The finalists had drawn in the ninth round at Meath Hill in July and they ended up tied at the top of the division on 21 points, thus setting up a final which took place at Pairc Tailteann in

early September. The Hill won by 0-13 to 0-10 and could then start thinking about a championship quarter-final against Drumbaragh the following weekend. Meath Hill made a hugely encouraging start to the league decider as points from Mark Tully (two), Keith Ginnity, Karl Parge and Jason Yorke left them ahead by 0-5 to 0-0 by the end of the opening quarter. Their half time advantage stood at 0-7 to 0-3 and when Tully tagged on two more scores early in the second period they were looking good. Oisin and Killian Kiernan countered with points which kept St Brigid’s in touch but Meath Hill then hit a purple patch as Tully, Pearse McGrath and Ian Malone found the target to push them clear by 0-12 to 0-5. To their credit, the Ballinacree men battled back and scored five successive points to cut the deficit to just two but Tully had the last word when he converted a 45 to give the Hill breathing space. When the final whistle sounded Meath Hill could celebrate a deserved victory and it was undoubtedly a proud moment for team captain Jason Yorke when he accepted the cup from

MOVING BACK UP THE LADDER

The squad that took to the field for the championship win over Kilmainhamwood in Nobber, front l/r: Pauric Smith, Michael McCabe, Kevin Crosby, Niall Yorke, Shane McCabe, Karl Parge, Pierce McGrath, Barry Kieran, Mark Tully. Back: Paddy Owens, Michael Byrne, Paul Gorman, Donnacadh Boyle, Ryan Owens, Simon Martin, Keith Ginnity, Brendan Kieran, Jason Yorke, Tommy Rooney, Martin Tully, Emmet Mathews, Chris Yorke, Noel Burns

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County Board vice-chairman and fellow parishioner Peter O’Halloran. The defender contributed two valuable points, while Tully was the leading marksman with seven. The victorious Meath Hill team was: C Yorke; S Martin, R Owens, N Burns; J Yorke (0-2), M Byrne, K Parge (0-1); T Rooney, K Ginnity (0-1); M McCabe, P McGrath (0-1), D Boyle; B Kieran, M Tully (0-7), S McCabe (0-1). Subs – C Matthews for Parge, I Malone (0-1) for Boyle, P Owens for Byrne. Meath Hill were drawn in group D of the Junior Championship along with Kilmainhamwood and the second string teams representing Summerhill, Dunboyne and Simonstown Gaels and when they got off to a losing start against Summerhill at Bohermeen their hopes of making it through to the knockout stages had suffered an early setback. Tully gave Meath Hill a great boost with a goal in their first attack but Summerhill recovered to hold a four Pierce McGrath gets in his shot against St Brigid’s

point (1-5 to 1-1) lead at the interval after Bobby Lyons had scored their goal. The south county team pushed clear but a Donnchadh Boyle major enabled Meath Hill to reduce the deficit to just two points. However, they just couldn’t catch their opponents who were in front by 1-10 to 2-5 at the final whistle. Meath Hill needed to recover from that blow and they did so when edging out Dunboyne by 1-8 to 0-9 in the second round at Walterstown. When another win followed over Kilmainhamwood (0-13 to 0-10) at Nobber their qualification drive was very much back on track. They played very well in the first half and raced into a 0-9 to 0-1 advantage at the break but the ‘Wood rallied subsequently to cut the gap to the minimum. Meath Hill’s response was positive as they tagged on the last two scores to be three clear at the end. Pearse McGrath was their leading marksman with four points and Mark Donnacadh Boyle heads for the Brigid’s goal

Tully rowed in with three. Meath Hill were the team with a bye in the fourth round but when they scored a comfortable 2-13 to 0-11 victory over Simonstown in the last round at Carlanstown they were through to the last eight. Keith Ginnity made a significant personal contribution with 2-1, Tully registered four points and Jason Yorke was another of the winners’ most impressive performers. This group turned out to be particularly tight at the top where Dunboyne, Meath Hill and Summerhill were all locked together on six points from a possible eight. The St Peter’s men claimed pole position thanks to a superior score difference and Meath Hill accompanied them through to the knockout stages as runners-up. Summerhill were the unlucky ones to miss out. When Meath Hill and Drumbaragh clashed in a quarter-final at Carlanstown it was a meeting of teams

Shane McCabe in league final action

Drumconrath-Meath Hill Under 14 star Paddy Mathews

Tommy Rooney Prior to the Division 4 league final at Pairc Tailteann, front l/r: Nigel Maguire, Brendan Kierans, Kevin Crosby, Pauric Smith, Michael McCabe, Barry Kieran, Pierce McGrath, Carl Parge, Mark Tully, Cian Mathews. Back: Jonathan Finnegan, Emmet Mathews, Martin Tully, Chris Yorke, Daragh McGrath, Ian Malone, Jason Yorke (captain), Shane McCabe, Ryan Owens, Simon Martin, Keith Ginnity, Donnacadh Boyle, Paddy Owens, Lee Breslin, Noel Burns, Tadgh Boyle

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The celebrations begin with the Division 4 league cup at Pairc Tailteann

Keith Ginnity

Paul Mooney, Meath Juvenile Board Chairman, presents the U14 Division 4 Summer Shield to Drumconrath Meath Hill captain Ryan Carry

which had tasted success already in 2013 – the Hill in that Division 4 league final against St Brigid’s and Drumbaragh when they defeated Kilmainham in the Tailteann Cup decider. Drumbaragh were aided by the stiff

Karl Parge

Jason Yorke

breeze in the first half and opened up a commanding 0-10 to 0-1 lead at the interval. They were ahead by 0-13 to 0-4 as the final whistle approached and when Pearse McGrath notched a late goal for Meath Hill it was no more than a consolation score.

It’s another indication of Meath Hill’s level of consistency this year that they also advanced to the semi-finals of the Tailteann Cup where Kilmainham defeated them by 3-7 to 0-12 at Nobber. Overall, it was certainly a campaign to look back on with a fair

Drumconrath-Meath Hill celebrate with the U14 Division 4 Summer Shield at Kells

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Noel Burns


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degree of satisfaction and one which augurs well for the challenges ahead. Jason Yorke had the honour of captaining the Meath Hill team this year and looked back on a progressive campaign. “We set out at the start of the year to achieve promotion in the league,” he said. “Winning it out was a bonus, a good achievement. We were delighted. Gordon Ward was very good. We started training on 4th December last year. We did ball work on Sundays after that and worked in the gym during the week. It went very well. “We played St Brigid’s in the league in Meath Hill during the summer and fell well behind but we made a very good comeback to earn a draw. We played well enough against them in the final. We enjoyed a good sized lead but I think some nerves set in near the end. Thankfully, we finished well. It

Ian Malone has an eye for the goal

North Meath Gaels celebrate with the Minor Football League Division 5 Shield at Bohermeen

was great to win something. The previous time the club won an A League title was Division 4 back in 1997. “It was a case of focusing on the

championship after the league final because we were playing Drumbaragh in a quarter-final the following weekend. We watched the DVD of the league final the following evening.”

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Reaching the quarter-finals of the championship represented another noteworthy achievement for Meath Hill but they didn’t get their group campaign off to the most encouraging of starts. “We were missing a couple of players when we lost to Summerhill in the first round of the championship,” Jason added. “They had some experienced players in their team. We expected it to be challenging. They beat us by two points. “We achieved three wins in succession in the championship after that and got through to the knockout stages on score difference. We played some of our best football of the year in the second half against Dunboyne. We knew that our championship was over if we lost that game but we dug out a win. We showed plenty of grit in that match. “We raced ahead against Kilmainhamwood in Nobber

but they had a player sent off just before half time. We have a lot of young players and that seemed to unsettle them. Kilmainhamwood recovered well but we finished with a couple of points to seal the win. “The victory over Simonstown in the last round put us through on score difference. We missed early chances in the quarterfinal against Drumbaragh which would have settled us if we took them. Drumbaragh are strong. They have destroyed some teams this year. They pushed well ahead of us. Pearse McGrath got a goal back for us late in the game. “It was disappointing but overall it was a consistent year on all fronts. We have to aim to progress from here. We have a lot of young players who are being exposed to training and playing at this level. It bodes well for the future.”

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B

BECTIVE

ective were on most short lists to mount a serious challenge for the 2013 Junior Football Championship but their hopes were seriously hindered by the absence of a number of key players and their title ambitions ended when Dunboyne’s second string team defeated them in a quarter-final.

Former Walterstown player Ian Kearney had coached Bective during the previous few campaigns. They didn’t reach the knockout stages of the championship in 2010 and it was the same story the following year when they were unbeaten in their group but failed to advance. There was also the disappointment of losing the Tailteann Cup final to Kilmainham that year but the joy arrived with an All-County A League Division 4 final win over Ballivor. Bective shaped very well in the group stages of the championship last year, so much so that they reached the semi-finals, but Donaghmore / Ashbourne got in the way just as they were dreaming of a place in the decider. There was also the disappointment of a loss to Ratoath in the Tailteann Cup final.

Drumconrath and Drumbaragh, and drew with Ballivor and St Ultan’s. They ended up well out of the running for promotion in that competition. They were drawn in group A of the Junior Championship, a section which also included Drumbaragh, Curraha and the second string teams from Navan O’Mahonys, Skryne and Adam Keating raises the Minor Division 3 Duleek / Bellewstown. Summer League Cup at Drumconrath They could hardly have asked for an easier With Kearney taking over at senior opener as they coasted past the club Moynalvey for 2013, Davy Cahill amalgamated team at Walterstown. stepped into the Bective hot seat. A Duleek / Bellewstown struggled to former player with Bective and Nobber, field a team and despite registering 13 Cahill came with good credentials, first half wides Bective led by 0-7 to 0having guided both St Ultan’s and 0 at the interval. Goals from Marty Nobber to the intermediate title. He Mulhall, Philip Treacy and Mark was a key member of the Bective team O’Brien helped them to push well clear which won the Junior Championship in in the second period and there were 17 1997. points between the teams at the end Unfortunately, his first term as as it finished 3-11 to 0-3. Things were much tighter next time Bective coach wasn’t helped by the out against Skryne at Trim where absence of several players, among Bective won by 0-12 to 0-10. Seven them the hugely talented Ciaran points from Mulhall, six of them from McConnell who endured a year of frees, proved vital in a tight game and discontent on the injury front. wind-assisted Bective led by 0-7 to 0Bective’s early season form in 4 at the change of ends. They pushed Division 3 of the league wasn’t overly five clear early in the second half but encouraging as they lost two of their the Tara men were back to level terms pre-championship games, to

A NUMBERS GAME FOR BECTIVE

The Junior squad on championship duty against Skryne at St Loman’s Park Trim, front l/r: Ruairi Russell, Brian Hogge, Cillian Reilly, Michael Lyness, Keith Dunne, Marty Mulhall, Gerard Cahill, Ben Malone, Adam Keating, Craig Roche, Dara Maguire, Paul McCabe, Colm Barry, Shane Breslin. Back: Ciaran Casey, Niall Davis, John Moran, Paul Clarke, Paul Lyness, Gary Killion, Pauric McConnell, Alan Shine, Ciaran McConnell, Mark O'Brien, Ciaran Reilly, Philip Tracey, Jack Grant, Brian Cantwell, Sean Moran

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with 12 minutes remaining. Worryingly for Bective, they went over 20 minutes without notching a score but they responded very positively with three of the last four points from Mulhall (two) and Paul McCabe. They were also made to sweat when Donal Ryan’s goal attempt was comfortably handled by ‘keeper Shane Breslin as Skryne threatened to pull off a shock victory. Drumbaragh inflicted a first defeat of the championship on Bective when winning a third round match at Athboy by 3-11 to 1-13. This was a tremendous game in which first half goals from James Connolly, Colm Carry and Willie Carry proved decisive for the winners. Bective had started very well with two Mulhall points and an Adam Keating goal and the teams were level (1-6 to 3-0) after 23 minutes. Brian Cantwell, Paul McCabe, the returning Ciaran McConnell and Craig Roche got the other Bective scores in that spell but Diarmuid Collins

Drumbaragh pushed on to be ahead by 3-5 to 1-6 at the interval. By the three-quarter stage Bective had reduced the arrears to 1-12 to 3-9 but as both teams tired there were only three further points in the last quarter. Bective had applied huge pressure in the third quarter which took its toll. They got their qualification drive back on track with a 3-11 to 0-8 victory over Curraha at Skryne where goals from Mulhall (penalty) and Cathal McConnell helped to open up a 2-2 to 0-4 lead at the break. Mulhall tagged on a third major in the second period and it was on to a crucial match against O’Mahonys in the last round at Walterstown. A superb second half performance proved decisive in Bective’s 3-8 to 0-9 win and they were through to the last eight as group runners-up on eight points, two behind table-toppers Drumbaragh and two ahead of O’Mahonys who missed out in third position. Jack Clarke

