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RAYMOND RATTY

Members of the Ratty Family together with O'Mahonys and Ballinlough clubs present a cheque for Eu1,200 euro to Gerry Cully, Head of promotions and Fundraising for Our Lady's Hospital for sick children Crumlin

THE LATE RAYMOND RATTY REMEMBERED IN FITTING STYLE

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n February last, a charity night involving members of the Ballinlough and Navan O'Mahony's clubs, was staged in Brews Hill to commemorate the late Raymond Ratty with all proceeds going to Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children, Crumlin. The night began with a juvenile match, where Meath players Stephen Bray, Alan Forde, Cormac McGuiness and Kevin Reilly, joined the game with the youngsters to contribute to make it a memorable occasion for all who took part. Ironically, the first score of the night was a point for Ballinlough by Raymond's nephew Harry Ryan. The game also featured the first appearance in the red and white jersey by Harry's younger brother, Ciaran. Following the final whistle, Stephen and Kevin presented commemorative plaques and medals to each team. To conclude the action on the night, the older generation had its fling, as the ‘Golden Oldies’ from both clubs rolled back the years and took to the field. However, there were glimpses

of the old abilities on view, with some fine point scoring from long range, in particular for O'Mahony's from Colm Kane, and by Ballinlough's Francis Tunney and Ken Rothwell. Former O'Mahony's and Meath stars, Michael Downes and Finian Murtagh, along with current senior team manager, Davy Nelson, all well into their fifties now, displayed all the craftiness that comes with the many, many years of experience that they possess between them. Indeed, Murtagh was singled out for some heavy tackling by me Ballinlough defence, possibly due to his close connections with their local rivals, Drumbaragh Emmets. While for Ballinlough, Denis Gaughran made his debut at adult level at the tender age of 44, finally fulfilling the enormous potential he showed as an underage talent. With less then a minute remaining to play, the cry went out ‘next goal wins’. Some seven minutes later, following teak tough defending by the likes of the Reilly brothers, Brian and Alan, Brian Smith, ex Walterstown stars, (cousins of Raymond, who

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guested for O'Mahony's), Seamus and Martin Lanney who made a spectacular goal-line clearance, Gary McDonnell, Seamus Magee, Vinny Ryan and Liam Sherlock, not to mention a number of fine saves by both goalkeepers, Andy Smith (Ballinlough) and John Lynch (O'Mahony's), Ballinlough finally raised the green flag much to the relief of both teams. Refreshments were enjoyed in the clubhouse afterwards and many aching limbs were reported the following morning. A total of €1,200 was raised on the night and the cheque was presented by the Ratty family and members of O'Mahonys and Ballinlough clubs to Gerry Cully, Head of Promotions and Fundraising of Crumlin Childrens Hospital. The Ratty family would like to express their sincere appreciation to all those who took part in the games, or helped, in any way, to organise them, and especially to those who contributed so generously to the collection to help raise much needed funds for such a worthy cause.


ST MARYS A happy Cian O'Brien raises the U12 Summer Shield at Syddan

St Mary’s have been edging closer towards their aim of getting back up to where they were a few years ago. After losing at the semi-final stage of the Junior B FC in 2010, they slipped a little the following year when bowing out in a quarter-final game but in 2012 they made notable progress when reaching the title decider only to lose out to heavy hitters Dunshaughlin.

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he Donore / Rosnaree club was knocking at the senior door for a few years after winning the JFC with a replayed final victory over Meath Hill in 1979 before slipping back down to junior ranks. They again reached the JFC final in 1998 only to fall short against Drumree. Mary’s have been in junior B ranks since 2010 and this year they were one of just five first teams in a championship which had 16 starters. They had former St Colmcille’s player Mark O’Neill in charge for a second term with Martin McCann and Marc Morrison as his fellow selectors. St Mary’s were the only first string in Group A with the other five being made up of four second teams of senior club and one intermediate

FINAL HEARTBREAK BUT MARY’S WILL BE BACK reserves. The campaign began with a 2-6 to 0-9 win over Moynalvey at Skryne. An Eoin Morrison goal following a delivery from Cormac Drew boosted them to a 1-3 to 0-3 victory and Morrison increased the advantage on the restart before Robbie Callaghan slotted over a free. Near the end of the third quarter a

quickly-taken free by Callaghan led to Drew firing in the second goal from around 13 metres. Mary’s had three points to spare at the end and while the margin could have been more, they were pleased to get off to a winning start. Nobody who attended the second round clash between St Mary’s and Dunshaughlin in very poor conditions

The squad on duty for the JFC B decider against Dunshaughlin in Pairc Tailteann, front l/r: Tony McDonnell, Conor Lenehan, Eoin Craven, Paul Scanlon, Robbie Callaghan, David Smith, Brian Smith, Michael Everard, Eoghan Everard, Bernard McKeown, David Gogarty. Back: Fergus Flood, Mark Morrison, Joe Moore, Eoin Morrison, James Lynch, Derek O`Brien, Stephen Bishop, Erin Madden, Leon Madden, Luke Sullivan, Cormac Drew, Nick Gogan, Robert Victory, Niall Craven, Mick Lynch, Mark Sheeran

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Best wishes to St. Marys GAA, from

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St Mary's before their championship clash with St Pat’s at Donore, front l/r: Robert Victory, Paul Scanlon, Brian Smith, Eoin Craven, Bernard McKeown, Nicki Gogan, David Smith, Derek O'Brien, David Gogarty, Robbie Callaghan, Paul McDonnell. Back: Fergus Flood, Cormac Drew, Conor Lenihan, Sean Lenihan, Erin Madden, Leon Madden, James Lynch, Luke Sullivan, Joey Moore, Eoin Morrison, Stephen Bishop

at Dunganny on the first day of May could have visualised that the teams would meet in the final five months later. After leading by 1-4 to 0-2 at the break, Mary’s were second best after the switching of ends and finished up 1-8 to 2-8 losers as Dunshaughlin repeated a 2011 group stages victory over them. After Stephen Bishop gave the east Meath side the lead with an early point, their captain, Robbie

Callaghan, found the net. However, Callaghan later failed to convert a penalty kick and two Dunshaughlin goals in the second half turned the game in their favour. St Patrick’s provided the third round opposition for St Mary’s, who won by 1-10 to 0-10 after leading by after being ahead by 1-6 to 0-5 at the halfway stage. Cormac Drew pulled on a loose ball to fire in the goal and Stephen Bishop also impressed in attack.

The men in green and red moved closer to a place in the closing stages with a very comfortable 1-18 to 0-6 success over Gaeil Colmcille before clinching it with a minimum margin 216 to 3-12 win over Donaghmore/ Ashbourne in a see-saw contest at Simonstown. St Mary’s conceded the first of three goals after just three minutes and made a fine comeback after being eight points in arrears to snatch victory with an added time point put

This squad and mentors defeated St Michael's to claim the U12 Summer Shield at a very wet Syddan, front l/r: Vinne Moore (mentor), Sam Victory, Patrick Coleman Brady, Conor O'Brien, Ruairi O'Suillivan, Jack Hynes, Tadgh O' Suillivan, Cian O'Brien, Seamus Brady (mentor). Back: Paul Scanlon (manager), Josh Moore, Caoimhin O'Brien, James Martin, Eoin Kelleher, Conor Austin, Daniel Tully, Brian Dunne, Patrick O'Brien, John O'Brien (mentor)

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Determined defender David Gogarty

Midfielder Joey Moore makes a great catch against the Pats

Manager Mark O'Neill and selector Martin McCann

over by Robbie Callaghan from a free. Donaghmore / Ashbourne led by 26 to 0-9 and netted their third goal within 30 seconds of the restart. Goals from Callaghan and Eoin Craven got Mary’s on level terms and there was drama at the end when a close-in free for them was disallowed because of an off-the-ball incident. However, they got a similar award for a pick off the ground by an opponent and Callaghan made no mistake to send his side through and end Donaghmore / Ashbourne’s thirds’ hopes of advancing. In 2010 St Mary’s were disappointed to lose a high-scoring Junior B FC semi-final against Moynalvey by 0-17 to 2-14 after extra-time at Syddan. But last September the tables were turned when Mark O’Neill’s side just got the better of the team from Meath’s tidiest town by 1-7 to 0-9 in a quarter-final tussle at Skryne. It was much more comfortable for Mary’s in their penultimate round tie as they outpointed Boardsmill by 013 to 0-3 at Skryne with Robbie Callaghan scoring seven points, six of them from frees. The Donore / Rosnaree outfit laid solid foundations for that success by putting over the first three points of the game and the last three before the break when they led by 0-6 to 02. The advantage was increased in the second period with Eoin Morrison and Cormac Drew also showing up well in attack while Paul Scanlon, Bernard McKeown and Eoin Craven impressed at the back. That win put St Mary’s through to meet Dunshaughlin, who had defeated St Vincent’s by the minimum margin in their semi-final, and the greater experience of the black and amber brigade proved crucial as they prevailed on a 0-12 to 0-9 scoreline. The losers were left to reflect on a statistic which told that eight of their nine points came from frees converted by Robbie Callaghan. Midfielder James Lynch was their only other scorer. Callaghan came close to finding the net midway through the second half

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Erin Madden

St Mary's full forward Eoin Morrison

David Smith heads for the Dunshaughlin goals


when his shot hit an upright with opposing ‘keeper Sean Doyle beaten. Mary’s trailed by 0-4 to 0-6 at the break and after falling three points in arrears, they rallied to get on level terms in the last quarter. However, they were unable to push on and while Eoin Madden, Eoin Craven and Brian Smith did good work in defence, their attack could not conjure up a match-saving goal. Although St Mary’s were pipped at the post in their quest for the Junior B FC, club PRO Robert Victory feels that 2012 was a year of significant progress and is hopeful that the team can go one better next year. “At the start of the year we were hoping for a strong showing in Division 4 of the A Leagues. We won Division 5 in 2010 and this year we gave some good displays against junior A teams. We finished well up the table and the early games left us in good shape for the championship. “We lost just one game in our group. That was against Dunshaughlin in the second round, they seem to be a bogey team for us as they beat us last year and again in the final. However, it was good that we laid bogeys against Donaghmore / Ashbourne and Moynalty, both of whom had got the better of us in the last couple of years. “We had a number of close games but it was good that we were able to come out the right side of the result in most games that mattered. Belief was a crucial factor in our favour. “Mark O’Neill was our manager for the second year and knowing the players better this year was a big plus factor. Former Louth player Martin McCann came in and him and the other selector, Marc Morrison, worked well with him. The players put in a huge effort too and no stone was left unturned. “The win over Donaghmore / Ashbourne in the last round of the group phase was a crucial one. We had to come from behind more than one in that game with a late goal from half-back Eoin Craven drawing us level before Robbie Callaghan won it with a free in added time. A draw would have seen us through but we did not know that then and it was better to win. “The quarter-final against Moynalty was a big test for us. Even though they were very experienced and one of the best teams not to win the junior B title in the last few years, we were really ‘up’ for the game and beating them gave us a huge lift. “The semi-final against Boardsmill was a bit more comfortable. We were very confident before that match and we only conceded one point from play, going on to win by 10 points. “We were very confident of winning the final and the statistic of only scoring one point from play was misleading as our forwards got into scoring positions a number of times and the Dunshaughlin backs were fouled to foul. We were unlucky not to get a goal when Robbie Callaghan hit the post in the second half and if that had gone in we could have gone on to win, especially as we were in the ascendancy at that stage. “We have to take a lot of positives from the year, we have unearthed some young talent and the team is moving

forward together. We have to have high hopes of going one better next year,” said Victory. The PRO finds optimism for the future with the amount of work being carried out at underage levels in the club, remarking “the future looks bright for St Mary’s.” He referred to the commitment of the players, the management team, the committee and the supporters and is also looking forward to seeing ambitious plans for a new clubhouse coming to fruition in the coming months. There appears to no shortage of ambition in the St Mary’s club as they bid to move back up the ladder towards where they were some years ago. The first step could be made in 2013. The St Mary’s team in the JFC B final was: Derek O’Brien; Paul Scanlon, Erin Madden, Bernard McKeon; Eoin Craven, Brian Smith, Eoghan Everard; Joe Moore, James Lynch; David Smith, Stephen Bishop, Luke Sullivan, Robbie Callaghan, Eoin Morrison, Cormac Drew. Subs: David Gogarty for Scanlon, Leon Madden for D Smith, Tony McDonnell for Sullivan, Mark Sheeran, Marc Morrison, Niall Craven, Conor Lenehan, Michael Everard, Stephen Madden.

UNDER-12 SUCCESS St Mary’s captured a first ever under-12 county title when defeating St Michael’s by 0-13 to 0-7 in inclement conditions at Syddan. Despite being without inspirational wing-back Saoirse McLoughlin, the east Meath lads started strongly in the 11a-side decider, putting over the first four points. St Michael’s came back well but Mary’s led by 0-6 to 0-4 at the break. St Mary’s increased their advantage in the second half with Cian and Conor O’Brien and Sam Victory finishing up with three points each. Patrick Brady, Tadhg O’Sullivan and Conor Austin also got among the scorers. After the final whistle winning captain Cian O’Brien received the cup from Under-14 chairman Paul Mooney. The St Mary’s team and scorers in the under-12 final was: James Martin, Caoimhin O’Brien, Josh Moore, Patrick Brady (0-2), Brian Dunne, Cian O’Brien (0-3), Daniel Tully, Sam Victory (0-3), Tadhg O’Sullivan (0-1), Conor O’Brien (03), Conor Austin (0-1). Subs: Jack Hynes for Tadhg O’Sullivan, Ruairi O’Sullivan for Victory, Eoghan Kelleher for Caoimhin O’Brien, Paddy O’Brien for Dunne.

Continued Success to Meath & Best Wishes to St. Marys from Pat and family

PAT LENEHAN MINIBUS HIRE

AVAILABLE FOR ALL OCCASIONS Lougher House, Duleek, Co. Meath. Tel: 041-9825350 Mobile: 086-8346546 407


SPECIAL FEATURE Martin Horan drives the sliothar upfield

WINNER ALRIGHT Kilmessan’s Martin Horan is no stranger to success on the hurling field and the racetrack.

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hen Martin Horan’s not wearing the blue and white of his beloved Kilmessan, he can be found in Ger Lyons’ yard in nearby Kiltale where he is the leading Flat trainer’s headman. A member of one of Meath’s bestknown hurling families, Martin has been working for the former jump jockey “on and off” since he was 13. He has enjoyed success on the hurling pitch and the Lyons stable is no stranger to success on the racetrack either. In 2012 alone, the stable produced over 35 winners with Lightening Pearl, Love Lockdown, Future Generation and Elletelle

leading the way. “It’s great to be able to do something that you enjoy,” Martin says about his day job. “Sport obviously plays a big part in my life and the bit of success helps. I’ve been lucky to have won as much as I have with Kilmessan and it is fantastic to be part of another winning team at Ger Lyons Racing. We have 70 horses in training at peak times and a lot of them are quite successful.” Martin has been playing hurling for as long as he can remember. Both he and his siblings Nicky, John, Tony and Stephanie have represented Kilmessan with distinction, just as their father Sean did before them. Martin is the holder of five Meath SHC medals, which he won in 1999, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2008, a Leinster club IHC medal and a Nicky Rackard Cup medal he won with Meath in 2009. He has also won

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various football medals with Dunsany. At 33, Martin is a year younger than his more famous brother Nicky, who has been Meath’s standout hurler and talisman for the past 15 years. When the Royals defeated London by 2-18 to 1-15 in the Rackard Cup final three years ago, Nicky bagged 1-3. Martin lined out at right half back in that Croke Park decider, which proved the highlight of his decadelong inter-county career. “It was great to win a final in Croke Park, but Meath are better than the Rackard Cup and should be aiming higher,” opines the defender-cummidfielder, who played his last game for the Royals last year. “When Michael Duignan gave me my debut, Meath had beaten Laois in the Leinster championship the previous year and were playing in Division 1 of the National League. We were well able to compete against the


best counties but, sadly, we’ve slipped back a good bit since then. Ten years ago, we were able to beat the likes of Dublin and Westmeath, but that’s all changed now. “Dublin have invested huge money in their underage over the past number of years and it’s starting to pay off for them now at senior level. And when you see the progress Westmeath are making at underage level as well, it makes you wonder what Meath would be like if we did the same. “Having played under Cillian Farrell, I know how good a manager he is. He’s brought a lot of new players through and there is huge potential there. I’m convinced there is a Christy Ring Cup in these lads, but they need to be kept together and the county board has an important role to play in this regard. I accept that Meath is a football county first and foremost, but the county board should be doing more to promote hurling in my opinion.” Once the undisputed kingpins of Meath hurling, Kilmessan have now gone four years without winning the Jubilee Cup and Martin fears that there could be more lean times ahead. Managed by Mullingar man James Heffernan, the Blues suffered a surprise 0-12 to 1-11 defeat to Longwood at the quarter-final stage of this year’s senior championship. Kilmessan recovered from the concession of a Ryan Moore goal to take a 0-8 to 1-3 lead into the break, but facing the elements in the second half, they were outscored by 0-8 to 04 as Longwood booked a semi-final ticket against Killyon.

“This year was very disappointing,” Martin admits. “We’ve suffered a lot with retirements – the lads who have gone haven’t been replaced. On top of that, we are still overly reliant on Nicky (Horan) for scores. We have good young lads coming through, but time and patience will be needed over the next couple of years while they find their feet. “The highlight this year from a Kilmessan point of view was our camogie team’s retention of the senior championship. The team beat Trim in the final in Ratoath and was captained by my sister Stephanie.” Martin is proud to work for Ger Lyons who has been steadily increasing his number of winners in recent years and has established himself as one of the most highprofile trainers in Ireland. 2011 was his most successful season to date both in terms of number of winners trained and the fact that he gained his first ever win at Group 1 level by saddling Lightening Pearl to win the Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket. Ger was born in Co. Kildare close to the yard of Peter McCreery, who he worked for as a youngster. He furthered his education in the US before relocating to the UK where he rode 50 winners over jumps prior to being forced to retire after suffering a serious injury in a fall at Newcastle in 1989. He returned to Ireland in the early 1990s to begin a career as a trainer. While he has concentrated on the Flat in recent seasons, Ger’s first big success came under National Hunt rules when he saddled Big-And-Bold

to win the Grade 1 Powers Gold Cup at Fairyhouse in 2002. Other notable wins over the jumps came with Spirit Dancer in the Grade 3 Juvenile Hurdle at Fairyhouse in 1996, Deanery Nellie in the Bewleys Hotels Bonus Bumper in 2003 and Royal All Star in the Pertemps Handicap Hurdle Qualifier at Leopardstown in 2004. Ger has enjoyed a decade of success on the Flat since winning the Rochestown Stakes at Leopardstown in 2002 with Akanti. His ability to attract the leading owners has seen his strike rate in stakes races improve significantly since 2007. His first winner at Royal Ascot came in ’07 when Elletelle won the Queen Mary Stakes under Johnny Murtagh. A prolific winner on the all-weather track at Dundalk, Lyons won the Listed Curragh Stakes with Pasar Silbano in 2008 and the Group 3 Brownstown Stakes at Fairyhosue with Berg Bahn in 2010. Last year, Future Generation won the valuable EBF Summer Fillies Premier Handicap at The Curragh in June and the Group 3 Desmond Stakes at Leopardstown in August, but the highlight was undoubtedly Lightening Pearl’s Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes triumph in September. With some of the best Flat horses in his ranks and jockeys of the calibre of Johnny Murtagh, Emmet McNamara, Gary Carroll and Gary Philips to guide them, 2013 is shaping up to be another bumper year for Ger Lyons. And who’s to say Martin Horan and his Kilmessan team-mates won’t be riding high in the Meath senior hurling championship once again.

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SPECIAL FEATURE No job is too big or small for Kilcawley Construction

Kilcawley Construction is currently involved in the renewal of the Townsparks area in Navan. The award winning Sligo-based company is renowned for the high standard of its work and General Manager Paul Feeney outlined what the project entails.

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he Royal County senior football team is to be the subject of a rebuilding process following the appointment of new manager Mick O’Dowd and his backroom team back in October. The Skryne man has outlined his plans to lay solid foundations for the future of Meath GAA’s flagship team as they bid to repair the damage of relegation to Division 3 of the National Football League in the months ahead. Work on the county team’s face-lift has already begun and a company with plenty of experience in a similar field is Kilcawley Construction. The Sligo-based company is currently carrying out the remedial works scheme at Townsparks in

LAYING SOLID FOUNDATIONS Navan. Following a highly competitive dualstage restricted tendering procedure, Meath County Council selected Kilcawley Construction and, as is the custom for them, they have lived up to their end of the bargain. The work at Townsparks – which is located a stones throw away from the home of Meath football at Pairc

Tailteann - consists of the demolition of 9 two-storey houses, construction of 21 new houses and the construction of a community resource building. It also entails complete refurbishment of 42 existing tenanted houses, refurbishment of external finishes to 50 existing owneroccupied houses and general

Kilcawley Construction has worked on a wide range of landmark buildings

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Meath County Council officials and representatives from Kilcawley Construction sign the contract for the remedial works in Townspark, Navan

upgrading of all roads, footpaths, services, front garden and rear garden walls. Kilcawley Construction moved on site in October of 2011 and the company’s General Manager Paul Feeney say that the project – which is of huge significance to the local community - is on schedule to be completed on time by August of next year. “Meath County Council appears to be happy with our work,” he told Royal County GAA yearbook. “In the current climate it is a big job and the feedback we have received has been very positive. “We’ve also a good relationship with the residents and we, as a company, are glad to be working up there. We have recently completed similar projects in Longford and Sligo.” Kilcawley Construction was founded in 1934 by brothers Matthew and Tom

Construction has worked on a wide range of undertakings. Many of these have culminated in projects which are acknowledged as landmark buildings today. Of course, these are extremely difficult economic times as the country finds itself strangled by the grip of an ongoing recession and the construction sector has been the worst hit of all. Scarcely a day goes by without dispiriting news for the Irish economy, from spiralling unemployment and Government spending cuts to bond market interest rates, but Paul prefers to look at the positives. The Sligo native is pleased to report that Kilcawley Construction has withstood the worst of the recession and is holding its own. “We have a broad range of works ongoing at the moment in both the private and public sectors, from housing to schools, pharmaceutical to industrial. “It is tough out there at the moment and very competitive. We try to remain as competitive as possible

Kilcawley and it headquarters are based in Sligo town. The cornerstone of the company has always been ‘Excellence in Construction’. Over the past eight decades the company has modernised, grown and been restructured to meet the challenges of a changing Ireland and the needs of the modern marketplace. Best Wishes & Continued Success To The core business Kilcawley Construction, of the company is From as main contractor in general contracting. Collaborating with the country’s leading project managers, and architectural, engineering and Asphalt Specialist | Torch On Felt quantity surveying Slating | Tile Repairs practices, Kilcawley Approved Contractor for Permaphalt

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Meath full-back Kevin Reilly in NFL action against Derry

and we rely on a lot of repeat business from our clients. “We pride ourselves on the quality of our work, which is always done to a schedule and within budget. “We hope that rests well with our clients and attracts repeat business but, at all times, we have to keep a close eye on everything that is going on and be mindful of what is happening in the industry.” It is the policy of Kilcawley Construction to operate a quality system that meets its customers’ specification and any statutory

regulations that are required from initial negotiation to contract hand over. The company was one of the first contractors in the west to achieve ISO Quality System certification by the NSAI. In adherence to its ‘Excellence in Construction’ philosophy, the Sligo company consistently monitors and improves its Health & Safety and Quality Management systems. Kilcawley Construction has a pool of professional managers, engineers,

and quantity surveyors. It also has a large number of skilled workers, many of whom have in excess of 25 years with the company. “We run a very tight ship with a very loyal and skilled staff,” Paul added. “Some of our employees have been with the company for over twenty years. “I would be optimistic about the future. The company has been in existence since 1934 and we have very intention of being around for the next eighty years.”

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MOYNALVEY Moynalvey failed to reach the knockout stages in their first year back in the hoganstand.com Senior Football Championship, but they are sure to have learned from the experience and look certain to mount a serious challenge for a place in the business end of the competition next year. By Paul Clarke.

There was much to admire about the way Moynalvey claimed the intermediate title last year, winning all their games and finishing the job with a courageous victory over Gaeil Colmcille in the final when they recovered from a troublesome start to win by a couple of points. That success came just three years after they had claimed the junior crown, so they are clearly a team which is developing all the time. They possess a team with the obvious experienced figures like the Donoghue brothers, but they also have a plethora of youngsters who will take time to adjust to the demands of senior football. One victory and one draw gave them a points total of three in the divisional campaign this year, while there was also an encouraging performance in defeat against Donaghmore/Ashbourne. Moynalvey were highly consistent in Division 3 of the All-County A League,

Davy Donoghue gets in his handpass as Donaghmore's Eoin O'Riordan closes in

POSITIVE DEBUT YEAR so much so that they gained promotion, and playing in the higher division next year is bound to benefit them as they continue to develop. With Alan Kelly again managing them, they were drawn in a championship group which contained two teams with genuine hopes of achieving outright success in champions Summerhill and Donaghmore/Ashbourne, while also in the mix were Nobber,

Duleek/Bellewstown and St Patrick’s. Ahead of the commencement of the championship action they picked up five points from a possible eight in the league. They opened up with a defeat (1-3 to 1-11) against Na Fianna, the team they would later meet in the final, then beat Ballinabrackey (0-9 to 0-6), drew with Bective (1-6 to 0-9) and got the better of Ballivor (0-10 to 0-6). The championship opener against

Back in the senior ranks, the squad that took on Donaghmore Ashbourne in the opening round of the SFC at Skryne, front l/r: James Kelly, Anthony Forde, Padraig Donoghue, Ollie Regan, Cillian O'Sullivan, Davy Donoghue, Barry O'Keefe, Ken Hyland, Robbie Kiernan, Stephen Donoghue, Ciaran Ennis, Luke Duffy, Mark O’Sullivan. Back: Paul Connelly, Cathal McCabe, Robbie Quinlan, Darren Brennan, Anthony Brien, Ciaran Collins, Paul Weldon, John Donoghue, Ray Ryan, Dan Tracey, Donal Smyth, Willie Mahady, Willie Harnan

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The Ladies JFC winners, front l/r: Helen Fagan, Kate Lawless, Roisin Mallee, Katie Little, Ciara Mallee, Cliodhna O' Sullivan, Ciara Donoghue, Louise Donoghue, Ciara Dowling, Celine Harnan, Stephanie Thompson, Louise Dunne. Back: Declan Smith, Sarah Kelly, Aideen Smith, Taylor Little, Orla Hegarty, Laura Forde, Eileen Conneely, Mary Conneely, Cheyenne O'Brien, Aoife Weston, Tara Smith, Helena Dowd, Gemma Regan, Richie Melia, Sean Weston

Donaghmore/Ashbourne at Skryne was always going to be very testing, but Moynalvey gave a tremendous account of themselves in a hugely entertaining game before losing by 016 to 1-16. Their battling qualities had to be admired as they refused to throw in the towel whenever the winners threatened to pull clear. John and Stephen Donoghue impressed at midfield for Moynalvey and Mark and Cillian O’Sullivan were menacing in attack, but what they were missing was the goal which might well have enabled them to take something from the match. Andrew Tormey raised the only green flag and that helped Donaghmore/Ashbourne to lead by 1-10 to 0-8 at the interval. Tormey might have had another goal in the first half, but Moynalvey ‘keeper Ollie Regan performed heroics when he turned his fisted effort over the crossbar. The winners’ lead stood at 1-15 to 0-12 in the closing stages, but Kelly’s team

battled away bravely and cut the gap to three points. They just couldn’t get that goal, however, on a day when Stephen Donoghue, Cillian and Mark O’Sullivan each contributed four points. Moynalvey’s group win came when they beat a weakened Nobber team by 2-8 to 0-10 at Walterstown where Ken Hyland scored two goals and was sent off in the final minute. A productive start yielded the first four points courtesy of Cillian O’Sullivan (two), David Donoghue and Darren Brennan, but the lead was down to two points (1-5 to 0-6) at the break. Nobber, who had got back to level terms at one stage in the first half, reduced the deficit to the minimum at the start of the second period, but Hyland’s second goal put Moynalvey firmly on the road to victory. Cillian and Mark O’Sullivan both rowed in with three points. Dunsany drew a big attendance for the local derby between Summerhill

and Moynalvey and the defending champions used their craft and experience to win by 1-20 to 1-11. It looked good for Moynalvey early on as three Cillian O’Sullivan points enabled them to lead by 0-3 to 0-2, but the ‘Hill were in front by 0-10 to 03 at the change of ends. O’Sullivan had been denied a goal when Paul Comey, who deputised between the posts for the injured Tony McDonnell, produced a fine save. Stephen and John Donoghue pointed early in the second half for Moynalvey, but Summerhill were soon nine points clear. A fortunate goal scored by Sean Dalton put the issue beyond doubt, but Moynalvey got a consolation goal near the end when Cillian O’Sullivan provided a brilliant pass for Daniel Treacy to palm to the net. The fourth round meeting with Duleek/Bellewstown at Ratoath proved to be a painful experience for Moynalvey as they conceded a late

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Defeated by a strong Inny Gaels combination in the U14 Division 3 final at Pairc Tailteann, front l/r: Brian O'Reilly, Tommy Gilsenan, Jack Ruddy, Scott Tuite, Stephen Quinn, Colm Kiernan, Ciaran Quinn, Tomas McCabe, Rory Scanlon, Liam Reilly, Fergal Murray. Back: Mick Murray, Ryan Fields, Matthew Martin, Eamon Slevin, Hughie O'Sullivan, Matt Brennan, Alex Corscadden, Adam Murphy, Conor Harnan, Aidan Gilsenan, Mark Weldon, Paddy Reilly, Roman Regan

The panel that won the U16 Division 3 final at Pairc Tailteann, front l/r: Sean Duggan, Brian Reilly, David McLoughlin, Conor Harnan, Hughie O'Sullivan, Adam Murphy, Colm Kiernan, Patrick Dowling, Darragh Walsh. Back: Sean T. Kiernan, Colm O'Connor, Eamonn McLoughlin, Michael Burke, Andrew Jackson, David Schilders, Brian Harnan, Robert Lawless, Eoghan Mitchell

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goal and were held to a draw (0-14 to 2-8). A victory would have prolonged their interest in the championship and set up a winner-take-all clash with St Patrick’s in the last round. Duleek / Bellewstown made a dream start when David Moore goaled inside the first minute and they led by 1-3 to 0-0 after nine minutes. The advantage had stretched to 1-7 to 0-4 at the interval, but the introduction of Donal Smith to midfield and Ciaran Ennis to attack gave Moynalvey a significant lift. With Mark O’Sullivan and Ennis proving accurate they battled back to parity with nine minutes remaining and then pushed three points clear. But then it all went wrong. Treacy went for a goal when a point would have sealed victory, Duleek/Bellewstown broke away and Eanna Byrne punished slack defending to volley home the equalising goal. The last group game at Dunshaughlin produced nine goals, six of them for St Patrick’s who won by 6-7 to 3-8. The Stamullen men ran riot in the first half and led by 5-4 to 03 at the break, before understrength Moynalvey battled back and cut the deficit to six points with four minutes remaining. A sixth Pat’s goal from a Niall Mooney penalty killed off any hopes of a Lazarus-like recovery. “We were disappointed with the way things went,” said John Donoghue who captained Moynalvey to their IFC win last year. “We set ourselves two targets at the start of the year. One was to gain promotion to Division 2 of the league and the second was to reach the knockout stages of the championship. We achieved promotion which was good because if you’re playing senior football you need to be operating higher up in the league. “In the championship we had a mixed preparation for our first game against Donaghmore/Ashbourne due to lads being involved with the Meath hurlers. They’re playing in the National League until the end of March or early April. It means you have a broken preparation. “Playing our first game back in the SFC was exciting for the parish. It was a very good match, but Donaghmore/Ashbourne were just that bit ahead of us. They have been knocking on the door for the last few

years. They beat us by three points, but we played well and there was good momentum going into the Nobber game. Again, we played well and we were delighted to win for the first time back in senior football. “Our game against Summerhill was a huge one. We were ready to play it back in June, but with Meath drawing with Carlow there was a delay. It broke our momentum. I know it’s the same for everyone. The Meath minors were also going well at the time and we were without Cillian O’Sullivan and Padraig Harnan for most of our preparation. “Summerhill beat us by nine points. It was an open game, a bit of a shootout. They were physically stronger than us. We went into the Duleek/Bellewstown game knowing that a win would keep qualification in our own hands. We didn’t play well in the first half, but we played excellently in the second. “We outscored them by 10 points to one and were three points up, but we then conceded a desperate goal. Cillian O’Sullivan was injured and missed that game. He was a big loss. Cillian is a fantastic talent. After that the game against St Patrick’s meant nothing. We didn’t play our minors.” Failing to qualify for the knockout stages was disappointing, but the 2012 championship was always likely to be something of a learning curve. “We are sure to have learned from this year,” John added. “We had three minors and four or five 19 year-olds. It’s a huge step up to senior level and not playing in the higher divisions of the league means you’re not getting games against senior teams. The non-availability of players early in the year due to their involvement with the county hurlers and under-age teams is a problem for us, but when we get to April or May we’re fine.”