O’Mahonys held a slender 0-4 to 0-3 lead at the change of ends but Bective made switches which aided their cause and once Cathal McConnell scored their first goal they took over. Cantwell and Paul Lyness also raised green flags for the winners, while Gary O’Dowd was wide from a late penalty for the losers. Dunboyne’s second string had topped their five team group on score difference but, after reaching the penultimate stage last year, Bective hoped to beat them and repeat that feat. However, the quarter-final at Dunshaughlin in mid-September proved to be a step too far as the St Peter’s men won by 2-16 to 2-15 after extra time. Cantwell and Mulhall, from a penalty, scored the Bective goals and it was a point from Mulhall which forced the game to extra time. The additional 20 minutes remained tight but it was Dunboyne who scraped through by the minimum margin. As was the case for

Brian McDonnell

Paul Lyness

Ciaran Reilly Minor Summer League Division 3 winners, front l/r: Eanna Reilly, Ross Mooney, Ciaran Casey, David Fitzpatrick, Dermot McKenna, Craig Swan, Cathal McConnell. Back: Sean Moran, Dara Maguire, Patrick Flanagan, John Moran, Sean Fitzpatrick, Dillon Kenny, Adam Keating, Jason Kenny, Miceal Lyness, Tomas Byrne, Paddy McConnell

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U14 Division 6 Shield Finalists, front l/r: Aaron Timmony, Mark Dowdall, Tadgh Maguire, Adam Reilly, Ronan Garvey, Mark Coen, Taylor Walsh, Seamus Cummins, Diarmuid Collins, Jamie Keating. Back: Adrian McCabe (coach), Sam Farrell, Neil Dowdall, Garath Reilly, Brian McDonnell, Jack Clarke, Patrick O'Brien, Nathan Walsh, Vincent Keating (manager), Evan McNamara

Paul McCabe

Junior manager Davy Cahill (right) with Manus Tiernan

most of the campaign, Bective had to line out without Ciaran McConnell who had steadily been developing into the sort of player who could play a leading role in helping the club to a first Junior Championship success since that memorable triumph in 1997. The 21 year-old endured the sort of year he will want to quickly forget. Injuries are the bane of all sports people and Ciaran suffered in a big way on that front in 2013. It meant he was forced to watch the majority of Bective’s action from the sidelines, something he described as “very frustrating”. “I injured my cartilage playing for UCD in the O’Byrne Cup against Meath early in the year,” he said. “I was out for about two months. I missed out on the Meath under-21s. I was back about a month and a half when I injured my left cruciate in a league game against Kilmainhamwood. “I played in Bective’s third championship game against

Ruairi Russell

Mark O'Brien

Drumbaragh. I had a scan after that which confirmed cruciate damage. It was the end of my year. We had no games for a spell and it wasn’t so bad but it was frustrating not being able to play after that, especially in the championship.” Ciaran’s injury woes were just one of a number of setbacks which Bective had to contend with this year which undoubtedly impacted on their potential to challenge for honours. “Ruairi Russell tore his cruciate last year,” Ciaran added. “He came back for our first championship game this year. Ronan Murtagh, our midfielder, missed the whole year. He was a big loss too. The three Brennan brothers went to Australia and Mark O’Brien headed off to Australia after our second championship match. They were all big losses to us. “We were struggling for a good part of the year but we had good wins in the last two rounds of group games in the championship against Curraha and

305

Ciaran McConnell

Navan O’Mahonys. Losing the quarterfinal to Dunboyne was very disappointing. Dunboyne had a strong team that day. It was a game which could have gone either way. It was close and went to extra time. “We started off very well and led by 1-3 to 0-1. Dunboyne scored a goal which got them back into it. They led by a point near the end of normal time but Marty Mulhall got a late point for us to force it to extra time. The game was still tight in extra time but Dunboyne just shaded it at the end.” It was a disappointing end to the championship but as they look to 2014 Bective will hope they don’t suffer similarly on the absentee front. They can also look to the amount of talented young players who are steadily developing and entertain the hope that an eagerly sought after annexation of the Matthew Ginnity Cup might be just around the corner. “Looking ahead to next year I hope we hold onto all the players we have


bective designed_Layout 1 20/11/2013 17:46 Page 7

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and that there are no retirements,” Ciaran said. “We have some very good young players coming through who got valuable game time at this level this year. Because we were without players we had to play them. “I had my knee operated on in July and I hope to be back next year. That’s not something which can be rushed but I’m hopefully looking at February or March for my return.”

MiNORS TAKE SUMMER TiTLE

Bective defeated Nobber by 4-11 to 0-10 to win the Meath Summer League Division 3 title in August and in doing so the Cannistown based club showed true sportsmanship. The competition is a 13-a-side one and Nobber took to the field with the bare minimum. After twenty minutes of the first half full back Tony McEntee was forced to retire with a hamstring injury. Rather than play with an advantage the Bective management of Sean Moran and Paddy McConnell took off one of their own players to even up matters. The teams were level at the interval, 0-4 apiece, with Adam Keating, Cathal

The U14 panel were unlucky to lose out to Nobber in the Summer League final at Nobber

McConnell (2) and Michael Lyness on target for the eventual winners. On the restart David Fitzpatrick got the game’s first goal. Nobber kept going and levelled matters before Bective began to exploit the wide open spaces and the scores followed. Within ten minutes Ciaran Casey had bagged 2-2, McConnell kicked two points and when centre back Dara Maguire burst through for their fourth goal the writing was on the wall for Nobber.

After the game County Board Vice Chairman Peter O'Halloran presented the Cup to Bective captain Adam Keating Bective - Dillon Kenny, Jason Kenny, Sean Fitzpatrick, Ross Mooney, Dara Maguire 1-0, Dermot McKenna, John Moran, Adam Keating 0-1, David Fitzpatrick 1-1, Cathal McConnell 0-6, Patrick Flanagan, Michael Lyness 0-1, Ciaran Casey 2-2. Subs: Craig Swan, Eanna Reilly, Tomas Byrne

JOHN MORAN - WHAT A MAN

was his proud day In November of thirty nine And Bective won the junior cup A new life appeared on the Commons line We celebrated together and drank a fair sup Little did we know at the outset He would leave such an impact on all he met A little flutter now and then Off to the bookies as and when Brothers, sisters, neighbours alike A fiver here and tenner there He played and joked and took the mike Winners and losers he didn't care And did he live his life to the full It was never boring or dull Pride in his family did he take Mother was always first of place They cared for each other like partners would Mammy will miss him and so she should

He suffered in silence until the end Between Navan and Drogheda he was sent No matter when asked the question by all "How are you feeling today" I am not too bad now, he would say As well as sport the pint he would like Geraghtys, Bective, Henries or the Dyke Drinking with friends and his sons A few fresh pints and two half ones So off to heaven Dad does go To meet with Mickey for another go between them football they will talk And drink and joke as they walk

A devoted Christian through and through Always faithful, nothing new Never a Sunday would it pass without Dad heading to first mass Football, hurling and sport alike GAA was the passion in his life Meath or Bective, he just loved the game And was rewarded with the Hall of Fame He loved to see his sons play And when Sean played for Meath, that

Mickey - "could we sign up Jesus as a Bective man "Be god, you know John, I think we can "Lets send him down to Cannistown “To help us win the junior crown" John Moran (right) passed away in 2013. This picture was taken on one of John’s proudest days, at the official opening of the Bective pitch in 1998. Tommy Dowd receives the man of the match award for his display against Clare

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So off I go now on my way I will be watching over every day To my friends and family god bless Now I am off to sleep and rest.


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W

GAEIL COLMCILLE

hen Gaeil Colmcille lost their opening group game in the 2013 Intermediate Football Championship there had to be a concern that they would fail to mount a serious challenge for the title but matters improved considerably after that as they built the momentum which eventually earned outright success.

The Kells men suffered the massive disappointment of losing the 2011 final to Moynalvey and endured a very difficult qualification campaign last year when they were well off the pace for a place in the knockout stages. They were still the fancy of many shrewd observers to go all the way this term and so it proved as they completed the job with a runaway final win over Clann na nGael. Jody Devine was again at the helm this year, with Paul Murphy, Paul Murray and Karl Morgan acting as selectors, and Gaeil Colmcille’s progress in the championship once they got over that initial loss was mirrored by their form in Division 2 of the A League where they reached the final. They were drawn in group B of the intermediate title race along with St Colmcille’s, Trim, Longwood and Donaghmore/Ashbourne and it was against the seasiders that they got off to that losing start at Simonstown. St

Gary Arkins and Tony Drew raise the Mattie McDonnell Cup at Pairc Tailteann

Colmcille’s led by 0-6 to 0-3 at the interval en route to a deserved 1-10 to 0-9 victory. Gaeil Colmcille failed to take early goal chances presented to Danny McGovern and Seamus Mattimoe and they conceded one 17 minutes into the second half when Ciaran Kelly netted to leave St Colmcille’s five points clear and firmly on the road to a winning start. The pressure was firmly on the Kells team to bounce back when they played Trim, also at Simonstown, and they responded when beating last year’s runners-up by 1-12 to 0-8. Frankie Murphy of Trim and Gaeil Colmcille’s Cormac Keegan were sent

off and it was the wind-assisted winners who were in front by 0-10 to 04 at the break. All their first half points came from play as they played an energetic brand of football and when Martin Barrett scored a superb goal early in the second half they were home and as good as hosed. Mattimoe was one of many star performers as he embellished a superb display with three points. A rearranged third round game against Longwood took place at Dunderry where Gaeil Colmcille won by 3-5 to 0-10. Brian Hanlon scored the first goal after 90 seconds and with McGovern also finding the net in brilliant fashion they opened up a 2-2 to 0-3 advantage at the change of ends. Goalkeeper Conor Murray made a fine save to deny Karl Ennis a goal in the opening half but Longwood did get moving as they reduced the deficit to 0-6 to 2-4. The Gaeil Colmcille response was positive as Seanie Curran goaled at the three-quarter stage but again the ‘Wood battled back. They cut the gap to three points but Barry Smith fired over the insurance point to guarantee a very important win. Gaeil Colmcille were the team with a bye in the fourth round and they completed their group schedule with a 1-11 to 2-4 victory over Donaghmore / Ashbourne at Pairc Tailteann where

BACK WHERE THEY BELONG

Intermediate Football Championship winners, front l/r: Conal Finn, Seamus Mattimoe, Shane Reilly, Barry Smith, Mickey Foley, Paul Tormay, Brian Hanlon, Stephen McManus, Danny McGovern, Stephen Reddy, Johnny Quigley, Barry Tormay, Darren Tormay, Liam Ferguson. Back l/r: Declan Smith, Henry Barry, Eanna Ryan, Seanie Curran, Robbie Flanagan, James Flanagan, Keith Reilly, Conor Murray, Justin Carry-Lynch, Gary Arkins, Cormac Keegan, Barry Farrelly, Martin Barrett, Fionn Ferguson, Oisin Reilly, Cormac Ferguson

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the full-forward line of Mattimoe, Barrett and Hanlon contributed 1-8 between them. Declan Mulvey goaled for Donaghmore / Ashbourne early in the second quarter but when Hanlon netted after 25 minutes Gaeil Colmcille were ahead by four points. The advantage stood at 1-6 to 1-3 at the interval, before the Kells men pushed clear. The losers got a second goal from Dylan Brady eight minutes from the end but the issue was in little doubt at that stage. Last year’s junior champions Ratoath provided the quarter-final opposition at Pairc Tailteann and Gaeil Colmcille took a giant step towards the title when they earned a 1-12 to 2-7 victory. They had many star performers, including goalkeeper Justin Carry-Lynch and Hanlon who scored 1-8. Johnny Quigley was introduced after 13 minutes in an effort to curtail the speedy Joey Wallace and he made a telling impact. Ratoath were weakened Manager Jody Devine

by the absence of the suspended Eamon Wallace but they received an early boost when Bryan McMahon scored their first goal. But with Hanlon in magnificent form Gaeil Colmcille recovered well and pushed into a 1-6 to 1-0 lead. Hanlon scored the goal and also kicked five first half points, one of them a great score from a line ball, but the advantage was reduced to 1-6 to 1-3 at the break as Ratoath stayed in the hunt. Gaeil Colmcille made a surge during the third quarter as they extended their lead to 1-10 to 1-4 but Ratoath battled back to within a point, aided by a Gavin McGowan goal which came after Carry-Lynch had made a brilliant stop from his initial effort. The danger signs were obvious for the Kells men but they found most when it really mattered as they reeled off two of the last three points courtesy of Mattimoe and Hanlon to shade the verdict. It was back to Pairc Tailteann for a Keeper Justin Carry Lynch

semi-final meeting with Castletown who suffered a huge blow when fullback Francis Hoey was dismissed after only five minutes. Gaeil Colmcille made hay in his absence and received a significant boost when Hanlon set Mattimoe up for a goal. Barrett scored their second goal on 24 minutes after a McGovern shot had come back off the crossbar and the advantage stood at a very healthy 2-8 to 0-5 at the change of ends. It might have been a bigger lead as Mattimoe had struck the crossbar with a goal on his mind and Hanlon forced a great save from Paul Smith. Gaeil Colmcille continued to hold the upper hand in the third quarter and led by 10 points at one stage but Castletown came storming back and outscored the town side by 0-8 to 0-1 during the last 16 minutes. They almost got a goal from Tommy Smith as they applied enormous pressure and it was a huge relief when substitute Oisin Reilly scored the