Tara Smith raises the Meath Ladies JFC Cup at Kiltale

Eileen Conneely receives the player of the match award in the Junior Final from Aisling Clery

LADIES CLINCH JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIP Defeats in finals in the previous two years hurt, but the Moynalvey ladies made up for the disappointment when they beat neighbours Dunsany by 3-12 to 1-2 in the JFC final at Kiltale. The finalists had drawn in an earlier meeting, but Moynalvey were

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Brian Harnan accepts the U16 Division 3 FL Cup from John Kavanagh, minor board chairman


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Senior manager Alan Kelly

well on the road to victory this time when they led by 2-4 to 0-0 after 15 minutes, with Stephanie Thompson scoring 2-1. Tracy King notched a goal for Dunsany, but Moynalvey held a 2-6 to 1-1 advantage at the break. Moynalvey’s third goal was scored by Louise Dunne and they coasted to victory after that. Eileen Conneely received the player of the match award and team captain Tara Smith accepted the cup. The Moynalvey team was: M Conneely; S Kelly, A Smith, H Fagan; T Little, A Watson, K Lawless; L Donoghue (0-1), E Conneely; C Donoghue, C Dowling (0-2), C O’Brien (0-1); L Dunne (1-0), S Thompson (2-2), T Smith (0-4). Subs – L Forde (0-1), O Hegarty, H Dowd, C Harnan (0-1), C Melee.

Barry O'Keefe shoots as Davy Donoghue watches

O’REILLY STARS AS U16 SIDE TRIUMPHS

U14 captain Conor Harnan

John Donoghue keeps his eye on the ball

Brian O’Reilly was a star of the show when he contributed nine points in Moynalvey’s 1-18 to 1-11 victory over Killary Emmets in the Under-16 FC Division 3 final at Pairc Tailteann in late May. Four of his points came in the first half when Brian Harnan (two), Hughie O’Sullivan and Sean Duggan also split the uprights, but a goal from Daire Rowe helped Killary Emmets to lead by 1-8 to 0-8 at the interval. Moynalvey might have scored a couple of goals in that period, but ‘keeper Ben Corcoran came to the rescue of the north county team. Moynalvey made a great start to the second half as Robert Lawless scored their goal and O’Reilly (three) and Harnan pointed and they led by 1-12 to 1-8. With Darragh Walsh, O’Sullivan and O’Reilly finding their range the advantage stretched to six points and they cruised to victory after that. The Moynalvey team was: D Schilder; S Kiernan, E Mitchell, C Harnan; P Dowling, R Lawless (1-0), M Burke; B Harnan (0-3), E McLoughlin; B O’Reilly (0-9), A Murphy, D Walsh (0-1); C O’Connor, H O’Sullivan (0-3), S Duggan (0-2). Subs – D McLoughlin, A Jackson.

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Stephen Donoghue is airborne after kicking a great point

Ken Hyland gets away from Bryan Menton


CASTLETOWN For a team which suffered a very heavy defeat in its first Intermediate Football Championship game, Castletown did extremely well to not alone reach the knockout stages, but be within a couple of kicks of a ball of making it to the final.

Shane Clarke has Darren Mallon (St Ultan’s) for company

B

allinabrackey inflicted a 10 point hammering in that opener, but Paul Kelly’s team really got motoring after that and won three successive games to qualify for the quarter-finals where they edged out Ballinlough. However, Na Fianna defeated them by four points in a high-scoring semi-final. Castletown didn’t set the world alight in last year’s championship, but they did gain promotion to Division 1 of the All-County A League. There was the added bonus of some silverware as they easily beat senior opponents Oldcastle by 2-7 to 0-3 in the Division 2 final. With that success providing a happy end to 2011 there was room for optimism going into this year’s campaign and playing their league football in the highest section has to be of benefit as their younger players continue to develop. Life in Division 1 was always going to pose greater challenges and of their four games against senior opponents before the commencement of the championship they managed one victory and three defeats. The win came in round three when

CASTLETOWN GETTING CLOSER they beat Blackhall Gaels by 3-11 to 1-11, while the defeats came against Oldcastle (1-8 to 4-9) in a repeat of the Division 2 final, Skryne (0-12 to 114) and Navan O’Mahonys (1-5 to 112). It was then on to the more serious business of the championship in which they were drawn in group C along with Carnaross, Ballivor, Ballinabrackey and St Ultan’s, but they hardly anticipated such a painful opening when they played the Offalyborder outfit at Bohermeen.

It took Castletown over 20 minutes to get off the mark when substitute Shane Farrelly pointed a free and they trailed by 0-2 to 0-8 at the break after Gerard Farrelly had scored their other point from play. They might have been significantly further behind, but Jonathan Ginnity made some outstanding saves to keep the deficit down to manageable proportions. Their task became close to hopeless when Danny Quinn goaled early in the second period and

On duty for the IFC game with St Ultan’s at Carlanstown, front l/r: Kenneth Smith, Alan Smyth, Stephen Duffy, Noel Smyth, Thomas Smith, Darren Finney, Gerard Farrelly, Barry Smith, Joey Carry, Robert Duffy, James Finnerty, Kevin Ross. Back: Brendan Carry, Ray Shiels, Paul Smith, Noel Farrelly, Robbie Hoey, Francis Hoey, Michael Hickey, Shane Hoey, Declan Cribbin, Johnny Metry, Paul Cribbin, Damien Ginnitty, Shane Farrelly

Log onto www.dlynchpics.com to view more club photos

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Ballinabrackey were ahead by 1-12 to 0-5 at the end. It certainly wasn’t the start to the championship that coach Kelly, team trainer Kevin Barry and selectors Aidan Carry and James Finnerty were looking for. But things got significantly better next time out when Castletown defeated Carnaross by 1-10 to 0-9 at Moynalty where they opened up a good sized lead during the first half, but were only on level terms (1-4 to 07) at the interval. They won the second period by 0-6 to 0-2 and their qualification challenge was back on track. After a lengthy break from championship action it was back to Moynalty for a third round meeting with St Ultan’s and a goal from Tommy Smith helped Castletown to lead by 1-2 to 0-1 after 10 minutes. They were in front by 1-4 to 0-2 at the change of ends and pushed into an eight point advantage early in the second half. St Ultan’s battled back and boosted by a Eugene Brady goal they closed in on Castletown’s lead, but the response from Kelly’s team was positive as they pushed on again to win by 1-12 to 1-8. Kevin Ross finished as their top scorer with six points, followed by Smith on 1-2. A crunch game followed against Ballivor at Martry and the south county side raced into a 1-3 to 0-0 lead. Smith’s accuracy from frees helped Castletown to recover and they trailed by 0-4 to 1-5 at the break, before the influence of Ross proved vitally important as they did enough

to earn a 0-11 to 1-7 win and a place in the knockout stages. They were idle in the last round and so too were Ballinabrackey who received a walkover from Ballivor. They topped the section, but Castletown were happy to finish second and could look forward to a quarter-final clash against Ballinlough at Moynalty. This was a very well contested match which Castletown won by 1-9 to 0-9 thanks to a late goal from a Ross penalty. They were the better team, but a tally of 11 wides was a cause for concern going into the semi-final. Ross kicked four points (three frees) and Tommy Smith was also on target from a placed ball as they edged into a 0-5 to 0-1 lead after 20 minutes. Ballinlough went close to netting, but Robert Hoey made a very good save with his feet to deny Ronan McGuinness. Castletown’s only other first half point came from Ross and they led by 0-6 to 0-4 at the interval. Tommy McCullen scored the first point of the second period to cut the Ballinlough deficit to the minimum and McGuinness was denied a goal when Noel Farrelly cleared off the line. Castletown were under pressure, but Kenny Smith and Darren Finney pointed. Peadar Byrne and Finney traded points, before Byrne and McCullen split the uprights to leave Ballinlough the minimum in arrears with five minutes remaining. Then came the crucial goal when substitute Alan Smyth was fouled and Ross

netted expertly from the penalty spot. That left them four points clear, but Byrne slotted over a free at the other end and then McGuinness had a late chance to force extra time, only for his kick to hit the side netting. Castletown were through to the last four, but that was as good as it got and Na Fianna defeated them by 116 to 0-15 at Trim. It was a tremendous effort from Castletown and a tally of 15 points would win many semi-finals, but they gave away the only goal of the game five minutes into the second half and that was decisive as it gave the Enfield/Baconstown side a big lead which left Castletown playing catchup. Tommy Smith went close to goaling midway through the first half when Shane Geraghty produced a superb save and on the counter attack Na Fianna almost found the net. Dean Barrett’s shot was saved by Robert Hoey, before Dalton McDonagh’s effort from the rebound hit a post. Shane Barrett got the Na Fianna goal and with a 1-11 to 0-5 lead early in the second half they were in a very strong position. But this is a courageous Castletown team and they rallied well enough to cut the deficit to just three points, before the south county team notched the insurance point. Ross top scored for Castletown with six points, five of which came from frees, and there were also useful contributions from Darren Finney on three points (one free) and Gerard Farrelly who pointed twice. It was a

Under 14 Division 6 FL winners defeating Kilmainhamwood in the final at Navan, front l/r: Rian Monaghan (Mascot), Adam Smith, Killian Markey, Thomas McManus, JJ O’Dea, Killian Price, Alan Weldon, Tara Duffy (Mentor) Conor Price (Mascot), Aaron Monaghan (Mascot). Back: Colin Price (Mentor), Ken Quail, Jordan Carolan, Chris Dean, Evan Hoey, Mark Kelly, Paul Bellew, Dean Markey, Michael Carry, Greg Carry (Mentor)

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The Killary Emmets squad that lost out to Dunboyne Kilbride in the MFC Division 4 final at Bective, front l/r: William Bellew, Daniel Duffy, Kevin Carry, Mark Fedigan, Brian Carroll, Ronan Mooney, Daire Rowe. Back: Jamie McMahon, James Duff, Sean Clare, Kevin Traynor, Matthew Deans, JJ Meade, Michael Smith, Ross Blaney, Dairmuid Rowe, Andrew Kenny, Ben Corcoran

The Killary Emmets squad that were defeated by Moynalvey in the Under 16 Division 3 FL final at Pairc Tailteann, front l/r: Thomas Meade, Dylan Smyth, Michael Fedigan, Eoin Reid, Kevin Carry, Cathal Dardis, Aaron Sheerin. Back: Benny Carroll (mentor), Conor Weldon, Jack Reid, Jamie McMahon, William Bellew, Daire Roe, Dylan Gargan, Ben Corcoran, Sean Clare, Liam Sheridan, Brian Carroll, Aaron McQuillan

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U12 captain Evan Hoey raises the cup at Nobber

U14 joint captains Jordan Carolan and JJ O'Dea raise the U14 Division 6 FL Cup at Pairc Tailteann

Underage coach Greg Carry

brave effort from Castletown, but they came up against a team playing with tremendous confidence and assurance. It was a championship campaign which started on a poor note, but steadily gained momentum. “We lost our first game to Ballinabrackey, but we just put our heads down after that and worked hard in training,” said Castletown defender Joey Carry. “Everybody got into it. We got the momentum going. Training was very good. We beat Carnaross in the second game when we played well enough, but there was still room for improvement. “We improved again for the St Ultan’s match. That was a tough game, similar to the one against Carnaross. We were on a bit of a roll at that stage. The Ballivor game was an important one. The winner would get through. It was a close match. We fell behind early on, but once we got going we played well. We did enough to win. It was a big relief.” Castletown had achieved their first major goal of the championship at that stage and were through to a quarter-final meeting with Ballinlough. “We started well in the quarter-final against Ballinlough, but they came back at us as we knew they would,” Joey added. “It was a quarter-final and both teams will have spells on top. We got a late goal from a penalty which was very important. “Losing the semi-final to Na Fianna was a big disappointment. We didn’t play in the first half and we missed chances. They got a goal early in the second half and went eight or nine points ahead. We clawed our way back, but we left ourselves with too much to do. Time ran out on us.” Losing so close to the final represented a huge disappointment for all involved with the club, but there have been definite signs that Castletown are developing into a team capable of winning the intermediate title. Their A League Division 2 success late last year was hugely encouraging and their lengthy run in this year’s championship was further evidence of their growing stature. “I believe we can push on from here,” Joey said. “We have a lot of young talent. We are a generally young team with a good mix. We know we can get to a semi-final now. It’s a matter of pushing on.”

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Shane Farrelly

Joey Carry

The experienced Michael Hickey


BALLIVOR Ballivor enjoyed a day to remember at Pairc Tailteann in the autumn of 2011 when they defeated Navan O’Mahonys in the Junior Football Championship final and they received an early Christmas present at the start of December in the shape of the Leinster Club title.

A

fter being relegated from the intermediate ranks late in 2008 when they lost the play-off to Oldcastle, Ballivor made steady progress back in the junior ranks and reached the quarter-finals at the first time of asking, only to lose to Moylagh by a point. A year later they made it to the final, only for Ballinabrackey to spoil the party. But last year there was no denying that they were worthy champions as Paddy Doyle’s team won the title in some style, defeating Donaghmore/Ashbourne and Curraha in the knockout stages, before beating O’Mahonys’ second string side by 2-14 to 1-8 in the final. There was little opportunity for celebration as they concentrated on becoming the latest in a long line of Meath clubs to win the Leinster junior title. They warmed to the new challenge, so much so that they made their way through to the final where they came up against Louth

The celebrations can begin as O'Raghaillaigh's are defeated in the Leinster club JFC decider at Drogheda

LEINSTER TITLE ADDS TO AN AMAZING 12 MONTHS champions St Fechin’s who were coached by Tony Kearney. The Ballivor players clearly built up a great level of fitness, particularly as most of them play hurling with Kildalkey or Killyon, and they took over in extra-time to win by 1-15 to 18 at Drogheda. It was unquestionably one of the club’s greatest days. Wind-assisted St Fechin’s scored

the first three points of the final and Fergus McMahon replied with Ballivor’s only point of the opening quarter. Superb scores by Padraig Geoghegan and Sean Heavey drew Ballivor level, but the Louth team led by 1-4 to 0-5 at the interval after substitute Eoghan Duffy had scored their goal. St Fechin’s stretched their

Prior to the IFC game with Castletown in Martry, front l/r: Tony Fox, Padraig Geoghegan, Adam Gannon, Thomas Raleigh, Sean Corrigan, Richard Sherrock, Brendan McLoughlin, David Raleigh, Mairtin Doran, Sean Heavy. Back: Paddy Connelly, Kevin Kelly, Paul Kelly, Kevin McKeown, Shane Farrell, Ray Massey, Keith Keoghan, Brian Perry, Noel Kirby, Francis Doran, Gary Sherrock, Joe McLoughlin

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The successful U12 panel and mentors that defeated Boardsmill in the decider at Pairc Tailteann, front l/r: Jack O'Connor, Dylan McCarthy, Thomas Grant, Nicholas Potterton, Niall McNally, Conor Fitzgerald, Harry Smyth, Leon Duignan (captain), Nicholas Hanandez, Dean Doran. Back: Adam Chesser (selector), Adam Farrell (coach), Kyle Chesser, Cathal McKeon, Craig Hynes, Evan Burke, Ciaran Dowling, Cian McCarthy, Mick O'Connor (selector), James McKeon, James Clarke, Cian Brennan, Nathan Hoolahan, Colin McKenna (selector)

advantage with the first two points of the second period, but Ballivor steadily upped the intensity and battled back well to force extra-time. They hadn’t led at any stage in normal time, but they certainly made up for that in the additional 20 minutes. Substitute Richie Sherrock gave them the ideal start to extra-time with a goal in the first minute and they were clear by 1-13 to 1-7 at the midway stage, one of their best points coming from a Mairtin Doran line ball. The teams managed only three points between them in the second half and Ballivor were comfortably clear at the finish. They were Leinster champions and it felt great. Their dream of All-Ireland glory ended when Clonbur of Galway defeated them by 3-4 to 0-3 in a semi-final at Carrick-on-Shannon, but

Brendan McLoughlin raises the Leinster club JFC Cup in Drogheda

by that stage they had so many good memories to look back on. The Ballivor team in the Leinster final was: K McKeown; D Raleigh, T Fox, B McLoughlin; C Canavan (0-1), S Heavey (0-1), S Corrigan; N Kirby, B Perry; P Geoghegan (0-1), J McLoughlin, C Keegan; F McMahon (0-4), M Doran (0-2), A Gannon (0-5). Subs – R Sherrock (1-1) for Keegan, D Doran for McLoughlin, K Keoghan for Heavey, P Kelly for D Doran. There was always the possibility that the exertions of that run in the Leinster and All-Ireland championships, allied to the fact that so many of their players also have hurling commitments, would take its toll on Ballivor this year. In the absence of several players their form in the All-County A League Division 3 suffered as they lost their first four games to Clann na nGael, Ratoath,

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The U14s put up a brave display against Na Fianna in the Division 2 decider, front l/r: Daniel McGrath, Todd Kelly, Liam Hynes, Aaron Dunne, Jacob Ryan, Brendan McKeon (captain), Brian Kelly, Evan Fitzgerald, Jamie Smyth, James McNally, Connor Prouse, Thomas MacLeod, Colin McKenna (selector). Back: Chris Dunne (coach), Jack Walsh, Tom McKeon (selector), Aaron Byass, Oisin Smith, Cahal McNally, James Kelly, Brian Conneely, Cian Inglis, Aaron Brennan, Morgan Callaghan, Odhran Henry, Steven Murray, Jake Dunne, Lorcan Holden (manager)

On duty for the MFL Division 5 decider against St Michael’s in Martry, front l/r: Luke Rickard, David Kinnelly, Martin Grundy, Johnny Murray, Darren McCarthy, Adam Chesser, Adam Collins, Martin Healy, Paul Farrell. Back: Shane Moore, Mark Healy, Mark Chesser, Steffan Kelly, Dean McGourty, Eoin Holton, Ben Rickard, Dylan Sherrock, Adam Farrell, Christopher Dunne, Kevin McKeon

The squad and mentors before the Under 13 Division 4 final with St Patrick’s in Castletown

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Drumbaragh and Moynalvey. For their first year back in the IFC Doyle was again their coach, with Eamonn Carroll and Jimmy Kelly acting as selectors. Pat O’Halloran opted out of the training duties to concentrate on Kildalkey’s bid for a fourth successive SHC title and Damien Griffin took over. They were drawn in group C of the championship along with Carnaross, Castletown, Ballinabrackey and St Ultan’s, but had to plan without Fergus McMahon who returned to London and Calvin Ryan who was also abroad. However, they made a good start to the race for the Mattie McDonnell Cup when beating Carnaross by 1-9 to 0-4 at Simonstown where a dominant first half performance did the trick. They held a commanding 17 to 0-0 lead at the interval and though they managed only two points subsequently they were always a superior team. Ballivor looked likely to maintain their winning form when they led late in the second round match against St Ultan’s at Trim, but they were caught by a couple of late points. They led by five points at one stage in the first half, but the concession of a goal meant their interval advantage stood at only 0-7 to 1-2. As the game headed into the closing stages they were in front by 09 to 1-4, but they failed to score again as the Bohermeen/Martry combination finished best to force a draw (1-6 to 0-9). It wasn’t a great outcome, but Ballivor had still earned three points from a possible four in their first two outings. They were idle in the third round

Great fielding from Noel Kirby

Tommy Raleigh

and that meant a very long wait of over four months for their next championship clash against Castletown at Martry. A great start enabled them to race into a 1-3 to 00 lead and they were 1-5 to 0-4 to the good at the break. However, a return of only two points in the second period proved costly and Castletown recovered to win by 0-11 to 1-7. Ballivor conceded at walk-over to Ballinabrackey in the last round of group games and that enabled the Offaly-border outfit to top the section with a maximum tally of eight points. Castletown also advanced to the quarter-finals on six points and below them Ballivor had three, Carnaross two and St Ultan’s one. Tony Fox, who is also a noted hurler with Kildalkey, was Ballivor’s intermediate captain this year. “It was great to win the Leinster title late last year,” he said. “It was a huge thing for the club. At the start of the year we set out to try to win the county championship, but once we got the win in our first game in Leinster we decided to really go for it. “We were a bit rusty in the early stages of the final against St Fechin’s. It took us 20 minutes or so to get into it, but we won well in the end. We had good substitutes to bring in, like Richie Sherrock and Derek Doran. They made a difference. “From the time we won the intermediate championship in 2002 there had been a bit of a lull up to last year. We had great men guiding us, like Paddy Doyle and Liam Harnan. It was a very professional set-up.” It had been a very tough schedule for so many of the players towards

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Juvenile Board Chairman Paul Mooney presents the U12 Spring League Cup to Leon Duignan

U14 captain Brendan McKeon

Equally good at hurling is Nicholas Potterton

the latter part of last year, especially those who were also part of the successful Kildalkey hurling team. “Going into 2012, I suppose there was some tiredness,” Tony added. “Most of our lads are dual players. It’s been non stop for the last couple of years. But I believe the biggest factor this year was the delay in playing games in the group stages of the football championship. You don’t see it in any other county. “We played well in our first championship game against Carnaross and won it comfortably. We had a spring in our step that day. We should have beaten St Ultan’s in the second game. We were five points up at one stage in the first half, but they then got in for a goal which broke our momentum. They caught us with a couple of late points, but we were happy enough with the draw. It meant we had picked up three points out of a possible four.” Then came a wait which must have seemed like an eternity before Ballivor got back into championship action with a hugely important match against an improving Castletown team in early September. Their previous match in the competition had taken place at the end of April. “There was a very long gap to the game against Castletown,” Tony said. “It was a match which could have gone either way. It’s hard to keep it going when there are such long breaks between championship games. It’s not so bad for the dual players, but for the lad who only plays football it has to be very difficult. “Castletown beat us by a point. We didn’t play our last group game against Ballinabrackey. There was nothing at stake and there were so many players still involved in the hurling championship with Kildalkey and Killyon. “Looking ahead to next year I think we can go well in the intermediate championship if we are a bit fresher and games are played on a more consistent basis. We have a lot of very good young lads coming up through the ranks who should strengthen the panel. That’s important because some of the intermediate team are in their late 20s and early 30s.”

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Morgan Callaghan keeps his eye on the ball

Sean Heavy gets in his pass

Brian Perry gets away from Castletown's Michael Hickey


SYDDAN ‘It’s my ball’ says Ben Bashford

Syddan’s wait for a return to the top flight of Meath championship football goes on after a 2012 IFC campaign which was effectively derailed when they lost their first two group matches to Na Fianna and Dunderry.

T

he club has to go back to 1999 for its last triumph in the intermediate grade and their bid to reach the knockout stages was also frustrated last year, though they just missed out when finishing a point adrift of Gaeil Colmcille and Dunderry in a tricky section. They achieved victories over the Kells men and St Michael’s, drew with Carnaross and lost to Dunderry in their final match. They went for a very experienced man to guide their intermediate team this year in former Meath player, selector and manager Eamonn O’Brien, but they had to plan without a number of players who emigrated. On a more positive note they had the services of Brian Dillon from the word go this year after his return from abroad last summer. However, he headed off to Australia after they completed their group campaign. Syddan were drawn in group B of the championship and that meant they were again pitted against

IT’S A NUMBERS GAME FOR SYDDAN Dunderry and St Michael’s, as well as Na Fianna, who were to take the competition by storm, and Clann na nGael. It was a section from which they must have entertained realistic hopes of making further progress, despite so many absentees. However, they didn’t make the desired winning start when they made the long trip to Trim to play Na

Fianna in the championship opener and the concession of three first half goals, all of them to Shane Barrett, left them with a mountain to climb. It was one they were unable to scale. Syddan started encouragingly with a couple of points from Gary Farrelly, but they then had a penalty saved and that seemed to spur Na Fianna on as they pushed into a 3-3 to 0-4

The squad on duty for the IFC game with St Michael’s at Pairc Tailteann, front l/r: Michael Sweeney, Darren Smith, Fiachra Ross, Paddy Farrelly, Ian Curran, Mark Fedigan, Ronan Mooney, Cormac Rowe, Sean Malone. Back: Barry McConnell, Paul Smith, Gary McManus, Robert Farrelly, GaryFarrelly, Dermot Rowe, Kevin Traynor, Pauric Young, Ciaran Farrelly, David Sullivan, Stephen Dillon, Ben Bashford, Niall Hackett, Paddy Rafferty, Stephen Finnegan

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The Killary Emmets squad that was defeated by Moynalvey in the U16 Division 3 FL final at Pairc Tailteann, front l/r: Thomas Meade, Dylan Smyth, Michael Fedigan, Eoin Reid, Kevin Carry, Cathal Dardis, Aaron Sheerin. Back: Benny Carroll (mentor), Conor Weldon, Jack Reid, Jamie McMahon, William Bellew, Daire Roe, Dylan Gargan, Ben Corcoran, Sean Clare, Liam Sheridan, Brian Carroll, Aaron McQuillan

The Dee Rangers panel that defeated Dunsany to claim the Ladies Division 3 FL title at Dunganny, front l/r: Niamh McMahon, Shauna Rowe, Aoife Traynor, Briona Rowe, Emma Rafferty, Sarah Halpenny, Grace Malone, Orlaith Malone, Eleanor Gallagher, Rebecca Goodwin, Caroline Kieran, Orlaith Duff, Sarah Kieran. Back: Eddie Donoghue (selector), Thomas Conlon (selector), Aine Duff, Orlaith Sheehy, Lisa Young, Samantha Martin, Elisha Donoghue, Aoife Burke, Katie Martin, Amanda Duff, Sinead Hickey, Miriam McQuail, Christine Meade, Aoife Conlon, Maria Dardis, Sean Kane (manager), Liam Burke (mentor)

Victors over Bective-Cannistown in the U14 Shield final at Pairc Tailteann, front l/r: Greg Weldon, Gavin Caraher, Oisin Lynch Duff, Ben Blakemore, Cathal Duff, Padraic Dillon, Michael Clare, Ryan Summersby. Back: Cormac Rafferty, Thomas Meade, Michael Fedigan, Dylan Smyth, Shane Clare, Eoin Lynch Duff, Cathal Dardis, Peter Clare, Cian Weldon

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Shane Clare clears

Cormac Rafferty

Cathal Dardis

advantage by the 25th minute thanks to Barrett’s goals. Syddan took advantage as the Enfield/Baconstown outfit failed to score again for the following half-hour and reeled off seven points to get right back into contention. Unfortunately, they also missed several chances at a time when they held the upper hand in terms of possession, but they still managed to cut the deficit to just two points. Na Fianna found a second wind, however, and kicked on again to register a 3-7 to 0-11 victory. Dunderry defeated Syddan by two points in the group phase of last year’s championship and this time their victory margin at Simonstown was three (0-12 to 0-9). Syddan had two players sent off and Dunderry one in a contest which the north Meath side led by 0-6 to 0-4 at the break. Dunderry won the second half by 08 to 0-3 and inflicted a defeat which did enormous damage to Syddan’s hopes of emerging from the group. However, O’Brien’s team did bounce back well in the third round when they defeated Clann na nGael with ease at Bective. They scored points with regularity in the first half to open up a 0-10 to 0-4 interval lead and added 1-7 in the second period to copper-fasten their position of supremacy. When the last whistle sounded they were ahead by all of 13 points as it finished 1-17 to 07. The fourth round meeting with St Michael’s was always going to be far more challenging and that’s how it turned out at Pairc Tailteann where the Carlanstown/Kilbeg combination won by 1-18 to 0-12 after holding a 09 to 0-4 advantage at the interval. St Michael’s, who demonstrated much improved form this year after dicing with the relegation trap door in 2011, were a superior team and when substitute Daithi Regan scored their goal after 54 minutes they had wrapped up the points. Syddan substitute Sean Malone and St Michael’s Sam Briody were sent off late in the game. Ian Curran was Syddan’s top scorer with four points, two of them from frees. The two points garnered from their

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The talented Michael Fedigan

Michael Clare

Peter Clare


The JFC C finalists, front l/r: Conor Dillon, Miley Byrne, Diarmuid Rowe, Kieran Farrelly, Ronan Mooney, Mark Fedigan, JJ Meade, Dermot Skelly, Dominic Carry. Back: James Rafferty, Daniel Duffy, Anthony Smith, Michael Sweeney, Shane Carolan, Kevin Traynor, Gary McManus, Niall Hackett, Keith Callan, Darren Smith, Trevor Dardis, Paul Smith, Martin Cassidy

only group win over Clann na nGael left Syddan well out of contention for a place in the knockout stages. They were idle in the last round when Na Fianna defeated St Michael’s by 3-14 to 1-15 to book top position in the section and a ticket directly into the semi-finals. Michael’s had to be content with a place in the quarter-

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McConnon was out through injury for most of the year. For our last championship game against St Michael’s we were also without Luke Halpenny, Philip Meade and Philip Duff because of injuries “It was a really big struggle for us without so many. No club would be able to cope with that, never mind a rural club like ours. We are sparsely populated here. We just hadn’t got the players fit and that made it a very difficult year. “We won just one championship game against Clann na nGael in the third round. Na Fianna beat us in the first game when we gave away three goals in the first half. I suppose we should have beaten Dunderry in the second match, but we lost it by three points. We were also beaten by St Michael’s.” Syddan’s story is so typical of so many rural clubs all over the country who are struggling with player numbers because of emigration brought about by the dreaded recession which is, sadly, showing little sign of abating. When injuries are added into the equation it makes life extremely difficult. But Harry, who described manager Eamonn O’Brien as “very good to work with” and “very committed”, is looking to the talented young players coming up from the under-age ranks to give Syddan a better future. “We have a few very good players in the under-16 and under-17 grades who give us hope for the future,” he added. “Players like Daire Rowe, Jack Reid, Ronan Mooney, Kevin Traynor and Mark Fedigan. We gave some of them a run in our last championship game. Hopefully, we can develop them over the next couple of years and strengthen our intermediate panel. “We have that good young talent coming through and if we could get the lads back from Australia it would be a big help too. Brian Dillon headed off to Australia after the St Michael’s game.”

SECOND STRING REACHES JUNIOR C FINAL Syddan’s second string team enjoyed a very progressive run in the

Junior C FC which saw them go all the way to the final where they were beaten by fellow north Meath side Nobber. The finalists emerged from the same qualification group which was topped by Nobber with a maximum haul of six points after they had won their three games. The runner-up position was filled by Syddan on three points after a mixed bag of results – one win, one draw and one defeat. Syddan then defeated Dunsany by 3-7 to 1-8 at the quarter-final hurdle and booked their place in the Pairc Tailteann decider in late August when they beat Rathkenny by 1-6 to 1-3 in a low-scoring semi-final. Eamonn O’Brien also managed this Syddan team, but when it came to the final Nobber repeated their victory from the group campaign to claim the Royal Meath Association Cup. It finished 1-9 to 0-7. This was a very entertaining and keenly contested match which Nobber led by the minimum (0-6 to 05) at the interval. It was all to play for at that stage, but it was Nobber’s goal scored by Dary Hutchinson five minutes from the end of normal time which sealed victory, despite the fact that they had Conor Halpin sent off midway through the second period. It was significant that Syddan had only two scorers over the hour, with Conor Dillon notching six of their points, four of which came from frees, and Kevin Traynor also getting his name on the score sheet. Losing a final, particularly in the championship, is always disappointing, but reaching the decider represented a fine achievement for a club which found life tough in 2012 due to a shortage of players. The Syddan team in the Junior C FC final was: K Farrelly; S Carolan, R Mooney, M Sweeney; P Smith, M Cassidy, K Traynor (0-1); S Finnegan, G McManus; N Hackett, A Smith, M Byrne; D Smith, C Dillon (0-6), M Fedigan. Subs – K Callan for A Smith, D Carry for D Smith, J Rafferty for P Smith.

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Thomas Meade raises the U14 Shield at Pairc Tailteann

Stephen Finnegan on the ball against Nobber

Michael Sweeney clears his lines


CLONARD Clonard club secretary Jason Plunkett reflects on a promising year for the junior championship new-boys.