Danny McGovern during the IFC final

Martin Barrett with Clann na nGael’s Damien Tuite

A determined Cormac Keegan The celebrations begin with the Mattie McDonnell Cup at Pairc Tailteann

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U14 Division 4 Summer Shield finalists, front l/r: Stephen Mooney, Daniel Farrelly, Joseph Stewart, Michael Browne, James Kavanagh, James Barry, Caolan Rennicks, Conal Courtney. Back: Jonathan Harkin, David Ryan, Brian Byrne, Eoin O'Reilly, Ronan McGovern, Jonathan Hogg, Ryan Norton, Eoin Doogan, Jack O'Keffee, Oisin Smith, Adam Muldoon

Hurling manager Willie Newman

Ronan McGovern

insurance point at the other end. It finished 2-13 to 0-15, with Hanlon contributing six points and Mattimoe and Barrett both getting 1-1. Clann na nGael were the surprise packets of the championship this year, boosted by the tremendous form of veteran Graham Geraghty, but they

Dean Wearen

Jack O'Keeffe

Conor Roche strikes

proved no match for Gaeil Colmcille in the final. Devine’s team failed to score a goal but they notched points with sufficient regularity to win by 0-18 to 05. Gaeil Colmcille led from start to finish and were in front by 0-8 to 0-3 at the interval. It might well have been a more

Shane Bennett

Shane Freeman

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Keith Reilly heads for the Kilskyre goal

significant advantage because Hanlon, who had been fouled, had a 21st minute penalty saved by losers’ goalkeeper Trevor Wallace. At the other end Carry-Lynch came to the rescue when he produced a brilliant save to deny Aaron Ennis a goal. There was a sense that the winners

Sean King


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Liam Ferguson

were simply a better team than the Athboy / An Gaeltacht combination and the trend of the second half proved it as they outscored their opponents by 0-10 to 0-2. Michael Foley and Robbie Flanagan provided an accomplished spine in a very solid defence and the overall energy of the Gaeil Colmcille Brendan Murray

Conor Murray prepares to save

Stephen McManus

team overpowered the surprise finalists. When the final whistle sounded they were 13 points to the good, even though they had kicked 11 wides. Mattimoe and Hanlon shared the scoring honours with five points apiece, McGovern and Stephen Conor Murray

Keith Reilly

McManus both notched three and there was one each for Gary Arkins and Barrett. The winners had Seanie Curran sent off near the end. The honour of captaining the victorious team went to Arkins who accepted the Mattie McDonnell Cup along with Tony Drew, father of David

Gary Arkins

Marty Barrett

Danny McGovern The squad that lost out to Duleek Bellewstown in the U16 Division 6 final at Dunganny, front l/r: Shane Tobin, James Farrelly, Jordan Muldoon, Conor McGovern, Peter Smyth, Aaron Murphy, Conor McGovern, Luke Madden, Cormac Mattimoe, Sean McGee. Back: Aaron Maguire, Sean King, Ciaran Gaffney, Shane Bennett, Dean Wearen, Reese McEnroe, Shane Freeman, Cian Doogan, AO Keys

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The squad for the Intermediate Championship clash with St Colmcille’s in Simonstown, front l/r: Darren Tormey, Seamus Mattimoe. Seanie Curran, Danny McGovern, Jonny Quigley, Stephen Reddy, Marty Barrett, Barry Smith, Brian O'Hanlon, Liam Ferguson, Cormac Ferguson, Stephen McManus. Back: Shane Reilly, Barry Farrelly, Robbie Flanagan, Cormac Keegan, Gary Arkins, Conor Murray, Mickey Foley, Eanna Ryan, Oisin Reilly Justin Carry Lynch, Keith Reilly, Barry Tormey

who sadly passed away late last year. There was a strong sense that this great victory was dedicated to the former goalkeeper. The Gaeil Colmcille team in the final was: J Carry-Lynch; P Tormay, M Foley, J Quigley; S Reddy, R Flanagan, L Ferguson; G Arkins (0-1), B Smith, S Curran; D McGovern (0-3), S McManus (0-3); S Mattimoe (0-5), M Barrett (0-1), B Hanlon (0-5). Subs – C Keegan for Ferguson, O Reilly for McGovern, B Farrelly for Hanlon, K Reilly for McManus, B Tormay for Quigley. Gaeil Colmcille went in search of a big double when they played beaten Senior Championship finalists Na Fianna in the A League Division 2 decider. When the teams clashed in the seventh round at Enfield back in June the home side won by 3-10 to 014 and they also won the final – by 212 to 2-4. Wind-assisted Na Fianna led by 0-9 to 0-1 at the interval, with Mattimoe scoring the losers’ point, but they might

have added a goal in the opening period when Hanlon was denied by a fine save from Shane Geraghty on 15 minutes. Oisin Reilly scored the first point of the second half but the Enfield / Baconstown combination soon killed off any hopes of a revival. Conor Downey and Dalton McDonagh goaled to open up a 2-10 to 0-2 lead and although McGovern and Hanlon replied with goals for Gaeil Colmcille before the end of the third quarter their task was a hopeless one. Next on the agenda for Gaeil Colmcille was a Leinster Club game against Laois intermediate champions Ballyroan Abbey at Crettyard and what a disappointing outing it proved to be as the home team scored two late goals to earn a fortunate 2-11 to 0-13 victory. The teams were level (0-5 each) at the break, by which stage Gaeil Colmcille had missed chances. They edged four points clear during the third quarter but shipped a big blow when Foley was dismissed on receipt of a

second yellow card. They still held a 012 to 0-9 advantage with five minutes remaining but things started to go very wrong. MJ Tierney got the levelling goal after Carry-Lynch had produced a superb save but Barrett pointed the visitors back in front. Tierney tied the scores again from a harshly awarded free and the same player’s point attempt turned into a goal which left Ballyroan in the driving seat. Scott Conroy scored the insurance point and Gaeil Colmcille headed home bitterly disappointed. The Gaeil Colmcille club fields three teams in adult championship football. Their second string scored a group victory over Ratoath in the Junior B Championship but suffered narrow defeats to Moynalty, St Mary’s and St Paul’s, before being awarded a walkover by Slane. In the Junior D Championship wins were recorded over Ballinlough and Dunderry in the first two rounds but defeats followed against Clonard and Donaghmore /Ashbourne.

Intermediate hurling championship finalists, front l/r: Michael Foley, Barry Smith, Darren Tormey, Paul Tormey, Seamus Mattimoe, Cormac Ferguson, Stephen Reddy, Liam Ferguson, Cormac Keegan, Eoin O'Sullivan, John Murray. Back: Richard Bradley, Sean Ryan, Colin Tormey, Keith Reilly, Evan Sheridan, Gary McGovern, Conor Murray, Brendan Murray, Paddy Began, Dylan Roche, Fionn Ferguson, Conor Roche, Barry Tormey

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KELLS HURLERS PIPPED IN THE FINAL

Gaeil Colmcille made a valiant attempt to return to the senior ranks at the first time of asking this year but in the end they suffered disappointment when a courageous second half performance in a hugely entertaining Intermediate Hurling Championship final against Blackhall Gaels came up marginally short.

The Kells club opted to step down from the senior grade last year and with a team containing a fair amount of experienced performers, as well as some talented youngsters, they were expected to mount a serious challenge for the intermediate title. And so it proved as they marched all the way to the decider where the early sending off of Paul Tormay didn’t help their cause. Benny Reddy was the manager this year and matches in Division 2B of the league provided early season competitive action, while fitness was obviously never going to be an issue with several players also a part of the club’s intermediate football panel. Gaeil Colmcille, who had played in the Senior Championship for four campaigns following their last intermediate success back in 2008, were drawn in group B along with neighbours Kilskyre, Dunderry and the second string teams representing Dunboyne, Kilmessan and Kiltale. And it was against Kilskyre that they opened the championship on a winning note at Moylagh. This was a

John Kavanagh presents the B League Division 2 Cup to Joe Flanagan

tough encounter in which the losers had Derek Muldoon sent off on receipt of a second yellow card and it was the town side which scored points with greater consistency to carve out a morale boosting 0-16 to 0-11 victory. Tom Shine, a man who gave outstanding service to the Gaeil Colmcille club in both hurling and football over many years, lined out for Kilskyre and was in typically impressive scoring form as he rowed in with an impressive personal contribution of nine points. Gaeil Colmcille made it two wins from as many group outings when they defeated Kiltale by 2-12 to 1-8 at Kilberry but their hopes of earning a place in the business end of the competition suffered a setback in the

third round at Athboy when Dunderry came out on top by 1-13 to 1-9 after the teams had been on level terms at the interval. At that stage in the race for knockout places Gaeil Colmcille and Kilskyre were sharing top position in the group with four points. Dunboyne and Dunderry were both on three and Kilmessan and Kiltale were tied at the bottom on two. All the teams had played three matches. After that defeat suffered at the hands of Dunderry, Gaeil Colmcille needed to bounce back with a win and they responded positively when earning a 1-13 to 0-9 victory over Kilmessan at Kilberry. When a comprehensive 1-20 to 2-5 win followed in the concluding round against Dunboyne at Dunsany they were safely through to the semifinals. Wolfe Tones defeated Dunderry and Kilskyre beat Donaghmore / Ashbourne (after extra time) in the two quarter-finals and it was Tones – who had lost the 2012 final to Rathmolyon by five points – who provided the opposition to Gaeil Colmcille in a last four encounter at Trim. A narrow victory (1-10 to 0-11) meant the dream of the intermediate hurling and football double was still very much alive but the supporters of the Kells men had to sweat it out in the closing stages as Wolfe Tones rallied courageously. Gaeil Colmcille led by 07 to 0-2 at the break and when Seamus Mattimoe goaled early in the second period they looked likely to coast through to the final.

The B League Division 2 winners, front l/r: Liam Ferguson, Danny Muldoon, Liam Byrne, Ryan McManus, John Skelly, Barry Farrelly, Shane Reilly, Brian Hanlon, Fionn Ferguson, Alan Hickey, Cormac Ferguson, Henry Barry. Back: James Reilly, Mark Carrigy, Paul Tormey, Eanna Ryan, Steven McManus, Joe Flanagan, James Flanagan, Gary McGovern, Liam Beggy, Deco Smith, Cormac O'Reilly, Barry Tormey, Andy O'Rourke, Darren Tormay

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However, wind-assisted Tones had no intention of throwing in the towel and fought back in determined fashion. Gaeil Colmcille defended heroically when the pressure was on but as the match headed into the closing stages their advantage had been reduced to the minimum at 1-9 to 0-11. As Tones continued to apply pressure and went in search of an equaliser they lost possession, the sliothar headed in the opposite direction and Stephen Reddy fired over the insurance point. The final was played a week before the intermediate football decider and started on a bad note for Gaeil Colmcille when they were reduced to 14-men in the fifth minute. Blackhall Gaels pushed well clear and looked set for a comfortable success but the Kells men demonstrated an abundance of courage to get themselves back into contention. Their battling spirit probably merited a replay but it was the Batterstown / Kilcloon amalgamation which came out on top by 3-17 to 4-13. Blackhall hit a purple patch of point scoring in the first half to edge five clear, by which stage Gaeil Colmcille goalkeeper Conor Murray had denied Jonathan Meyler with a superb save. A couple of mighty points from the impressive Keith Reilly were feature scores as the Kells men rallied and when Brendan Murray scored the first of the game’s seven goals they were in front by 1-5 to 0-7. However, Blackhall replied with two goals of their own from Meyler and Stephen Morris to open up a 2-10 to 17 interval advantage and boosted by another goal from Kevin Coyle their lead stood at 3-13 to 1-7 early in the second period. Gaeil Colmcille were in deep trouble but the manner in which they battled back certainly augurs well for the future. Reilly and Conor Roche pointed and when substitute Barry Tormay found the net the deficit was down to 2-9 to 3-13. Alan Nestor hit back with a point for Blackhall but a Roche point and Tormay’s second goal meant only four points separated the teams with 10 minutes remaining. When Dermot Carty and Nestor pointed Blackhall appeared to have weathered the storm and they almost added a goal when Conor Murray saved from Shane O’Loughlin. Stephen Reddy and Morris traded points and then Roche reduced the gap to five, before Tormay’s kicked effort hit the crossbar.