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lonard announced their return to the Meath JFC after a 25 year absence with an opening round Group A win over St Brigid’s. 0-12 to 0-9 was the final scoreline as Kevin Foley’s charges carried on the fine form which saw them scoop Junior B honours the previous year. A third round 2-7 to 1-7 victory over Moylagh was to follow and although they failed to make the knock-out stages, there were plenty of signs of encouragement to suggest that the south Meath outfit can more than hold their own in the years ahead. The club’s emergence as a forced to be reckoned with at underage grades in recent times is beginning to reap rich dividends at adult level and club secretary Jason Plunkett is pleased with how the first team fared out this year. “We were happy enough with how the championship went for us,” he revealed. “It was our first year back in the Junior A championship in

Loyal servant Niall Walsh on the attack

ONWARDS AND UPWARDS something like 25 years. “We got off to a good start when beating St Brigid’s but lost our second game against Cortown. The group was very tight with only two going up so that defeat left us with an uphill battle. “When Cortown drew with Dunsany that put us out of the running.” Notwithstanding their failure to

progress beyond the group stages, Jason says that gaining a foothold in the higher grade topped their list of priorities at the start of 2012. “The main aim at the start of the year would have been to consolidate our position in the Junior A and we achieved that comfortably.” 33 year old Jason has served as Clonard secretary for the past three

On duty against Cortown in the second round of the Junior A Championship at Loman’s Park Trim, front l/r: Adrian Boland, Darren McNevin, David Rowley, Paul Boland, Ken Darby, Joey Darby, Conor Foley, Cormac Fitzsimons, Simon McNevin, Jason Moore. Back: Bernard Reilly, John McNevin, Jason Dowdall, Adam Flanagan, Ian Campbell, Paul Sheridan, Eanan Lynch, Ger Foley, Eoghan Connolly, Johnny Fitzsimons, Niall Walsh

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On duty for the U15 Division 7 decider against Kilbride at Bohermeen, front l/r: Philip Loughlin, Mark Daly, Brian Reilly, Mickey Mullen, Paddy Coyne, Niall Smullen, Ben Clarke, Jack O'Donaghue. Back: Brendan Leech (coach), Conor Leech, Eoghan Dowdall, Aaron Duignan, Aaron Duff, Dylan Flanagan, Ger Killeen, Dylan Dixon, Ciaran Leech, Dylan Loughlin, Paul Flanagan (coach)

got involved in refereeing. “We had none at the time and so a few people within the club approached me to see if I would be interested. “I wasn’t too keen at first but after a bit of persuasion I decided I’d chance my arm at it and I haven’t looked back

years having completed two years as the club’s County Board delegate. He donned the blue and gold jersey at underage and adult levels and won a Division 5 league medal at Dunsany’s expense four years ago before hanging up the boots a year later. Nowadays he combines his secretarial duties with refereeing and is considered to be one of the most promising up and coming whistlers in the county. He took charge of the A FL Division 4 final this year between Cortown and Drumconrath at Pairc Tailteann and he was fourth official for the SFC final between Navan O’Mahonys and Wolfe Tones. Last year he was on sideline duty for the Keegan Cup decider between Summerhill and Dunshaughlin. He was also on duty for the Under 21 A final between Walterstown and Kilmainham. In just his second year refereeing, he took charge of the FL Division 2 final between Trim and Skryne. “A few years ago the County Board asked all clubs to supply at least one referee,” he replied when asked how he

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Prior to the game with Bective in the U16 Division 7 decider at Pairc Tailteann, front l/r: Ben Clarke, Brian Reilly, Dylan Loughlin, Conor Leech, Mark Daly, Eoghan Dowdall. Back: Brendan Leech (coach), Ben Hoey, Ger Killeen, Aaron Duignan, Cathal Fitzsimons, Adam Dowdall, Aaron Duff, Conor Glynn, Dylan Flanagan, Dylan Dixon, Joey Darby (mentor), Paul Flanagan (mentor)

Adrian Boland breaks the tackle

John McNevin

since.” Being secretary of a GAA consumes plenty of time in its own right so how does he juggle his administrative duties with refereeing three to four games a week? “The role of secretary is easier now with the online management system Servasport and emails. If you are computer literate it can ease the workload a lot. Everything is at your finger tips so it’s just a matter of keeping on top of everything.” Clonard’s progress on the field is being matched by ambitious development plans off the pitch. Plans for a new pitch and community centre in the village are at an advanced stage. “The club is in the middle of a development proposal at the moment. We have 99% of a deal done with Meath County Council for a piece of land in Clonard. The price is agreed, there is just a couple of finals points that need to be ironed out. “We hope to get that sorted soon and get moving on the development. We have a Development Committee in place who have done great

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Joey Darby against Cortown

Paul Sheridan clears his goal line


A great catch from Brian Reilly

Conor Leech under pressure

Jason Dowdall won an All Ireland SFC Colleges medal with St Mary's Edenderry

work fundraising while we were recently approved for funding by the Leinster Council. “The proposed development will be carried out for two to three phases. The first phase will involve a pitch. “Second, will be the construction of a community centre. We have received great support from the Community Council in Clonard.” Meanwhile, the Clonard club and its supporters were proud of the contributions of Adam Flanagan and Jason Dowdall to Meath’s run to this year’s All-Ireland MFC final. Flanagan lined out at midfield in the 1-5 to 0-14 defeat by Dublin in the Tom Markham Cup decider while Dowdall was amongst the substitutes. Earlier in the year the latter won an All-Ireland Colleges SFC medal with St Mary’s, Edenderry. Ryan Raleigh, who was a member of this year’s Royal County Under 17 squad, is another exciting prospect. “We’d be very optimistic about the future,” added Plunkett. “The age profile of the team is very young. Five of the team that won the Junior B last year were Under 17s. We have about three lads over thirty and the rest range from their late teens to mid20s. “They received a bit of a lesson from a stubborn and hardened Cortown team this year but they will learn from that and it should bring them on. “We also fielded a team in the Junior D competition for the second time this year so that is another positive and will help develop players further.” Jason continued: “Our aim next year would be to definitely reach the knock-out stages, possibly the semifinal stage. “We’d also be hoping to push for promotion from Division 4. The two goes hand in hand. If you are knocked out of the championship early it can be difficult to maintain the momentum in the league.” All in all, the future appears to be bright for Clonard and expect them to produce a stronger challenge for JFC honours in 2013.

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Adam Dowdall

Under 16 keeper Conor Glynn

Eanan Lynch loses the flight of the ball


ST COLMCILLES It was a landmark year for St Colmcilles at juvenile level as the club captured the county U14 football championship for the first time, beating Skryne in a thrilling final at Navan on the last day of May. The young East Meath lads had lost the league final to Skryne a few weeks earlier and were also beaten by the same opposition in the 2011 U13 FC decider, so it was a magnificent success in more ways than one for this exciting crop of up-andcoming footballers Eanna Walsh raises the U14 Division 1 championship cup to the delight of his team mates at Pairc Tailteann

S

t Colmcilles claimed the 2012 Meath U14 FC with a stunning 3-14 to 4-6 defeat of Skryne in the county final at Pairc Tailteann on Thursday, May 31st. In a repeat of the previous year's U13 decider (which Skryne won) and the 2012 league / Feile final (which the Tara team also won – 1-12 to 2-4 in Ashbourne), the seasiders turned the tables with a superb display to take the U14 Cup home for the first time in their history. St Colmcilles got off to a flying start and had three points on the board after five minutes courtesy of Gerard McCartan and influential midfielder James Conlon (2). The league

‘CILLE’S U14S MAKE HISTORY winners then struck 3-5 without reply to take a commanding 3-5 to 0-7 interval lead. But St Colmcilles came out a transformed team for the second half. They were first to every ball and completely took control of proceedings. Within ten minute of the restart, the 'Cilles were a point ahead, 2-9 to 3-5, with goals from Michael

McCartan and Gerard McCartan and a brace of points from the outstanding Conlon. When Skryne fought back with another goal, St Colmcilles kept their work rate going and were rewarded with points from Conlon (2), Conor O'Byrne (2) and Darragh Brodigan. Heading into injury time, St Colmcilles led by two points - 2-14 to

The U14 Division 1 championship winners, front l/r: Luke Conlon, Jack Bohan, Jack Cronin, James McElearney, Eanna Walsh, James Conlon, Michael McCartan, Conor O'Byrne, Shane O'Connor, Shane Towey. Back: Dave Brodigan, Micky Conlon, Jeff Kavanagh, Gerard McCartan, Calem Martin, Daragh Brodigan, Andrew Beakey, Eoin Sweeney, Daragh Magee, Leo Gray, Ben Mooney, Jack Phelan, Nathan Noonan Gartland, Ronan Kelly. Missing from picture: Liam Walsh

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On duty for the Under 14 Division 1 FL final against Skryne in Ashbourne, front l/r: Conor O'Byrne, Josh Coleman, Gerard McCartan, Shane Towey, Michael McCartan, James Conlon, Eanna Walsh, Shane O'Connor, Jack Phelan, James McElearney, Leo Gray. Back: Dave Brodigan, Ronan Kelly, Declan Ryan, Daragh Magee, Jack Bohan, Jeff Kavanagh, Eoin Sweeney, Daragh Brodigan, Andrew Beakey, Nathan Noonan Gartland, Calem Martin, Sean Power, Micky Conlon, Liam Walsh

4-6. As Skryne came looking for a winning goal, the East Meath crew broke upfield and Michael McCartan planted the ball in the Skryne net to give his side their first-ever title at this level. After the final whistle, Meath Juvenile Board Chairman Paul Mooney presented the U14 FC Cup to 'Cilles captain Eanna Walsh. The all-conquering St Colmcilles side was managed by a backroom team of Mickey Conlon, Liam Walsh, Dave Brodigan and Ronan Kelly. Mickey and Liam – both of whom have sons on the team – have been working with this crop of players since they were knee high to a grasshopper, starting at nursery level

back in 2004. They’ve brought them through the various grades and were joined for last year’s U13 championship by Dave – who also has a son involved – and Ronan – a senior club player who is currently sidelined through injury. Former Monaghan footballer Mickey Conlon has been living in the Laytown area for ten years. I put it to him that he has invested an incredible amount of time into this U14 team… “It’s a pleasure to work with them. They are a good bunch of lads and we also get a lot of parent support, which is a big help. There’s a big population here, which can be both an advantage and a

disadvantage. But we got particularly lucky with this group of players in that their parents bought into it and generally considered gaelic football as their first-choice sport. “But, yes, there is a lot of work and time and effort. But it’s a labour of love. Myself and Liam have sons involved, which is how we first got involved with the team, so there is another agenda there for us, you could say. This is a very good crop of players and we’ve worked with them and tried our best to keep them right. And the end result is that they have eventually won a championship.” On this front, it was a classic case of ‘if at first you don’t succeed, try and

The Intermediate squad that took on Longwood in the championship at Dunsany, front l/r: Niall Smith, Graham Reilly, Ian Mullen, Cathal Hilliard, Eoin Woods, Cianan Duff, David Levins, Eoin O'Brien, Ciaran Kelly. Back: Paul Collier, David Sheerin, Gary McCloskey, Robert Madden, Padraig McGovern, Damien Beakey, Mattie Metcalfe, Karl Mullen, John Levins, Damien O'Brien

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James McElearney

Conor O'Byrne

Goalkeeper Cianan Duff clears

try again’: “They were knocking on the door for a long time,” the comanager confirms. “They played in a lot of local tournaments and Drogheda tournaments against the likes of Newtown Blues, Wolfe Tones and O’Raghallaighs at U8, U9 and U10 levels. Those were very competitive matches. Then when they went into the Meath side of it at U12 level, they were beaten by Ashbourne after extra time in the U12 championship semi-final. “In the U13, Skryne walloped us in the final in November and it looked like we were going to struggle to bridge that gap. But we kept plugging away and when we played them in the U14 league final this year we only lost by a couple of points. We knew we were getting close and thankfully the lads then went out and won the U14 championship.” St Colmcilles are making impressive progress across the board at juvenile level. They represented Meath at Feile last year and it is particularly encouraging that they play at Division One level in all competitions: “Due to the population here, we would tend to play Division One football from U16 down,” says Mickey. “Last year’s team that went to Feile was also playing at ‘A’ level and there’s no reason why we can’t perform at that level. The population is here and we hope to stay in Division One.” Of course, there are potential trapdoors… “One of the difficulties is that you tend to lose players between the ages of 16 and 18. That’s always a concern and there has been a concerted effort to change that with the current group of U14s and U16s and to keep them involved in the club. Over the years, there have only been intermittent players joining the senior squad when ideally we should have three or four new players coming through every year, so we’re hoping that changes in the not-too-distant future.” How many players were there to work with at U14 level in 2012? “We had a group of 25. They were all decent lads and you could replace five from the starting team with five lads from the bench and it wouldn’t

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Jack Phelan

U14 keeper Andrew Beakey

Brilliant prospect James Conlon


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Daragh Brodigan

Gerard McCartan

County man Graham Reilly

have made much difference to the team. A few of them will be able to play U14 again next year.” Four players – James McElearney, Jeff Kavanagh, Darragh Brodigan and James Conlon – were involved with the Meath Development Squad at U14 level. “We sent nine lads for trials and were disappointed that a few more of them weren’t selected, but four is still a good return,” notes Mickey. Having worked with this crop of players for the best part of ten years already, does he intend to stay with them now at U15, U16 and minor levels? “It seems to have been working to date and we feel we have improved each year, which is a sign that maybe they are not fed up listening to us just yet! “Personally, I would be of the view that maybe you need to change it and bring in fresh voices to keep the players on their toes, but the reality is that we will probably have to stay because it would be difficult to find replacements. Since joining the backroom team, Ronan has been a massive addition because he is younger than the rest of us and the players can relate more to him and they tend to listen to him. He has been a breath of fresh air. At this stage, I would say we’ll be staying on. Whether that’s the right thing or not, time will tell.” One of the biggest problems going forward will be to get enough gametime for the players who culled the 2012 U14 FC. “In theory, they won’t play again until September 2013, which is a huge gap to next year’s U15 championship. I was involved with the U15s this year as well and I integrated a lot of them into that squad to keep them involved in gaelic football. There’s also the U16 reserve league in March, which will help bridge the gap as well. From June / July through to the following September is a massive gap and one we have to try to plug somehow. “The disadvantage of a big club is that most of our lads will only be able to play one age group at a time, so U14s generally won’t get onto the U15or U16 team. Time-wise, there’s a very big gap between U14 in 2012

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and U15 in 2013 and that’s going to be difficult to manage – and soccer and rugby also have a big hold here. “But the U14s got plenty of matches this year. They would have played 16 or 17 competitive matches over the year as well as a few really good challenges against top teams from Dublin. The season would have run from February through into the summer and that group would also have played U13 the previous September – November. “We’d have trained once a week as well and all these lads would also play other sports, and gaelic football at school. We have to be careful not to give them too much football. I wouldn’t use the term ‘burnout’, but I’d hate to get to a stage where, instead of football being something to look forward to, they start getting fed up with it.” Well, if they keep playing the way they did in 2012 – and keep winning there’s little danger of that happening! St Colmcilles - 2012 Meath U14 football champions: Andrew Beakey; Jack Phelan, Eoin Sweeney, Calem Martin; Shane Towey, Ben Malone, Eanna Walsh; Darragh Brodigan (0-1), James Conlon (0-9); Jeff Kavanagh, Nathan Noone Garland, Gerard McCartan (1-1); James McElearney, Conor O'Byrne (0-3), Michael McCartan (2-0). Subs: Declan Ryan, Leo Gray, Darragh Magee, Jack Bohan, Sean Power, Josh Colman, Shane O'Connor.

Eoin Woods


KILTALE Kiltale GAA Club has enjoyed memorable years in the past, but none could compare with 2012 when a magnificent campaign was highlighted by a double of adult hurling titles.

T

he club’s second string set the perfect example by winning the Junior Championship and it got even better when the Jubilee Cup was annexed for the first time in five years when a team managed by Martin Ennis brought the club its fourth senior title. Add in the intermediate camogie crown and it really was a fabulous year for the adult section. Kiltale have put a phenomenal amount of work into the development of their under-age teams and that bore fruit in 2007 when they shocked Kilmessan in the Senior Championship final. They had to look on after that as their neighbours regained the title the following year and then as Kildalkey achieved their three in-a-row. Last year Kiltale should have reached the final when they were caught late by a Navan O’Mahonys’ salvo at the penultimate hurdle. It was their fourth successive defeat at the semi-final stage and it was starting to look like they just couldn’t get over that obstacle. When they lost their first two games in the group stages of the championship this year to Kilmessan

A delighted Padraig Donoghue raises the Jubilee Cup at Pairc Tailteann

THE CLUB OF CHAMPIONS and Kildalkey they had their work cut out to reach the knockout stage, but they really found their feet after that, winning their remaining three divisional matches to advance, before warming to the challenges of pressure hurling to such an extent that their growing momentum was sufficient to carry them all the way to

outright success. Quentin Ashe and Brian Gilsenan acted as selectors this year and Kiltale came out in a very tough group which also included Kildalkey, who were chasing a fourth successive senior title, Kilmessan, Trim, last year’s beaten finalists Navan O’Mahonys and Na Fianna.

Meath Senior Hurling Championship winners, front l/r: Stephen Ryan, Cathal McCabe, Stephen Donoghue, Anthony Forde, Padraig Donoghue, Mark O'Sullivan, Ciaran Ennis, Ollie Regan, Anthony Farrelly, T.J. Lynch, Christopher O'Reilly, Kevin Ryan, Stephen Cummins, Brendan Dixon. Back: Sean Carroll, Ronan Ryan, Quentin Ashe, Stephen White, Sean Dunleavy, Anthony Donnelly, Eamon Ryan, William Mahady, Shane McGann, Philip Garvey, James Kelly, Jack Regan, Peter Durnan, Ian Douglas, John Donoghue, William Harnan, Padraig Kelly, Alan Donnelly, Johnny Carey, David Donoghue. Mascot Jamie Ashe

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Extra time was needed to separate Kiltale and Ratoath in the U16 final at Pairc Tailteann. The squad on duty that day was, front l/r: Paddy Kelly (coach), Lee Corcoran, Brian Reilly, Hugh O’Sullivan, Andrew Jackson, Kyle Benson, Jack Cummins, Conor McNally, Jack Quinn, Liam Reilly. Back: Michael Burke, Sean Thomas Kiernan, Ross Ryan, David Schilder, Iarla Hughes, Jack Farrell, Sean Ryan, Ronan Ryan, Cathal Brien, Cathal Ryan, Sean Ryan (manager)

Before the clash with Kildalkey in the U13B final at Boardsmill, front l/r: Ben Farrell, Sean Og McCormack, Conor Ryan, Jack Bannon, Caragh O’Brien, Ross Jackson, Ciaran Quinn. Back: Padraig McCormack (manager), John Keane, Conor Frayne, Ronan Brien, Colm Kiernan, Stephen Quinn, Ronan Hiney, Adam Murphy, Eoin Corrigan, Paddy Kelly (coach)

On duty against Kildalkey in the SHC round 2 game at Pairc Tailteann, front l/r: Anthony Donnelly, Chris Reilly, Kevin Ryan, David Kane, Eamonn Ryan, Padraig Donoghue, Stephen Donoghue, Anthony Forde, Cathal McCabe, Ian Douglas, Ciaran Ennis, John Carey, Oliver Regan, Cillian Sullivan, Anthony Farrelly. Back: Stephen Cummins, William Harnan, Sean Carroll, Jack Regan, Stephen White, James Kelly, Philip Garvey, William Mahady, Shane McGann, Mark Sullivan, John Donoghue, Damien Dixon, Peter Durnin, Stephen Ryan, David Donoghue, TJ Lynch, Sean Carroll

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Defeated by two late Trim goals in the Under 14 HC final at Boardsmill, front l/r: Aidan Gilsenan, Ronan Hiney, Caragh O'Brien, Colm Kiernan, Liam Gilsenan, Stephen Quinn, John Keane, David Carroll, Ross Jackson, Eoin Corrigan, Paddy Kelly (coach). Back: Ronan Brien, Roma Regan, Brian O'Reilly, Conor McNally, Hugh O'Sullivan, Lee Corcoran, Adam Murphy, Conor Frayne, Jack Cummins, Graham Loughran, Fiachra Finnegan, Daragh Campion, Jamie Farrelly

MHL Division 1 winners defeating Killyon Longwood in the final at Loman's Park Trim, front l/r: Conor Shiren, Iarla Hughes, Sean McNally, Ross Ryan, Eamon Ryan, Jack Quinn, Cathal Brien, Jack Regan, Kevin Ryan. Back: PJ Walsh (manager), Michael Burke, Ferghal McCabe, Daragh Branigan, Mark Foy, Rory Hennessy, Sean Ryan, David Schilder, Eamon Walsh, Chris Reilly, Andrew Jackson, Ronan Ryan, Sean Ryan (selector), Eamon Regan (selector)

Intermediate camogie championship winners, front l/r: Shirley Dixon, Alanna Madden, Jessica Moriarty, Niamh Courtney, Cheyenne O'Brien, Cliodhna O'Sullivan, Taylor Little, Louise Donoghue, Ciara Donoghue, Aoife Weston. Back: Deirdre Dixon, Sile Courtney, Aideen Smith, Jane Walsh, Sarah Kelly, Mary Conneely, Sinead McGroder, Donna McGann, Eileen Conneely, Fiona Madden, Tara Smith

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First up were Kilmessan at Trim and despite making a strong rally in the second half Kiltale lost by 0-11 to 013. Goalkeeper Shane McGann came to their rescue when he saved well from Danny Maguire in the first half, but Kilmessan still led by 0-9 to 0-4 at the break. The Donoghues, Padraig, John and Stephen, as well as Jack Regan had pointed for Kiltale in the opening half and Philip Garvey, Mark O’Sullivan and Peter Durnin added scores as they trailed by 0-7 to 0-12 entering the closing stages. McGann had pulled off another fine save to deny Darren Reilly. Three pointed frees from Regan revived Kiltale’s fortunes as they cut the deficit to two by the 52nd minute, but the only other scores came from Nicky Horan and Durnin at either end. Kiltale applied the pressure

Eamonn Ryan raises the MHL Div 1 Shield

Alan Donnelly lifts the JHC Cup at Lomans Park Trim

approaching the end, but O’Sullivan and John Donoghue failed to convert goal chances. Kiltale’s Anthony Forde and Kildalkey’s Maurice Keogh were sent off near the end when the teams clashed at Pairc Tailteann and a 2-13 to 2-16 reversal appeared to inflict serious damage to Kiltale’s qualification hopes. Durnin and James Kelly scored goals in either half for Kiltale who trailed by 1-5 to 011 at the interval. Again, Kiltale exerted pressure in the closing stages as they tried to rescue the situation, but Durnin was denied a goal when stand-in ‘keeper Sean Corrigan made a brilliant save. Kelly and Durnin both contributed 1-2 and Regan got five points. Kiltale needed to start winning at that stage and they got the ball rolling in the third round when they defeated Na Fianna by 2-20 to 2-7 at Pairc Tailteann. They tallied 11 wides, but still coasted to victory, leading by 115 to 0-4 at the break after Anthony Donnelly had scored their goal in the sixth minutes when his point attempt ended in the net. Durnin got the second goal at the end of the third quarter, but on a negative note they conceded goals to Barry Slevin and Paul Hanley. Ashbourne was the venue for a fourth round meeting with Trim and two goals from Philip Garvey in the first half proved decisive in a 2-17 to 3-10 victory. Those scores helped Kiltale to lead by 2-7 to 1-4 at halftime and it looked all over bar the shouting when they pushed 11 points clear. But Trim enjoyed a spell of supremacy and goals from Dimi Higgins and Shane Ashe helped them to cut the gap to three points. Kiltale regained their composure in the closing minutes to secure an invaluable win on a day when Garvey was their top marksman with 2-2. O’Mahonys inflicted a sickening semi-final defeat on Kiltale last year, but they gained a measure of revenge when beating the Brews Hill team by 1-18 to 3-8 at Trim to book a quarter-final ticket. O’Mahonys made a dream start when John Gleeson goaled inside the first minute and they edged five points ahead, but Kiltale recovered and aided by a Mark O’Sullivan goal they led by 1-7 to 1-4 at the break. Kiltale pushed into a 1-17 to 1-8 advantage with two minutes

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remaining, but then conceded goals to Paddy Smyth and Mikey Kelly. They were sweating, but the ever maturing Regan fired over the insurance point. He contributed six points, but that was bettered by O’Sullivan who got 1-5. Dunboyne opened up a 1-3 to 0-1 lead inside the first seven minutes of the quarter-final at Pairc Tailteann after Barry Watters had scored their goal, but Kiltale recovered to be level (0-8 to 1-5) at the interval. They took control in the second period when goals from Mark O’Sullivan and Durnin helped them into a big lead and Gary Watters’ goal for the St Peter’s men was no more than a consolation prize. Regan notched eight points and O’Sullivan scored 12, including a superb point from a line cut. A second meeting of the championship with Kildalkey in a semi-final was Kiltale’s prize and how they relished the chance to gain revenge. A very accomplished performance yielded a 1-16 to 0-13 victory and Kildalkey’s dream of a fourth successive title lay in tatters. Kiltale led most of the way, including by 0-10 to 0-7 at the interval, and when Mark O’Sullivan goaled three minutes into the second half they were well on the way to the final with a 1-11 to 0-9 lead. Their confidence was high and they had six points to spare at the end. Their chief scorers were Regan with five points, O’Sullivan with 1-2 and Durnin with four points. Killyon had a simpler run to the final after topping their group and then defeated Longwood in a semi-final which went to extra time. Kiltale were warm favourites on the strength of that win over Kildalkey and they justified their market position when winning the final by 1-14 to 0-14. They were the better team and held a good lead in the second half before Killyon battled back and threatened to spoil the party. The key score was Mark O’Sullivan’s goal early in the second half which left the Hill of Down side playing an unsuccessful game of catch-up. Regan pointed Kiltale into the lead after two minutes, but scores from David Raleigh and Ray Massey (two) gave Killyon a 0-3 to 0-1 advantage. Kiltale went on to lead by 0-8 to 0-6 at the change of ends after Regan had added three more points, Stephen Donoghue got two and impressive


The Junior Hurling Championship winners, front l/r: Kevin Ryan, David Kane, Oliver Regan, T.J. Lynch, Alan Donnelly (Capt), Anthony Farrelly, Ronan Ryan, Thomas Kane, P.J. Walsh, Sean Moyles, Brian Gilsenan. Back: Thomas Boyle, Sean Carroll, Chris Reilly, Anthony Brien, Stephen White, Padraig Kelly, Stephen Ryan, Sean McNally, Johnny Carey, William Harnan, Brendan Dixon, Eamonn Ryan, Cathal Sheridan. Mascots: Leagh Gilsenan, Jamie Ashe Fagan, Frankie Gilsenan, Craig Gilsenan and Clara Gilsenan

duo O’Sullivan and Garvey got one each. The pick of those points were a magnificent long range free from Regan and a beautiful score from play by O’Sullivan who, along with Garvey, went on to become a huge influence in the second half. O’Sullivan’s goal arrived two minutes after the restart when he touched a Durnin delivery to the net and with a 1-8 to 0-7 advantage Kiltale were in pole position. Regan (three), O’Sullivan (two) and Garvey points left them clear by 1-14 to 0-11 with five minutes of normal time remaining, but Killyon hit back with points from Padraig McKeown, Massey and David Raleigh. It set up a tense finish, but Kiltale held out and it was a joyous scene when captain Padraig Donoghue received the Jubilee Cup. Garvey was a worthy winner of the man of the match award. This team can proudly take its place alongside the others which have previously brought the biggest prize in Meath hurling to the club in 1982, 1983 and 2007. And there could be more to follow as that wonderful work dedicated to the under-age ranks in the club continues to reap rich rewards. The Kiltale team in the final was: S McGann; A Donnelly, P Donoghue, C Ennis; A Forde, W Mahady, D Donoghue; J Kelly, P Garvey (0-2); J Donoghue, S Donoghue (0-2), M O’Sullivan (1-3); I Douglas, P Durnin, J Regan (0-7),. Subs – C McCabe for Douglas, E Ryan for Mahady.

JUNIORS SET THE PERFECT EXAMPLE Kiltale’s second string had kept their part of the bargain when they

completed a highly impressive campaign by defeating Boardsmill in the Junior Championship final at Trim. They went through the qualification campaign with a 100 per cent success rate, including wide margin victories over Moylagh and Rathmolyon, and finished the job with a 2-16 to 2-6 victory over the ‘Mill in the final. When the teams met in an earlier group match the margin was only two points, but on the day that mattered most Kiltale were totally dominant. PJ Walsh top scored with 1-5 and TJ Lynch, William Harnan, Cathal Sheridan, Padraig Kelly and Stephen White were other key performers. Walsh got the goal which helped Kiltale to lead by 1-9 to 0-5 at the interval and they pushed on to be clear by 1-13 to 0-5 early in the second half. Battling Boardsmill hit back with goals from Cathal Flattery and Alan Ashe, but Kiltale were in cruise control and Kevin Ryan got their second goal near the end to leave them 10 points clear when the last whistle sounded. The honour of captaining the victorious team went to Alan Donnelly. It was a victory which gave the club the perfect boost ahead of the senior final against Killyon. The Kiltale team in the final was: O Regan; TJ Lynch (0-1), C Sheridan, D Kane; J Carey, W Harnan, A Donnelly; P Kelly (0-4), A Brien; S Ryan, B Dixon (0-1), A Farrelly (0-1); PJ Walsh (1-5), S White (0-2), K Ryan (1-1). Subs – E Ryan (0-1) for Brien, C Reilly for S Ryan, S Carroll for Donnelly, R Ryan for Walsh, T Kane for Farrelly.

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MINOR TITLE ANOTHER SUCCESS STORY The future for Kiltale looks bright after they gained a hard earned 4-15 to 4-9 victory over Killyon/Longwood in the MHL Division 1 final at Trim in early September. The teams agreed to line out without their county minor footballers which meant Cillian O’Sullivan (Kiltale) and Adam Flanagan (Killyon/Longwood) were notable absentees and it was the combined side which made the better start when Stefan Kelly goaled. But Kiltale were ahead by 1-3 to 1-0 after 10 minutes following points from Jack Regan (two) and Eamonn Ryan and a Ross Ryan goal. Boosted by a Stephen King goal Killyon/Longwood cut the deficit to the minimum, but with Ross Ryan and Conor Sheeran finding the net Kiltale pushed into a 3-5 to 2-1 advantage. The interval lead stood at 3-6 to 2-5 and with Ross Ryan completing his hat-trick of goals it was 4-13 to 2-8 at the three-quarter stage. Killyon/Longwood battled courageously and were rewarded with two Kelly goals, but Kiltale had done enough to secure the title and captain Eamonn Ryan received the MHL Shield. Kiltale – R Ryan; K Ryan (0-1), J Regan (0-7), M Foy; D Brannigan, C Reilly, S McNally; E Ryan (0-2), E Walsh; I Hughes (0-1), F McCabe (01), D Schilder; C Sheeran (1-1), R Hennessy, R Ryan (3-2).

KILTALE CAMOGIE CLUB Kiltale were in the intermediate


championship and Division 2 of the league after being relegated last year. Brian Coughlan was their new manager and the main objective was to return to the senior championship. They have on their panel Louise Donoghue and Cheyenne O’Brien who are part of the Meath camogie team who won the All-Ireland this year, along with Jane Walsh, Sinead McGroder, Ciara Donoghue, Taylor Little, Sarah Kelly and Jessica Moriarty who were on the Meath Junior B panel. They started the season winning a league match against Navan O’Mahony’s and their first round of the championship beating Kilmessan. Their season went from strength to strength and they reached both the championship and league final without losing a game. Kiltale excelled all over the field this year, the ever steady Jane Walsh in goals was back up by experienced defenders Fiona Madden, Sinead McGroder, Shirley Dixon and Deirdre Dixon. Aideen Smith and Eileen Conneely added a speedy edge to the half back line while Ciara Donoghue shone at centre back all year. At midfield Shiela Courtney and Louise Donoghue dominated in all games. Aoife Weston, Sarah “Speedy” Kelly and Cheyanne O’Brien destroyed teams with their wicked pace while the ever improving Taylor Little was a constant threat to all backlines this. Cliodhna O’Sullivan settled well into her new position at full forward while club stalwart Donna McGann was always lurking around the square to pounce on any opportunity that came her way. New talent emerged this year in form of Jessica Moriarty and Niamh Courtney, with both players producing excellent performances in earlier games, both will be expected

to play key roles in the senior championship next year. Alanna Madden returned stronger than ever to the panel this year and made her present felt when introduced into a number of positions during the year. Swapping the football for the sliotar Mary Conneely and Tara Smith made sure that the parish won both ladies championships by helping Kiltale to scores throughout the year. Kiltale faced Ratoath in the championship final. Kiltale went into the match as favourites however it was Ratoath that started the strongest. Kiltale soon found their rhythm and lead at half time Kiltale 1-5 Ratoath 0-3. They held onto their lead despite a late attack from Ratoath and won 2-8 to 1-4. Cheyenne O’Brien received player of the match with a personal tally of 1-6. Kiltale also secured a place in the league final. They met Navan O’Mahony’s and this ended in a 15 to 2-2 draw, with both teams having to do it all over again. Kiltale still remain unbeaten for the season.

Philip Garvey put in a Man of the Match performance in the county final

Kiltale team: Jane Walsh, Sinead McGroder, Fiona Madden, Shirley Dixon, Aideen Smith, Ciara Donoghue, Eileen Conneely, Louise Donoghue, Shiela Courtney, Cheyenne O’Brien, Aoife Weston, Sarah Kelly, Donna Mc Gann, Cliodhna O’Sullivan, Taylor Little. Jessica Moriarty, Alanna Madden, Mary Conneely, Deirdre Dixon, Niamh Courtney, Tara Smith. Player of the match - Cheyenne O’Brien. Kiltale captain Louise Donoghue.

Peter Durnin is under pressure to collect

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Paddy Gilsenan heads for goal


SPECIAL FEATURE

BUILDING FOR THE FUTURE The Kilbride GAA club is making small ripples in GAA circles this year. Their under-13 side captured the championship title, while for the first time in 17 years; they had an adult team play in Pairc Tailteann.

T

hese may not be significant achievements to the majority of clubs in the county, but for Kilbride it is a major milestone. The club is building for the future and they are certainly heading slowly in the right direction. But back in 1969 Kilbride were the envy of every club in the county as they won their third senior crown in the space of six years when a team captained by Austin Reddan defeated Skryne in the final. A year later Owen O'Sullivan had the honour of lifting the Keegan Cup when Navan O'Mahonys were beaten in the decider and a third successive title

The Kilbride squad that reached the B League Division 6 final

was annexed in 1971 when Pat Bruton led the team which again denied Skryne on the big day. It all represented an extraordinary rise to prominence for a rural club which started its climb through the ranks of championship football by defeating Junior B victors Batterstown in the 1960 Junior Championship final. Martin Quinn captained that team and two years later another giant stride was taken when they beat Walterstown in the intermediate decider and Owen O'Sullivan became the first recipient of the Royal Meath Association (London) Cup. The great Jack Quinn captained them to the first of three Feis Cup triumphs in 1963, but St Vincent's of Ardcath frustrated their ambitions of winning the Senior Championship in their first year in the top flight when getting the better of them in a semifinal. However, the big breakthrough

The Under 13s celebrate after defeating Ballinabrackey in the decider at Kilberry

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462


The squad that lost out to Carnaross in the U14 Div 3 FL decider at Syddan, front l-r: Dean Stapleton, Cadhla McKenna, Joseph Donnelly, Finn Hughes, Jamie McWeeney, Josh Murphy, Martin Courtney Ronan O’Leary, Paul Donnelly, James Gavin. Back l-r: Kieran Fleming (trainer), David O’Leary, Karl Stapleton, Conor Storey, Cameron Coyne, Johnny McIvor, Eoin Hayden, Jack Peters, Michael Farrell, Conor Mahon, Eoin Fleming, Jake Mc Govern, Darren Keogh (trainer)

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was just around the corner and in 1964 Wardie O'Sullivan captained the side which defeated Drumbaragh Emmets in the senior final. Kilbride were the epitome of consistency and after just missing out in 1965 and 1966 they lifted the Keegan Cup again in 1967 when PJ Reilly captained the team which beat O'Mahonys in the final. But the greatest run of success was still to come with that fabulous threetimer between 1969 and 1971 which helped earn them a place among the great club teams the county has seen. What tremendous memories those days evoke of times when Kilbride were the kings of Meath football. Situated between Ratoath and Dunboyne means that Kilbride have a small catchment area to choose from but they have a core of supporters that have stuck with them through thick and thin. One man that has become an adopted Kilbride person is

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Monaghan native Mark Courtney and he tells the Royal County about the work been done within the club. Mark has two sons lining out for Kilbride; Liam is on the minor and junior side, while Martin was on the successful under-13 side. “They are a great little club, they are trying hard to get things going again, but it is very difficult with the small numbers that they have to work with,” said Mark. “They are at a huge disadvantage with the numbers and the area that they are in with regards to big clubs around them, but fair play, they keep trying and


Action from the Division 6 B League final as Liam Courtney challenges for the ball

hopefully the work of those few people can pay off.” Mark may be only living in the area for the past five years, but he has seen enough to realise the importance of the GAA in the community. “They are working with a small pool of players at every level, but the adult team is probably suffering the most at the moment. There are a few lads coming through, but not enough. “In saying that they had a great win against Moylough in the relegation playoff to maintain their junior status and that is a huge boost for the club.” Mark is the managing director of Ardcourt Ltd, a family run firm which is a building and civil engineering company based in Coolquay, The Ward, Co Dublin. Mark established the company in 1994, having worked with his father's company B&C Contracts before that. Employing 15 people and the same amount of sub contractors, Ardcourt Ltd is a leader in its field of expertise and the company MD revealed that their ability to diversify has stood them in good stead. “We would be general contractors, but we specialise in retro-fits,

The victorious Dunboyne/Kilbride minor squad that won the Division 4 league title. Liam Courtney is first on the left, front row

domestic/commercial retro-fits, extensions and schools these days. In the current economic climate it is essential to be able to turn your hand to different projects. “We would also have ongoing contracts with the O.P.W, and Department of Education. Profits are minimal these days and the industry has become so much more competitive in recent years.” Can Mark see a quick turnaround to the current recession? “The simple answer to that is no. It is certainly going to take a few years and until the banks start releasing money nothing will happen. “We have had to up our game to stay in the market and fortunately we are able to compete at the moment, but hopefully things will turn around in the near future.”

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29/11/2012 12:33:31


SUMMERHILL Summerhill failed to scale the same lofty heights as 2011 in the year just coming to an end but county midfielder Conor Gillespie reckons they will bounce back in 2013.

Shane Kavanagh raises the U16 Division 1 Summer Shield at Dunganny

S

ummerhill’s bid to become the first team in ten years to put Keegan Cup successes back-to-back came a cropper at the quarter-final stage this year. Not since Dunshaughlin in 2002 has a club managed that feat and a last eight exit at the hands of Seneschalstown was a bit of a comedown from the high of 2011 from the ‘Hill’s perspective. A place in the quarter-final stages of the championship was comfortably secured by Declan McCabe’s charges when they topped Group A with four wins out of five. A second round defeat by Donaghmore/Ashbourne was the only blot on their report card following the group stages. Wins over St Patrick’s, Moynalvey, Nobber and

SUMMERHILL’S MAN IN THE MIDDLE Duleek/Bellewstown sent them into the business end of the competition. Their interest in the destination of the Keegan Cup came to an end, however, when they finished on the

wrong end of a 2-8 to 0-10 scoreline following their last eight encounter with Seneschalstown at Skryne. Summerhill’s county midfielder Conor Gillespie rued the concession

Before the opening round of the SFC at Pairc Tailteann, front l/r: Eamon O'Shea, Paul Rispin, Adrian Kenny, Caolan Young, Tony McDonnell, Richie Hatton, Davy Dalton, Willie Ryan, David Larkin, Declan Lyons, Stephen Husband. Back: Ross Tallon, Sean Dalton, Padhraig Geraghty, Micheal Gorman, Conor Gillespie, Micheál Byrne, Brian Ennis, Barry Dardis, Justin Ennis, Paul Comey, Damien Byrne, Ciarán Gillespie, Robbie McDonnell

.Log onto www.dlynchpics.com to view more club photos

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The U15 Division 1 finalists, front l/r: Conor Burke, Conor McNally, Jack Lynch, Jack Quinn, Jack Cummins, Mark Donoghue, Kyle Benson, Liam Shaw, Jack Bruton, Dermott McCabe. Back: Martin Crowe, Jarlath Hughes, Ciaran Boyce, Daragh Jackson, Jack Farrell, Iarla Hughes, Eoghan Crowe, Jack Davies, Cathal Brien, Ross Ryan, Cian Devlin, Cathal Ryan, Ronan Ryan, Ethan Balfe, Sean Larkin, Donal Bruton, Conor Freyne, Noel Davies

of two first half goals against the Yellow Furze side. “We didn’t perform against Seneschalstown,” he told Royal County. “We actually felt we were in with a

very good shout of defending the title this year. We weren’t playing badly but the concession of two first half goals were sucker punches. “That is Seneschalstown’s forte. They have a habit of hitting teams

Key defender Willie Ryan

Joseph Fox

with quick goals and it turned out to be too tough to come back from. We had a few chances but were too wasteful. We missed a penalty and had accumulated a lot of wides but the goals were a killer.”

Brian Ennis

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The U16 Division 1 Summer Shield winners, front l/r: Ronan Ryan, Conor Lyons, Eamonn McDonnell, Mark Donoghue, Jack Quinn, Kyle Benson, Ethan Balfe. Back: Jack Farrell, Iarla Hughes, Jack Davies, Shane Kavanagh, Ross Ryan, Joseph Fox, Eoghan Crowe, Sean Ryan, David Myles, Cathal Brown, Cathal Ryan, Jack Payne

Twelve months ago, Summerhill captured a sixth Keegan Cup crown when overcoming Dunshaughlin by 0-14 to 1-9 in the replayed county decider. Did the mantle of defending champions weigh too heavily on their shoulders in 2012? “I wouldn’t say we put ourselves under any added pressure as champions but I suppose you could say that we had a bigger target on our back. “Our opponents were probably more up for it when they came to playing us but we didn’t put any pressure on ourselves. “Every year we always hope to win the senior championship so this year was no different in that respect.” With age on their side, Conor – whose medal collection includes a Leinster SFC, 1 Meath SFC, 3 Meath Under 21 FC and 1 Meath MFC - is confident that Summerhill can return to the championship winners’ enclosure in the not too distant future. “We’d certainly be hopeful. We have a relatively young team and we are strong enough to compete. The Meath SFC is wide open and we’d certainly hope to be in the mix again next year.”

Away from the club front, Conor’s perseverance in recent seasons paid off when he nailed down a regular starting spot at midfield on the Meath senior football team “It was an interesting year to say the least with plenty of ups and downs. At the start of the year we would have had bigger hopes and aspirations that how things turned out.”

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Sean Dalton

Michael Gorman

The 23 year old made his championship debut as a substitute against Offaly in 2010 but announced his arrival on the intercounty scene this year with a ‘man-of-the-match’ performance in the 1-17 to 1-11 Leinster SFC semi-final victory over Kildare. “It was nice to get the ‘man-of-thematch’ award. It was the first game I actually started in Croke Park so I was just eager to get out and play. I was trying to concentrate on my own performance. “We were waiting in the long grass for Kildare. Maybe they underestimated us a little having beaten us a good few times in recent years. “There was no pressure on us and that was a nice position to be in going into the game. That bit of a freedom translated into a big performance.” The Royals’ six-point defeat of the Lilywhites made all opponents sit up and take notice of Seamus McEnaney’s side but, unfortunately, Dublin didn’t fall into the same trap as Kildare when the two arch-rivals met in the provincial decider. Despite a spirited second half performance by the men in green and gold, Dublin retained the Leinster SFC crown with a 2-13 to 1-13 win. “We never got out of the blocks against Dublin. Despite playing poorly we were only two points behind approaching half-time but the two goals late in the first half were sucker punches. “It was nice to come back in the second half but, at the end of the day, we didn’t get the job done.” Six days later and Meath were out of the 2012 Sam Maguire Cup race following a 1-12 to 1-15 defeat by Laois in O’Connor Park, Tullamore. “Looking back now we definitely struggled to get mentally ready for the Laois game. Maybe it was the comedown after losing the Leinster final but we never got to the same pitch mentally and that was reflected in our display. “It was a disappointing way to end the year. We were at a low ebb at the start of the championship having being relegated from Division 2 but, as the championship went on, we

David Larkin

County minor Barry Dardis

Michaél Byrne goes highest

Caolan Young

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SLANE Less than a decade and a half after they played in the SFC Slane will be operating in the fourth grade of Meath championship football in 2013. It sounds extraordinary and it is, but their fall has much to do with the difficult times we live in. By Paul Clarke.

Aaron Melia raises the MFC Division 5 Shield at Moynalty

A

fter winning the IFC in the GAA’s centenary year of 1984, beating St Colmcille’s in the final, Slane operated in the senior ranks and went very close to reaching the Keegan Cup decider in 1987 when they lost to Navan O’Mahonys at the semi-final hurdle after a replay. They eventually slipped back to intermediate status in 1999 when losing a relegation play-off to Moynalvey just a week after they had beaten Donaghmore/Ashbourne in the All-County A League Division 3 final. Winning the highly competitive IFC is never easily achieved and the prize of senior football is something a club dearly wants to hold onto for as long as it possibly can. It was no different for Slane and, while that loss to Moynalvey was a huge blow, there was a general belief that they had what was required to bounce back to the top flight quickly. But it didn’t work out that way and

READY TO FACE THE CHALLENGE they fell back to the junior ranks for the first time in over 50 years in 2006 when they lost the IFC relegation play-off to Na Fianna. It appeared a long way back to the heady heights of the race for the Keegan Cup and now that journey must seem like an ultramarathon as they contemplate life in the Junior B ranks. There had been signs last year that Slane might be close to turning the

corner. They didn’t reach the knockout stages of the JFC, but they did win three games in a tough group – against Trim, Wolfe Tones and Kilbride - which suggested that they were becoming more competitive. They also performed encouragingly in the league, reaching the final of the old Division 5 grade where they lost to St Vincent’s. The campaign was a considerable

On duty for the JFC game against Kilmainhamwood at Kilberry, front l/r: Jamie McClean, Stephen Goodwin, Gerry Carolan, Matthew McClean, Craig Smith, Eoin Feeley, Shane Harding, Neil Faulkner, Alan Harding. Back: Johnny Reilly, Graham Smith, Willie Clarke, Damien Carolan, Garth Kealy, Stephen Gough, Kevin Reilly, Johnny Gibney, Conor Rock, Derek Mongey, Luke Naughton

Log onto www.dlynchpics.com to view more club photos

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improvement on 2010 when an injury-ravaged panel failed to win a game in the JFC and would have faced the prospect of relegation if Boardsmill hadn’t taken the decision to be regraded. They were also relegated to Division 5 of the league. So, with that much improved showing from 2011 behind them, Slane might have been expected to push on this year and at least reach the knockout stages of the championship. Instead, both league and championship turned into something of a nightmare as a combination of emigration, retirements and injuries decimated their panel. Their problems started late last year when three players headed off to Australia and one to the United States. The emigration figure stretched to five in early May of this year when Alan Harding also went to the US and with Andrew McCann, Declan Kearns, Keith Harding and Brian Colgan having retired it’s easy to understand why 2012 proved so challenging for the club. Add in a growing injury list and some players opting to play soccer and it adds up to a very difficult situation. There was also the departure of junior team manager Frankie Feeley midway through the campaign, with Jim Harding taking over the managerial duties from him. Ahead of Slane’s 11th match in the league against Clonard – by which stage they had been beaten nine times – it became clear that they wouldn’t be able to fulfil the fixture and because they had already conceded a walk-over to Longwood earlier in the competition they were forced to withdraw under a bye-law which kicks in when a team fails to fulfil two games in the one season. Slane’s last two group matches in the JFC, against Trim and Kilmainham, didn’t materialise. They had already lost heavily to Kilmainhamwood, Summerhill and Duleek/Bellewstown in the first three rounds. Relegation was confirmed after playoff losses to Drumconrath and Moylagh. Their only league victory ahead of the commencement of the championship came at home to Dunsany. They drew with Moynalty,

but lost to St Brigid’s, Cortown, Kilbride and Meath Hill and opened the JFC with a heavy defeat suffered at the hands of another club which has fallen down through the ranks – Kilmainhamwood. That match took place at Kilberry where the ‘Wood led by 1-8 to 1-1 at the interval en route to a 2-19 to 1-3 win. Summerhill provided the second round opposition at Bohermeen and despite good performances from Ultan McAdam, Neil Faulkner, Eoin Feeley and Barry Moore Slane went under by 10 points (0-3 to 0-13). It was back to Kilberry for a meeting with Duleek/Bellewstown in the third round and the outcome was well and truly beyond doubt at the interval when the amalgamated team held a commanding 1-13 to 0-1 advantage. Slane fared better in the second period, but they were 1-6 to 1-19 adrift at the final whistle. Failing to complete their programme of matches in both the league and championship clearly represented a low point for Slane, but it certainly isn’t all bad news and the seeds of a brighter future for the club have been sown in the shape of solid under-age structures. There is a clear determination to overcome present difficulties and move on in a positive fashion. For example, there is the Fundamentals Programme which is helping to develop the talents of young children in the area. St Patrick’s National School principal Elizabeth Sheridan gives the club use of the school’s hall facilities for this training programme during the winter and that is proving highly successful. A liaison officer is in place with the school and the pupils can work on the skills of the game ahead of joining the GAA Club. Under-age membership stands at a very healthy 250, which is clearly a positive sign with the future in mind, and in excess of 40 children under the age of seven work on their skills at the club every Sunday morning. The club also now has a thriving girls’ set-up which is another very encouraging development. The past year may have brought difficulties in terms of fielding a junior team, but plenty of good things are happening in the club too and the concentration of all concerned is very

477

Meath Juvenile Board Chairman Paul Mooney presents the U14 Division 4 Shield to Slane captain Eanna Mooney

Under 12 goalkeeper Oliver Canning

Graham Smith


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The Under 12 squad at Pairc Tailteann, front l/r: Niall Carroll, Sorcha Gough, Ruairi Searle, Luke O’Hagan, Sean Murray, Matthew O’Callaghan, Jonathan McDonagh, Jamie Lane, Conor Forde, Sean Martyn, Niall Carolan, Sean Tannam. Back: Oliver Canning, Shona Loughran, Andrea Carroll, Padraig Nangle, Cian Briody, Peter Martyn, Robert O’Donnell, Dylan Gallagher, Karl Rice, Zak Fitzsimons, Thomas Tannam, David Woodward, Evan O'Sullivan, Cormac Gorman. Mentors: Frank O’Hagan, Paddy Martyn, Declan O’Brien, Paul Rice, Garrett Fitzsimons

This squad recorded a great win over Kilbride to claim the U14 Division 4 Championship Shield at Dunganny, front l/r: Ralph McGuinness, Jake Tallon, Ruairi Searle, Luke Gibbs, Gavin Carolan, Thomas Wogan, Eoin Rooney, Killian Gough, Fergus Crilly, Stephen Kells. Back: Francis Marry, Eanna Mooney, Johnnie Daly, Aaron Lane, Matt Tully, Shane Rooney, Ciaran Clarke, Finn Searle, Peter Martyn, Marius Galligan, Sean Hand

The Bru Na Boinne squad that defeated Blackwater Gaels to claim the MFC Division 5 Shield title at Moynalty, front l/r: Aaron Melia (capt), Padraic McGowan, Daniel Carolan, Graham Smith, Craig Markey, Jim Marry, Eoin Gibbs, Matt McClean, Dean Magher. Back: Ray Logan, Ultan McAdam, Christy O’Brien, Jack Markey, Darren Berrill, Kevin Dunne, Stephen Hoey, Paddy Daly, Jamie McClean, Nick Tallon

479


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much on the future. “There were a number of factors which presented problems for us, including retirements of prominent players like Andrew McCann and Declan Kearns,” said club chairman Jim Mullery as he looked back on a challenging year. “Emigration was also a factor. That’s an unfortunate reality for rural clubs at the moment. All rural areas are experiencing difficulties. The construction industry has been so badly hit and that has forced so many into emigration. A couple of our players went abroad on work assignments and we are hopeful that they will be returning. The indications are that they will return.” Despite their problems Slane GAA Club remains vibrant and positive, though there is an acknowledgement that a big challenge lies ahead in making things better. “It’s a big task,” Jim added. “I’m not saying it will be easy to field a team next year, but we are planning ahead. We will maximise our efforts. Looking at the age profile of our adult team we have a deficit of players in the 20 to 25 bracket. Most of them are between 25 and 30. “At the other end of the scale others have come through from the minor ranks who will strengthen our adult panel. We have concentrated on developing our under-age structures which are very robust. That work is yielding results. We have very good under-12, 14 and 16 teams, so the signs are very good there.” Slane’s hoped for climb back up through the ranks of Meath football will have to start at Junior B level and with so many young players breaking into the adult panel it’s probably as

Ciaran Clarke

Jake Tallon

good a place as any. forward.” “It’s not the end of the world being in Slane is just one of many GAA clubs the Junior B Championship,” said Jim which is finding life difficult at the as he looked ahead to 2013 and moment as the dreadful recession beyond. “We are undergoing a shows no signs of abating and more rebuilding exercise. The young and more young people are forced to players have to be brought along travel abroad in search of work and a patiently. That’s not something that better standard of living. Times like can be rushed. these pose major challenges for rural clubs in particular as player numbers “We are an active, positive club. dwindle. But Slane clearly have no There’s plenty of vibrancy. Last year we fielded girls’ Best Wishes To Slane GAA In 2013 teams at under-12 and 14 levels for the first time and we plan to add an under-16 team. We are very pleased with that development. “We are not running away from the challenges that Proud Winner Of 2 Great Taste Gold medals 2011 lie ahead of us. Telephone: 00 353 86 3844162 We plan to move Email: welovegoatscheese@mullaghafarm.ie

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intentions of throwing in the towel and that valuable work which is being carried out in the under-age ranks will reap rewards in the future.

U14 SHIELD FOR SLANE Goals were crucial as Slane claimed the U14 Division 3 Shield with a 3-9 to 1-7 final win over Kilbride.

Derek Mongey

Damien Carolan

Johnny Gibney

After seeing off Duleek/Bellewstown in the semi-final, Slane were up against a Kilbride side that had already defeated them in the group stages. Slane were on the backfoot early on as Kilbride missed a penalty before Stephen Kells steadied the Slane nerves on the ten minute mark and drove forward before taking an excellent point. This was followed by a well worked move which was finished by Thomas Wogan as he shot over from 20 yards. Kilbride then did manage to get a goal as their corner forward broke free and slotted the ball to the corner of the Slane net. Slane responded before the half with Matt Tully scoring three points to leave the half time score Kilbride 103, Slane 0-5. The second half saw the Slane team knuckle down considerably showing great courage and commitment. Francie Marry and Eanna Money held strong in the middle of the field whilst Matt Tully and Stephen Kells drove forward with purpose with Matt scoring a further 22 in the second half. Ciaran Clarke grabbed the third Slane goal after making the most of an unfortunate rebound from a fine save from the Kilbride keeper. Stephen Kells and Eanna Mooney added the remaining two points for Slane. The entire Slane defence was impressive on the night with really strong performances from Finn Searle and Aaron Lane whilst Shane Rooney also pulled off some fine saves in the second half including a second penalty from Kilbride. Slane: S. Rooney; G. Carolan; A. Lane; P. Martyn; L. Gibbs; F. Searle; K. Gough; E. Mooney(0-1); F. Marry; E. Rooney; M. Tully (2-5); S. Kells (02); T. Wogan (0-1); J. Daly; R McGuinness; S. Hand; R. Searle; C. Clarke (1-0); J. Tallon; F. Crilly.

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Alan Harding

Craig Smith

Ruairi Searle


CARNAROSS Charles Brogan and John L. McGee go highest

Manager Paul Gillic says the Carnaross team is entering a transitional phase and that patience will be required while the club’s rising stars find their feet at intermediate level.

N

obody was more disappointed at Carnaross’ failure to qualify for the knockout stages of the IFC for a second successive year than Paul Gillic who, after spending the past decade working with the club’s next generation of footballers, assumed the managerial reins from Alan Stephens. After leading Carnaross to an U21FC ‘C’ final victory over Longwood at the end of last year, Paul was an obvious choice to succeed the popular Dubliner who had steered the Cavan-border club to an IFC final appearance against Nobber just two years ago. But a heavy defeat to newly-promoted Ballivor in their opening Group C game set the tone for a disappointing championship campaign which culminated in a solitary victory over St. Ultan’s. “The momentum we had built up in our first few league games was lost with the defeat to Ballivor in the first round of the championship,” Paul

GILLIC PLEADS FOR PATIENCE ruefully reflects. “Our goals at the start of the year were to get promoted to Division 2 of the league and to reach the quarterfinal of the championship. So it was very disappointing for everyone concerned when he failed to achieve it. “In fairness to the lads, they gave it

everything in training, but the Ballivor defeat was a big setback from which we never fully recovered. They were absolutely flying after winning the junior last year, and we had no answer to them on the day.” Paul, whose management team comprised ex-county star PJ Gillic, Eamonn Gillic, John Ward, Malachy

Prior to their championship meeting with Ballinabrackey at Kildalkey, front l/r: Cillian Comaskey, Damian Smith, Barry O'Connor, Ian Donoghue, Patrick Nugent, Liam Brogan, Peter Carpenter, John L McGee, Paul Donoghue, Cian Gillic. Back: Shane Casserly, Matthew O'Reilly, John Carpenter, Rory O'Connor, Eamonn Comaskey, Thomas Nugent, Charles Brogan, Niall McDonnell, Shane McNiffe

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The strong Junior D panel, front l/r: Pearse Caulfield, Colin Yore, Stephen McGrath, Sean Carroll, Ollie Murphy, Paddy Dillon, Peter Carpenter, Damian McArdle, Barry O’Connor. Back: Ruairi McNiffe, Liam Brogan, Stephen Dawson, Tom Shortt, Enda Gillic, Shane McNiffe, Rory O’Connor, Peter Farrelly, Tomás Plunkett, Tadgh Skelly, Niall Smith

McDonnell, Aidan Casserly and Thomas Carpenter, says the Pairc Naomh Chiarain outfit were weakened by the loss of key players to emigration. “Unfortunately, the five or six players we lost were the link between the younger lads and the older lads,” he explains. “Declan Reilly, who is a former Meath minor, got a job in Canada after playing very well for us in the early rounds of the league. Shane Comaskey went to Dubai and Ciaran McDonnell went to Australia. I know every club in the county has lost players to emigration, but it’s harder for smaller clubs to cope. “Hopefully, the young lads who’ve come through over the last year or two will continue to show the same enthusiasm going forward. We’re in rebuilding mode at the moment and it’s going to take a lot of time and patience.” The Carnaross manager also had reason to rue the unavailability of Meath legend Ollie Murphy – who made his hurling debut for Gaeil Colmcille at the ripe old age of 37 last summer – for all but one of their championship games. “Ollie still has a lot to offer at this level, but because of his commitments to Meath Hill (who he has managed for the last two years), we only had him for the last round against the Ultan’s. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get more out of him next year,” he adds. Carnaross endured a nightmare

start to their championship campaign, failing to score in the first half of a 04 to 1-9 defeat to Ballivor at Simonstown. Ballivor posted three early points before doubling their lead with a ninth-minute goal. A shellshocked Carnaross remained on the back foot for the rest of the half and went into the break trailing by 10 points, 0-0 to 1-7. John L McGee finally opened Carnaross’ account immediately after the restart. They were given further hope when McGee and Niall McDonnell (’45) added points to close the gap. However, they couldn’t get any closer as Ballivor outscored them by 0-2 to 0-1 in the final quarter to seal a comfortable win. A second defeat to north Meath rivals Castletown a week later at Moynalty effectively ended Carnaross’ hopes of progressing to the knockout stages. After a minute’s silence was observed in memory of former player Thomas Ward, whose funeral took place the previous day, John L McGee pointed Carnaross into an early lead from a free. Castletown replied with a free of their own before disaster struck Carnaross in the 10th minute when they conceded a goal. To their credit, Paul Gillic’s men rallied and grabbed the next five points per John L McGee (three), Dermot McGee and Damian Smith to take a two-point lead coming up to half-time. Castletown responded with three unanswered points before Niall McDonnell ensured Carnaross of

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Ciaran McDonagh raises the U14 Division 3 Cup at Syddan

Ian Donoghue is presented with the Young Player of the Year award for 2011 by Alan Stephens

Daniel Roche raises the U12 Cup at Pairc Tailteann


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The winning Under 12 panel and mentors. Neighbours Round Towers were defeated in the final at Navan, front l/r: Cormac Yore, Shane Yore, Patrick Farnan, Luke Gillic, Matthew Carroll, Odhran Farrelly, Anthony Walsh, Daniel Roche. Back: Pauric O'Connor, Aaron Sheehan, Conor Murphy, Tom Carpenter, Cormac Sheridan, Patrick McDermott, Patrick Smith, Sean Carpenter, Finn Hamill. Mentors from left Ricky Sheridan, Tony Roche, Jack Sheehan

The club’s U21's, front l/r: Dean Connell, Ian Donoghue, Shane Casserly, Cian Gillic, Liam Brogan, Barry O’Connor, Paul Donoghue, Peter Farrelly. Back: Peter Carpenter, Charles Brogan, Cillian Comaskey, Stein Carpenter, Damian Smith, Tomás Plunkett, Niall McDonnell, John Carpenter

Blackwater Gaels minors, front l/r: Cian Yore, Eamon McGee, Liam Ward, Tommy Mongey, Alex Carry, Matthew Mullen, Pierce Fleming. Back: Paddy Dillon, Colm Carpenter, Jason Reilly, Peter Carpenter, Michael Brogan, Tomás Plunkett, Jack Yore, Liam Brogan, Adam Bridge, Daniel Browne, Conor Kilgallen

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The squad that defeated Kilbride in the U14 Division 3 FL decider at Syddan, front l/r: John Brogan, Pauric O'Connor, Patrick McDermott, Jack Roche, Cormac Sheridan, Frank O'Reilly. Back: Charles Brogan, Stephen Gillic, Ciaran McDonagh, Sam Reynolds, Liam Day, Patrick Smith, Brian O'Connor, Gareth Muldoon, Aidan Lynch, Sean Lynch

parity, 0-7 to 1-4, at the interval. After the sides traded scores on the restart, Castletown stamped their authority on proceedings with four points on the bounce. John L McGee managed a lone response for Carnaross who were left to rue hitting 12 wides compared to Castletown’s four. Carnaross’ miserable run continued when they succumbed to Ballinabrackey on a 0-4 to 2-8 scoreline at Kildalkey. There were shades of the Ballivor game in the first half when Carnaross only troubled the scoreboard operator once – a ninth-minute point from a John L McGee free. 2010 junior champions Ballinabrackey had opened up a 1-6 to 0-1 lead by half-time and there was no respite for Carnaross after the

resumption when their Offaly-border opponents added a second goal. McGee converted two late frees, but there could be no disputing the winners’ superiority. The return of Ollie Murphy coincided with a much-improved display in their final championship outing against St. Ultan’s at Kilmainham. Carnaross never looked back after Murphy put Liam Brogan through for a goal after just five minutes. St. Ultan’s then had a chance to level matters when they were awarded a penalty, but Shane McNiffe saved brilliantly to keep his goal intact. Following that let-off, centre back Charles Brogan came forward to raise Carnaross’ first white flag. St. Ultan’s finally opened their account from a free in the 18th minute, but Carnaross went on to lead by 2-5 to

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0-3 at half-time thanks to a second goal from Tomas Plunkett and four pointed frees from captain Rory O’Connor. St. Ultan’s missed another goal chance early in the second half, and this was to prove costly as Carnaross tightened their grip on proceedings with points from Ollie Murphy and Liam Brogan. Brian Comaskey and Shane Casserly tagged on further scores before Murphy was happy to settle for a point from a penalty three minutes from the end which left Carnaross victors on a 2-10 to 0-7 scoreline. The year’s highlight was provided by the Carnaross U12s who defeated Ballivor by 0-16 to 0-12 in a thrilling Summer League final at Grangegodden in September. The

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Brian Comaskey was the first recipient of the Seamus Reilly Memorial Cup for Player of the Year award for 2011. He was presented with the cup by Seamus’ wife Ger and club Chairman John Porter

sides were level on 0-3 apiece before the ‘Ross youngsters finished the first half strongly with points from Patrick McDermott (three), Patrick Smith and Shane Yore to take a 0-8 to 0-4 lead into the break. Yore extended Carnaross’ advantage after the restart, but Ballivor scored the next three points to leave just two in it. The north Meath side then enjoyed a golden spell which yielded six points in-arow from McDermott, Patrick Farnan and Cormac Yore. Ballivor replied with four unanswered points of their own before Shane Yore sealed a great win for the Carnaross boys. Also in September, Blackwater Gaels – an amalgamation of Carnaross, Kilmainham and

Sam Reynolds keeps possession

Drumbaragh – lost a minor (13-aside) shield Division 5 league final to Bru na Boinne (Slane and St. Mary’s) on by 0-9 to 3-8. “The underage is very strong in Carnaross at the moment and that can only bode well for the future,” Paul concludes on an upbeat note. Carnaross lined out as follows in their IFC victory over St. Ultan’s: Shane McNiffe; Peter Carpenter, Thomas Nugent, John Plunkett; Cian Gillic, Charles Brogan (0-1), Ian Donoghue; Brian Comaskey (0-1), Rory O’Connor (0-4); Shane Casserly (0-1), Stephen Dawson, John Carpenter; Liam Brogan (0-1), Ollie Murphy (02), Tomas Plunkett (1-0). Sub used: Barry O’Connor. Carnaross: Sean Carpenter, Patrick Smith (0-1), Oran Farrelly, Patrick Farnan (0-2), Daniel Roche, Patrick McDermott (0-5), Tom Carpenter, Cormac Yore (0-2), Cormac Sheridan, Shane Yore (03), Luke Gillic (0-3). Sub used: Pauric O’Connor. The Blackwater Gaels minor team that contested the Division 5 league final was: Jack Yore; Tomas Plunkett, Alex Carry; Matthew Mullen, Peter Carpenter, Jason Reilly; Liam Brogan (0-8), Daniel Browne; Adam Bridge, Pearse Fleming, Tommy Mongey; Paddy Dillon (0-1), Michael Brogan; Subs: Colm Carpenter for Adam Bridge; Eamon McGee for Tommy Mongey; Cian Yore for Paddy Dillon.

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Gary Corcoran was the winner of our draw of a trip to the Galway Races. He was presented with his prize by Chairman John Porter and Secretary Joanne Yore

Pauric O'Connor kicks a great point

The winning team in the club Golf Classic were, l/r: Vino Keating, Martin Reilly and Robert Nevin


TRIM What a fantastic effort Trim made in their bid to make an instant return to the top flight of Meath football. Their lengthy life in the SFC ended last autumn when they were relegated, but they just failed to bounce back up when losing the 2012 IFC decider to a very talented Na Fianna team.

Zak McGowan raises the Ted Murtagh Cup (U14 A Hurling Championship) at Boardsmill

T

he nearest Trim came to winning the senior title in more recent times was in 1997 when they lost the final to Navan O’Mahonys and in 2002 when they went under to Dunshaughlin and a decade later they were back in a big decider at Pairc Tailteann where a failure to perform in the first half against Na Fianna proved very costly. The Enfield/Baconstown combination built up a ten point interval lead and though Trim battled back superbly in the second period they just couldn’t get level and when referee Colm McManus sounded his whistle for the last time Na Fianna were ahead by 1-12 to 1-10 and were champions. That great servant of the club John Andrews, a former Meath hurling player and coach, managed Trim this year, assisted by selectors Mickey Fay and Martin Dempsey, and they were drawn in group A of the IFC along with 2011 runners-up Gaeil Colmcille, Longwood, Ballinlough and

NO IMMEDIATE RETURN FOR TRIM St Colmcille’s. Ahead of the commencement of the championship Trim had won two games in the All-County A League Division 2, against Kilmainham and St Colmcille’s, and had lost to Ballinlough and Nobber. They dropped only one point during the IFC qualification process and that

came in the opener against Gaeil Colmcille at Athboy where the Kells men finished strongest. A superb goal from Eoin McGrath helped Trim to lead by 1-4 to 0-5 at the interval and they were still two clear near the end, but Brian Hanlon and Seamus Mattimoe (free) pointed to earn a draw (0-11 to 1-8) for Gaeil Colmcille.