Seamus Mattimoe

With at least three minutes of injury time announced there was still hope for Gaeil Colmcille and when Richard Bradley scored their fourth goal that hoped turned to optimism. They were just two points behind at 4-12 to 3-17 and that soon became one when Roche slotted over a close range free. As the tension became almost unbearable Gaeil Colmcille were awarded a free by referee Pat Gannon, but this time it was approximately 80 metres out. Goalkeeper Murray raced outfield to take it but instead of going for a point he played the sliothar to Fionn Ferguson whose effort was smothered. The long whistle then

Brian Hanlon with Gary Woods of Clann na Gael

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sounded and the gallant Kells men had been edged out in a gripping decider. It was disappointing but their contribution to an hour or so of memorable action had been immense. “The sending off was and wasn’t a factor,” reflected Gaeil Colmcille defender Cormac Ferguson. “A game lasts for 60 minutes. Not one single thing decided the final. We could have drawn it in the end when we were awarded the late free. I checked with Pat Gannon and he said it was the last puck. I suppose there was a bit of hesitancy and the wrong option was taken.” Was he concerned when Blackhall started to pull away, especially when they made a very productive start to the second half, or did he believe that a successful revival was possible? “Blackhall led by six points at half time and they went 12 ahead early in the second half,” Cormac added. “But we had been saying all year that it was about enjoying our hurling. We said at half time that we would go back out and enjoy it, even when we were a man down. There has been a never say die attitude there all year, a lot of heart. “We showed that in the semi-final against Wolfe Tones when they came back at us very strongly in the second half. We were able to respond when our backs were to the wall. It was the same in the final. We are a dual club and we don’t have a big pick of hurlers. But we give it everything. The most important thing this year was that we enjoyed our hurling again.” Of course, this was also a very big year for the football side of the Gaeil Colmcille club and with so many players lining out for the hurlers as well it was clearly a very busy campaign. “I think that playing hurling acted as a bit of an escape for the lads who play football as well and the younger players got a chance to express themselves in the Intermediate Hurling Championship,” Cormac said. “We played some good teams this year, including Kilskyre and Wolfe Tones, who we beat. “The four years we spent in the Senior Championship certainly stood to us. It brought us on in leaps and bounds. Senior hurling is played at a much faster pace. There is a gulf in class between the grades. “Obviously, it was a disappointment to lose the final but we really enjoyed our year as a whole. I am very hopeful for next year.”


drumbaragh designed_Layout 1 20/11/2013 17:22 Page 1

W

DRUMBARAGH

hat an amazing year 2013 was for Drumbaragh. The club derived a great deal of satisfaction from winning the Tailteann Cup during the summer and it got a great deal better in the autumn when they fulfilled their dream of winning the Junior Football Championship.

Drumbaragh’s previous appearances in the junior final ended in disappointment when Summerhill defeated them in 1953 (after a replay) and 1975 but there was a sense during this year’s competition that they had pieced together a team with the talent and the self-belief required to go all the way. And so it proved as they got the better of Kells parish rivals Kilmainham in a replayed decider to signal scenes of wild jubilation. A couple of months earlier they had defeated the same opposition in the Tailteann Cup final and the sides might well clash again in 2014 as both teams will play their championship football in the intermediate ranks. Former Navan O’Mahonys and Meath forward Finian Murtagh was back at the helm for Drumbaragh this year, with Joe Lee, Vinny Ryan and Johnny Connolly acting as selectors, and they shaped well in Division 3 of the A League ahead of the championship as they beat

from a Thomas Carry penalty after 54 minutes concluded the scoring and wrapped up a deserved win. Drumbaragh survived the dismissals of John Rennicks and John Smith when they defeated Curraha by 1-13 to 0-10 in the second round at Skryne. John Madden, Smith and Thomas Carry settled them with early points and with Connolly impressing a 0-9 to 0-4 half time lead was opened up. A goal from a Thomas Carry penalty killed off any hopes Curraha may have entertained of a revival and it was on to a meeting with Bective at Athboy. Martin Kavanagh raises This was a superb game in which the Matthew Ginnity Cup goals from Connolly, Colm Carry at Pairc Tailteann and outstanding centre-back Willie Carry helped Drumbaragh to Syddan, Bective and Ballinabrackey be level (3-0 to 1-6) after 23 minutes. and drew with Clann na nGael. They added five points to be in front by They were drawn in group A of the 3-5 to 1-6 at the interval but Bective championship along with Curraha, exerted a lot of pressure in the second Bective and the second string teams period and cut the gap to three points by representing O’Mahonys, Skryne and the three-quarter stage. Both teams Duleek / Bellewstown and it was against tired subsequently but with Thomas the Navan men that they opened with a Carry and Connolly splitting the uprights 3-12 to 2-8 victory at Dunganny where Drumbaragh won by 3-11 to 1-13. Murtagh’s son Evan played for the The biggest winning margin achieved losers. in any adult championship game in Wind-assisted Drumbaragh led by 2-5 2013 followed when Drumbaragh beat to 2-4 at the interval after James Duleek / Bellewstown by 11-20 to 0-2 in Connolly and Colm Carry had scored the fourth round at Dunsany and they their goals and when they notched the were idle in the last round when Skryne first four points of the second period awarded them a walkover. they were looking good. Their third goal

CHAMPIONS

Meath Junior Championship winners, front l/r: John Madden, William Carry, Peter Carry, Trevor Lynch, Peter Brady, DJ Carry, Colm Carry, Thomas Carry, James Connolly, Darragh McNamara, Martin Kavanagh, John D Smith, Luke Carry. Back: Mark McManus, Mark Smith, Brian Forde, Ryan Farnham, Paul McManus, Sean Caffrey, John Rennicks, Enda Nulty, Damien Carry, Paddy Murray, William Arkins, John Smith, Gary McCormack, Colin Forde, Noel Corcoran, John Morrisey, Dan McManus, Seanie Bennett, Ben Farrelly, Liam Ward, Eamonn Magee, Billy Carry

Log onto dlynchpics.com to view more club photos

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Drumbaragh had achieved their first big goal of the championship by reaching the knockout stages as group winners and it was on to a quarter-final meeting with Meath Hill at Carlanstown where a 0-13 to 1-4 victory kept the dream of championship glory alive. With the aid of the wind Drumbaragh opened up a 0-10 to 0-1 lead at the change of ends and they never appeared to be in any danger in the second period, with Pearse McGrath scoring the losers’ goal near the finish. Smith was the winners’ leading marksman with five points. A rapidly improving Cortown team provided the semi-final opposition at Kells, by which stage Drumbaragh were without regular full-back Brian Forde but they took a giant step towards claiming the Matthew Ginnity Cup with a 3-11 to 2-7 victory. A Connolly goal helped them to lead by 1-5 to 0-4 at the break and with Colm Carry finding the net they opened up a seven point advantage in the second half. Darragh McNamara about to gain possession in the junior decider

A Brian Casserly goal revived Cortown but with Thomas Carry scoring their third goal Drumbaragh pushed on again. Cortown came back for more and when Gary Coyne goaled from a free they saw hope but ‘keeper Willie Arkins denied the same player when he turned his free away. Drumbaragh finished strongly with points from Darragh McNamara and substitute Seanie Bennett and they could start thinking about a final meeting with Kilmainham who had beaten Dunboyne earlier in the day. The junior final provided the curtainraiser to the intermediate decider between Gaeil Colmcille and Clann na nGael and with three teams from the parish of Kells in action at Pairc Tailteann one Meath town was almost deserted on the second Sunday of October. John Smith has been a very important player for Drumbaragh over many years and his superb point from a tricky free in the second minute of injury time kept Colm Carry

the dream alive as it forced a draw (012 to 1-9). With so much at stake between such keen rivals it was understandable that nerves were a factor in the early stages and neither team managed to register a score during the opening quarter. They eventually settled and headed back to the dressingrooms on level terms (0-5 each) at the break. Drumbaragh had missed an opportunity to make serious inroads on the title when Thomas Carry’s 19th minute penalty was superbly saved by Kevin Jordan at the expense of a 45 which Smith pointed to open their scoring account. Pat O’Sullivan had already scored twice for Kilmainham but with Smith, Thomas Carry and McNamara raising white flags the Drums edged ahead. Michael Newman pointed twice (one free) to bring Kilmainham level, before McNamara and Gavin Butler traded scores ahead of the half-time whistle. In a tight game a goal was always going to

John D Smith

Tailteann Cup winners as neighbours Kilmainham were dispatched in the decider at Pairc Tailteann, front l/r: Thomas Carry, Brian Forde, Peter Carry, Trevor Lynch, Colm Carry, Ryan Farnham, WIlliam Carry, DJ Carry, James Connolly, Martin Kavanagh, Darragh McNamara. Back: John Madden, Mark McManus, Sean Caffrey, Damien Carry, Paddy Murray, Willie Arkins, John Smith, John Morrisey, John Rennicks, Gary Mc Cormack, Colin Forde, Enda Nulty, Daniel McManus, John D Smith, Paul McManus, Stephen Kavanagh, Noel Corcoran. Missing from photo Seanie Bennett, Peter Brady

323

Enda Nulty

Ryan Farnham in Tailteann Cup final action


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drumbaragh designed_Layout 1 20/11/2013 17:23 Page 4

The celebrations get underway with the Ginnity Cup at Pairc Tailteann

Another fine catch from John Smith

Noel Corcoran collides with Kilmainham’s Fergal Black

Paddy Murray under pressure from Kilmainham's Shane Morgan

be a very valuable commodity and it was Kilmainham’s Mark Fallon who got it six minutes into the second period. Smith and Connolly kept Drumbaragh ticking over with points but with Newman pointing twice at the other end Kilmainham were three clear heading into the last quarter.

Brian Forde

Darragh McNamara is tackled by Kilmainham’s Joe Mahon

McNamara reduced the deficit with a point and Drumbaragh should have taken the lead when Willie Carry surged through with a goal for the taking. Jordan rescued Kilmainham with another fine save and there was a sense that this just might be their day. Newman extended their lead with a

William Carry

Gary McCormack

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Willie Arkins and team captain Martin Kavanagh with the Tailteann Cup at Pairc Tailteann

point but Drumbaragh’s response was positive as Connolly, Colm Carry and McNamara found their range to tie the final up at 0-11 to 1-8. When Newman slotted over a close range free it was advantage Kilmainham but Smith demonstrated tremendous composure under great pressure to land that late

John Smith goes highest


drumbaragh designed_Layout 1 20/11/2013 17:23 Page 5

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drumbaragh designed_Layout 1 20/11/2013 17:23 Page 6

Drumbaragh Emmets supporters celebrate with the Junior Championship trophy at Pairc Tailteann

free and force a replay. With the winners due to play in the Leinster Championship the following Saturday it was back to Pairc Tailteann for the second helping on the Wednesday evening. Kilmainham shipped a huge blow when Barry Lynch was forced off with a nasty gash to the head after only 10 minutes and they lost full-back Darren O’Sullivan with a knee injury during a lengthy spell of first half injury time. The teams were tied (0-2 each) at the time of Lynch’s departure on a stretcher but Drumbaragh had opened up a 0-7 to 0-4 lead by the interval. Connolly, Thomas Carry and Smith all scored two points for the Drums in that period and Colm Carry registered the other. Newman was Kilmainham’s lone marksman with four pointed frees. Kilmainham resumed positively as Newman (two) and Gavin Butler scored points and with Connolly on the mark for Drumbaragh the lead was down to the minimum. It was back at three by the

Thomas Carry

three-quarter stage after Thomas Carry and McNamara had pointed but Michael Mahon and Newman replied at the other end to keep the men from the Navan road very much in contention. However, Drumbaragh soon took control as Willie Carry rowed in with a point, Connolly goaled eight minutes from the end and Smith fired over to leave them clear by 1-12 to 0-9. Kilmainham saw a glimmer of hope when they were awarded a penalty but Willie Arkins proved equal to Newman’s spot kick. Smith completed Drumbaragh’s tally as they won by 1-13 to 0-10. Both teams were reduced to 14 players before the end when Peter Carry (Drumbaragh) and Trevor Lynch (Kilmainham) were dismissed and when the long whistle sounded it was Drumbaragh captain Martin Kavanagh who made his way to the stand to receive the Matthew Ginnity Cup. Kavanagh and Arkins were joint captains earlier when Drumbaragh

Noel Corcoran

John Rennicks

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defeated Kilmainham by 3-8 to 2-9 in a very well contested Tailteann Cup final at the same venue. It wasn’t looking good for Drumbaragh in the early stages as a Newman goal helped Kilmainham to open up a 1-3 to 0-0 lead after only nine minutes. Drumbaragh took time to settle and didn’t open their scoring account until the 15th minute when McNamara finished off a superb move with a welltaken goal. Points from the inspirational Smith (two frees) and Thomas Carry restored parity but Newman’s second major boosted Kilmainham to a 2-5 to 15 lead at the interval. Newman stretched his team’s advantage with a point on the restart but Thomas Carry gave Drumbaragh a significant boost when he goaled in the 34th minute. When DJ Carry raised another green flag 14 minutes later they were ahead by 3-6 to 2-8 and they shaded the scoring subsequently to edge through in a tight and entertaining final. The Drumbaragh teams which brought glory on the double to the club this year were: JFC final (replay): Willie Arkins; John D Smith, Peter Carry, Martin Kavanagh; John Morrissey, Willie Carry (0-1), Noel Corcoran; John Smith (0-4), Ryan Farnham; Paddy Murray, Colm Carry (01), Enda Nulty; Thomas Carry (0-3), James Connolly (1-3), Darragh McNamara (0-1). Subs – DJ Carry for Farnham, John Madden for Corcoran, Gary McCormack for McNamara. Tailteann Cup final: Willie Arkins; John D Smith, Brian Forde, Paddy Murray; John Morrissey, Willie Carry (0-1), Noel Corcoran; John Smith (0-4), Ryan Farnham; Peter Carry, Colm Carry (01), Enda Nulty; Thomas Carry (1-1), James Connolly, Darragh McNamara (1-1). Sub – DJ Carry (1-0) for Murray.