The panel that lost out to Na Fianna in the IFC decider at Pairc Tailteann, front l/r: David Foley, Thomas Barry, Eoin McGrath, Maurice Power, Kieran Joyce, Mark Gilsenan, Neil Heffernan, Colm O'Flaherty, Shane Lenehan, Gary Clarke, Darryl Phelan, James Toher. Back: Derek Donohue, Paul Gilsenan, Paul Flanagan, Ronan Fitzsimons, Shane O'Connor, Francis Murphy, Michael Lowther, Brendan Murphy, Stephen Farrell, Shane Kennedy, Robert Brennan, Shane Downes, Keith Hamilton, Damien McGee.

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Victors over Longwood-Rathmolyon in the 2011 MHL A final at Lomans Park, front l/r: Sean Gunning, James Andrews, Luke Moran, Shane Downes, David Foley, Aaron Winters, Colm McGrath, Harry Purcell, James Toher. Back: Ciaran Connor, Sean McGee, James Cullen, Kieran O'Rourke, Gareth White, Paul Melia, Cian Downes, David Buckley, Darrel Phelan, Shane Lenehan, Jamie Hackett, James Foley

Trim made a very encouraging start to their second round game against St Colmcille’s at Seneschalstown when scoring three points against the wind, but Robbie Brennan gave away an own goal and the seasiders recovered to lead by three points at the break. The accuracy of Michael Lowther, who contributed six points overall, inspired Trim to a 0-12 to 1-6 victory, while James Toher scored four points. Andrews’ team was idle in the third round and they had a long spell of championship inactivity before making it five group points out of a possible six with a 1-10 to 0-8 victory over Longwood at Boardsmill.

A meeting with last year’s beaten semi-finalists Ballinlough in the final round at Martry looked like a testing assignment, but Trim won by 2-9 to 18 to finish at the head of the section and qualify directly for the semifinals. Ballinlough went through to the quarter-finals where they lost to Castletown. Trim took 15 minutes to open their scoring account, but they still led by 0-4 to 0-3 at the break. With Tommy McCullen gaoling Ballinlough edged three points ahead early in the second half, but a Mark Gilsenan point and Neil Heffernan’s goal gave Trim a narrow advantage. They assumed control in the last 10

minutes when Ronan Fitzsimons pointed twice, Toher scored a brilliant goal and Ciaran Joyce and Toher also split the uprights. Ballinabrackey had held on under pressure to see off St Michael’s in a quarter-final and had the advantage of that highly competitive outing under their belts when they faced Trim at the penultimate hurdle in Dunsany. The ploy of using Gilsenan as a sweeper in front of their defence worked well and they won a tight contest by 0-11 to 0-9. Trim opened up a 0-4 to 0-1 lead during the first quarter, but Ballinabrackey gained control for a spell to edge a point ahead. The

Feile winners 2011. The county final against Kildalkey was not played until April 2012, front l/r: Conor Cooke, Cian Healy, Mikey Cullen, Davide Tersigni, Eoghan Thompson, Ruari Shortt, Zak McGowan, Cian Lee, Dylan Farrell, Craig Gaynor. Back: Daniel Cleary, Karl Keating, Sean Kelly, Charlie Ennis, Nathan Costelloe, Peter Farrell, Gerard Dwane, Sean McSweeney, David Murtagh, Evan Buckley, Brian Dowling

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494


Michael Mullally presents the MHL A shield to Trim captain David Foley

Junior keeper Thomas Barry clears

Padraic Payne lifts the U12 Hurling Championship Shield at Baconstown

sides were level (0-5 each) at the change of ends, but the team in red upped the tempo in the third quarter when points from Joyce, Toher, Lowther and Ronan Fitzsimons enabled them to push into a 0-9 to 05 advantage. Ballinabrackey had most of the ball in the last quarter, but Trim defended extremely well and prevented them from getting the goal they needed. Trim almost netted in the closing stages when Toher hit the crossbar and when the last whistle sounded they were just one win away from a return to the senior grade. Lowther contributed four points, Toher scored three and Fitzsimons got two in a hard earned victory which set up a final meeting with Na Fianna who had defeated Castletown by four points in the other semi-final. All appeared to be going to plan when Lowther gave Trim an early lead with a pointed free, but Na Fianna took command to such an extent that they opened up a commanding 1-9 to 0-2 advantage at the break. Trim’s only other point of the first half came from Gilsenan in the 27th minute, but they might have had a goal when an off-balance Shane Kennedy shot wide. The danger signs were there when Dean Hendrick hit the woodwork going for a goal, but Dalton McDonagh did find the net for Na Fianna in the 13th minute and after they pushed their lead out to double figures it was clearly going to take a mighty effort from Trim to claw back such a big deficit. They set about the task positively when Derek Donohoe and Fitzsimons pointed early in the second half and with the winners missing chances they had hope. Gilsenan and Toher (free) added points and when Lowther set up substitute McGrath for a fine goal the gap was down to three points with 20 minutes remaining. Trim had time on their side, but it was significant that they went a further 10 minutes without adding to their tally. They did find their range again and when Toher (free) and Fitzsimons fired over they were the minimum behind. Hendrick got Na Fianna’s first point of the second half seven minutes from the end, but Gilsenan replied with a similar score for Trim. When Dan Queeney slotted over a

495

Ken McKenna hands over the 2011 MHC Shield to Trim captain James Toher

Zak McGowan raises the 2011 Feile hurling shield at Boardsmill

Brian Dowling raises the 2012 Feile hurling shield at Pairc Tailteann


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The junior football squad which played Kilmainham in the championship at Athboy, front l/r: Gavin O’Neill, Brian Flynn, Shane Lenehan, Jamie Lee, David Foley, Eoin Kelly, Thomas Barry, Sean McGee, Niall Murray, Keith Hamilton. Back: Sean McDonagh, Michael Lydon, Karl Dwyer, Shane O’Connor, Gary Clarke, Cian Dunne, Shane Downes, Sean Fitzgerald, Darragh Kennedy, Ciaran O’Rourke, Stephen O’Toole

On duty for the opening round of the SHC at Kilmessan, front l/r: Garret White, Shane Butterly, Colm Doyle, Niall Heffernan, Diarmuid Higgins, David Foley, Jamie Lee, Ryan Andrews, James Andrews, Colm McGrath, Darren Melia. Back: Cian Downes, Ciaran Joyce, James Toher, Damien McGee, Cian Dunne, James Foley, Shane Ashe, Darragh Kennedy, Brian Carley, Sean McGee, Paul Mullen, Gay Kennedy, Ronan Fitzsimons, Kevin Higgins, Paul Melia

Prior to the 2012 Feile Hurling final win over the Killyon-Longwood combination at Pairc Tailteann, front l/r: Ben Holden, Dylan Farrell, Cian Healy, Pádraic Payne, Ian Birmingham, Conor Cook, Garry Kelly, Mickey Cole, Cian Walsh, Conor Quigley, Pádraig McIntyre, Ben Gibney. Back: Martin Heffernan, Barry Heffernan, Craig Gaynor, Brian Dowling, Evan Buckley, Patrick Dinan, Pierce Darby, Robbie Finnegan, Mark Murray, Seán Thornton, Cian Breathnach, Karl Keating, Cian Lee, Joey McGowan, Fergal O’Keane, Ciarán Kelly, Neil Heffernan

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The squad for the IFC game with Ballinlough at Martry, front l/r: Shane Lenehan, Stephen Farrell, Gary Clarke, Mark Gilsenan, Shane O'Connor, Neil Heffernan, David Foley, Ciaran Joyce, James Toher, Paul Flanagan, Darryl Phelin. Back: Ronan Fitzsimons, Michael Lowther, Shane Kennedy, Brendan Murphy, Derek Donohoe, Shane Downes, Robert Brennan, Frankie Murphy, Keith Hamilton, Maurice Power, Thomas Barry

The U14 A HC winners defeated Kiltale with two late goals in the decider at Boardsmill, front l/r: Craig Gaynor, Cian Healy, Dylan Farrell, Tom Doyle, Robbie Finnegan, Davide Tersigni, Conor Cook, Eoghan Thompson, Ruairí Shortt, Zak McGowan, Charlie Ennis, Cian Lee, Ben Gibney, Cian Walsh. Back: Patrick Dinan, Barry Heffernan, Dan Cleary, Mark Murray, Pierce Darby, Karl Keating, Seán Kelly, Nathan Costello, Seán McSweeney, David Murtagh, Peter Farrell, Gerard Dwane, Brian Dowling, Evan Buckley, Mikey Cullen, Seán Thornton, Fearghal O’Keane

The junior camogie championship finalists, front l/r: Mary Andrews, Michelle Byrne, Sinead O'Connor, Lisa Malervy, Amy Kelly, Caroline Halton, Hayley Kennedy, Lynn Boylan, Lynda Connor, Linda Rispin, Emma Reilly, Linda McCabe. Back: Yvonne Quinn, Claire Flynn, Linda Thelford, Yvonne Maguire, Michelle Boyle, Jenny Lynch, Stacey Lyons, Kelly Farrell, Maggie McKenna, Teresa Murray, Pauline Kelly, Mary Barry, Sonia Connor

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Nathan Costello

Full foward Shane Downes has Ballinlough's Padraig Muldoon for company

Ciaran Joyce gets in his shot without a hurl

free Na Fianna were two in front again, but Lowther matched that effort at the other end. As the excitement reached fever pitch Lowther faced up to a tricky free as he sought an equaliser. His kick fell short and Queeney pointed at the other end to confirm Na Fianna’s elevation to the senior ranks. A mighty second half effort by Trim had just fallen short. Mickey Fay, who was a Trim selector this year, was an outstanding forward during his playing days and was introduced as a substitute during the famous Leinster SFC final in 1970, scoring two valuable goals as Meath made a sensational second half recovery to defeat Offaly. He contributed 10 points in the All-Ireland final when Meath lost to Kerry. “We changed our formation for the first time in the year for the intermediate final,” he said. “We had been using a sweeper all year, but we didn’t in the final and it came back to bite us. “We didn’t make the change, but we also missed chances in the first half, including a goal. Ten points was just too big a lead to try to pull back in the second half. It’s a long time since we pegged back a lead of that size. If we had managed to keep it down to five or six points I think we could have come back and won, but 10 points is a very big lead. “But we still felt at half time that it could be done if the lads knuckled down to the task. What we really needed early in the second half was a goal and we got it at just the right time. But we had left ourselves with so much to do. It was disappointing, but that’s the way it goes.” Mickey believes that with the right level of commitment Trim can recover from the final defeat and return to the senior ranks. “I believe that if the commitment is there again next year we can come back and win it,” he added. “They gave a great commitment this year and it got them to the final. There was great effort. “I think what we really need are more scoring forwards. That seems to be a problem for a lot of teams at the moment. You need lads who can kick a point from 40 yards. It beats that system of packed defences. I

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Neil Heffernan finds the Ballinlough net

Ace marksman Damien McGee

Diarmuid Higgins keeps his eye on the ball


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remember the senior final in 2010 when Skryne scored 21 points against Seneschalstown. That was some shooting. You can’t beat it. “On the positive side the young lads we brought in played well. The players have given a commitment to get back into it in the new year. If that commitment is there we can come back from this.” Trim lost only one game in the 2012 championship, but it was the biggest one of all. The challenge now is to push on and go all the way. The Trim team in the IFC final was: B Murphy; C O’Flaherty, R Brennan, S Downes; M Power, S Farrell, R Fitzsimons (0-2); F Murphy, J Toher (0-2); S Kennedy, C Joyce, M Lowther (0-2); M Gilsenan (0-3), D Donohoe (0-1), N Heffernan. Subs – P Flanagan for Power, E McGrath (10) for Kennedy, D Foley for Donohoe, P Gilsenan for Toher.

HURLERS CONTINUE LONG HAUL Trim hurlers have not won the senior hurling championship since 2001 and by their standards it has been way too long. The club has embarked on a rebuilding process in recent years, which has certainly begun to pay dividends. Success at underage level is an annual occurrence and the conveyor belt of talent is once again turning at a consistent rate. Hard working club members have dedicated a vast amount of time into nurturing their underage structure, which has seen a number of youngsters come through to the senior side in the last few years. Indeed, such is the extent of the

Junior camogie league champions, front l/r: Linda McCabe, Hayley Kennedy, Lisa Malervy, Mary Andrews, Teresa Murray, Aisling Fagan, Darina Smith, Michelle Byrne, Lynda Connor, Shona White, Caroline Halton. Back: Mary Barry, Leanne Winters, Stacey Lyons, Amy Kelly, Maggie McKenna, Yvonne Quinn, Yvonne Maguire, Pauline Kelly, Michelle Boyle, Claire Flynn, Linda Rispin, Lynn Boylan, Sharon Campbell, Sonia Connor. Extreme front, l/r: Linda Telford and Emma Reilly

youngsters coming through that twelve of this year's senior panel are still under-21, which is a remarkable statistic for any club. Two years ago, Trim reached the senior hurling championship semi final, but they failed to build on that last year or this year. Some have suggested that they were a flash in the pan, but that is certainly not the case for this emerging side. Like so many clubs in the country, let alone the county of Meath, emigration has played a massive part in the aspirations of any side and Trim are no different in that respect. This year, they had to plan without one of the top forwards in Meath hurling; Alan Douglas, whose displays in the red and white of trim over the past few years have been worth the entrance fee to their matches alone. Douglas was not the only Trim hurler to leave these shores earlier in the year as established defenders Colm Doyle, Ryan Andrews and talented forwards Dermot Higgins and to name just a few also departed.

Trim were county senior camogie finalists

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It left Trim with a mountain to climb before a championship ball was even thrown in and matter were made even worse when the draw for the championship was made. Trim were placed in a group alongside teams that had made the knockout stages of the 2011 campaign, namely defending champions Kildalkey, Kilmessan, Kiltale, Navan O'Mahony's and Na Fianna in what was aptly named the 'group of death.' This was always going to be a tough group to emerge from, but even more so without the services of such key players. The first match of the campaign was against O'Mahony's, who had reached the previous year's final and unlike previous years when a team could afford to lose their opening match, this was certainly not the case in 2012. Both sides played the game as if it was the county final and with the aid of a stiff breeze, the Bres Hill outfit had a decent lead at half time. Trim, to their credit worked at cutting that deficit throughout the second half, but time wasn't on their side as they lost out by two points. A win over Na Fianna was hard earned, but totally merited as Trim got their campaign back on track. In the third round, old rivals Kilmessan provided the opposition and with no room for error, a win was imperative for the town team. A shock result was on the cards at Navan as Trim ran neighbours, and one of the favourites at the time, Kilmessan very close. A goal and two points in the last fifteen minutes


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The U12 HC winners, front l/r: Evan Ganly, Aonghus Short, Liam O’Reilly, Mickey Cole, Garry Kelly, Ben Holden, Brian Bolger, Conor Quigley, Kevin Lennon, Pádraic Payne. Back: Neil Cole, Ciaran Fay, Sean Glennon, Conall Rogers, Adam Boyle, Padraig McIntyre, Dylan Farrell, Martin Heffernan, Ian Bermingham, Andrew Dinan, Ciaran Kelly, Jonathan McEvoy, Cian Lee, Joey McGowan, Niall Humphries, Byron Walsh, Neil Heffernan

U16 Division B Summer Shield winners

rescued the situation for Kilmessan. Kilmessan looked the likely winners after fifteen minutes. The 2008 champions were 1-3 to 0-2 up. The margin would have been greater but for a fantastic save from keeper Brian Carley as Stephen Clynch bore down on goal. Two pointed frees from Damien McGee kept Trim in the game. Four points separated the sides at the interval Kilmessan 1-6 Trim 0-5 Trim were on level terms after five minutes of the second half. Shane Ashe got on the end of a Damien McGee free to finish to the net and Neil Heffernan had the game all square with one of his trade mark points. Another from Heffernan and a long range point from James Toher had Trim ahead 1-8 to 1-7 and playing the better hurling. Kilmessan were struggling to get into the game but that all changed when they finished to the Trim net. Two more points for Kilmessan saw the scrape home by four points. Club secretary Seamus Brennan

admitted to the Royal County Yearbook, that if they win had been secured in this game, their year could have turned out very much different. “That was probably the performance of the year. The lads played very well for the majority of the match and it was a huge pity they couldn't hold out,” stressed Seamus. “All year, they put in a big effort, but we knew that it was going to be very

tough from the start, giving the group that we were in. “The loss of the likes of Colm Joyce and Alan Douglas was huge also. They are two of our more experienced players, even though they are still young themselves. We have a lot of under-21s on the team and in fairness they have come on leaps and bounds in the last few years.”

At the Feile hurling finals in Clondalkin, front l/r: Mikey Cullen, Craig Gaynor, Ben Gibney, Conor Cook, Davide Tersigni, Eoghan Thompson, Zak McGowan, Charlie Ennis, Ruairí Shortt, Robbie Finnegan, Cian Healy. Back: Dylan Farrell, Evan Buckley, Brian Dowling, David Murtagh, Karl Keating, Nathan Costello, Pierce Darby, Peter Farrell, Gerard Dwane, Seán Kelly, Seán McSweeney, Cian Lee

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.com 506


Full back Robert Brennan clears

Paul Flanagan is under pressure from Ballinlough's Gary Reilly

Michael Lowther with Na Fianna's Christy Cosgrove

In the fourth round of the campaign Trim faced Kiltale with an outside chance of reaching the knockout stages and even though the match ended in defeat, John Andrews' charges can take great heart from their display. The game was even up to the end of the first quarter with both sides hitting 1-3 but from then to the end of the half, Kiltale gained the ascendancy and by half time were five points ahead. Extreme damage was done to trim's chances of success in the first ten minutes after the break as Kiltale hit five points on the trot to forge ten points ahead and by the end of the quarter the gap had further increased to eleven. The young Trim side looked 'down and out' but to the delight of their supporters they responded in the best possible fashion with two goals and a point in the three minute period around the twentieth to reduce the deficit to four. 'Game on' was the feeling with ten minutes left but try as they might they could not reign in their more experienced counterparts with both sides scoring three points apiece in the final ten minutes. “We let Kiltale get to far ahead in that game and even though the lads put in a huge effort in the second half, it was too much of a gap to close.” Trim went into their last match minus the services of a number of key players as injuries decimated the side and the defending champions recorded a comfortable win. “It was disappointing to lose out in the group stages, but this is a very young side and I'm confident they will bounce back next year. Our junior side did very well also and numbers at training were good all year. “John (Andrews) was over both the hurling and football teams this year and it worked very well as lads didn't have to choose one over the other.” Seamus revealed that the underage provided some silverware for the club's hurlers as they claimed the under-13 and under-14 titles. “We've had moderate success at underage level, which is good. The numbers are good throughout the club and winning keeps lads interested. “I'd be very confident that the club has a bright future and it may not be too much longer before we win the Jubilee Cup again.”

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Charlie Ennis

Mikey Cullen

Harry Purcell receives the U16 B Summer Shield from Paul Mooney


WOLFE TONES Fiachra Ward raises the Division 4 MFL Shield at Pairc Tailteann

Reaching the hoganstand.com Senior Football Championship final represented a fine achievement by Wolfe Tones, but that was of little consolation when Navan O’Mahonys defeated them to avenge a defeat at the same stage six years earlier.

W

hen Tones defeated the Brews Hill men by 1-9 to 1-7 in that 2006 decider they were completing a remarkable rise through the grades, having won the junior title in 2003 and the intermediate a year later. The nearest they came to reclaiming the Keegan Cup had been in 2009 when Seneschalstown got the better of them in a replayed final. With Paddy Martyn in his first year as manager, having taken over from Tony Kearney, they reached the semi-finals last year where they lost to Summerhill who went on to achieve outright success. They are a remarkably resilient bunch of players who have been through many battles together and they gave it one mighty effort in their bid to go all the way this

TONES WON’T GO AWAY year. Tones were drawn in group B of the championship along with Skryne, Simonstown Gaels, Walterstown, Dunboyne and Dunshaughlin and ahead of the start of the main event their form in Division 1 of the AllCounty A League wasn’t great. They

lost to Donaghmore/Ashbourne, Summerhill and Dunshaughlin and drew with Oldcastle, but the concentration was on the championship. Rathkenny provided the venue for their opener against Walterstown and with Darren McGrath in superb form

Wolfe Tones were impressive on their path to the SFC final, front l/r: Gary McFadden, Conor Sheppard, Darren McGrath, Alan Fox, Richie Brady, Ciaran McLoughlin, Mark Coleman, David Coleman, Killian O'Brien, Sean Power, Alan McKeever, Paul Byrne, Eanna Harrington, Donal Fogarty, Philip Reilly. Back: Gordon Beggy, Stephen Sheppard, David Nolan, Eoghan Harrington, Cian Ward, Shane Glynn, Fiachra Ward, Stephen Corrigan, Alan Callaghan, Niall McLoughlin, Paddy Caffrey, Aodhan McKeown, Christopher Blaney, Jeremy Claire, Darragh Browne, Peter Fox (selector), Sean Moriarty. Mascots: Rian Fox and Ruan Claire

Log onto www.dlynchpics.com to view more club photos

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Winners over St Cuthberts in the Division 4 MFL decider at Pairc Tailteann, front l/r, Brughach Ó Fionnagáin, Cillian Mc Fadden, Thomas Ó Sullivan, Seán Moriarty, Cuan Coyle, Gary McFadden, Charlie McGarry, Eoin Molloy, Mark McDonald, Liam Callan, Thomas O Reilly. Back: Conor Brennan, Daniel McManus, Brian McGovern, Wayne Tiernan, Fiachra Ward, Niall O'Reilly, Jack Condi, Conor Sheppard, Luke Sheridan, Eoin McKeever, Daniel Glynn

The U16 Division 3 FL winners that defeated Clann Na nGael in the final at Pairc Tailteann, front l/r: Cian O'Neill, Ryan McFadden, Robert White, Daniel O'Neill, Mark McDonnell, Thomas O'Reilly, Sean Carr, Ryan McManus. Back: Luke Sheridan, Eanna O'Kelly-Lynch, Matthew Melady, John Paul Melady, Pauric Diamond, Charlie McGarry, Cillian McFadden, Cuan Coyle, Laurence Smith, Luke Condie, Nathan Sheridan

The IHC finalists, front l/r: Conor Sheppard, Donal Curtis, Stephen Jordan, Gerard Farrelly, Alan Browne, Killian O'Brien, Eanna Harrington, David Jordan, Alan Callaghan, Mark Coleman, Bernard McKeown, David Carolan. Back: James Macken, James Connolly, Trevor Browne, Eoghan Harrington, Stephen Sheppard, Donal Keogan, Alan Connell, David Coleman, Brian Meade, Stephen Tiernan, Sean Moriarity, Darragh Smith, David Calt, Thomas McKeown, Eddie O'Callaghan, Shane McDonagh. Mascot: Sean Bellew

509


The panel for the U14 B Shield decider against Kildalkey in Boardsmill, front l/r: Mark Kelly, Gavin Brady, Conall Ferry, Tadgh Skehan, Robert Murphy, Mark McFadden, Ian Grimes, Gearoid O'Brien, Fionn Tombes, Ben Lowe, Oisin Corrigan, Caolan Ward. Back: Sean Lynch, Evan White, Iarlaith O’Kelly Lynch, Saoran Finnegan, Luke Condie, Eanna O'Kelly Lynch, Cian O' Neill, Neill Murray, Oisin McFadden, JJ O Dea, Eanna Martin, Aran Dunphy

The Junior squad on duty for the game with St Pauls in the championship at Dunsany

The U14 Division 1 Shield winners, front l/r: Sean Lynch, Daniel Farrell, Conall Ferry, Gavan Brady, Alan Lynam, Caolán Ward, William McAleese, Tadhg Skehan, Dan Foley, Oisín Ginnity. Back: Shane Foley (mentor), Oisin McFadden, Kealan McKeever, Thomas Blaney, Cian O'Neill, Saran O Fionnagáin, Neil Murray, Nathan Sheridan, Éanna O'Kelly Lynch, Matthew Meleady, Iarlaith O'Kelly Lynch, Philip Ward (mentor)

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they won by 0-12 to 0-8. Their 2006 captain scored five points from play and they led by 0-7 to 0-5 at the break, by which stage Cian Ward had been denied a goal when Blacks’ goalkeeper Ciaran Lydon saved well, before Ward’s follow-up shot was blocked by Stephen O’Keeffe. Two Ward points from a free and a line ball and an Alan Fox point helped Tones extend their advantage to five points, but Walterstown brought the deficit back to two. However, McGrath got the last two scores to secure a winning start. The second round game against Simonstown at Seneschalstown was played in winter-like conditions, but a dominant first half performance helped Wolfe Tones to a 2-11 to 3-5 win. Ward goaled and a 1-9 to 0-1 interval lead meant there was little likelihood of the Navan men making a successful rally. Hank Traynor and Wayne McCarthy (penalty) scored goals for Simonstown early in the second period, but a well-taken Ward goal quelled their mini-revival. Mark McCabe added a third goal for the losers, but Ward’s contribution of 2-5 had helped Tones to another victory. Ward had a first half penalty saved by Skryne ‘keeper Felim O’Rourke when the championship action resumed after a lengthy gap, but Tones still managed to win by 0-14 to 0-10 at Trim. Ward’s total of five points included two frees and a ‘45’. The winners led by 0-7 to 0-6 at the interval. A draw (0-11 each) with Dunboyne at Brews Hill booked a place in the knockout stages, but it was a poor performances from Wolfe Tones who had eight first half wides. The sides were also level (0-6 apiece) at the interval after Ward had kicked five frees and McGrath also pointed. Tones should have goaled at the start of the second half when Johnny O’Connor saved from Mark Coleman, but points from Ward and Paul Byrne left the two clear. Dunboyne came back to lead by 0-10 to 0-8 at the three-quarter stage, before Tones got three of the last four scores courtesy of Ward (free), McGrath and Ward again to earn a draw. A 2-13 to 1-14 win over

Dunshaughlin at Bective secured top position in the group for Tones who were without Cian and Fiachra Ward and Fox. Last year’s runners-up used wind advantage to score the first four points, but Tones went on to lead by 2-5 to 0-8 at the break after McGrath and Christopher Blaney had goaled late in the first half. Dunshaughlin closed the gap to 012 to 2-7 by the three-quarter stage, but five points in a four minute spell from Eoghan Harrington, Paul Byrne (free), Stephen Sheppard, Alan Callaghan and Mark Coleman helped Tones push clear. Back came Dunshaughlin again and David Nolan was forced to turn a Tommy Johnson shot over the crossbar. A fine goal from Ray Maloney reduced the deficit to the minimum, but Byrne’s late free secured victory for Tones. St Patrick’s had Ciaran Calvey sent off after only four minutes of the quarter-final at Ashbourne and they also had 11 wides. Tones, with Niall McLoughlin starring, scored 10 points from play and almost goaled after 10 seconds when Cian Ward hit the butt of the left post. Points from Callaghan, Fiachra Ward, McLoughlin, Sheppard and Fox earned them a 0-5 to 0-1 halftime lead and they coasted home in the second period when Fox (two), Sheppard, Fiachra Ward, Mark Coleman and Harrington added to their tally. Tones were building momentum and Seneschalstown knew it in a semi-final at Pairc Tailteann where a hugely committed performance yielded a 1-13 to 0-11 victory. The brilliant Cian Ward scored 10 points, eight of them from frees, and they made a great start when Sheppard goaled after six minutes, helping them to move into a 1-4 to 0-0 lead. Stephen Corrigan and Alan Callaghan impressed at midfield and McLoughlin and Fox were other key performers as they led by 1-8 to 0-6 at the interval. Nolan denied Brian Sheridan a goal in that period and they restricted Seneschalstown to five pointed frees from Sheridan in the second half When the last whistle sounded they were still five points to the good, with McGrath, McLoughlin and substitute Byrne getting their

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Cillian McFadden raises the U16 Division 3 FL Cup

Hurling captain Gerry Farrelly is outnumbered in the IHC decider

Top marksman Eanna Harrington in action during the IHC final


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other scores. Ahead of the football final Harrington, David and Mark Coleman, Callaghan and Sheppard lined out in the intermediate hurling decider when Tones lost to Rathmolyon and Mark Coleman sustained an injury which made him a doubt for the Keegan Cup showdown with O’Mahonys. He started, but was substituted after 40 minutes as Tones failed to perform up to their potential and were beaten by a superior team on the day. O’Mahonys won by 1-11 to 0-7 and a tally of just three points from play over an extended hour of football spoke for itself as far as the losers were concerned. O’Mahonys made a dream start when Shane Gillespie goaled inside 20 seconds, but Cian Ward converted two frees to cut the gap to the minimum. The Brews Hill team scored six first half points courtesy of Jake Regan (three), Stephen Bray (two) and Stephen Mac Gabhann, but well taken scores from Harrington and Ward meant Tones trailed by 0-4 to 1-6 at the break. They might have scored a couple of goals in that half, but Ward forced a very good save from Mark Brennan on 18 minutes and five minutes later he dispossessed the O’Mahonys’ captain, was fouled and then saw his quickly taken free go narrowly wide. Ward pointed a free four minutes after the restart, but with Gillespie and Bray (free) on target at the other end O’Mahonys led by 1-8 to 0-5. Sheppard pointed 10 minutes from the end, but Stephen and David Bray replied to leave the winners ahead by seven and looking good. Brennan deflected a Ward free over the crossbar for Tones’ last point and a brilliant score from Stephen Bray concluded the scoring on a bitterly disappointing day for Martyn’s team. “O’Mahonys got a great start with the early goal and we were on the back foot after that,” reflected Tones’ selector Gerry Thompson. “They relaxed after that score. You could see it in them. They dropped back and defended when they had a lead. It wasn’t O’Mahonys’ style of play. “It was also noticeable how they had beefed up from the previous time we

Ryan McManus

Eanna O'Kelly Lynch

played them. They obviously did a lot of work in the gym. They out-muscled us. Not a lot of teams have been able to do that. “I thought O’Mahonys upped their performance from the semi-final against Donaghmore/Ashbourne by about 20 per cent, whereas we played very well in our semi-final against Seneschalstown. The final against O’Mahonys was the sixth week in a row that some of our lads had knockout action with the hurlers reaching the intermediate final.” It’s now a matter of looking to the future for Wolfe Tones and putting this disappointment behind them. “We had three under-21s playing in the final, Fiachra Ward, Shane Glynn and Christopher Blaney who went on as a substitute,” Gerry added. “Four of our team are over 30, including Ciaran McLoughlin who is 33 and Alan Fox who is 32. We have two or three who are 29 and some 27 yearolds. We don’t have replacements as yet for the older lads. We have good young players from under-16 down who should strengthen things in a few years time. “A big factor next year will be hunger. We won’t be making any changes in personnel. We don’t have the Feis Cup or league to play in late in the year, so they should be rested. I expect them to be raring to go again next spring.” The Wolfe Tones team in the SFC final was: D Nolan; R Brady, C McLoughlin, D Coleman; N McLoughlin, E Harrington (0-1), S Glynn; S Corrigan, A Callaghan; A Fox, S Sheppard (0-1), M Coleman; D McGrath, C Ward (0-5), F Ward. Subs – P Byrne for McGrath, C Blaney for M Coleman, P Caffrey for Callaghan.

HAPPIER DAYS FOR THE MINORS AND U16’S AT PAIRC TAILTEANN

Charlie McGarry

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Wolfe Tones claimed the MFL Division 4 title when they defeated St Cuthbert’s by 2-19 to 3-15 after extra time in the final at Pairc Tailteann where Jack Condie scored the winning point. With Fiachra Ward contributing five points Tones led by 0-9 to 1-2 at the interval in normal time after Ryan


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O’Rourke had scored the losers’ goal from a 30th minute penalty. St Cuthbert’s took over in the second half, but a goal from Brughach O Fionnagain and a Condie point left the teams level (1-13 to 2-10) at the end of an hour. Sean Condren’s goal helped St Cuthbert’s to lead narrowly midway through extra time, but a Gary McFadden goal proved a big boost to Tones and Condie snatched the winner. The Wolfe Tones team was: T O’Reilly; S Moriarty, B McGovern, L Callan; D McManus, B O Fionnagain (1-2), C Sheppard (0-1); N O’Reilly (0-2), F Ward (0-7); E McKeever (01), J Condie (0-2), C McFadden (0-1); G McFadden (1-0), D Glynn, C Brennan. Subs – P Diamond (0-1) for Glynn, T O’Sullivan (0-2) for McKeever. Wolfe Tones also experienced success at Pairc Tailteann when they defeated Clann na nGael by 4-13 to 1-9 in the Under-16 FC Division 4 final. Matthew Melady was a star of the victory with his pace and skill and he scored one of their four first half goals which helped open up a 4-8 to 0-4 interval lead. Eanna O’Kelly-Lynch (two) and John Paul Melady also found the net. Boosted by an Aaron Doherty goal Clann na nGael cut the deficit to 1-7 to 4-9 by the three-quarter stage, but Tones had done more than enough. O’Kelly-Lynch scored 2-2 and Luke Sheridan got seven points. The Wolfe Tones team was: M McDonnell; C Coyle, R White, S Carr; D O’Neill, T O’Reilly, C McFadden; P Diamond (0-2), C McGarry; C O’Neill (0-1), L Sheridan (0-7), R McManus; M Melady (1-1), JP Melady (1-0), E O’Kelly-Lynch (2-2). Subs – N Sheridan, L Condie, L Smith, J McAleese, R McFadden.

Niall O'Reilly

Minor full back Brian McGovern

HURLERS MOVING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION Wolfe Tones just came up short in their bid to regain SHC status. However, the progress made in recent times suggests they are capable of rejoining the senior ranks soon.

Brughach Ó Fionnagáin

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With the guidance of Frank Foy and his management team, Wolfe Tones won the JHC in 2010 before reaching the Leinster Special Junior Hurling final. Those achievements were built upon as Wolfe Tones claimed an IHC final spot in the autumn. Foy may be the manager, but he readily acknowledges there is a strong team ethic to the coaching side to things. “I'm the manager. Michael Burke probably does a majority of the coaching. Donal Curtis does his share of it as well when he is available. James Connolly is the other selector," he points out. Donal Curtis played for Wolfe Tones in the 1993 SHC final. Listening to Foy you sense the depth of appreciation in the club for the contribution the Rathkenny man made over the past two decades or so. Wolfe Tones fell five points short of Rathmolyon in the IHC final. Such a scenario was unthinkable five years ago. Substantial progress has been made in recent years since Foy was approached to take charge of the club's hurling team. Foy believes that having mentors who hail from counties where hurling and football are strong is a help to the club: "It shows that both games, hurling and football, can go together. That does help. "Michael Burke is a Cork man. We have a Wexford-man, Aidan Jordan who won six Wexford senior football championships in a row, which is some achievement. He is a hurling man as well." Foy hails from Killeagh in south Offaly, close to the Laois border. “There was no football in the village when I was growing up," he points out. He reminds us that it's home to Mick O'Rourke who was part of the Offaly team that won the county's first All-Ireland SFC title in 1971. Foy settled in Meath in the 1980s and captained Wolfe Tones to outright success in the inaugural JHC2 in 1985, defeating Longwood in the final. Four years later the JHC title was added and intermediate status gained.


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The upward curve continued with an IHC final win in 1992 leading to a senior final appearance the following year, their debut season in the top flight of Meath club hurling, when Rathmolyon prevailed by the narrowest margin. A decade later a second IHC title was won with victory over Kilskyre. It didn't lead to another senior final outing. Instead as the first decade of the new millennium drew to a close hurling was at a low ebb in the club. “About five or six years ago, hurling was sliding into a big hole in the club. Aidan (Jordan) asked would I go back and get involved with James Connolly. Michael Burke got involved the following year. We went from there." From there the JHC title was regained in 2010 with a 2-12 to 2-8 win over Kilskyre. An appearance in the Leinster Club Special Junior Hurling decider followed where Fingallians (Dublin) prevailed. Frank Foy, Michael Burke and James Connolly were still the triumvirate at the helm in 2012. Running successful hurling and football teams within a club can be challenging. Foy offers his perspective on the matter: “It's easy done if its done right. Having three (Burke, Jordan and Foy) fellas from dominant dual counties, that have won All-Irelands in both codes, is a help." Foy hailed the commitment of footballers from within Wolfe Tones and surrounding areas. "They just want to do well. They have great pride in themselves. Footballers bring an element of fitness and physicality,” in Foy's assessment. The manager emphasised the contribution of Michael Burke: “He's secretary (of the hurling committee in the club) as well. He does coaching with me as well. He's a terrific fella.” Burke hails from the St Finbarr's club in Cor, the only outfit to feature on the roll of honour for both AllIreland senior hurling and senior football titles. As well as being a hurling secretary and secretary of the hurling committee, he was sub goalkeeper on the team. Being one of the few hurling clubs

based north of Navan, Wolfe Tones welcomed prominent players from neighbouring football clubs. “It works great. There is no such thing as favouritism. As far as I'm concerned, they are all Wolfe Tones hurlers. They all played underage hurling with Wolfe Tones. So, they're Wolfe Tones' hurlers, end of story. "We wouldn't pick a team and say we're not playing such-a-lad because of where they're from. “It's a big plus for us that most of them were underage hurlers with the 'Tones. The only lad we had that wasn't an underage hurler with the 'Tones was Alan Connell," Foy points out. Connell has a terrific hurling pedigree from underage to adult level with Navan O'Mahonys and is now settled in the area. This year just ending marked his first with the club. Castletown's Gerard Farrelly skippered the side while current county footballers Brian Meade and Donal Keogan also featured in the team. In addition, for two-time All-Ireland SFC winner Donal Curtis – who figured in the 1993 SHC final – brought his experience to bear in the full-forward line. Reflecting on the 2-10 to 3-12 defeat to Rathmolyon in the IHC final in which a strong rally came up short, Foy remarks: “I thought it was a very good game of hurling and very well refereed by Stephen Masterson. Often the losing team could find something to crib about. I couldn't find something to crib about. I thought he did a very good job. "We played Rathmolyon twice this year and once last year and they are a very sporting team. They play hurling the way it should be played. I'd have nothing but respect for Rathmolyon and Martin Curran. “We were bitterly disappointed we didn't win it (the intermediate hurling final). I still think we didn't get too many breaks in the final. We might have been a little naive on a couple of things. We also had a penalty saved. We introduced a couple of young lads as well." The Wolfe Tones team that reached the IHC final was: Stephen Tiernan; Alan Connell, Eoghan

519

Stephen Sheppard

U16 keeper Mark McDonnell

Pauric Diamond


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www.hoganstand.com/meath 520


Harrington (0-1), Alan Browne; Stephen Jordan, David Coleman, Brian Meade; Gerard Farrelly (captain), Killian O'Brien; Eanna Harrington (0-8, 5fs, 1 65), Mark Coleman, Alan Callaghan (1-1); Donal Curtis (1-0), Stephen Sheppard, Donal Keogan. Sub – Trevor Browne for M. Coleman.

Gary McFadden

Shane Glynn

Mark Coleman

Wolfe Tones found themselves nine points in arrears in the third quarter. Revived by goals from Donal Curtis and Alan Callaghan they cut the gap to four points and were unlucky when Stephen Sheppard's kicked attempt hit the goal frame while Eanna Harrington had a penalty saved. Foy's recipe for success begins with trying to replicate the practices of the most successful sides: “Try and do what they do. It's as simple as that. It's about attitude too. It doesn't matter where you're from. That's just it." Foy, who wasn't around for Wolfe Tones SHC final appearance of 1993 as he was based in England at the time, notices changes in the standard of hurling in the county over the past three decades. “The standard of hurling (in Meath) now compared to '85 is unreal. We have some very skilful hurlers. Take Eanna Harrington. He has lovely stick work. He does everything so right and is a lovely striker of the ball. "It's not all about coaching. It's natural ability too. (Donal) Keogan is a beautiful hurler as well. We have some grand hurlers and I'm just delighted watching them." Discipline is another key ingredient in the recipe for success, Foy reckons, pointing out that none of the players picked up a red card last year. Much has been done in recent years to promote hurling in the club's catchment area and Foy is quick to acknowledge to contribution of those looking after football for the wearers of purple and gold. “We get great support from the football side of things, from Richie Colwell (chairman) and Michael Carr (secretary). They appreciate that we are a dual club. It's a GAA club.” Organisation is central to the revival of hurling in the Wolfe Tones

521

club. "When I was asked to get involved, James Connolly was the first person I approached and he's had a major input into hurling here over the past few years. Foy reflects on revival as he looks forward positively: "The boys wanted to play (hurling). There was no problem. It just wasn't organised for them. When I went into the dressing room and saw Stephen Sheppard and the Colemans, the McKeowns and fellas like that. I knew there was a future for it. All that was need was for someone to show a bit of interest in them that they showed in it themselves. "Once we started winning, other guys came back. Players don't want much, all they want is a bit of organisation, someone to open the gate and turn on the showers."

Stephen Corrigan

Cian Ward


NA FIANNA Thirteen was not an unlucky number for Na Fianna as the Baconstown / Enfield club gained promotion to the ranks of senior football with a thrilling IFC triumph after that many years of trying following the amalgamation in 2000.

The party begins as Na Fianna celebrate their IFC final win over Trim at Pairc Tailteann

A

fter two quarter-final defeats in the previous four attempts, John Lyons succeeded where Kit Henry and Graham Geraghty just fell short with the former Summerhill SFC winner guiding the side in orange and black to a first final appearance in which they defeated Trim by 1-12 to 1-10. It was a second term in charge of Na Fianna for Lyons and his side were among the more fancied sides from the outset. They went on to justify the confidence of some pundits in them by playing six championship games and winning all six. Na Fianna were drawn in Group B and the campaign began with a 3-7 to 0-11 victory over Syddan at Trim in mid-April. Shane Barrett, who had enjoyed a successful soccer career during which he gained FAI Cup and League of Ireland honours with Longford Town and Drogheda United respectively, netted a hat-trick of goals as well as putting over two points in the opener.

CHAMPIONSHIP GLORY Syddan got away to the better start and an early advantage of two points could have been stretched to five but for a crucial penalty save by Shane Geraghty. Barrett netted his three goals in the first half as his side went eight points clear. But then they went half an hour without scoring until Conor Downey fired over four points in the closing stages to leave the

margin five at the finish. After being idle in round two, Na Fianna resumed the campaign some four months after their opening game when reversing the quarter-final result of the previous year with a 0-17 to 1-13 win over Dunderry at Boardsmill. The midfield pair of Tommy Cosgrove and Daniel Queeney as well as Leitrim-native

Meath IFC winners, front l/r: Dean Hendrick, Jamie McCormack, Dalton McDonagh, Christy Cosgrove, Conor Downey, John Baldwin, Shane Barrett, Diarmuid Bailey, John O'Lone, Damien Downey, David Lyons. Back: Ollie Lewis, Gavin Gillespie, Brian Queeney, Harrison Silke, Jamie Queeney, Shane Geraghty, Daniel Queeney, Michael Collins, David McCormack, Michael Foley, Michael Farley, Pauric Hogan, Tommy Cosgrove. Missing from photo: Seanie Griffin and Dean Barrett

Log onto www.dlynchpics.com to view more club photos

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The camogie squad before the Leinster League Final at Baconstown, front l/r: Becky (mascot), Siobhan Kirby, Caroline Murphy, Andrea Colgan, Niamh Kirby, Claire Flynn, Annette Parkes, Jenny Boggan, Kelly Martin, Shauna Ennis, Catherine Neary, Meabh Downey, Joshua Henricks. Back: Therese Cosgrave, Declan Martin, Anthony Kirby, Aine Kirby, Emma Coffey, Elizabeth Flynn, Claire Reynolds, Lorraine Boggan, Tara Geraghty, Claire Coffey, Caroline Walsh, Aisling Coffey, Orla Vesey, Mary Reilly, Matthew Coffey, Miah Henricks

The Na Fianna ladies that lost out to Seneschalstown in the SFC semi-final, front l/r: Therese Cosgrave, Christine Boggan, Aileen Smyth, Deirdre Flynn, Gillian Buggle, Meabh Downey, Shauna Gillespie, Andy Colgan, Deirdre Moroney, Catherine Neary. Back: Sarah Scully, Claire Coffey, Mandy Dixon, Rebecca Smullen, Marie Healy Cole, Niamh Gerathy, Hannah Cullen, Lorraine Boggan, Caroline Walsh, Caroline Murphy, Shanua Gillespie

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The U16B Hurling Championship winners, front l/r: Con Coffey, Cathal Coffey, Charlie Bockett, Peter Slevin, Sean Martin, Ronan Byrne, Ciaran Holton, Noel O’Sullivan, Tiaran McCloskey, Will Flynn, Eoin Reilly. Back: John McCloskey, Patrick McCarthy, Mark Slevin, Ethan O'Gorman, Cian Slattery, Ben Caudwell, Jonathan McCloskey, Evan Mullaly, Gerry O’Gorman

On duty against Clann na nGael in the IFC at Lomans Park Trim, front l/r: Dean Hendrick, Conor Downey, Shane Barrett, Christy Cosgrave, Jamie McCormack, Diarmuid Bailey, Michael Farley, Damien Downey, Tommy Cosgrave. Back: Dalton McDonagh, Brian Queeney, Sean Griffen, John O'Lone, Shane Geraghty, Daniel Queeney, Jamie Queeney, David McCormack, Gavin Gillespie, Michael Collins, Michael Foley

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Winners of the U14 Division 2 FL, beating Ballivor in the decider at Pairc Tailteann, front l/r: Colm Flynn, Sean Coffey, Sean Martin, Sean Raftery, Luke McNally, Eoin McDonnell, Will Flynn, Glen Dunne, Adam Hyland, Cian O’Hare. Back: Tiarnan McCloskey, David Maher, Bobby Massey, Ethan Devine, Connor Heffernan, Ciaran Holton, Cian Slattery (c), Jack McNally, Micheal Keogh, Daniel Devine, Ronan Byrne

Michael Foley at centre-back were in impressive form. Dunderry led by 0-7 to 0-6 at the break and although Meath minor Stephen Coogan converted a penalty for them in the second half, Na Fianna grabbed the points with a late winner from Dalton McDonagh. Daniel Queeney top scored with five points, three from frees. John Lyons’ charges ran up big scores in their last two group outings, beginning with a 3-22 to 1-7 success over Clann na nGael at Trim, a game in which Shane Barrett again scored 3-2. They had 1-6 on the board before the Athboy side put over their first score with seven different players getting on target during that bright start. It was 3-11 to 0-3 at the break and 11 of the winners’ players had scored by the final whistle. Dalton McDonagh also impressed in the scoring stakes with a contribution of five points. The last round game was a good bit closer but Na Fianna still had five points to spare over St Michael’s on a 3-14 to 1-15 scoreline at Kildalkey to earn a place in the semi-finals. St Michael’s also went into the game unbeaten and were still in contention before Dalton McDonagh netted near the end.

Shane Barrett added to his goals haul in the first half but the Carlanstown side led by 1-8 to 1-6 at the break. The advantage was increased to three points in the third quarter before Dean Barrett’s goal put Na Fianna into the lead. Castletown provided the semi-final opposition at Trim, a game which Na Fianna won by 1-16 to 0-15, having led by 0-9 to 0-5 at the break. After the north county side got the first score, Na Fianna took control with points from Jamie,

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Daniel and Brian Queeney, Conor Downey and Dean Henrick putting them in a strong position. With Daniel and Jamie Queeney firing over points and Shane Barrett netting his eighth goal of the championship, the south county went into a 1-12 to 0-6 lead as the game entered the last quarter. Castletown stormed back to get the deficit down to two points but late points from Barrett and Johnny Baldwin doubled the difference. Before the final against Trim much was made of the fact that Na Fianna had never previously played an IFC game at Pairc Tailteann. However, that did not prove a hindrance as they dominated the first half while wind assisted to lead by 10 points (1-9 to 0-2) at the interval. After Trim took the lead with an early converted free by Michael Lowther, Jamie Queeney levelled with a spectacular shot from the right touchline before his brother and midfield partner, Daniel, edged Na Fianna in front with the first of his four converted frees. When Dalton McDonagh cut in from the left and fired a low shot past Brendan Murphy in the 13th minute it was 1-3 to 0-1. Earlier Dean Hendrick, who was listed as left full-

Joint captains Adam Hyland and Cian Slattery with the U14 Division 2 FL Cup

Congratulations To Na Fianna GAA Jonathan McCloskey raises the U16B HC Cup at Dunganny

back but played up front, was unlucky to see a goal attempt come back off an upright. Shane Barrett brought his scoring total to 8-9 for the six games with a brace of points in the first half and wing-back Michael Farley got in on the scoring act. Na Fianna appeared to have one hand on the Mattie McDonnell Cup when heading under the stand for the break. However, their lead was reduced to three points 10 minutes after the restart, substitute Eoin McGrath firing Trim’s goal. The picture had completely changed and it took Na Fianna 23 minutes to get their first score after the switching of ends, Hendrick’s second point. The margin was the minimum three times and Trim looked likely to draw level only for a Lowther free to drop into the arms of Shane Geraghty. Na Fianna might have relinquished the lead but for some fine defending by Tommy Cosgrave, who wore the number 14 jersey. Heartened by Lowther’s miss, they went back on the attack and in added time Daniel Queeney completed the winning total from another free. After the final whistle winning captain Christy Cosgrave said the wind was a major factor on the day. “Although Trim got the first score we made good use of the advantage in the first half. We were well on top and in a strong position at half-time. “We went to sleep and after we missed a few chances of scores on the restart, we let Trim come at us. We knew they wouldn’t go away without a battle of some sort, they kept coming at us and they deserve credit for the way they came back from what looked an impossible position. “We were lucky that we prevented them from getting on level terms but we held out and that’s all that matters,” he said.

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Na Fianna and Meath defender Claire Coffey with her Soaring Star Award

Brian Queeney with Trim's Kieran Joyce

Diarmuid Bailey with Trim's Derek Donohue

beaten finalists Navan O’Mahonys, 2012 kingpins Kiltale as well as the two most successful clubs in the Jubilee Cup competition, Kilmessan and Trim. The opening game against Kildalkey at Trim was a very unhappy outing for Mickey Cole’s charges as the title holders romped to a 3-19 to 0-5 win, having led by 1-9 to 0-4 at the break. The losers only managed one point from play, struck by Shane Burke. Na Fianna performed much better in the second round tussle with Trim at Longwood as the town team finished up 1-11 to 0-10 winners. The sides were level (1-2 to 0-5) at the break and were on equal terms (1-7 to 0-11) with 10 minutes to go before the town team added four unanswered points. Sean Griffin showed up well with four points and Barry Slevin contributed five points, four frees and a sideline cut. Eventual title winners Kiltale packed too much power for a weakened Na Fianna side in the third round, finishing up as convincing 220 to 2-7 victors at Pairc Tailteann. It was 1-15 to 0-4 at the break and goals from Barry Slevin and Paul Hanley in the second period helped to slightly reduce the arrears. Navan O’Mahonys were the next opponents at Trim and although the losing margin was more respectable, the end product was a 0-10 to 1-14 defeat. The town team held 0-9 to 05 interval advantage before 1-2 in the early stages of the second half ended the game as a contest. Seven of the losers’ points came from frees with Eoin Reilly putting over three and half-time substitute Barry Slevin converting four. Kilmessan only got the better of Na Fianna by the minimum margin (2-14 to 2-13) in the last round of the group stages at Trim. A goal from Dean Henrick gave the men in black and amber an early boost but they still trailed by 1-5 to 2-5 at the break. Barry Slevin struck 10 points and Sean Griffin netted the losers’ second goal late on. “Na Fianna will fancy their chances of survival if another performance like this can be produced,” suggested one report after the Kilmessan game. However,

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Dean Hendrick has Trim's Stephen Farrell for company

Manager John Lyons

Jamie Queeney outfields his team mate Ollie Lewis and Trim’s Frankie McEvoy during the IFC final


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with Gaeil Colmcille failing to fulfil two relegation fixtures, both Drumree and Na Fianna were spared play-offs. Now in 2013 Na Fianna will be one of three clubs – Navan O’Mahonys and Dunboyne being the others playing in both the SFC and SHC. They will be hoping to make their mark in their debut season in the Keegan Cup and move away from the bottom in the hurling championship.

LADIES FOOTBALL Na Fianna’s Ladies Football currently fields three adults teams at U19, Junior and Senior Level. All three teams are looked after by the management team of Lar Wall, John Ennis, Seani Kirby and Ger Smullen. In 2011 all three teams reached their championship finals where the U19 team were victorious under captain Niamh Kirby. The club was nominated for team of the year which Deirdre Flynn and Sarah Scully receiving senior and junior player of the year nominations also. The seniors also won the Feis Cup for the first time, captained by Marie Cole. In 2012 both senior and junior teams were beaten at semi final stage, with Seneschalstown being the obstacle again for the seniors and Oldcastle for the juniors, led by captains Deirdre Flynn and Caroline Murphy respectively. The senior team hope to retain the Feis Cup when they take on Boardsmill in the upcoming final. This year’s Under 19s is still ongoing with captain Sarah Jane Farley.

NA FIANNA SENIOR CAMOGIE Na Fianna seniors maintained senior status for 2013, making this a huge achievement given that the team is only five years running and second year in senior ranks. Na Fianna started their 2012 Campaign with a well deserved win over neighbouring senior team Killyon in the first round of the Leinster League competition. Na Fianna knew this game would be a battle, but a game that needed to be won to get their year off to a great start. Na Fianna edged out Killyon. The second game was the first round of the league, where Na Fianna played Trim in

Baconstown. Unfortunately Trim proved too strong for Na Fianna. Na Fianna travelled to O’Loughlin Gaels of Kilkenny to play the second round of the Leinster League, but the home team were too tough for Na Fianna as they won by the narrowest of margins. Na Fianna made their way to Dunboyne on St. Patrick’s Day for the second round of the league and lost out to a very strong and determined Dunboyne team. The third round of the Leinster League saw success for Na Fianna against Naas in Baconstown. The senior championship kicked off with a win against Blackhall Gaels in Baconstown. This was a great start to the Championship season for Na Fianna. Na Fianna had a comprehensive win over Donaghmore Ashbourne at Ashbourne’s home ground in the second round of Championship. Dunboyne travelled to Baconstown on the third round of the Championship and were beaten by a stronger team. Na Fianna played against Kilmessan at their home ground and were beaten by the Championship winners as they proved too strong for Na Fianna to manage. Division 1 league game saw a home game loss for Na Fianna against Blackhall Gaels. Na Fianna then won against Navan O’Mahony’s to ensure senior status for 2013. Unfortunately Na Fianna struggled to win league games, and taking on Kilmessan in Baconstown was a task too tough, as Kilmessan were the worthy winners. Killyon travelled to Baconstown to play Na Fianna and this was for a spot in the semifinals. Unfortunately Killyon were the stronger team on the day. Na Fianna played Castletown Geoghegan of Westmeath at Baconstown in the League semifinal. This was a tough encounter as both teams battled hard to get a spot in the final. Thankfully Na Fianna was the stronger team on this occasion. Na Fianna won home advantage and the Leinster League final was played in Baconstown on Sunday 7th October. Ballyhale Shamrocks of Kilkenny made the journey to

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Senior hurling manager Mickey Cole

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A determined Ciaran O'Hare


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Meath. It was a great sporting occasion, but unfortunately it wasn’t Na Fianna’s day.

after games. 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.

NA FIANNA JUNIOR CAMOGIE Na Fianna’s junior team started their 2012 League campaign with a victory against Donaghmore Ashbourne in Baconstown. Na Fianna Juniors made their way to Trim in March and were beaten. Na Fianna travelled to Dunderry in their third league game. Unfortunately Dunderry proved too strong for Na Fianna.

NA FIANNA’S HEART BEATS AS LOUD AND STRONG AS EVER

FINAL WORD One of the great success stories of 2012 for Meath Camogie was winning the Junior All Ireland Final in Croke Park on Sunday 16th September. However the great Na Fianna success story was having Claire Coffey line out as full back for Meath in the Junior Camogie All Ireland Final. Claire is a dual player for Na Fianna and played corner back for Meath Senior Ladies in 2009 and 2010. Claire also represented Leinster in the Ladies Football Interprovincial Championships in 2009 and started her Camogie Intercounty career with Meath in 2010 where she lined out for Meath’s second Camogie team, and then went on to represent Ireland in the Shinty in Ratoath the same year. Claire got more involved with Meath Camogie in 2011, and then in 2012 she came in to her own where she earned and held the full back position for the whole year. Not only that, but Claire went on to win a soaring star for that full back position. Claire is a modest person and proves what a great player she is with her effortless ability on the field. A special thanks to Manager/Trainer Matthew Coffey for his hard work and dedication to improving the standards in Na Fianna Camogie. Selectors: Declan Martin, Miah Henricks and Anthony Kirby have assisted on this task. Secretary Geraldine Geraghty does monumental work for Na Fianna Camogie and keeps everything ticking over. A word of thanks to Ann Coffey for ensuring the Adult Camogie teams are togged out in clean jersey’s and for providing food

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Na Fianna’s juvenile section which caters for up to 300 children from Minor (u18) down to five year olds who participate in the clubs ABC nursery may be described as the heart beat of a very vibrant GAA club. All four codes, boys and girls football, hurling and camogie are catered for where an army of very dedicated coaches and mentors, who have fulfilled the Garda Vetting and Foundation Coaching requirements, spend 9 to 10 months of the year teaching, encouraging and developing children’s skills and talents on training pitches and playing fields all over Meath and beyond. 2012 has, like all the other 12 years in this clubs short history, been a very successful one at juvenile level for a club that prides itself in participation and enjoyment for the children of all age groups.

CAMOGIE Adam Hyland

Sean Martin

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The greatest achievement in this code was winning the U13 championship which means that Na Fianna will represent Meath at the 2013 Feile Competition to be held in Limerick next summer. On Sunday Oct 21st after a titanic battle against Ratoath in Dunganny Na Fianna had one point to spare in the end winning 1.3 to 1.2. This team has been expertly coached and trained by Dec Martin, Fergal Fagan, Ken Forde and Fiona Slattery. U13 Final Team and scorers: Daniel Swan; Shannon Swaine; Grainne Clarke; Sarah Ennis; Keeley Doherty; Aiden Slattery; Sophie Payne; Katie Mulvihill(0.2); Michaela Forde; Erin Leddy; Moira Kirby(1.1); Aisling Byrne; Sara Clarke; Leah Devine; Emer Fagan; Roisin Malone; Robin Kane; Orlath Mulvihill; Megan Coffey; Shauna Murphy; Megan Jones


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On Sunday June 24th in Trim the U14B championship was captured with a resounding 5.7 to 1.0 win over Dunboyne, the nucleus of this team had won the 2011 B shield so progress is very evident. U14 B Championship Final team and scorers: Danny Swan;Michela Forde; Rachel Walsh; Ciara Coffey; Grainne Clarke; Aedin Slattery; Abby Walker; Chloe Reilly; Moira Kirby(33);Leah McNally (1-2);Katie Mulvihill(1-2);Keeley Doherty; Leah Devine; Emma Caudwell; Aisling Byrne .Subs Emer Fagan; Olivia Coffey; Sarah Clarke; Erin Leddy; Robin Kane. Dunboyne proved to be just too strong in the U16B championship final in Navan on Wednesday October 31st winning by the minimum which Meath Camogie chairperson Christy Mangan described as “one of the best underage camogie finals he had seen in 2012”Final score was Dunboyne 2.5 Na Fianna 1.7 U16 Final Team and scorers Abby Walker; Michaela Ford; Rachel Walsh; Grainne Clarke; Chloe Reilly; Kelly Martin; Tara Geraghty; Emma Coffey; Sarah Scully; Moira Kirby; Leah McNally(1.7); Emma Caudwell; Megan Reilly; Sarah Foran; Keeley Doherty There has been no shortage of activity for the younger age groups as well, U8 girls have spent the year as part of the u8 hurling team partaking in Co Board organised blitzes and weekly training sessions. The clubs U10’s have played Meath Camogie Board blitzes and played half time exhibition matches at two very high profile games, the first during a Meath V Kildare Divison 2 camogie league match in Cappagh and later in the year when Na Fianna Senior Camogie team hosted Ballyhale Shamrocks in the final of the Leinster Camogie league in Baconstown. Many members of the camogie section have also attended Meath Camogie development training camps and played on Meath U14/U16 and Minor teams.

BOYS FOOTBALL As probably the biggest section of the Na Fianna underage division, 2012 has again proved to be a very

successful one with both large numbers of boys playing and success in winning competitions at various ages. The U8 team, with Michael Lawlor and Tony Walsh at the helm, while small in numbers have flourished as the year progressed by competing in Meath County Development Blitzes and phase 2 of the Summerhill tournament .The U10’s under the guidance on Joe Maher, Vincent Forde, Roy Mulrooney and Kevin Halton have enjoyed a wonderful year on all fronts with the highlight winning a club run league involving three local Kildare teams. The u12 team coached by Michael McDonnell and Ger Smullen have like this age group in previous years proved to be one of the clubs most successful team’s .While no outright success was achieved in the Spring League, what has been achieved during a 3 week period in August is breathtaking. Na Fianna captured the U12 Summer league (Grade B) title at Trim on Saturday August 11th with a 2 pt win over a gallant Clan Na Geal team in a pulsating final which has a grand stand finish. Meath Fe14 Co Board run the U12 competitions with Go Games rules-one hop, one solo, unlimited substitution and all scores, both goals and points, worth the same one score value. Most clubs have large numbers of underage footballers so 2 11 aside games are played simultaneously with the aggregate score from the 2 matches used to determine the winners. For shear excitement with the final score Na Fianna 26pts CNG 24pts this will be hard to beat at any age group. Na Fianna panel - Ross Gill, Stephen Slevin, Luke Kelly, Oisin McCloskey, Ciaran Keogh, Kevin Coffey, Bernard McInerney, Daniel Ferguson, Ciaran McDonnell, Vincent Ward, Adam Farrell, Mark Foran, Alex Maxwell, Conor McNally, Alan Flynn, Thomas McLoughlin, Evan Harris, David Brennan, Oran Smullen, Andrew Holton, Daniel Carolan, Cormac Redmond (Capt.), Eamonn Gilna, Shane Walsh, Kean Flynn, Dara Flynn, Oisin Egan, Eoin Stewart, Christopher Clarke, Dara Slattery, Jack Flynn Three weeks later 12 members of this u12 panel were to achieve a first

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for Na Fianna at u12 boy’s football level. In Simonstown on Saturday Sept 1st the Ciaran Conlon Cup presented to the winners of an all county u12 7 aside competition was presented to Na Fianna’s winning captain Shane Walsh after the Na Fianna lads has won out the final day's competition against Simonstown, Drumconrath/Meath Hill, St Colmcilles ,Clan Na nGael, Dunboyne, Skryne and Kilmainhamwood The winning panel was Danny Carolan, Kevin Coffey, Alan Flynn, Kean Flynn, Luke Kelly, Oisin McCloskey, Ciaran McDonnell, Thomas McLoughlin, Bernard McNamara, Oran Smullen, Shane Walsh and Vincent Ward. The clubs U14 management team of James McNally, John Rafferty, Joe Maher and Vincent Forde guided their panel of players to outright success in Div 2 chp with a 3.13 to 3.10 win over Ballivor on Wed June 6th at Pairc Tailteann. The panel was: Conor Heffernan; Ciaran Holton; Owen Mc Donnell; Adam Hyland; Sean Rafferty; Sean Martin; David Maher; Ronan Byrne(04);Bobby Massey (1-1); Jack McNally (0-1); Cian Slattery(Capt.); Luke McNally(1-2); Cian O’Hare; Ethan Devine(1-3);Will Flynn(0-1). Subs Tiernan McCloskey (0-1) (for C O’Hare); Michael Keogh (for B Massey); Daniel Devine (for C Holton); Colm Flynn (for D Maher); Glen Dunne; Sean Coffey (for W Flynn) Na Fianna has also fielded teams at u15, u16 and u17 through the year and as we go to press the U13 and u18 (Minor) teams have qualified for county finals in their respective grades. Minor players Michael Farley and Jamie McCormack have also made the club’s intermediate football panel which shows the progression and link between a good structured underage system and the adult club. Players from the club have also attended county development squad sessions and played on County teams including Anthony Neary who was a member of the Meath Minor team that reached the All-Ireland Final.

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in Ireland and from within the club level this is very evident and particularly true. The success of girls football within Na Fianna is very obvious as huge numbers of girls play with the club from within the parish and further afield, where no club exists, and where the attraction of Na Fianna’s well structured underage system draws players from all over south Meath. Our youngest age group, U10’s reached the final of the Div 1 Championship only to lose to Dunboyne by 0.6 to 1.1. Indeed Pat Flynn (team manager) and mentors Pauline Clarke and Karina Kelly deserve huge credit for all the work they put into this team. Na Fianna U10 panel: Caoimhe Slattery; Niamh Coffey; Ellen Farley; Eimear Clarke; Ellen O’Hara; Niamh Mulvihill; Emma Regan; Hazel O’Reilly Higgins; Samantha Healy; Louise Murray; Katie Flynn; Amy Boland; Lauren McElvanna; Sarah Doherty; Katie Kelly; Elizabeth Forde; Erin Farrell; Amy Costello; Leah Dixon; Alex Kelly; Maria O’Neill; Grace Doherty; Hannah O’Hara; Clara Leddy; Sarah O’Reilly Higgins. Na Fianna u12 girls had a comprehensive victory over a gallant Skyrne team at a very wet Martry on Friday June 29th to capture the Div 4 title on a final score of 6-8 to 2-4. Trainers Trish Hanley and Nikki Kelly have worked tirelessly to achieve this success having completed the campaign undefeated since the beginning of the year. Na Fianna U12 final panel and scorers was: Aoife Hanley, Robin Keane, Louise Doyle (0-1), Sophie Flynn, Aisling Bryne, Kasey Campion, Sarah Ennis, Erin Leddy (4-1), Aedin Slattery (0-3), Leah Devine (2-2),Admanna Root (01), Orla Mulvihil, Sarah Clarke, Aideen O’ Hara, Roisin Malone, Niamh Griffin, Amy Heneghan, Shauna Murphy, Ally Sheridan, Eimear Fagan, Sarah Ainscough, Clanie Cassidy. Likewise the u14 girls team coached by club senior players Ann Wall and Trease Cosgrave captured the U14 Girls Div 4 Championship with a resounding victory over a gallant St Pats side at Dunboyne Community College pitch on Friday June 15th 2012 Final Team and

scorers; Chloe Nolan; Abby Walker; Keeley Doherty; Leanne Farley ;Rachel Walsh(Capt.); Grainne Clarke; Sinead Murray ;Michaela Forde; Moira Kirby(3-5);Katie Mulvihill(2-1);Ciara Hanley; Emma Caudwell(1-1);Kate Losty(1-2)Subs Louise Counihan; Katie Buggle; Billy Morgan; Chloe Kane ;Rachel Scully. The last club team in this section lost at the semi final stage on Tuesday Oct 30th to host Dunsany on a final score of Dunsany 5.5 Na Fianna 3.6. Na Fianna coach William Scully has done a great job with this bunch of girls and must be very pleased with their efforts throughout the year despite this defeat. They now play St Patricks in the shield final. Na Fianna Team and Scorers: Chloe Nolan; Michaela Ford; Rachel Walsh; Rachel Scully; Leanne Farley; Tara Geraghty(0-1); Abby Walker; Emma Coffey; Sarah Scully(2-5); Chloe Reilly; Grainne Clarke; Sinead Murray; Keeley Doherty; Kate Losty(1-0); Leah McNally; Elizabeth Clarke; Emma Caudwell; Katie Brannigan; Ciara Hanley. With the odd age competitions getting ran off towards the latter end of the year, some competitions have not finished as the yearbook goes to press. To this effect our u11 girls under Pat Flynn astute management have reached their final as have the Trish Hanley; Nikki Kelly trained U1 3 team.