Goalkeeper Willie Arkins


round towers designed_Layout 1 20/11/2013 17:18 Page 1

O

ROUND TOWERS

ur U8s had a enjoyable year. We took part in all the Go Games Blitzes with great numbers attending, and they have come on leaps and bounds under the guidance of Paul McManus and Brendan Lynch.

We entered into the reinvented Kieran Well Tournament and came away with the winners Dylan Morgan raises the Under 12 Group D Cup at Kells trophy by beating Carnaross in the final. in Cavan but fell at the last hurdle to a Our u10s under the guidance of Adrian Corcoran and Pat O’Higgins also had strong Meath Hill/Drumconrath team. a great year as well as taking part in all We also entered the prestigious the Go Games Blitzes, we entered into Gowna tournament and played teams the Seneschalstown Tournament and from Cavan, Longford, Dublin and beat Walterstown in the final. We also Leitrim and lost out to a strong Killoe entered into the Mullagh Tournament team from Co. Longford in the final on

a cold wet August day. The U12s also had a successful year, we won the Spring League with great wins over St Michaels, Carnaross, Moynalty, Oldcastle and Drumconrath/Meath Hill before beating St Cuthberts in the final. In the same league we stepped up to filling two teams in the group and won all our games a g a i n s t Duleek/Bellewstown, Walterstown, St Pats, Wolfe Tones and Dunderry. Our U12s were under the guidance of Willie Carry, Peter O’Higgins and John Morgan. The U14s had a great year also. They ended 2012 by winning the Under 13 Division 4 autumn league by beating St Cuthberts in a thrilling final in

TOWERS GETTING STRONGER

The U12 Group D winners, front l/r: Harry McGeough, Jack Rennicks, Turlough Carry, Dylan Morgan, Anthony Walsh, Arthur Belavins, Hughie Corcoran, Luke Demange, Ciaran Brady, Calum McDermott. Back: Niall Campbell, Sean Mulligan, Daniel Phipps, Declan Mullen, Adam O'Higgins, Shane Campbell, Ben Farrelly, James McGovern, Larry Morgan, Patrick Black, Harry O'Higgins. Missing from photo Jimmy Corcoran

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round towers designed_Layout 1 20/11/2013 17:18 Page 2

Topaz Local Fuels presenting a new set of jerseys to the Round Towers U12 squad. Pictured at the presentation at Pairc Tailteann, were Keith McGouran, Sales Manager, Topaz Local Fuels, Trim Road, Navan presenting the new jersey to Adrian Corcoran, Round Towers coach. Also pictured are Michael Newman, Darragh McNamara and some members of the U12 Round Towers team

Grangodden which went to extra time after being beaten narrowly by Carnaross in U14 championship. We went on to win the Division 4 summer shield by beating St Cuthberts. Well done to all. Our U14s are under the guidance of Anthony Farrelly.

James McGovern

The U15s, under the guidance of Gavin Lynch and Gerry Woods, had a great year and our u16s made it all the way to the championship final and lost out ot a strong St Pats team by 4 points in a thrilling final in Seneschalstown. Our u15s are currently in the semi final of this year’s

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round towers designed_Layout 1 20/11/2013 17:18 Page 3

The Towers entertained the large crowd at half time in the Tailteann Cup final with an U8 and 10 exhibition match, front l/r: Oisin Brady, Patrick Carry, Jake Balfe, Kyle Phillips, Caithlin O'Higgins, Eoin Meegan, Aaron O'Higgins, Sean Harte, Jacob Norton. Back: Cameron Feehan, Shea McManus, Adam Norton, Hughie Corcoran, Andrew Kelly, Alex Balfe, Padraig Brady, Ollie Polean, Abbi O'Higgins

Shane Campbell

championship. Our u16s are currently joined with Carnaross and are called Blackwater Gaels. Our minors under the guidance of Noel Corcoran have joined with Carnaross as Blackwater Gaels, they played well in all their games but ended up with no silverware

Turlough Carry

and are hoping to get ready for an assault on the Winter u17 league. Also this year Peter O’Higgins and John Morrissey have started up a girls team of u8s and u10s. They played a few games over the year and are hoping to recruit new players next year.

Our highlight of the year was the meeting of both parent clubs, Kilmainham and Drumbaragh in both Tailteann Cups and Junior final. The majority of all players involved in both teams had represented the Round Towers over the years and it was a credit to both teams who put up three thrilling encounters in Navan. Also it was a highlight for the club to see all our U8s, U10s and U12s played at half time in those games playing in a mini exhibition game. People are still talking about how well it looked and talked about these players playing together and when they get to adult football play against each other. On behalf of all Round Towers, manager and selectors, we would like to thank the players and the parents for responding to texts and getting their children to games on time in various places across Meath. We would also like to thank Ann Marie Farrell who does all the texting for all ages, she saves a lot of work for our managers.

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Anthony Walsh

Niall Campbell

Ciaran Brady


kilmainham designed_Layout 1 20/11/2013 17:25 Page 1

K

KILMAINHAM

ilmainham will play their football in the intermediate ranks in 2014 but how dearly they would have loved to get there while in possession of the Matthew Ginnity Cup.

Kells parish rivals Drumbaragh inflicted a fair amount of misery on the club from the Navan Road this year, most notably in the replayed JFC decider, and with both finalists promoted it means they could clash again in next season’s championship. The other disappointment for Kilmainham was their defeat to the same opposition in the Tailteann Cup final but 2013 still has to be viewed as a hugely successful year for the club. As well as reaching those two finals there was also the pride of seeing Michael Newman perform so well with the Meath seniors, so much so that he was nominated for an All-Star Award. Kilmainham were beaten by St Ultan’s in their previous JFC final appearance in 2006 and their efforts to make a return journey met with frustration until this year when a team coached by former Wolfe Tones’ player John Tiernan performed so admirably to again reach the decider. They were drawn in group C of the qualification phase along with Kilbride, Drumconrath, Moylagh and Dunsany and had to sit out the first round

Kevin Jordan was outstanding in the drawn JFC final

because they were the team with a bye. When they did get the championship up and running Kilmainham carved out a 0-10 to 0-5 victory over Moylagh at Drumbaragh where Newman had to miss the second half due to a hamstring injury. It was all to play for at the interval when Kilmainham led by 0-6 to 0-4 and they did enough subsequently to win comfortably. Davy Farnan and Mark Newman shared the scoring honours with three points each and it was on to a meeting with Kilbride at Kilmessan where things were far more straightforward.

Again, Michael Newman had to retire injured but Kilmainham coasted home, leading by 0-10 to 01 at the break en route to a 2-19 to 0-2 victory. Mark Newman, who contributed 1-9 overall, and Gerard Morgan scored the goals. Another easy win followed when Drumconrath were overcome by 512 to 0-7 at Moynalty. Mark Newman (two), Michael Newman and Morgan scored the goals which helped Kilmainham to a 4-3 to 0-5 lead at the change of ends and with Michael adding a fifth goal it was generally one-way traffic. That victory assured Kilmainham of knockout action and they completed their group campaign with a surprisingly comprehensive 410 to 0-5 with over Dunsany at the Navan O’Mahonys’ grounds. The first big target had been reached and they could start preparing for a quarter-final against Dunshaughlin’s second string. That match took place at Walterstown where Kilmainham again scored freely on the way to a 3-12 to 1-8 win. Michael Newman scored a hat-trick of goals in the first half to help open up a 3-6 to 0-4 interval advantage in wet and windy conditions and the issue was in no doubt at that stage. Trim provided the setting for a semifinal against a strong Dunboyne

HUGE PROGRESSION FOR KILMAINHAM

The squad that was so unlucky to lose out to neighbours Drumbaragh after a replay in the junior football championship final at Pairc Tailteann, front l/r: Stephen Woods, Matthew Mullen, Michael Mahon, Brian Black, Shane Butler, Seanie Mahon, Ross Mooney, Pat O’Sullivan, Denis Newman, Tommy Mongey, Pierce Quinlan, Stephen Lynch, Fergal Black, James Hennigan, Caoimhin Jordan (mascot), Kevin Jordan. Back: Dan Browne, Michael Newman, Darren Morgan, Stephan Newman, Trevor Lynch, Gavin Butler, Paddy Hennigan, Peter Smith, Darren O’Sullivan, Shane Morgan, Declan Nelson, Joseph Mahon, Davie Farnan, Mark Fallon, Harry Newman, Mark Newman, Paul Farrelly, Barry Lynch, Johnny Quinlan, Danny Farrelly, Conor Kilgallen, John Tiernan, Gerard Morgan, Gerry Morgan

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kilmainham designed_Layout 1 20/11/2013 17:25 Page 2

second string and Kilmainham dug deep to earn a 1-10 to 0-11 victory. They didn’t manage a score in the last quarter but with the St Peter’s men failing to hit the target in the concluding 10 minutes they got away with it. Wind-assisted Kilmainham led by 15 to 0-1 at the end of the first quarter after Harry Newman had scored the goal and they went on to hold a 1-7 to 0-6 advantage at the break. Michael Newman (five) and Morgan (two) got their points in the opening period and the teams shared six points equally in the third quarter when Michael Newman converted a brace of frees and brother Mark also hit the target. Dunboyne then kicked three damaging wides, before Niall Carolan slotted over from a free. The same player was wide with a couple of similar opportunities and with their only other score coming from Michael Dunne, the St Peter’s men were two points adrift at the long whistle. The happy reality for Kilmainham was Club captain Ross Mooney

that they were back in the final and with Drumbaragh defeating Cortown in the other semi-final it set up a fascinating curtain-raiser to the intermediate final between Gaeil Colmcille and Clann na nGael. Rarely has the greater Kells area been so deserted on a Sunday. Nerves were always going to be a big issue for the Kilmainham and Drumbaragh players as they faced up to their second final meeting of the year at Pairc Tailteann. That was reflected in the failure of both sides to score in the opening quarter but they did settle and retired level (0-5 each) at the interval. A highlight of the first half was a superb save by Kilmainham goalkeeper Kevin Jordan from Thomas Carry’s 19th minute penalty at the expense of a 45 which John Smith converted to open Drumbaragh’s account. Pat O’Sullivan had already pointed twice for Kilmainham but with Smith, Carry and Darragh McNamara Trevor Lynch

Sean McMahon

on target the Drums opened up a 0-4 to 0-2 lead. Michael Newman drew Kilmainham level with a brace of points (one free) and McNamara and Gavin Butler then traded points to send the teams to the dressingrooms with nothing separating them. Kilmainham’s hopes soared six minutes into the second period when Mark Fallon scored their goal in impressive fashion but Drumbaragh replied with points from Smith and James Connolly. Michael Newman countered with two points at the other end, one from a free, to restore Kilmainham’s three point advantage at the three-quarter stage. Drumbaragh applied plenty of pressure and after McNamara had pointed, Willie Carry surged through and looked certain to goal until Jordan intervened with a fine save. Michael Newman edged Kilmainham further ahead but with Connolly, Colm Carry and McNamara on target the Finian All Star nominee Mickey Newman