U14 keeper Conor Heffernan

Shane Burke

HURLING Hurling within Na Fianna continued to thrive and grow at an enormous rate. A winter programme of indoor hall hurling ran in Enfield over 2 periods before and after Christmas 2011 reaped huge rewards during 2012 at u8 and u10 levels. The U8 team with numbers between 20-30 boys and girls enjoyed Co Board scheduled blitzes while the u10’s with less numbers also attended the same blitzes. Caman Mhi a steering group set up to review underage hurling within the county came forward in 2012 with a number of recommendations to help the development of the game and players within the county. Na Fianna’s John McCloskey was

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David Lyons has control


Diarmaid Bailey with Trim's James Toher

Jordan Nolan

Paul Hanley contests the high ball with Trim's David Foley

part of the steering group which suggested that clubs should dedicate every Thursday night as a club training night for all underage hurling teams. Na Fianna adopted this suggestion and ran coaching sessions over 20 consecutive Thursday nights with between 50-70 children getting expertly coached. The club's reward for this was Caman Mhi asked Na Fianna to host a special Thursday Club Hurling night where the club's u10 and u12 players along with similar players from Rathmoylan received 2 hours of coaching from such famous hurling legends as George O Connor (Wexford), Noel O Sullivan (Clare) and James McGarry (Kilkenny) - all members of the Leinster Hurling Development coaching committee. Back on the playing fields the u13 and u14 teams reached the semi final of their respective A competitions, the u12’s,double winners in 2011 got to the A championship final only to lose to Trim by 3.6 to 1.3. Na Fianna Team and scorers Dara Slattery ;Adam Farrell ;Stephen Slevin; Oisin McCloskey; Kevin Coffey ;Shane Walsh(1.2) ;Aedin Slattery ;Kean Flynn ;Andrew Holton; Luke Kelly(0.1); Dara Flynn ;Shane Buggle ;Alex Maxwell ;Jack Flynn. The amount of work put into these three age groups particularly by members of the clubs senior hurling team namely Eoin Reilly, Dan Gleeson, Davy Reilly, Niall Burke, Brendan Flynn and others will surely reap rewards in years to come. The success story within the hurling must go to the U16 team, reformed after a 6 year absence, under the management of John McCloskey defeating Navan O’Mahonys by the minimum margin to win the Meath U16B hurling championship at Dunganny. Na Fianna team and scorers: Noel O’Sullivan; Ethan O’Gorman; Sean Martin; Ciaran Holton; Evan Mullally; Patrick McCarthy; Ethan Devine; Jonathon McCloskey(0-1);Ronan Byrne (0-2); Mark Slevin(1-2); Will Flynn(1-0);Cian Slattery; Peter Slevin(2-0) Subs: Charlie Bockett for Holton; Ben Caudwell for Bockett ,

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Cathal Coffey ; Tiernan McCloskey The club has an U15 team entered in a Leinster U15 club hurling league which takes place in November, with an U17 team also waiting for Leinster League action at a later date. Other highlights during 2012 included the Na Fianna Under 8 hurling team who were one of the Meath teams selected this year to play during a Croke Park Open day and they duly played Eire Og Greystones (Wicklow) on Mon 27th at 10am on pitch 6 located at the corner of the Hogan and Davin stands under the guidance of mentors Tony Healy and Ken Forde. The Na Fianna players that attended were: Owen Bright, Paul Buggle, Kerry Cole, Leah Dixon, Kean Doherty, Brooke Flynn, Keelan Flynn, Becky Forde, Rian Forde, Anthony Healy, Patrick Jordan, Jamie Kelly, Enda Murtagh, Christopher Nolan, Aoife Redmond, Conor Ryan, Anna Slevin, Conor Walsh, TJ Walsh. Club school coaching link program was completed through the year with the Leinster Road show, Europe’s largest inflatable pitch spending an evening on Na Fianna’s pitch in Enfield during August, where Meath Senior Football panelists Jamie Queeney and Joe Sheridan were present. Jamie, who is a member of Meath games development staff, also, hosted “Games on the green” a pilot scheme of fun and games on housing estate greens around Enfield village during the summer. For the second year in a row a Kellogg’s Football Cul Camp was hosted by Na Fianna during August attracting over 80 children. With Geraldine Queeney as coordinator and adult players Johnny Baldwin and Brian Queeney among others coaching, the club has a very successful ABC nursery program now in its fourth year, which runs each Saturday morning for 1.5 hours and offered young children between 4-7 years the opportunity to enjoy fun and games within a structured coaching environment. As stated as the outset, Na Fianna's heart beat –the underage section- is beating as loud and strong as ever!


ST PAULS Tom Keague and Sean Moyles have answered an SOS call from St Paul’s to take over as joint-managers in 2013. Club chairman David Higgins hopes the new management team can inject a new lease of life into the club’s first team.

Cathal Donnelly

A

fter a couple of unproductive years on the football field, St Paul’s have turned to two of their best known sons in an effort to reignite the club’s fortunes in the year ahead. When the Clonee outfit memorably captured the Meath JFC title 13 years ago with a 0-11 to 0-9 final success over Moylagh, Sean Moyles lined out at centre-back while Tom Keague manned one of the midfield berths. Both represented the Meath juniors in their time while Keague was, of course, a selector with Seamus McEnaney and the Royal County seniors for the past two years. Next year they will both put their shoulder to the St Paul’s wheel as joint-managers and chairman David Higgins is optimistic that the new sideline team will attract a positive response from the players. “Tom and Sean are coming back to try to get the first team up and running again and I think that will be a big boost for the club. Both have

GETTING BACK TO BASICS loads of experience so it can only be a good development for the club. “They’ll be trying to get lads back into training and we’d expect that they will generate interest in the first team again. They are two of our best known players from the past and they would command the respect of the players. “Hopefully, our results on the field will improve as a result.”

Sadly, the aforementioned Matthew Ginnity Cup success is a distant memory down Clonee way. They were relegated from the Intermediate grade in 2002. 12 months later they suffered the ignominy of successive relegations and it has been a slippery slope ever since. Drawn in Group C of this year’s Meath JFC B competition, the team in

The squad for the championship clash with Wolfe Tones at Dunsany, front l/r: Antony Barker, Fergal O'Neill, Philip O'Mahony, Mark Henry, Nicky Gogan, Mark Reilly, Billy McGurn, Brian Conran, Dave Sweeney, Stephen Higgins. Back: Paul Barker, Rory Kissane, Ritchie Gibbons, Adam Minch, Simon Barker, Cathal Donnelly, Philip Connolly, Robbie Coogan, Joe Sweeney, Alan Barker, Alan Stephens, Bob Higgins

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Goalkeeper Robbie Coogan

Manager Alan Stephens

Dave Sweeney

red and black failed to register a solitary point when losing to Seneschalstown, Boardsmill, Moynalty and Wolfe Tones. A 1-9 to 2-5 FL Division 4 round 3 win over Boardsmill was all the club and its players had to show for their efforts in the year just coming to an end. It was a similar story in 2011 with just one championship win and a draw to their credit. “We’ve been struggling the last couple of years,” David conceded. “We’re struggling for numbers but we’re putting in a big push for next year and, hopefully, we’ll do a bit better. “Getting lads coming through is the main challenge for us. The way it is, we’ve a small catchment area and have lost about seven to eight players in the last few years through emigration. “Big clubs can absorb that type of loss, unless they are exceptional players, but small clubs like us can’t take a hit like that. In today’s climate young lads are finding it hard to get work so you can’t blame them.” A native of Clonee, David lined out with the club but failed to win anything of note during his playing days. He has been involved has been actively involved at administrative level with St Paul’s ‘on and off’ for the past 16 years. He served as secretary before taking on the role of chairman this year. Away from the glamour of Pairc Tailteann and county finals, there are numerous clubmen and women putting in the hard graft for the betterment of their local clubs. The 46-year old is one individual that fits that bill. “It can be time consuming especially in a small club where there are just the certain few who do all the work. “You’re not just chairman, you have to cut the grass, mark the pitch and so on but we’re lucky that we have a hard-working committee who are only too willing to help out.” The chairman singled out his fellow officers Willie Keague (secretary) and Padraig Galvin (treasurer) and others such as Brendan Thornton (county board delegate) and Simon and Paul Barker. The close-knit club spirit that exists

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Anthony Baker

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Fergal O'Neill keeps possession


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within St Paul’s was evident when help was needed to knock their new field into shape. David added: “We’ve leased our new pitch off a local builder and a good bit of work has gone into that over the past couple of years. “We’ve a new dressingroom and lights and it is well set up. The club owes a big thank you to everyone who helped out with that, a lot of the work was done voluntarily. “Everybody forgot about that during the Celtic Tiger days. People wanted to do things quickly and were willing to pay top price for it. Nowadays, everyone is getting back to basics. That is what the GAA is all about, doing it for the love of it.” David was a selector when Declan Mahon guided St Paul’s to JFC honours in 1999. “We had a good team then and we’re trying to resurrect it in the years ahead. Morale has been a bit low but we’d expect that the return of Tom and Sean will get the team up and running again.” So what are the club’s ambitions for 2013? “We’d be hoping to get a good run in the JFC B and if we can hold our own in Division 4 we’d be happy. “Division 4 is hard enough with good Junior A teams and the odd Intermediate team in it. We’d be very happy with a mid-table finish in Division and a good run in the championship.” St Paul’s ability to live up to David’s ambitions is on the right track, as if anyone can do it, it’s Tom Keague and Sean Moyles with the proper commitment from the players. Watch this space!

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NOBBER Winning the Junior C football championship with a mixture of youth and experience was the highlight of the year for Nobber. By Liam O’Rourke.

Paul Clarke raises the JFC C Cup at Pairc Tailteann

T

he club's second team had a 100% win record en route to winning the championship. However, the success was overshadowed by the serious injury incurred by panel member John O'Brien in the lead-in to the final. In his acceptance speech, Nobber captain Paul Clarke acknowledged the contribution of John O'Brien to this latest championship success for the club. Club PRO George Kellett paid tribute to the contribution of all concerned: “It was the enthusiasm of the manager Declan McMahon and the mentors to make it happen. There was no stone left unturned. Huge credit would have to go to the players for the effort they put in." The success was about more than winning a championship with the club's second team. The club are hopeful that some players will be promoted from this side to Nobber's senior team. Speaking in the aftermath of the exciting win over local rivals Syddan, manager Declan McMahon emphasised the importance of having the club's second team operating at a higher level. Five straight wins propelled Nobber

MORE CHAMPIONSHIP SILVERWARE to the JFC C final which was played at Pairc Tailteann on the last Saturday in August, making the fifth tier football championship the first to be completed this year. Dary Hutchinson's goal at the old swimming pool end of the ground in the 56th minute ultimately secured possession of the Royal Meath Association Cup for Nobber on a 1-9 to 0-7 scoreline. A degree of thriftiness when it came to converting scoring chances was central to Nobber's win. Conor Dillon

accounted for all bar one of Syddan's scores, including the game's opener. Points from Thomas Tierney and top scorer Thomas McCormack earned Nobber a lead they maintained to the end. However, it wasn't until Hutchinson's aforementioned goal that the dogged Syddan challenge was subdued. Nobber overcame numerical disadvantage following the dismissal of defender Conor Halpin in the 45th minute when they held a slender 0-7 to 0-5 advantage. These things tend

The squad on duty for the SFC game with Duleek Bellewstown at Simonstown, front l/r: Brian Kelly, Karl Casserley, Darren Lambe, Pauric Fox, Niall Farrell, Brendan Heffernan, Pauric Weldon, Brian O'Reilly, Gordon Weldon, Fiachra McEntee, Patrick O'Reilly, Paul Clarke, Robert Lambe, Kevin Kearns. Back: Andrew O'Brien, James Halpin, Michael O'Halloran, Gavin Farrelly, Paul Meade, Jamie Owens, Alan Farrell, Christopher O'Reilly, Richard Shields, Aodhan McEntee, Thomas McCormack, Peter Ollwell, Conor Halpin, Niall Carty, Brian Farrell

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Winners of the U14 Division 5 Shield final at Pairc Tailteann, front l/r: Mark O'Reilly, Charlie Finucane, Kelvin Shanky, Jordan Morris, Cathal Fox, David Hanna, Jack Vaughan, Rian Teggart. Back: Mick Finucane (mentor), Dylan Shannon-Smith, Patrick Horgan, John Hughes, Fergal Cassidy, Michael Bradley, Jack Condra, Aiden Shields, Thomas Murtagh, Cormac Clarke, Cian Condron, Brendan Heffernan (mentor)

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The squad that defeated Syddan in the JFC C decider at Pairc Tailteann, front l/r: Robbie Lambe, Christopher Kellett, Kevin Kearns, Jonathan Donohue, Eanna Fagan, Stephen O'Brien, Dale Larkin, Paul Clarke, Padraigh Fox, Conor Halpin, Brian Kelly, Lorcan McEntee, Niall McMahon, Joe Tierney, Patrick O'Reilly. Back: Larry McEntee, Gerard Campbell, Sean Olwell, Colin Clarke, Thomas McCormack, Thomas Tierney, Gordon Englishby, Michael Owens, Barry McEntee, Niall Carty, David Lanney, Ian Brady, Declan Shields, Conor Carty, Dary Hutchinson, Aodhan McEntee, John McCormack, Declan McMahon

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Website: www.collegeproteins.ie Email: cpl@collegeproteins.ie Best Wishes to Nobber GAA 548


Another point for Thomas McCormack in the Junior C final

Gordon Englishby goes highest in the JFC C Final

Dary Hutchinson is about to gain possession

to happen in local derby clashes across all codes. Nobber outscored Syddan by 1-2 to 0-2 from there to the end to claim the title that was savoured by all associated with the club. "These lads put in a lot of work all year", manager McMahon acknowledged afterwards who made light of the nine-day gap between the semi-final win over Oldcastle and the decider. Nobber came through the round robin stage of the competition with three wins from as many outings, including a decisive win over Syddan. Sixteen teams billeted into four groups set out on the quest for the Royal Meath Association Cup. Apart from Syddan, Na Fianna and O'Mahonys' third string side were also in Group D alongside Nobber. Na Fianna came closest to beating Nobber in the round robin phase. The team from Enfield-BaconstownRathmolyon led by 1-6 to 1-1 at the break at Bohermeen on the second last Tuesday of June. Padraig Fox, Robbie Lambe, Eanna Fagan and Hutchinson were to the fore as Nobber rallied to outscore Na Fianna by 1-6 to 0-2 after the change of ends. Fox and Thomas McCormack were the goal scorers for the north county side in their twopoint, 2-7 to 1-8, success. Earlier a 2-17 to 1-4 win over O'Mahonys was enhanced by two second-half Thomas McCormack goals that brought his tally for the outing to 2-2. The draw for the initial stages of the hoganstand.com SFC placed Nobber in Group A alongside Moynalvey, St Patrick's, Donaghmore-Ashbourne, holders Summerhill and DuleekBellewstown. Nobber's campaign began on Friday, April 13 at Simonstown where they held Duleek-Bellewstown to a 09-all draw despite having two players dismissed. Padraic Weldon and county man Brian Farrell departed in the final quarter before a Jamie Owens pointed free tied the scores. Nobber can feel somewhat aggrieved that they didn't secure the win as Brian Farrell had a 50th minute pointed free ruled out when the linesman indicated the award was taken from the wrong place. Nobber trailed by three points in the

549

Ultan Fitzpatrick presents the U15 Division 6 Shield to Ryan Hughes

Nobber captain Brian O'Reilly receives the Coogan Cup (St Ultans SF Tournament) from sponsor Sean Bennett of G&S Joinery

Paul Mooney presents the U14 Division 5 Shield to Nobber captain Aiden Shields


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The U15 Division 6 winners. Neighbours North Meath Gaels were defeated in the final at Moynalty

second quarter but rallied to be on level terms, 0-4-each, with the easy county side at the break. Shay Duff's side were indebted to 'keeper Christopher O'Reilly for keeping out Mark Collins' second-half goal attempt. In the second round, Nobber squared up to promoted Moynalvey who succeeded them as IFC winners. The sides shared 20 scores at a chilly Walterstown on the last Friday in April. Without the suspended Brian Farrell and the injured Brian O'Reilly, Nobber found themselves four points down early on. Fiachra McEntee and Jamie Owens led the charge as Nobber gained parity early in the second quarter. However, the concession of the game's opening goal left them 0-6 to 1-5 in arrears at the break. Darren Lambe's third quarter goal

attempt skied over the bar before Moynalvey got in for their second three-pointer which helped keep Nobber at bay to the end and take the points on a 2-8 to 0-10 scoreline. When the SFC resumed in August following Meath's exit from the Sam Maguire Cup race, Nobber faced St Patrick's at Bohermeen on Saturday, August 11. Nobber best spell of the hour occurred in the third-quarter and saw them halve a ten-point deficit thanks to an Alan Farrell goal (penalty) and points from Brian Farrell (free) and Karl Cassidy. The final third of the hour produced no further scores as Nobber slipped to their second defeat in three SFC outings, 1-8 to 1-13. Then Nobber squared up to Keegan Cup holders Summerhill, the penultimate round of Group fixtures,

at Walterstown. Outclassed by the champions, the north county side finished 20 points adrift at the finish, 0-8 to 5-13, after having Gordon Weldon dismissed on receipt of two yellow cards. In their final group game, Nobber fared a little better against Donaghmore-Ashbourne losing by eight points, 1-10 to 2-15, at Rathkenny on the second Saturday of September. “Very disappointing" is George Kellett's succinct summation of Nobber's second SFC campaign since their return to the top flight of club football in Meath. It yielded just one point from a possible ten in Group A from which their only return came from that opening round draw with DuleekBellewstown. Nobber's league form was better

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551


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552


Junior manager Declan McMahon

than their championship one. Even though they had Seneschalstown and Simonstown vying with them for promotion from Division 2, they remained in contention until just falling short in the latter stages. Eleven league outings yielded eight wins and a draw which translated into 17 points, just one short of Seneshchaltown and Simonstown. Nobber were eliminated from the Feis Cup by DuleekBellewstown, after a replay. The initial encounter ended in a 2-10 to 0-16 draw after extra time. Richard Shields' late goal looked to have secured Nobber's passage to round two but DuleekBellewstown managed a late levelling point. Nobber trailed by three points in the latter stages of normal time but were revived by an Alan Farrell goal from a penalty and a pointed 45 to hit the front. Duleek-Bellewstown prolonged the contest with a late levelling point. A fourth place finish in B FL Division 2 saw left them five points off the pace set by finalists Walterstown and Ratoath. “For a club of our size, to have a championship at the end of the year is a great achievement", George Kellett reflects. The efficient PRO hopes that

winning the JFC C will be more than just the acquisition of a trophy and from the squad future senior players will emerge; "We would be hopeful that some would come through the ranks. That would be the aim." The club's disappointment on missing out on promotion in the league underlines the importance of playing in the Division 1 FL because then “you're playing with the big boys. That can only be good,., Kellett asserts. Nobber's league campaign opened brightly with four wins from as many Division 2 FL outings. They clocked up some big tallies for the time of year including 2-16 against Gaeil Colmcille and 3-16 against Trim (the side they defeated in a SFC relegation play-off the previous autumn). "It didn't happen" is Kellett's assessment of the defeat to Seneschalstown in the final league game that resulted in Nobber missing out on promotion as the Yellow Furze outfit advanced to a final meeting with Simonstown. Despite the disappointments endured by the senior team in both league and championship, Kellett hails the input of the backroom staff: “There was great enthusiasm from Shay Duff and his selectors." Having won a championship with a squad founded on a potent blend of youth and experience, Kellett asserts: “We look to the future with optimism”.

Gerard Campbell beats Syddan's Shane Carolan to the ball

Jack Vaughan

Brian Farrell gets away from Podge Howard of Duleek Bellewstown

553


KILDALKEY Mairtin Doran raises the Division 1 HL Cup at Loman’s Park Trim, much to the delight of his teammates

Kildalkey manager Pat O'Halloran could be forgiven for making every excuse under the sun for his side's championship exit to Kiltale at the semi final stage this year, but 'Spuddy' is an honest sort and admitted that 'they were beaten by a better team'.

A

lack of hunger, injuries or emigration could all be terms used to gloss over the defeat, but O'Halloran is a hurling man at heart and knows when to put his hands up, but that has not stopped him from stressing that the 'Village' will be going all out to reclaim their title in 2013. Pat revealed to the Royal County Yearbook that despite their threeyear reign as county champions coming to an end, there was still plenty of positives to take from the year as the club's underage structure goes from strength to strength. “Of course it was disappointing to lose the semi final and yes we had a few injuries and lads had just returned from being abroad, but regardless of what team we would have had out that day, Kiltale would have beaten us,” stated Pat. “They were far hungrier and fitter, they are a young team and one that has posed

GRACIOUS IN DEFEAT us plenty of problems in recent years. I knew going into the game that they would put it up to us and by God they did in emphatic fashion. “They are worthy county champions and they too have had great success at underage level and it is up to us now to reach their level next year. One thing that we will be working on more is the physical fitness as

Kiltale's level of fitness was way ahead of ours. “It was not all doom and gloom in the club as our underage structure is reaping the rewards of the hard work that they has been done over the years. Seamus Harmon is the secretary of the juvenile section and he really has driven it on. You have the likes of Nicky Potterton and

Winners over Kiltale in the second round of the SHC at Pairc Tailteann, front l/r: Martin Doran, Enda Keogh, Conor Dunne, Maurice Keogh, Tony Fox, Conor Flynn, Fergus McMahon, Luke Rickard, David Conneely, Matt Rickard. Back: David Harnan, Padraig Geoghegan, Stephen Forde, Daire Lahart, Paddy Conneely, Derek Doran, Dan Fagan, Frances Doran, Sean Heavey, Micheal Potterton, Anthony Fagan, Sean Quirke, Mark Healy, Martin O`Leary.

Log onto www.dlynchpics.com to view more club photos

554


Under 14 A Shield winners, front l/r: Nicholas Potterton, Danny McMahon, Evan Fitzgerald, Eoin Reynolds, Michael O'Donnell, Aaron Byas, Brendan McKeon, Conor Hayes, James Mc Nally. Back: Martin Brown, Cathal Reynolds, Shane Curran, Kevin Waren, Brian Conneely, Oisin Smith, Brin Kelly, Jake Dunne, Oliver Rickard, Steven Murray, Dean O'Sulivan

Meath Junior Camogie Championship winners, front l/r: Suzanne Hayes, Niamh Seoige, Ashley McBride, Julianne Corrigan, Steffi Kelly, Aoife O’Reilly, Jessica Potterton (mascot), Aine Keogh, Leanne McCabe, Emily Kelly, Sheelin Bird, Fintina Kealey, Aoife Flynn, Lauren McMahon. Back: Alisha McNally, Lauryn O’Hanlon, Blathnaid Keogh, Tara McClair, Jacinta McBride, Louise McCabe, Mary O'Halloran, Rachel Browne, Nicola Darby, Siobhan Delea, Susanne Ledwith, Maire Keogh, Rianna Kelly, Theresa Doran, Danielle Ashe

The Kildalkey team that defeated Dunderry in the 2011 MHC B final, front l/r: Brian Reilly, David Conneely, Tiarnan Bird, Sean Kirke, Martin Healy, Patrick Potterton. Back: Mark Healy, Matt Rickard, Luke Rickard, Mark Chesser, Gavin Mullen, John Murray, David Harmon, Andrew Fagan, Anthony Darby, Ben Rickard, Conor Flynn, Martin O’Leary

555


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Under 14 Camogie Shield winners

Paddy Conneely heads for goal

others who have done outstanding work and we are now competing in 'A' finals, which was not the case before.” Pat admits that they could be without a few key players next year through emigration while star forward Derek 'Duxie' Doran is sidelined with a shoulder injury until July at the earliest. “This year we brought in a few young lads and we intend to do the

same next year. The lads we brought did very well and with a year's experience under their belt, we're confident that they will settle in even better next year. There will be more lads getting a chance as we will be missing a few. Already Enda Keogh and Noel Kirby have headed off while Padraig Kehoe may have to have his cruciate operated on, while Duxie is struggling to overcome his shoulder injury. He was a massive loss to us

Kildalkey U14's before their delayed Feile final against Trim at Boardsmill, front l/r: Michael O’Donnell, Eoin Reynolds, Marc Shelly, Martin Browne, Nicholas Potterton, Brian Kelly, James McNally, Brendan McKeon, Shane Curran, Cathal Reynolds, Danny McMahon. Back: Kevin Warren, Conor Walsh, Conor Hayes, Brian Conneely, Jake Dunne, Aaron Byas, Steven Murray, Nicky Potterton (Manager), Oisin Smith, Oliver Rickard, Evan Fitzgerald, Dean O Sullivan, Martin Gallagher

557


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558


Meath U13B hurling championship winners, front l/r: Ross Thompson, Dylan Reynolds, Leo Rickard, Martin Browne, Nicholas Potterton, Conor Fitzgerald, Danny McMahon, Kevin Warren, Eoin Reynolds, Cathal Reynolds. Back: Evan Fitzgerald, Dylan Kerrigan, Michael O’Donnell, Shane Curran, Niall McNally, Adam Brady, Conor Hayes, Dean O’Sullivan, BrIn Kelly, Richard Ryan, Marc Shelly

this year, for a lad that's only 22, I

all their matches and Pat felt that the

and showed good character in some

cannot speak highly enough of him,

hunger was certainly there to go on

of the matches.”

he is just so easy to manage and all

do the four-in-a-row.

he wants to do is play hurling.”

The format and scheduling of the

“At the start of the year, we definitely

senior hurling championship has

Kildalkey's progression through the

thought the hunger was there as the

raised many debates in hurling

group stages went as planned as

lads put in a huge effort and we

circles and although Pat admits that it

they qualified relative easy winning

played fairly well in the group stages

can be frustrating at times, not

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559


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Susanne Ledwith and Mary O'Halloran raise the Junior Camogie Championship Cup at Boardsmill

Brendan with the U14 A Shield at Boardsmill

knowing when games will be played, he stressed that Kildalkey are happy to continue in the same format. “We would have no problem with the way the championship ran. Yes, I suppose at times it can be difficult to know when you should have teams peaking, but the county board have a tough job on their hands and particularly the fixtures committee, so it is easy for people to criticise, although that is certainly not the case with us.” As expected, Kildalkey comfortably oversaw the challenge of Na Fianna in their opening match and then they had their first encounter of the year against Kiltale, which O'Halloran's charges came through on a narrow scoreline. Wins over O'Mahony's, Kilmessan

Derek Doran with Kiltale’s Willie Mahady

Brín Kelly raises the U13B Cup at Boardsmill

David Harmon holds aloft the MHC B Cup at Dunganny

561


Fergus McMahon celebrates his goal against Kiltale

Goalkeeper Conor Flynn

and Trim ensured that Kildalkey headed straight into the county semi final, where they once again would meet Kiltale. The decisive moments occurred in the ten minutes either side of halftime when Kiltale moved from being on level terms with the champions to being seven points clear. The game's only goal arrived three minutes after the resumption with Mark O'Sullivan finishing to the net at the town end after Peter Durnin's effort was blocked by Kildalkey fullback Stephen Forde. That left 1-11 to 0-9. Though Paddy Conneely pulled a point back from a free, White flags raised by Anthony Forde, James Kelly and Durnin were Kiltale's response. Following the latter score the board read 1-14 to 010 with 40 minutes on the clock and Kiltale kept Kildalkey at arms' length from there to the end. Kiltale - caught by an O'Mahony's' smash-and-grab raid at the same stage last year were only in arrears once, in the opening four minutes, on this occasion. The 2013 campaign is not long away now, but Pat revealed that they will be doing things slightly different next year. “We went back training in February this year, but we will leave it to March now next year, so that the year is not as long on lads. We will be going through something of a transition period, but that will not stop

Mairtin Doran

Stephen Murray

us from doing our best in the championship. It will take a big effort as there are a number of clubs capable of winning it, but hopefully we will be in there among them.� For the record the Kildalkey team that lined out in the semi final defeat to Kiltale was as follows: C. Flynn; E. Potterton, S. Forde, D. Lahart; M. Keogh, E. Keogh, M. Doran; S. Heavey (0-1), S. Corrigan; P. Geoghegan, N. Kirby (0-2, 1f), P. Keogh (0-1); G. Kelly, T. Fox, P. Conneely (0-9, 8fs). Subs - D. Doran for Corrigan (36), F. Doran for Fox (58).

562


DUNSHAUGHLIN After being SFC finalists in 2011 when losing out to Summerhill in a replay, Dunshaughlin failed make to make it through to the last eight of the race for the Keegan Cup this year but had some consolation with an outright triumph in the Junior B FC.