Prior to their comprehensive win over Kilbride in the Junior championship at Kilmessan, front l/r: Dean Peppard, Stephen Woods, Danny Farrelly, Pat O'Sullivan, Ross Mooney, Seanie Mahon, Michael Mahon, Kevin Jordan, Harry Newman, Fergal Black, Brian Black. Back: Darren O'Sullivan, Trevor Lynch, Mark Fallon, Gerard Morgan, Joseph Mahon, Shane Morgan, Stephen Newman, Michael Newman, Declan Nelson, David Farnan, Paddy Henehan, Mark Newman, Declan Mullen, Tommy Mongey, Paul Farrelly

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kilmainham designed_Layout 1 20/11/2013 17:25 Page 3

Tailteann Cup finalists

County star Mickey Newman

Michael Mahon in Tailteann Cup action

Murtagh-managed team drew level (011 to 1-8). Newman appeared to have won it for Kilmainham when he slotted over an easy free but Smith had the last word with a superb equalising point from a placed ball 40 metres out. It finished 19 to 0-12. With the winners due to play in the Leinster Championship the following Saturday the replay was announced for the Wednesday evening, giving both sides little time to recover. Kilmainham shipped two heavy blows in the first half of the replay, with midfielder Barry Lynch going off with a head wound after only 10 minutes and full-back Darren O’Sullivan retiring with a knee injury in injury time. The teams were tied on 0-2 apiece at the time of Lynch’s departure and the game was held up for several minutes while he was attended to and stretchered off. The loss of such a key player was unsettling for Kilmainham and Drumbaragh went on to lead by 0-7 to

Ross Mooney

Gerard Morgan

0-4 at the interval after Connolly, Thomas Carry and Smith (two each) and Colm Carry had scored their points. Michael Newman’s four frees were Kilmainham’s only points in that period. Despite their setbacks they started the second half productively as Newman (two) and Butler pointed and with Connolly on the mark at the other end Drumbaragh held a slender 0-8 to 0-7 lead. That stretched to a three point cushion by the three-quarter stage after Thomas Carry and McNamara had been on target but Michael Mahon and Newman replied to keep Kilmainham well in touch. Willie Carry edged Drumbaragh two clear and they soon paid a hefty deposit towards the title when Connolly goaled eight minutes from the end and Smith added a point to leave them ahead by 1-12 to 0-9. Kilmainham saw some hope when they were awarded a penalty but it was extinguished when Willie Arkins saved

333

Shane Morgan

Newman’s spot kick. There was still time for Newman and Smith to complete the scoring and for Drumbaragh’s Peter Carry and Kilmainham’s Trevor Lynch to be sent off. When the final whistle sounded Drumbaragh led by 1-13 to 0-10 and were champions but what a brave effort Kilmainham had put in on an evening when so much went against them. That was the second leg of the big double for Drumbaragh who had beaten Kilmainham by 3-8 to 2-9 in the Tailteann Cup final, also at Pairc Tailteann. This was a very entertaining encounter in which the losers were left to rue 11 first second wides and 14 in total. Kilmainham started in great style and were ahead by 1-3 to 0-0 after nine minutes, with Michael Newman getting their goal. Drumbaragh didn’t manage their first score until the 15th minute when McNamara finished a superb move with a cracking goal. They drew


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kilmainham designed_Layout 1 20/11/2013 17:26 Page 5

Manager John Tiernan

Michael Mahon

Shane Butler

level but Newman’s second goal helped Kilmainham to lead by 2-5 to 1-5 at halftime. Newman extended the advantage with a point on the restart but with Thomas Carry and DJ Carry gaoling Drumbaragh were in front by 3-6 to 2-8 by the 48th minute. They shaded the scoring subsequently to be two points clear at the end on an evening when Newman contributed 2-5 for Kilmainham. The junior final defeat which followed approximately two months later was another disappointment but overall 2013 was a year of great consistency for Kilmainham whose captain Ross Mooney is looking forward to playing intermediate football next season. “Losing Barry and Darren in the first half of the junior final replay was a huge blow to us,” he said. “Barry going off so early upset our game plan. Drumbaragh had used the short kick-out to good effect in the drawn game. They built from the back. In the second game we concentrated on counteracting that. They had to kick the ball long and we knew Barry would win a lot of ball out around midfield. His loss was very upsetting. “Drumbaragh went three points up by half time but we had a good chat in the dressingroom and said we wanted to have a good stab at it. We made a good start to the second half but James Connolly played well for Drumbaragh when he moved to centre-forward. His goal killed us off. By the time we missed the penalty we were struggling. I don’t think it would have made any difference if we scored it.” The drawn game was the one in which Kilmainham appeared best placed to claim victory. “We had a lot of possession in the Drumbaragh half the first day but the reality is that they are stronger than us in attack,” Ross added. “They have more players who are capable of scoring and they are strong as a unit. Mark Fallon’s goal early in the second half was a big boost to us but Drumbaragh came back well to earn a draw.” How does he feel about Kilmainham going up to the intermediate ranks without winning the junior title? “Some people are disappointed that we won’t get a chance to win the Junior Championship next year but I’m not,” he said. “I believe we would have won it next year but we have to push on from here. This year was a huge success for the club. Reaching the junior final and the Tailteann Cup final was a big achievement for a small club.”

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Pat O'Sullivan

Determined play from Harry Newman

Mark Newman


kilmessan designed_Layout 1 20/11/2013 17:38 Page 1

V

KILMESSAN

ictorious manager James Heffernan looks back on a year that ended with Kilmessan being crowned kingpins of Meath hurling for a 29th time.

Two goals in the final quarter proved crucial as Kilmessan ended up in the Jubilee Cup winners enclosure for the first time since 2008. Royal County star Steven Clynch came off the bench at half-time and his 46th minute goal nipped a final comeback by Longwood in the bud in the final at Pairc Tailteann. The team in royal blue jerseys ran out winners on a scoreline of 2-16 to 011. Longwood had reduced an interval deficit of 0-5 to 0-8 to the minimum margin and were threatening to overtake their more illustrious opponents but Clynch's strike steadied Kilmessan nerves and Nicky Horan was left unmarked in added-on time to add gloss to the victory with a second goal. Darren Reilly's accurate free-taking – all of the midfielder's nine point haul came from placed balls - was also a vital ingredient in Kilmessan's winning formula. Westmeath native James Heffernan added a second Jubilee Cup success to his managerial CV but he deflected the praise on to his players. He was eager to point out that they made his job easy.

Mark Brennan raises the Jubilee Cup at Pairc Tailteann

“We had 30 players who were prepared to put in a lot of hard work,” replied James when asked what were the secrets to Kilmessan's success. “In fairness to them, they did it last year as well but didn't get the rewards their hard work deserved on that occasion. They have put in a lot of effort over the last two years. They are a very easy bunch to train, anything we asked them to do they responded positively to it.” The hours of toil and sweat put in on the training field stood the Kilmessan players in good stead as they successfully negotiated the minefield that was Group B of this year's SHC.

The opened their campaign with a 4-10 to 2-14 win over the 2012 runners-up Killyon but had to settle for a share of the spoils against Boardsmill in round two. They got back on track with a seven point victory over recent kingpins Kildalkey but suffered their only defeat of the competition against defending champions Kiltale (1-12 to 1-18) in round four. A hard-earned 2-16 to 2-13 victory over Longwood in the final group game sealed second spot in the group table. It would turn out to be a taste of things to come. “The group was unreal when you think that Longwood, who reached the semi-final last year, were in it along with champions Kiltale, Killyon, who were in last year's final, and, of course, Kildalkey, the recent three-in-a-row winners,” commented the Westmeath Coaching & Games Officer who was supported by a backroom team of Brian O'Reilly, Thomas Duignan and Nigel Conlon. “Boardsmill gave us our biggest fright of the year in round two. It finished a draw but it was a game we could have won and probably deserved to lose. It was brilliant to be in such a tough group. We probably didn't say that at the time but every game was competitive and brought us on as a team as the year went on. “When we got to the quarter-final and semi-final, the games probably weren't

KILMESSAN END SIX YEAR FAMINE!

Senior Hurling Championship winners, front l/r: Richie Donnelly, Danny Thynne, Patrick McGovern, Danny Maguire, Malcolm Doyle, Kevin Keena, Martin Horan, Mark Brennan, Darren Reilly, Charles Keena, Ger O'Neill, Kesha Reilly, Tony Horan, Padraig Maguire, Pauric Burke, Peter Reynolds. Back: Anthony O'Neill, Sean Doyle, Sean Power, Steven Clynch, Peter Farrell, Eoin Marsh, Shane Brennan, Nicky Horan, Paul Grimes, Mark Munnelly, Paul O'Brien, Niall Flynn, Cathal Burke, Declan Smith

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as competitive but when you're in it you have to win it.” Kilmessan secured their place in the showpiece of the hurling calender with quarter-final and semi-final wins over Trim (3-13 to 0-11) and Dunboyne (3-15 to 2-13) respectively. It's not that long ago that Kilmessan were perennial favourites for outright glory in the Meath SHC on a regular basis but they had drifted in the betting market over the couple of years. But they delivered when least was expected of them. “We were favourites all right going into the final but probably weren't tipped by many to get to the final at the start of the year. That probably stuck in the back of the players' minds. It was a strange position for Kilmessan to be in,” observed James. Wind-assisted, the Turin native's charges were quick out of the traps in the decider against a Longwood side that was looking to add to their one and only SHC victory way back in 1936. Man of the match in the county final Darren Reilly about to send over another point

Reilly (2 frees) and Ger O'Neill gave them an early lead before Longwood opened their account with a point in the 14th minute. Kilmessan continued to boss matters, posting two of the next three scores that included Reilly's third pointed free and a Danny Maguire effort from play to leave them 0-5 to 0-2 to the good on the 20 minute mark. The Mark Brennan captained outfit went in at the break with a 0-8 to 0-5 lead but they would have feared the worst when their lead was trimmed to the bare minimum with 14 minutes left on the clock. That proved to be as good as it got for Longwood, however, as Clynch's goal proved to be just the tonic for the eventual winners and they pushed on for a eight point victory. “Longwood knocked us out of the championship last year. They proved they are a good hurling side and are a difficult team to beat. As we expected, we had a big battle on our hands in the Martin Horan is put under pressure

Nicky Horan

final and only pulled away towards the end.” The arrival of Clynch – who endured a frustrating season with injury - on the field was a key moment in the game but James also paid tribute to the players who deputised in the absence of the county man. “The way we looked at it was that it was a huge bonus to us to have Steven fit to be able to play half an hour in the final. The 18 minutes he played against Dunboyne in the semi-final was the most he played for us all year up until the final. “To be fair to the other lads, they didn't let it play on their minds. They were resigned to the fact that he wasn't fully fit and they had a job to get on with. There was no point looking over their shoulders to see who's not there. “At various times throughout the year we had to play without Steven, Nicky (Horan) and Ger (O'Neill) but the lads that came in stood up to the mark. Some of our training matches were Eoin Marsh heads for the Longwood goal

Steven Clynch celebrates scoring Kilmessan's first goal in the SHC final The celebrations get underway with the Jubilee Cup at Pairc Tailteann

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The first winners of the Davis Cup, front l/r: Paul Grimes, Patrick McGovern, Danny Maguire, Pauric Burke, Darren Reilly, Martin Horan, Richard Donnelly, Padraig Maguire, Josh Dennehy. Back: Niall Flynn, Shane Brennan, Eoin Marsh, Kevin Keena, Peter Farrell, Sean Doyle, Chucky Keena, Mark Munnelly, Mark Brennan (captain), Tony Horan

Ger O'Neill in county final action

Darren Reilly gets in his pass

savage. The 15 other lads on the panel were always pushing for places on the team and that was a huge help to us.” The Royal County scene has been a happy hunting ground for Heffernan. His midas touch also worked back in 2006 when he guided Rathmolyon to senior success. “I enjoy hurling, it doesn't matter where, as long as there are games of hurling I will go to them. I've been with Kilmessan for the last two years now and I was with Rathmolyon for two years. “There's great people and hurling in Meath and a fantastic championship up there. If you look at it, there's been five or six different winners of the Meath championship during the last 10 years or so. “That's not happening in the strong hurling counties and it has to bode well for the future of Meath hurling.” The Kilmessan team and substitutes that were in action on county final day were: Mark Brennan; Pauric Maguire,

Eoin Marsh has it under control

Pauric Burke heads for goal

Shane Brennan, Paddy McGovern; Eoin Marsh, Peter Farrell, Richie Donnelly; Martin Horan, Darren Reilly (0-9, 8fs, 1 65); Ger O'Neill (0-1), Charlie Keena (0-1), Kevin Keena (0-1); Danny Maguire (0-1), Nicky Horan (1-2, 0-1f), Malcolm Doyle (0-1). Subs Stephen Clynch (1-0) for M Horan, Sean Doyle for C Keena, Paul Grimes

Mark Brennan raises the Davis Cup at Kildalkey

for K Keena, Anton O'Neill for Maguire, Kevin O'Reilly for Doyle.

NO STOPPING THE DRIVE FOR FIVE

Kilmessan’s domination of the county camogie scene shows no sign of waning as they claimed a fantastic five-

Senior camogie champions for the fifth year in a row, front l/r: Katie Ni Choileain, Megan Ni Choilean, Ailbhe Lynch, Caoimhe O'Leary, Ann Marie Dennehy, Aileen Donnelly, Stephanie Horan, Meadbh O'Leary, Orla Doyle, Mary Ellen Sheridan. Back: Tara Murphy, Alison Lynch, Kelly Gorman, Shauna Curtis, Ciara Ni Choileain, Aisling McLoughlin, Claire Donohoe, Noreen Sheridan, Aine Sheridan, Frances Lynch, Tracy King, Michelle Horan

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Prior to the SHC win over Killyon in Trim, front l/r: Danny Thynne, Padraig Maguire, Tony Horan, Paul Grimes, Danny Maguire, Mark Brennan (captain), Darren Reilly, Pauric Burke, Chucky Keena, Richie Murray, Patrick McGovern. Back: Josh Dennehy, Peter Farrell, Martin Horan, Sean Doyle, Shane Brennan, Kevin Keena, Nicky Horan, Niall Flynn, Mark Munnelly, Sean Power

in-a-row of senior titles after defeating Trim by 3-7 to 2-4 in this year’s decider at Longwood. Three first half goals laid the foundations for the win with Kilmessan ahead by nine-points at one stage in the first half. Aisling McLoughlin’s goal was sandwiched by two from Kelly Gorman as Kilmessan went 3-2 to 0-2 in front,

but Trim grabbed a lifeline when No stopping the Drive for Five

Kilmessan’s domination of the county camogie scene shows no sign of waning as they claimed a fantastic fivein-a-row of senior titles after defeating Trim by 3-7 to 2-4 in this year’s decider at Longwood. Three first half goals laid the foundations for the win with Kilmessan ahead by nine-points at one stage in the first half. Aisling McLoughlin’s goal was sandwiched by two from Kelly Gorman as Kilmessan went 3-2 to 0-2 in front, but Trim grabbed a lifeline when Shona White fired to the net before the break to reduce the deficit to 1-3 to 3-2. Aileen Donnelly stretched the lead on the resumption but Trim hit back with a Christine Fagan goal to leave just three points between the sides. Kilmessan defended like their lives depended on it and after a long scoreless patch, Katie Ni Choileann scored a fantastic point before Donnelly was hand with a couple of placed balls to stretch the lead out once more. Trim couldn’t close the gap and as the final whistle went, Kilmessan’s place at the top of Meath camogie was further cemented. Congratulations To Kilmessan Hurling Club, From After the game Gorman was named as the player of the match. Kilmessan - AM Dennehy; C Ni Plastering | Painting Choileain, A Lynch, Tiling | Bathrooms N Sheridan; T King, Kitchen Fitting Etc A Lynch, S Curtis; S Horan, A Donnelly COVERING MEATH AREA (0-4); M Ni Bellinter, Navan, Co. Meath Choileain, F Lynch, M O’L’eary (0-1); K Gorman (2-0), A E: alancollins.navan@gmail.com McLoughlin (1-1), K

Ni Choileann (0-1).Shona White fired to the net before the break to reduce the deficit to 1-3 to 3-2. Aileen Donnelly stretched the lead on the resumption but Trim hit back with a Christine Fagan goal to leave just three points between the sides. Kilmessan defended like their lives depended on it and after a long scoreless patch, Katie Ni Choileann scored a fantastic point before Donnelly was hand with a couple of placed balls to stretch the lead out once more. Trim couldn’t close the gap and as the final whistle went, Kilmessan’s place at the top of Meath camogie was further cemented. After the game Gorman was named as the player of the match. Kilmessan - AM Dennehy; C Ni Choileain, A Lynch, N Sheridan; T King, A Lynch, S Curtis; S Horan, A Donnelly (0-4); M Ni Choileain, F Lynch, M O’Leary (0-1); K Gorman (2-0), A McLoughlin (1-1), K Ni Choileann (0-1).

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The stars of the future take to Pairc Tailteann for an exhibition match during half time on county final day


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S

t Patrick’s narrowly missed out on a place in the closing stages of the hoganstand.com Meath SFC this year and the Stamullen side’s know that is was a lack of consistency which let them down.

Six points were garnered but Summerhill advanced on the head-to-head rule, having earlier beaten Pat’s by nine points. The 2011 winners scraped a minimum margin win over Donaghmore / Ashbourne in the final round of the ‘qualifiers’ but if that result had gone the other way, the east Meath team would have advanced although having much inferior score difference. With Mick Bohane again in charge and Niall Russell and Fergus Minogue as his fellow selectors, St Patrick’s were among the outsiders at the start but got off to a bright beginning with a 1-11 to 1-8 victory over well-fancied Donaghmore / Ashbourne at Pairc Tailteann. It was the second successive year for Pat’s to overcome the Ashbourne men in the opening round but again the

ST. PATRICK’S 4 interval advantage before Landy’s green flag shot helped them go six points clear. Although Donaghmore / Ashbourne hit back with a goal from Ciaran Beirne, the Saints managed to stay in front with a late save by their netminder, Robert Cluskey, proving crucial. The east Meath side made it two wins from as many outings with a hard earned 1-8 to 2-3 victory over struggling Oldcastle at Simonstown, a late goal from a 45 enabling them to scramble another brace of points. It took Pat’s 24 minutes to get on the scoreboard, a Donal Landy point. They were behind by three points before that score and at the end of a tight opening period, Oldcastle led by 0-3 to 0-2. Remarkably the north county side failed to raise a white flag after the first quarter. Following JP Ryan raises the Junior 2 hurling championship cup at Pairc Tailteann their second goal on 42 minutes neither side registered during the Stamullen men failed to build on the next 11 minutes. Pat’s rallied with Mooney (twice) and substitute Shane early promise. Landy shooting over before Mooney’s Five points from frees by Niall Mooney fortunate winning goal in added time at and a Shane Landy goal early in the the end. second half boosted them to the initial St Patrick’s went down to their first success. Pat’s held a slender 0-5 to 0-

PAT’S KEEP KNOCKING ON THE DOOR

The senior squad that recorded a great championship win over Donaghmore Ashbourne in Pairc Tailteann, front l/r: Cormac Sullivan, J.P. Ryan, Andrew Reilly, Neil O'Flaherty, Shane McGinty, Niall Mooney, Ronan Kearns, David Stafford, David O'Flaherty, Keith Whearty, Donal Landy. Back: Kieran Lynch, Jack Stillman, Seamus Byrne, Alan Vickers, Martin McKenna, Andrew Mooney, Robert Cluskey, Shane Landy, Niall Whearty, Shane Dowling, David McQuillan, Cormac Murphy

Log onto dlynchpics.com to view more club photos

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The panel that reached the U16 Roinn C decider at Pairc Tailteann, front l/r: Niall Flynn, Ryan Broderick, Stephen Belton, Aaron Kenna, Jack Reddin, Adam Carroll, Sam Reddin. Back: Ray Nulty (ass. manager), Cillian McDonald, Ciaran Moss, Jack Brangan, Stephen Malone, Ciaran Sullivan, John Curtis, Aaron Mulvaney, Daoin Burns, Padraig Nulty, Freddie Tallon, Conor Harkin, Mark Burns (manager)

defeat of the campaign when Skryne edged them out on a scoreline of 0-11 to 1-6 in Ashbourne on the last day of May. Shane Landy grabbed his second goal in three championship outings after 26 minutes but his side trailed by 1-2 to 0-6 at the halfway stage. The losers were left to rue the lack of points from play. They only managed three points from play, two by Niall Whearty and one from Niall Mooney, and none of their other forwards raised the white flag.

Ciaran Calvey

The Stamullen men went down to a big defeat in their round four outing at Walterstown where Summerhill strolled to a 1-13 to 1-4 success. Pat’s were struggling from the early exchanges and were obviously in trouble when falling 0-0 to 0-6 in arrears in the opening 20 minutes. A Donal Landy goal on 22 minutes raised hopes but it was 0-7 to 1-1 at the break. Matters did not improve for Pat’s in the second period despite Summerhill having county midfielder Conor Gillespie sent on for second

Neil O'Flaherty

Colm Stafford

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yellow card offence after 40 minutes. Following the dismissal, Pat’s reduced a six points deficit to four with scores from Niall Whearty and Niall Mooney. But they did not register again and 1-1 from Barry Dardis at the end left the ‘Hill emphatic winners. St Patrick’s finished their group schedule with a 1-10 to 1-6 win over previously unbeaten Rathkenny at Ashbourne only to hear news they did not wish from the other games in the group. After Rathkenny, missing county

Full forward Phil Harney


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The JFC B squad before the championship game with Moynalvey in Ashbourne, front l/r: David O' Flaherty, Barry Campbell, Adam Byrne, Ben Baxter, Adam Mulvaney, Tommy Reilly, Conor Tully, Michael McNulty, Andrew Tully, Sean Mooney, Kieron Russell, Gareth Rothwell. Back: Stephen Curran, Stephen Stafford, Jack Stillman, Michael Sheridan, Seamus Byrne, Patrick Calvey, Cormac Everard, Adam Woods, Michael Hagan, Jamie Woods, David Finnegan, Shane Byrne, Bryan Mallon

Shane McGinty surges forward

Aaron Mulvaney raises the U16 Division 4 Cup at Seneschalstown

player Brian Meade because of injury, took an early lead, they did not register again in the first half as the Stamullen side reached the break with 1-5 on the board. Niall Whearty fired to the net after 10 minutes and after it was 1-4 to 0-1 at the end of the opening quarter, there was only one score, a converted free by Whearty, from then to the interval. After the margin was reduced to three points, four points in a fiveminute spell with substitute Ronan Kearns, Niall Mooney (twice) and Cormac Sullivan on target extended the lead to seven before Mooney’s fifth made it eight. However, Pat’s did not get the result they desired in Navan and they failed to match the 2012 feat of reaching the last eight. “We had

Donal Landy and Seanie Curran keep their eye on the ball

345

hoped to make it through to the play-offs again and it was disappointing to fall short,” remarked club secretary Pat Ryan. “We won three games and lost two but the game against Skryne was one we let slip. After being a point behind at half-time, we had the advantage of the breeze in the second half but could not put the bar over the bar enough of times and that cost us at the finish of the group,” reflected the secretary. “In the round before that we robbed Oldcastle with a late goal, having struggled to cope with their short passing and keep ball tactics. That lucky win came after the good start with the victory over Donaghmore / Ashbourne, a result which most people did not expect. “Donaghmore / Ashbourne had

Niall Mooney


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The Junior 2 Hurling championship winners, front l/r: Mark Scanlon, Colm Scanlon (mascot) James Kenna, Andrew Tully, Conor Tully, Brian Kelly, Colm Stafford, Neil O'Flaherty, Brian Farrelly, JP Ryan. Back: Mark Thompson, Gerry O'Donoghue, Richard O'Donoghue, Paul Dunne, Jonathan Monks, Tommy Reilly, David Finnegan, Anthony Stafford, Brian Calvey, Robert Genockey, David Kirwan, Ciaran Calvey, Gareth McGuinness, Damian Scott, Colm Dowling, Patrick Calvey, Phil Harney, Fergus Minogue, John Finnegan (manager)

beaten us well in the league and maybe that gave them some false hope. Perhaps winning the first two matches gave our lads the same feeling for they seemed to lack the necessary drive against Skryne. “We were well beaten by Summerhill and while the display against Rathkenny, who were without a couple of players including Brian Meade, was a big improvement, it was not sufficient to enable us stay in the championship. “It could be difficult to improve on that next year, especially as we do not have a strong pool of players. We do not seem to have the amount of talented underage players on the way up as some other clubs. We may have gone

slightly backwards over the last few years and we could struggle against the stronger teams in the future,” concluded the secretary.

HURLiNG HONOURS

St Patrick’s returned to the Meath hurling roll of honour in 2013 with a Junior 2 HC triumph. The success arrived nine years after the first outright success in the grade and in between there was a JHC title annexation in 2007. Pat’s played just five games in this year’s JHC 2. In the group phase wins were recorded at the expense of Drumree, Na Fianna and Wolfe Tones before defeating Clann na nGael by 0-

17 to 2-4 at the semi-final stage. The decider was played at Pairc Tailteann on the day before the drawn All-Ireland hurling final and St Patrick’s outscored Longwood by 3-13 to 1-7 to improve on the 2012 last hurdle final fall against Killyon. Pat’s were well in control throughout their second successive final and were not flattered by the margin of 12 points at the finish. Player / manager Phil Hurney netted a goal in each half and his side led by 1-10 to 1-2 at the break. Players like Hurney, team captain JP Ryan, Mark Scanlon and Fergus Minogue had been part of previous hurling triumphs for the Stamullen club with Ryan and Scanlon on Meath’s All-

Dark clouds gather as St Pat’s pose for the team photo before the U16 Division 4 final at Seneschalstown, front l/r: Adam Carroll, Johnny Woods, Aaron Kenna, Dylan Foster, Niall Flynn, Stephen Belton, Jack Reddin, Sam Reddin, Daoin Burns. Back: Ray Nulty (mentor) Stephen Malone, Tomas O'Connell, Conor Harkin, Padraig Nulty, Ryan Broderick, Jack Brangan, Ciaran Sullivan, John Curtis, Cillian McDonald, Freddie Tallon, Killian O'Connor Barry, Aaron Mulvaney, Mark Burns (manager)

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Ireland JHC winning side in 2004. Midfielder Brian Farrelly fired six points in the final victory over Longwood and himself and Ciaran Calvey were on top in the midfield exchanges. Substitute Gerard Donoghue netted the winners’ third goal in added time before Ryan was presented with the cup. The St Patrick’s team and scorers in last September’s JHC 2 final was : Fergus Minogue; Anthony Stafford, Jonathan Monks, Damien Scott; Mark Scanlon, JP Ryan (captain), Brian Kelly; Brian Farrelly (0-6), Ciaran Calvey; James Kenna, Neil O’Flaherty (0-3), David Kirwan (0-1); Richard Donoghue (0-3), Phil Hurney (2-0), Colm Stafford. Subs: Gerard Donoghue (1-0) for C Stafford, Paul Dunne for Scott, Gareth McGuinness for Kenna, Colm Dowling for Kirwan, Patrick Calvey for Dowling. Also on the panel: Paul Tobin, Robert Genocky, Tommy Reilly, David Finnegan, Andrew Tully, Conor Tully, Mark Thompson, Shane Hamilton, Colin O’Brien. Pat Ryan was obviously delighted to see St Patrick’s get back on the hurling roll of honour, especially with his son JP, who has given sterling service in the small ball game, captaining the successful side. “Lack of players forced the club to stop fielding a hurling team but then a few young lads came in to blend with the older hurlers who had enjoyed success in the previous decade and hopefully the latest championship victory will be the forerunner of more. “Players like Phil Hurney, Paul Tobin and Mark Scanlon have a wealth of experience, having played with St Vincent’s in Dublin. There is a big panel now. “One man who deserves special praise for the hurling revival is Colin O’Brien, who put a lot of effort in getting a

The U14 Division 5 league winners

The strong Under 13 Division 5 girls squad

The U13 Division 4 team

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team back on the pitch. There is a good interest in the game in the area and the people who promote it could have more to cheer about in the near future,” concluded the secretary.

ST PATRiCK’S LADiES CLUB

Undoubtedly one of the success stories has to be the St Patricks Ladies section, which is a growth area within the club that is unmatched with any other section in the past number of years.

The U16 girls squad

From the early buds when Sheena Smith managed the Under 14’s and 15’s with Gary Kissane in 2009/2010/2011to the present with eight teams competing at underage

level. In 2010, Andrew Lenehan came on board to assist Sheen in the Ladies section and put in place a structure to cater for all the ladies who now play for St Pat’s. Sheena had to forgo her position as she had moved out of the area and new mentors had to take up the baton. Now the ladies section has a committed team of coaches and a committee who have carried out a huge amount of work over the past two years and continue to do so. Damien Geraghty, David Weldon, Tommy Reilly, Jason and Darren Nolan train the teams. Ladies Chairperson Ursula Sheridan and secretary Debbie Weldon do a huge amount of work behind the scenes. And being the ‘new kids on the block’ as such has not Adam Carroll celebrates his goal at Seneschalstown daunted the Pat’s ladies at

Cormac Sullivan

A loyal club servant Ronan Kearns

all. 2012 was a great year for the ladies with great successes for many of their teams and competing against very strong clubs such as Na Fianna, Dee Rangers and Rathkenny. Some great tussles have taken place over the year and they have brought home significant silverware in their infancy. The Under 16 ladies won the Division 3 Shield Final against Navan O’Mahonys. The Under 14’s reached the Division 4 championship final only to lose out to Na Fianna on the day. The Under 13’s had a tough campaign to the final but earned their spot to meet Skryne on the day. However it was the Skryne side that won out on the day. The Under 11 team had also reached the Shield Final of Division 4 and met St Michaels on the day. Yet again a Pat’s team would be pipped at the final hurdle and St Michaels laid claim to the title on the day. The Under 15 had a seriously tough route to the Shield Final which saw them meet Na Fianna. The match was in Dunganny and the year

Senior manager Mick Bohan

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David McQuillan


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Best Wishes To St. Pat’s GAA Stamullen, From

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U16 keeper Ciaran Sullivan clears his lines as the hailstones pelt down

Aaron Kenna

Gormanston, Co. Meath Tel: 01 8412125

would end much as the rest of it had panned out with the Pat’s girls losing out on the day, the opposition taking the title. All in all the ladies teams reached five finals over the year, the Under 16’s the only one to bring home a title but when the disappointment is set to one side, there has been a huge amount of work which will no doubt reap better rewards in the future. The talent is there in abundance and they have increased the strength of east Meath teams competing throughout the county. In 2013, the ladies have gone from strength to strength and have added a Minor team due to demand. They have already won the Under 14 Division 5 league title earlier in the year. Over the past number of years St Patricks have had representation on the county team panels in the form of Katie Dowling, Hazel Callaghan and Debbie Maughan. In 2013, Katie Dowling continues to represent St Pat’s at county level and we have added three more players who represent their county. Leah Loughran, Hannah Mannion and Laura Baxter were all selected for the Meath Under 12 team and have had a very busy year between playing for club and county.

Hurling manager John Finnegan

Great control from Gerry O'Donoghue

Gibneys of Gormanston John Curtis

Best Wishes To St. Patricks GAA From The Gibney Family 353


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I

SENESCHALSTOWN

t was a year of near misses for Seneschalstown teams in 2013 with the knockout stages of three championships being reached without a trophy to show for their efforts.

The Yellow Furze club had Andrew McCann, All-Ireland winner with Armagh in 2002 and Meath SFC victor with Seneschalstown in ‘07 and ‘09, at the helm for the senior team with Stephen Dillon and Ian Maguire as selectors. In 2012 Seneschalstown ousted defending champions Summerhill at the quarter-final stage before losing to Wolfe Tones in the penultimate round. This year they fell at the quarter-final hurdle, bowing out to Rathkenny after extra-time. Their start to the latest hoganstand.com SFC was a 0-7 each draw with Duleek /Bellewstown at Walterstown in which the side in blue and yellow hit 19 wides, 14 of them while wind-assisted in the second half. Duleek / Bellewstown led by 0-7 to 03 at the break but did not score after that. At the end of it all a Joe Sheridan score gave Seneschalstown a point before the same player sent a sideline kick narrowly wide.

Aisling Clery presents the Senior Football Championship Cup to Edel McGrane

The Yellow Furze men did better in round two, gaining a 0-16 to 0-11 victory over Moynalvey in a Thursday tussle at Trim. It was 0-12 to 0-3 at the halfway stage with Stephen Finnegan kicking four points, three from play. Neighbours Walterstown provided the opposition in the third round at Dunsany and Seneschalstown boosted their points total to five with a 1-14 to 1-7 success. The eventual

winners were ahead by 1-7 to 1-4 at the break. Brian Sheridan sent over seven points, four frees, and brother Damien was dismissed just before the final whistle. In the opening minute a Joe Sheridan shot came off the bar and went into the net off Blacks’ full-back Davy Reynolds. Seneschalstown suffered a double scores defeat in the fourth round as Navan O’Mahonys repeated a 2012 win over them on a 0-10 to 0-5 scoreline at Stamullen. It was 0-5 to 0-2 at the break after points from Brian Sheridan (free) and Shane Clarke for the Yellow Furze side. In the second period Brian Sheridan fired over a longrange score and Joe Sheridan and Clarke were also on target. The group schedule was completed when Seneschalstown went on a scoring spree with a 5-14 to 0-8 win over Nobber, later to be relegated, at Carlanstown. It was 2-8 to 0-4 at the break and the losers were without Brian Farrell as McCann’s men claimed second place in the group. Seneschalstown went into the Pairc Tailteann quarter-final against Rathkenny as warm favourites

SENESCHALSTOWN CLOSE ON THREE FRONTS

Prior to the senior championship clash with Moynalvey in Trim, front l/r: David Hosie, Niall Groome, Damien McDonald, James Byrne, Peter Watters, James Meade, Mark Carey, Ciaran Macken, James Conlon, Colin Gleeson. Back: Wesley McDonagh, Niall Lyons, Robert Ruddy, Francis Smith, Shane Clarke, Conor Cowley, Stephen Finnegan, Joe Sheridan, David Lyons, Gerry Sheridan, Cormac Noonan, Damien Sheridan, Joe Cowley, David Matthews, David Byrne, Sean Noonan, Andrew Collins

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especially as the team in red and black had to play without their injured county midfielder Brian Meade. However, the script did not enfold as many predicted with Rathkenny winning by 0-14 to 110 after extra-time. After starting strongly against the breeze with early points from Brian Sheridan (free) and Ciaran Macken, Seneschalstown trailed by 0-3 to 0-7 at the first break, Rathkenny putting over four points in the last five minutes. The Yellow Furze side was still four points (0-5 to 0-9) adrift at the threequarter stage after points from Joe and Brian Sheridan (free). When Owen Elliott made it 0-10 to 0-7 on the hour mark Seneschalstown looked to be out. However, then Bryan Clarke got at the end of a Robert Ruddy delivery to give a 20-minute stay of execution. The sides were again level at halftime in extra-time but points from Jack Gore and veteran Donal Curtis put the seal on Rathkenny’s success as Seneschalstown failed to reach the Colin Walsh is under pressure in the U16 Summer League final

last four. Selector Ian Maguire admitted that his side wasn’t good enough on quarter-final day. “Perhaps the tag of being such hot favourites didn’t help us and maybe they being without Brian Meade made us a bit complacent. Rathkenny seemed to want the win more than us,” he said. “During the year we had a few players based in London and they were coming back and forward for games. The club was flying Andrew Collins, Shane and Bryan Clarke, Gary Conlon and Stephen Finnegan, who was troubled by an injury. So we were unable to have the full squads at training sessions. “They were training in London but not all together. After coming home for the game against Rathkenny, Andrew Collins cut his hand in an accident the day before the match but he still played with the hand bandaged up. “That was difficult for Andrew McCann, who was in his year as

manager, but he still put in a fantastic job, he has a wealth of experience and a big knowledge of the game, having been on an All-Ireland winning team with Armagh, and the players have a huge respect for him. “Not having the full senior squad available for training was disruptive but we wouldn’t want to use that as an excuse for not going further. It was still a good year for the club with a third place finish being gained in the A League Division 1 and the second and third teams also doing well. “There were positives to be taken from the year. One was James Meade, aged 18, who did well in his first year playing senior football. There are a few other young lads who will be challenging for places, like Niall Lyons, Aidan Finnegan, Sean and Niall McCabe and Eamonn Sheridan. They are names for the future. “Despite a few lads being abroad, there were great numbers at training this year and there was very keen

Aisling Clery presents the player of the match on senior final day to Stacey Grimes

U16 full back David Fox

Louise McKeever

JFC D finalists, front l/r: Ella Keating (mascot), Ronan Conneely, Louis McAuley, James Gillick, Adrian Clarke, Mark Keating, Sean Doyle, Semi Byrne (mascot), Tony McDonnell, Shane Gargan (captain), Tommy Duggan, Cormac Mullen, Declan Byrne (selector/trainer). Back: Darren Sheehy, Cian Sheehy (mascot), Leo Sheridan (selector), Terry Maguire, Tean Cummins, Cian Ruddy, William Mullen , Niall Sheridan, Robert Mullen, Shane Corbally, Jimmy Reilly,  Daniel McLoughlin, Martin Clarke, Mick Beggy, Mark Fox, Darragh Keogh, Aled Igman, Ian Carey, Michael Mullen (manager). Missing from photo Mark Gleeson

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