John Joe McDonnell raises the Larry Kearns Cup at Pairc Tailteann

T

he black and ambers’ second championship team was boosted by the inclusion of former Meath seniors Niall Kelly, David Crimmins and Michael Ahern. Kelly and Crimmins were stalwarts of the three-in-row at the beginning of the century The successful junior B team had two more stars of the 2000 – 2002 side along the sideline, manager Michael McHale and Martin Reilly, with Simon Farrell also a selector. They saw their charges win six of their seven outings to claim the title for the first time since 1994. The campaign began with a 3-13 to 0-7 victory over Gaeil Colmcille at Bective with James Rattigan contributing 2-4 of the winning total. The corner-forward’s first goal boosted them to a 1-6 to 0-4 interval advantage and player-manager Michael McHale came on to net the second goal. Another highlight of that

CHAMPIONSHIP HONOURS opener was Stephen Clusker saving a penalty. James Rattigan scored 1-3 in Dunshaughlin’s 2-8 to 1-8 win over St Mary’s in rainy conditions at Dunganny in a game which turned out to be a ‘trialer’ for the final. Stephen Clusker again saved a penalty in the first half at the end of which wind-assisted Mary’s led by 1-

4 to 0-3. Dunshaughlin made a strong start to the second period with David McMahon palming to the net and the same player set up Rattigan to fire their second goal at the end of the third quarter. There was a bizarre final score in the third round clash with Donaghmore / Ashbourne who won

Prior to their championship meeting with Walterstown at Pairc Tailteann, front l/r: Joe O'Brien, Ciaran Hoary, Cathal O'Dwyer, Tommy Johnson, Niall Murphy, Conor Devereux, Kenny McTigue, Tadhg O Dushlaine, David McMahon, David Tonge, Martin Reilly. Back: Stephen Ward, Stephen Clusker, Caoimhin King, Alastar Doyle, Fergus Toolan, Ray Maloney, Ronan Gogan, Padraig McHale, Eoin Hagarty, Fearghal Delaney, Anthony Johnson, Denis Kealy, Mark Devanney

Log onto www.dlynchpics.com to view more club photos

563


Continued Success To Dunshaughlin GAA, from all at

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The Junior B FC winners, front l/r: Shane Kelly, Cillian Dennehy, David Tonge, Seรกn Doyle, John Joe McDonnell (captain), Daniel Geraghty, James Rattigan, David McMahon, Kevin Ward, John Coleman, Liam Ormsby. Back: Martin Reilly (mentor), Niall Kelly, David Fletcher, Michael Aherne, Eoin Farrelly, Ciarรกn Clusker, Ulick McDonnell, Mark Devanney, Stephen Ward, David Crimmins, Graham Dowd, Patrick Darby, Stephen Doyle, Emmet Staunton, Simon Farrell (mentor), Gavin Malone, Gary Flanagan, Duncan Geraghty. Mascots: Ulick McDonnell jnr and Evan Darby. Missing from photo is team manager Michael McHale

The U16 squad that lost out to Dunboyne Kilbride in the Reserve League final at Kilbride, front l/r: Sam Lavery, Lorcan Casey, Curtis Rattigan, Tommy Kinsella, Andrew Quinn, Cillian Hart, Aaron Keane, Darragh Quinn. Back: Sam Butler, Evan Ryan, Seamus Doyle, Tom Boyhan, Ben Conlon, Mark Galvin, Conor Huijsdens, Martin Keane, Martin Nevin, Mark Phelan

On duty for the U14 Division 1 Shield decider against Wolfe Tones at Pairc Tailteann, front l/r: Cian Maher, Dylan O'Brien, Cormac Byrne, Tom Dalton, Neill Byrne, Luke Hynes, Darren Beattie, Paddy Maher. Back: Kevin Kealy (manager), Anthony Fildes, Seรกn O'Neill, Dylan Dunne, Sam Lavery, Adam McDermott, Sam Butler, Robert Holahan, Jack Hetherington, Adam Kealy, Stephen Walker, Frank Gallogly (manager)

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Paddy Maher

Darren Beattie

Andrew Quinn makes a great catch

by 9-4 to 2-8. Dunshaughlin did very well to recover from that annihilation to trounce St Patrick’s by 4-18 to 2-7 at Curraha in the next round. Three goals in the opening 10 minutes set Michael McHale’s charges well on the recovery road. Martin Reilly netted the first goal and then was taken down for a penalty which James Rattigan netted. Further goals from Rattigan, who finished up with 2-7, and Stephen Ward left it 411 to 1-1 at the break. That was followed by a 3-8 to 2-8 win over Moynalvey at Dunganny. A Mark Devanney shot dipped under the crossbar for Dunshaughlin’s first goal and James Rattigan raised the green flag to help his side to a 2-4 to 0-3 interval advantage. Stephen Ward scored the third goal as a semifinal spot was clinched. St Vincent’s provided the opposition in Ashbourne and Dunshaughlin, playing without the honeymooning Niall Kelly, had to battle very hard to gain a 1-7 to 0-9 success with James Rattigan accounting for all bar a point of the winning total with the goal a fortunate score from a 45 and five points from frees. It was 1-5 to 0-3 at the break and some fine goalkeeping by Sean Doyle kept the Ardcath side’s total down. In the second half Vincent’s battled back to get on level terms. Dunshaughlin did not score in that period until the last five minutes but points from Rattigan and Stephen Ward edged them into the final. The final against St Mary’s at Pairc Tailteann was also a tight contest with the black and amber brigade celebrating after the 0-12 to 0-9 victory. The sides were on level terms four times in the first half before points from David McMahon and James Rattigan helped Dunshaughlin lead by 0-6 to 0-5 at the break. After going three points clear in the third quarter, Dunshaughlin were hauled back to equality and they had a let-off when a low shot from Mary’s top scorer Robbie Callaghan hit an upright. Stephen Ward edged Dunshaughlin back in front on 53 minutes before Rattigan took a pass from David Crimmins to double the advantage. Then Niall Kelly put the icing on the cake with the last score, from a free

567

Robert Holahan goes highest against Wolfe Tones

Cormac Byrne

Cillian Hart


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The U14 squad and mentors that took on Dunboyne in Dunganny

on the right. Winning captain John Joe McDonnell received the Larry Kearns Cup from county secretary Cyril Creavin, a fellow Dunshaughlin clubman, as a gap of 18 years was bridged. The Dunshaughlin team and scorers in the final: Sean Doyle; John Joe McDonnell, Ulick McDonnell, Kevin Ward; Owen

Farrelly, Niall Kelly (0-2), Mark Devanney; Michael Ahern (0-1), Ciaran Clusker; David Tonge, Stephen Ward (0-3), David McMahon (0-1); Stephen Geraghty, David Crimmins, James Rattigan (0-5). Subs: Emmet Staunton for Clusker, John Coleman for Geraghty, Duncan Geraghty for Tonge, Shane Kelly, Graham Dowd, Cillian Dennehy, Patrick Darby, Liam Ormsby, Stephen

Doyle. After being finalists in 2011, Dunshaughlin failed to win a game in a tough Group B of the SFC, their only point being gained in a draw with Skryne in the second round. Defeats at the hands of Dunboyne and Walterstown left them with an impossible task to qualify and further losses to Simonstown and Wolfe

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Niall Murphy gets out in front of Walterstown's David Maguire

Martin Keane is favourite to get to the ball first

Tones followed. The bid to go one better began in Ashbourne with a clash against local rivals Dunboyne, who strolled to a convincing 13-point success on a 3-12 to 0-8 scoreline. Strangely Dunshaughlin were ahead at the halfway stage in that opener when leading by 0-8 to 1-3. However, they failed to score in the second period while their opponents added 2-9. Trevor Dowd top scored for the losers with three points. The question, “why did Dunshaughlin not win?” was asked following their 0-9 to 1-6 draw with 2010 champions Skryne at Ratoath. At the end they had to depend on a 59th minute equaliser from Trevor Dowd to get something from the tie. Dunshaughlin led by 0-5 to 0-3 at the break before doubling that advantage. Conor Devereaux and Dowd both put over three points and Caoimhin King and John Crimmins also showed up well. However, that result which left both sides on one point in the table meant that it was going to be an uphill battle for each of them. Dunshaughlin’s 0-10 to 1-11 defeat to Walterstown in the third round tussle at Pairc Tailteann was described as “a massive blow.” Dunshaughlin took an early lead through Cathal O’Dwyer but their opponents replied with the next four points and went on to lead by 1-7 to 0-4 at the break. Points on the

Eoin Hegarty up against Walterstown's Alban Crosbie

restart from Fergus Toolan and O’Dwyer raised hopes and later in the second half three more from O’Dwyer reduced the deficit to the minimum. However, Dunshaughlin were unable to sustain the rally and lost by four. Further salt was added to the wounds when Simonstown Gaels inflicted a 2-19 to 0-17 defeat at Skryne. It was 1-8 to 0-8 at the break and 1-15 to 0-10 after 48 minutes. Although Dunshaughlin rallied with six successive points to leave the board reading 1-15 to 0-16, they eventually lost by eight.

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Stephen Ward about to kick a point

Mick Aherne breaks the ball from Joe Moore's (St Mary's) grasp

Martin Reilly and Simon Farrell took charge of the Junior B's on final day

The men in black and amber had nothing more than pride to play for in their concluding group game at Bective where Wolfe Tones, already safely though to the last eight and resting a few players, still managed to win by two points, 2-13 to 1-14. It was Dunshaughlin’s narrowest of their four defeats and Ray Maloney ‘celebrated’ after netting their only goal of the campaign. They conceded two goals in the latter stages of the first half, at the end of which they trailed by 0-8 to 2-5. At the three-quarter stage Tones held a minimum 2-7 to 0-12 advantage and after they were ahead by six points on 56 minutes, Dunshaughlin rallied with points from Tommy Johnson and Martin Reilly before Maloney fired to the net in added time. “After going so close to winning the Keegan Cup for the fourth time last year, it was disappointing not to get through to the knockout stages this time but we were hit by emigration. Anyway trying to win the senior championship is not the only thing that matters in our club,” said Dunshaughlin chairman for the last seven years, Jim Smith. “We were without Conor Staunton for the whole year. Michael Ahern missed a good bit of the season before returning and playing in the closing stages of the Junior B Championship. After playing in the early rounds of the SFC, Trevor Dowd went to the States. “Also Richie Kealy retired after giving many years of great service to

Tommy Johnston drives forward

573

Mark Devanney beats Luke Sullivan to the ball

Ulick McDonnell

James Rattigan gains possession


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the club. David Tonge came home after five years in Canada and was on the winning junior B team. David, Kenny McTigue and Graham Dowd are our only players to have won senior, intermediate and junior B championship medals. “To reach the senior final against all the odds last year and then to go so close to winning it was a great achievement and was always going to be difficult to repeat. We have a team in transition with most of the three-in-arow players gone at this stage. “There isn’t a lot between most of the senior sides. In the last round of the group games Wolfe Tones beat us by just two points and then went on to reach the final. Kenny McTigue played Tadhg O Dushlaine has Joey Kevin Ward breaks out of defence Farrelly for company his 102nd senior championship game that day. behind. “That is some achievement. He was in goals for the junior “I suppose it’s not something we think of at the beginning B success back in 1994. Ronan Gogan has made 95 of the year but winning the Junior B Championship was a appearances and Richie and Denis Kealy are not far big boost to the club. The presence of a few former seniors was an advantage but all the players on the squad worked hard for the success. “A lot of good work is being put in at underage level and hopefully some of those young lads will eventually make the senior team. A lot of work in being done on and off the pitch in the club and I am hopeful for the future,” added the chairman. Jim Smith also said that it is hoped to launch the club’s updated history around St Patrick’s Day next year. The original history which was compiled by Jim Gilligan and Patsy McLoughlin, was published in the GAA’s centenary year, 1984, was one of the best of its kind and with the same pair involved again, the chairman promises that the second volume will be bigger and even Cathal O'Dwyer tussles with Ray Maloney is under pressure Walterstown's Peter Reynolds better.

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DONAGHMORE ASHBOURNE There were two league titles in yet another terrific year for Donaghmore Ashbourne

The celebrations begin as Dunboyne are defeated in the Division 1 Reserve League decider at Pairc Tailteann

ADULT FOOTBALL 2012

I

t was a cold Wednesday night in early January. The function room seats were set out in a classroom or theatre style arrangement facing the top of the room. The panel of senior players took up the main body of presence while a small number of club people sat at the back of the room out of the way but still able to be part of the event. A background of mini conversations filled the room as they all waited in anticipation for proceedings to start. Shortly after 8pm Sean Kelly, the new Donaghmore Ashbourne senior manager introduced himself to the squad for the first time and proceeding got underway. Years ago this would have been a sit down in a cold dressing room or hall and although the information and goals are still the same, times have changed as a PowerPoint presentation accompanied the talk and the information on the screen changed with every click of the mouse. It was obvious that the Dunderry man, with his presence and

SILVERWARE BUT THE BIG FISH GOT AWAY authority was used to these situations and was in total control from the first minute. Over the hour he highlighted his plans for the year, where he thought Donaghmore Ashbourne were in terms of position in the ranks of Meath club football and what was needed to progress in the search for Keegan Cup success. He pointed out

some home truths and asked some hard questions. Despite what everyone wanted to hear Kelly felt that Donaghmore Ashbourne needed to win a league or Feis cup title first and get a habit of winning before the Keegan cup would head to Killegland West. The only homework given out was for the players to go home and

The ACFL Division 1 winners, front l/r: Cormac McGill, Eoin Reilly, Iarlaith O'Donnell, JP Casserly, Ciaran Finn, Ciaran Ellis, Martin Lynch, Daryl Lawlor, Eric Callaghan, Bryan Menton, Joe Finnegan, Gareth Deery, Cathal Field, Tadhg Kelly. Back: Shane Melia, Eoin Riordan (captain), Mattie Devine, John Broderick, Andrew Colgan, Sean Curran, Andrew Tormey, David Murtagh, Robert O'Connor, Conor Carey, Paul Gilligan, Padraig Durkan, Rory O'Connor, Kevin Lannigan, David Morgan

Log onto www.dlynchpics.com to view more club photos

576


The Under 21’s were defeated by Simonstown in a thrilling championship final at Pairc Tailteann

The MFL Division 1 finalists, front l/r: Aidan Kenny, Scott Hanway, Jack McCarney, Dara McGovern, Dylan Brady, Shaun Byrne, Thomas McGovern, Conor Carton, Robbie Lawlor, Harry English, Cian Farrell. Back: Martin Quinn, Michael Deegan, Ciaran Benville, Vinny Carton, Jack Toohy, Chris Brady, Lorcan Nolan, Aidan O Connor, Cian O’Rourke, Liam Finn, Jack Hannigan, Aidan Hughes, Kevin Fenton, Sam Benville, Daniel O’Toole, Jamie Dwyer, Mark Moynihan, Jamie Murtagh

The senior panel for the opening round of the SFC against Moynalvey at Skryne, front l/r: Eoin Reilly, Tony Morgan, Cathal Field, Niall Farrell, Matthew Devine, Cormac McGill, Ciaran Ellis, Ciaran Finn, Andrew Colgan, Martin Lynch, Iarlaith O'Donnell, JP Casserly. Back: Ciaran Beirne, David Morgan, Paul Gilligan, Kevin Lannigan, Paraic Durkan, Eoin O'Riordan, Sean Curran, John Broderick, Andrew Tormey, Bryan Menton, Shane Melia, Rory O'Connor

577


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The squad on duty for the U14 Reserve decider against Ratoath at Dunganny, included are: Colm Ó Tuathail, Matthew Donachie, Nicholas Bobbett, Adam Tyrell, Danny Cullen, Seán Coyle, Feargal Heffernan, Matthew Fogarty, Alex Power O’Rourke, Christian Fahy, Seán Hogan, Cian McDonnell, Jack Peavoy, Conor McElarney, Lee Rock, Conor Cooley, Garreth Gibney, Shane McGeer, Jack Butler, Luke Wilson, Cian Flynn, Seán Yourell, Dylan Cassidy, Darragh Carroll, Dean Moran Alex Byrne, Conor Doherty

All smiles in the rain, the Donaghmore Ashbourne panel before the U16 Division 1 Summer League decider against Summerhill in Dunganny, front l/r: Yendrzej Smyk, Dylan Brady, Cian Wall, Daire Kelly, Stephen Breslin, Donagh O'Donnell, Daragh Morrissey, Ryan Bannon, Conor Heffernan. Back: Conor O'Dwyer, Danny Moulds, Brendan Meehan, Cian O'Rourke, Sam Murray, Jack Giles, Cian Field, John Wilson, Jack O'Connor, Anthony McElearney, Niall Kavanagh, Callum Leighburn

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579


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The U17 Division 1 finalists, front l/r: Danny Carey, Thomas McGovern, Cian O’Rourke, Jack McCarney, Jamie Murtagh, Dylan Brady, Conor Donnelly, Aidan O’Connor, Darragh McGovern, Dan O’Toole. Back: Kevin Deacy (mentor), Lorcan Nolan, Callum Leighbourne, Liam Finn, Jack Giles, Kevin Fenton (captain), Sean Byrne, Micheal Deegan, Jack O’Connor, Anthony McAlarney, Padge Twomey, Cian Field, Oisin O’Byrne, Maurice Murtagh (mentor). Missing from the photo is team mentor Brendan O’Connor

answer whether they wanted to buy into Kelly’s plans and give the commitment it will take to move a step closer to Keegan Cup success. Ten months later the games are over for the year and the majority of cups have been handed out to reside with the various clubs for the winter period. While the Keegan Cup did not make its way to Killegland West progress was made as Donaghmore Ashbourne did manage to capture both the Division 1A and 1B league titles and another box was ticked. While success was achieved in the league it would be hard not to look back at 2012 with a view that we could have achieved more, especially in the championship front. An

overview of the year went as follows: In the senior championship Donaghmore Ashbourne were drawn in Group A with 2011 Intermediate winners Moynalvey, the reigning Meath championship from 2011 Summerhill together with Duleek/Bellewstown, St. Patrick’s and Nobber. Our opening round game in April saw the lads travel to Skryne to play Moynalvey. As expected the Monalvey side who were recently promoted to senior grade gave us a tough game but we managed to run out 1-16 to 0-16 winners and put two early points on the board. The reigning county champions Summerhill were the next opposition when the sides met in

Dunshaughlin in round 2 a week later. In this game the first half saw very little between the teams as we rode our luck but we led at the interval by 0-07 to 1-03. A great second half performance gave our lads a deserving 2-11 to 1-07 victory and as well as two more points it marked a milestone as it was our first victory over the Hill at championship level. With the county Senior and Minor teams in championship action, round 3 of the competition did not take place until the middle of August. On this outing the team travelled to Stamullen where they recorded a 015 to 0-07 victory over Duleek/Bellewstown despite playing poorly but the win ensured

The JFC finalists, front l/r: Daryl Lawlor, Tony Morgan, Conor Carton, Martin Lynch, Joe Finnegan, Tadhg Kelly, Matthew Devine, Ciaran Finn, Gareth Deery. Back: Aengus Mulvihill, Jamie Dwyer, Sam Benville, Jack Hannigan, Aidan Hughes, Conor Carey, Liam Tormey, Padraig Durkan, Robert O`Conner, Daithi Murtagh, Padraig Finn

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qualification to the group stages of the competition. In round 4 St. Patrick’s of Stamullen provided the opposition when the sides met in Seneschalstown in early September. Like the previous round game we struggled to find a rhythm and this occasion we suffered our first defeat on a score line of 2-10 to 0-09.The final round of the group stages took place a week later in Rathkenny and Nobber provided the opposition as our lads tried to get back to winning ways. A strong opening period saw our lads ahead by 2-07 to 0-06 at the interval and although we took our foot off the pedal we still ran out 2-15 to 110 winners. The last weekend in September saw the quarter finals of the competition take place. We made our way to headquarters in Paric Tailteann to play St. Peter’s Dunboyne for the second year in succession. The first half was a tight and tough affair and provided little entertainment for the neutral as all but a single Andrew Tormey score came from dead balls as Donaghmore Ashbourne led by 0-07 to 0-03 at the break. The second half was a much more open affair and our lads played some great football en route to a 0-17 to 0-08 victory and book a place in the last four of the competition. The semi-final of the championship paired Donaghmore Ashbourne up against the competition favorites Navan O’Mahony’s in mid-October and this year there was a higher level of expectation from our supporters entering the game. This feeling of confidence appeared to be fully justified at half time in this game as our lads looked to finally be making the breakthrough as we led by 0-07 to 0-04 and were working very hard and playing well in the opening period. However the journey back through Kentstown that Sunday evening was full of disappointment for all involved in the club as we only managed to score two points in the second period and were beaten by a single point on a score line of 0-10 to 0-09. The disappointing result was compounded even further with a disallowed goal and two attempts that hit the posts in injury time. Having made the last four of the competition for two years in a row we do hope that we have learned from these disappointing experiences and will go that final step further in 2013.

In the Junior A Championship Donaghmore Ashbourne were drawn in Group A with Meath Hill, St. Peter’s Dunboyne, Simonstown and neighbours Kilbride. With a five team group our lads had a bye in the opening round and our first game came in round 2 at the end of April when we met Meath Hill in Stamullen. In windy conditions our lads led at the interval by 1-07 with the aid of the wind at our backs. In the second half we had to work hard but held out against Ollie Murphy’s side to record a 1-11 to 1-05 victory. There was almost a six week gap until our second game in mid-June and we travelled to Skryne to play St. Peter’s Dunboyne where a good team performance resulted in a second victory on a score line of 2-10 to 0-10. Another lengthy break of almost 8 weeks passed by before our lads were in championship action in midAugust. On this occasion our lads travelled to Walterstown to play Simonstown but playing below par we suffered our first defeat of the campaign on a score line of 1-06 to 007. In the final group game we met neighbours Kilbride in Curraha in mid-September. A good team performance gave the lads a 2-16 and 1-07 win and a place in the quarter final spot in the competition. The quarter final was played within a week of the final round game and our lads faced Cortown who were one of the favourites for the title. This game in Pairc Tailteann provided excellent entertainment and was end to end throughout. We led at the interval by 1-07 to 1-06 and held out for a 2-10 to 2-08 victory to book a place in the last four of the competition. With a couple of changes being enforced by the Meath County board there were going to be two Junior teams being promoted to intermediate grade for 2013 so a win at semi-final stage was very important to the winners. Again we headed to Pairc Tailteann and like the previous game another favourite in Bective provided the opposition. Although we trailed at the interval by 1-03 to 0-05 this game went to the wire and needed a Tony Morgan injury time point to give a 0-12 to 1-08 victory, a place in the Junior final and a place in the 2013 Intermediate championship. Heading to the final we were underdogs again as neighbours Ratoath, sending out their first team were everyone’s favourites.

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Eoin Riordan raises the Tom Mooney Cup (ACFL Division 1) at Simonstown

Michael Mullally presents the U14B Hurling Championship Cup to Shane Rea

Kevin Lannigan goes high


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Longwood and Clonard. We had a mixed bag of results in the campaign but failed to qualify for the quarter finals. In the opening game our lads travelled to Bective in mid-May and gave a great team performance scoring an impressive 4-11 over Drumbarragh Emmets to get off to a 4-11 to 0-07 winning start. In round two we were awarded a walkover as Kilmainham failed to field a team. In round 3 we travelled to Donore in mid-June to play Seneschalstown. In this game we were outclassed in midfield in the opening period but were still in the game as we only trailed at the break by 2 points. We did manage to get draw level with 14 minutes remaining but the yellow furze men finished strong and ran out 0-13 to 0-09 winners. Round 4 saw another walkover as Trim failed to field a team. Round 5 saw the lads travel to Martry in mid-July to play Longwood and although we did not play very well in the opening half a good second half saw us almost snatch a result. With a very outside chance of making the quarter final we needed a win over Clonard in our final game but having registered 12 wides in the opening half we trailed at the interval. We had plenty of possession in the second half but again failed to get the necessary scores and lost out by 1-09 to 0-05. Although not qualifying for the quarter final the positives from the campaign is that plenty of lads are getting competitive football and there was a number of younger lads who were introduced to adult football for the first time. On the league front our senior team managed to bring senior silverware to the club for the first time in over 70 years and as Sean Kelly indicated back in January this was important in terms of overall success. Kelly’s first outing as manager saw our lads travel to Kilberry in February where Wolfe Tones were the opposition. We got off to a winning start with a 2-09 to 0-10 margin. Our first game at home took place a week later when O’Mahony’s provided the opposition and a good team performance ensure our second victory on a scoreline of 1-10 to 0-08. Round 3 was a trip to Summerhill and having being reduced to 13 men in the 12th minute our lads suffered their first defeat with a 110 to 1-06 scoreline. Round 4 of the league was another home victory as the team saw off a St. Patrick’s challenge with a 3-13 to 2-06 win. May saw the team play another two home games and they maintained their position at the top of the table with a 1-16 to 0-08 win over Dunshaughlin and a 0-14 to 1-07 win over Castletown. At the end of the same month the lads made the long trip to Oldcastle and recording a 2-11 to 0-06 victory the journey home from North Meath was somewhat shortened. Round 8 of the league saw Donaghmore Ashbourne host Skryne at home in early June and although the side recorded a 1-06 to 0-08 victory they had to work hard for their scores. In the next round of the league our lads hosted St. Peter’s Dunboyne in a very tough and niggly game in July. In previous games our lads may have bowed over but on this occasion they showed great strength and character to win by 1-09 to 0-09. In round 10 of the competition our lads travelled to Duleek and recorded a comfortable 1-17 to 2-02 away win to book a place in the final with a game to go. As a result we did not have to play the final game of the league away to Blackhall Gaels and had to await other results to see our opposition in the final. As it turned out our league final was fixed for late October in Simonstown with St. Patrick’s providing the opposition. Having one last chance for silverware and wanting to get the disappointment of the championship exit our lads gave a great second half performance to record a

The U14 Reserves celebrate with the cup at Dunganny

Our lads led at the interval by 0-06 to 0-04 and almost pulled off a historic victory but lost out to an injury time free on a score line of 1-11 to 1-10. At junior B level the championship draw pulled us out in Group A with St. Patrick’s, Gael Colmcille, Dunshaughlin, Moynalvey and St. Mary’s. Our opening round game took part of a double header with the Junior A side in Stamullen in late April where St. Patrick’s were the opposition. Playing with the aid of the wind in the opening half we led at the interval by 2-05 to 0-04 points. In the second half we retreated early to defend the lead from the throw in and ultimately paid the price losing out to an injury time point on a score line of 0-13 to 2-06. We had to wait until early July for our second round match and this time we travelled to Simonstown on a fine evening to play Gael Colmcille. A Brian Fitzgerald goal before the interval gave us a 1-06 to 006 half time lead and we held out to record a 1-12 to 0-12 win to get the campaign off the mark. Our third round game saw the lads travel to Skryne where Dunshaughlin provided the opposition. This game was the Brian Fitzgerald show as he registered an amazing 6 goals and 2 points en route to a 9-04 to 2-08 victory to give us a second win. We had to wait until mid-August for our round three game and suffered our second defeat of the campaign when we lost out to Moynalvey on a scoreline of 2-12 to 2-08. Heading into the final group game in late August we travelled to Simonstown to play St. Mary’s. This was a must win game for both sides and coupled with the fact that we knocked the Donore side out of the championship at the same venue in 2011 there was an added bite to the game. Credit to both teams as they served a very entertaining encounter with a number of well taken scores. With 18 minutes to go it looked as if Donaghmore Ashbourne were heading for the quarter finals as they led by eight points but a late St. Mary’s run saw the Donore men take the victory by a single point margin on a score line of 2-16 to 3-12. (Incidentally Dunshaughlin went on to take the Junior B title after beating St. Mary’s in the final) Our fourth team was drawn in the same group as Drumbarragh Emmets, Kilmainham, Trim, Seneschalstown,

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1-08 to 0-07 win. Captain Eoighan Riordan collected the cup on behalf of a jubilant team and supporters. Our second team also recorded silverware success as they claimed the Division 1B league title having gone the full season undefeated. The team opened their account in early March with a 1-20 to 0-08 home victory over Duleek/Bellewstown. Four weeks later the side travelled to Kilberry where they recorded an even more impressive 4-14 to 0-08 away win. The month of May was a busy period for the team as they had four leagues games in consecutive weeks. Round 3 was a home game where the side recorded a 1-11 to 007 home win over Skryne. Five days later the side travelled to Dunboyne and in a very tight game the sides ended up all square at the final whistle on a score line of Donaghmore Ashbourne 0-08 St. Peter’s 1-05. The team got back to winning ways a week later when they recorded a 1-16 to 1-09 home win over Simonstown Gaels. Before the month had ended our lads sat pretty on top of the league when they recorded a high scoring 4-14 to 0-09 away win to Dunshaughlin. Two further rounds in June saw the team record a 1-15 to 1-09 home win over Seneschalstown and a 1-17 to 0-07 away win over Navan O’Mahony’s. In the final round our lads were awarded a walkover as Summerhill failed to travel and we had to wait until early November for the league final. The final itself was a rerun of the 4th round game with St. Peters the opposition. Our lads led at one stage by 0-07 to 0-02 and although the Dunboyne side came back to draw level at 0-07 to 7-07 our lads finished strong to make it a league double. Captain Tadgh Kelly accepted the cup from County Board Vice Chairman and Donaghmore Ashbourne clubman Conor Tormey. Our third team almost made it a club treble in terms of League titles for 2012 as they also made their respective league final but lost out to St Patrick’s after extra time. In their opening round game in early March the lads recorded a 2-09 to 1-06 home win over Cortown and later in the month they made it two wins from two with an impressive 0-19 to 1-10 away win in Syddan. A two month break occurred before their next league outing and in mid-May the

team travel to Simonstown for their 4th round match. In a high scoring and entertaining game the team made it a third successive win with a 3-12 to 3-05 victory over Colm O’Rourke’s side. June saw the side stretch their unbeaten run with two further victories, the first an impressive 3-13 to 1-11 away win in Castletown and the second at the end on the month which saw a 1-17 to 1-10 home win over St. Ultans. In mid-July the team travelled to Ballinabrackey on a Sunday morning for their round 5 fixture. Unfortunately a number of key players failed to make the journey and an understrength side lost their first game of the season on a score line of 2-13 to 1-05. The side did get back to winning ways at the end of the month with another impressive 2-18 to 0-08 home win over Na Fianna. The final game of the group stages was a round 3 back match which took place in early August and in this game our lads registered another high scoring home win with a 3-11 to 0-08 victory over St. Patrick’s. With championship competitions taking precedence in the county the League final did not take place until October with St. Patrick’s the opposition when the sides met in Skryne. The Stamullen men led at half time by 0-08 to 0-04 but a good second half performance and a late point from Leon Tormey forced the game to extra time on a score line of 0-11 apiece. In extra time St. Patrick’s led at half time by 014 to 0-12 and midway through the second half they extended the lead to 4 points. Although our lads came back to level a late converted free gave St. Patrick’s the league title on a final score line of 0-17 to 1-13. Our 4th team had a league campaign very much like their championship run in that it was a mixed bag of results throughout the year. The team started their league campaign on a cold night in early March with a draw away to St. Vincent’s with probably one of the strangest score lines of the year as we drew getting only three scores on a score line of 0-09 to 3-00.In our second game at the end of the same month our lads registered their second draw of the season with a 108 to 1-08 score line at home to St. Mary's of Donore. Our third game in early May saw the lads travel to Athboy to play Clann na nGael (which

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John Broderick

Sean Kelly during his term as manager

Senior ‘keeper Andrew Colgan


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also saw Graham Geraghty lining out for the opposition after two league appearance for the Royals). This was a very entertaining game and we looked to be heading for our third draw until Conor Carey found the back of the net in the final minute to give us a 4-10 to 3-12 victory. Round 4 saw our lads get a walkover from Kilmainhamwood and in round 5 we travelled to Bective at the end of May and managed to hold on for a narrow one point victory on a score line of 110 to 2-06. Next on the list for the lads was a home game against Carnaross in mid-June and although they had one of Meath's favourite sons and All Star holder Ollie Murphy in their ranks they could not compete with our lads as we ran out 4-11 to 109 winners. Our journey to Dunsany at the end of June was viewed as a very important game as a win over the home side would put clear breathing space between us with a couple of games to go. This was a close game but unfortunately the home side took the lead in injury time to secure a 0-10 to 0-09 home win. In mid-July we still kept our chances of making the league final alive with a 315 to 3-07 home win. In the final round we needed to beat St. Michaels at home and hope that the Carnaross would have a victory over Dunsany to book a place in the final and although we were awarded the points the other fixture did not go our way and we ended up third in the table. In the Feis Cup our senior team made their exit from the competition after losing out to St. Peter’s Dunboyne in early July. Although we did not achieve championship success for 2012 we did have success on the league front with two titles. With a small bit of luck the third and fourth teams could have made it a clean sweep but the important fact is that as a club Donaghmore Ashbourne is competing well in all competitions and more importantly we are fulfilling all our fixtures. On the numbers front we used 94 players in the league with 88 players taking part in the championship games which is quite a feat in itself. This cannot be done without the work and dedication of the management teams, the support from the club executive, the encouragement and support from the parents, partners and supporters and

most of all the dedication of the players. Hopefully 2013 will be lucky for Donaghmore Ashbourne.

UNDER 21 TEAM At Under 21 level it was also a case of what could have been as we suffered another final defeat in Pairc Tailteann. Although we fielded a young team this year in the Under 21 championship the lads made it all the way to the final only to lose out by a single point after extra time. In the opening round of the competition the lads travelled to Ratoath in late October and recorded a good first round 3-11 to 3-06 victory over Skryne in this game the side played well throughout and were in a very comfortable position before conceding three quick goals late in the second half. In the semi-final of the competition the lads drew St. Peter’s Dunboyne and another trip to Pairc Tailteann was on the cards for a Sunday morning fixture in early November. This game was the classic game of two halves. We trailed St. Peter’s by 1-09 to 0-01 at half time after a very poor performance but we produced a great second half performance to win by 112 to 1-09. In the final of the competition our young side went in as Underdogs against a much fancied Simonstown Gaels side. However our lads played some great football and led at the interval by 0-08 to 1-03. Our lads almost held on for the victory but a late Simonstown point brought the sides level and into extra time on a score line of 0-12 to 1-09. Unfortunately Simonstown had the better of the additional time and ran out 1-14 to 0-16 winners. Credit does go to our lads who never gave up and contributed to one of the most exciting games of the year in Pairc Tailteann.

JUVENILE FOOTBALL Our Acorns continue on Saturday Mornings with approximately 80 children at first session (born 2008, 2007, 2006) and with many parents on board to help. We have also been lucky to have some Transition year students to help. Thanks too to Cristin and Maria for support. Next year’s under-8 have moved to 11 o’clock slot and with their mentors and support from many other parents the boys and girls are working hard developing their skills. They recently

589

played their first match which they all enjoyed and the future looks bright as we had a panel of 25 players take part in outing. Our Under 8 team have just completed their first year as a ‘real team’. The skill levels in this group are very high and they enjoyed playing in the Go Games blitzes throughout the year. Training is twice a week if there is no blitz organised and attendance at the session’s averages 25. The boys and girls recently completed the first stage in the ‘You Can’ skills Challenge. At Under 9 level the mentors of the under-9 team deserve credit for keeping the interest of the children during the year. There is no organised structure for under-9 in the County so mentors must organise challenge games themselves and this has become a challenge to keep the 20 children interested and involved in Gaelic Games in the absence of regular structured football. At under 10 level we now have 25 players on the panel with an average of 18-20 players turning up for regular training per session. Training every Tuesday and Thursday with usually a match/blitz every Saturday since early summer. We have trained pretty much every week this year with little or no breaks. There has been a huge improvement in all players. We have taken part in all the County blitzes this year and have won about almost all of our matches. All players involved in every blitz. We took part in a mini-league early summer run by Seneschalstown where we put in some outstanding performances. The side is currently playing in a minileague run by Kilbride, again with some outstanding performances At Under 11 age group we have a panel of 30 regular players. The team train every Wednesday night at 6.30pm to 7.30pm. The players have really developed well over the last 12 months and have given a good account of themselves in their matches. We played in the Under 12 reserve league this year and made it to the final. Unfortunately we were beaten by a point against Dunshaughlin in this match but a great achievement nonetheless to make the final. The U11s are involved in a mini league with matches each Saturday up until the end of November. New players born in 2001 are always welcome.


Ciaran Ellis

Sean Curran has Cillian O'Sullivan for company

Andy Tormey gets in his pass

Our Under 12 team have made good progress throughout the year. Our squad has increased with a great turn out or training and matches. We participated in U-12 Meath Spring and Summer Leagues and the Autumn U-13 Reserve League. We had a number of good performances and wins in each competition. We would like to thank the U-11'S and the U-13'S for lending us some of their players for these competitions. A number of our players took part in the U-12 Meath Development Squad camp during the summer. Tony Wall has joined the coaching team and his knowledge and insight has been a great benefit to team development. We would also like to thank senior captain, Eoin Riordan for his contribution to training sessions and believe Senior players helping out with Juvenile teams is a good initiative. We look forward to 2013 and making the step up to the U-13 grade Our Under 13 team started off a good year in the under-14 Spring league Division 6. This experience set the boys up for the under-14 Reserve Championship where they won all their matches and had a good win against Ratoath in the final. The team then entered the under-14 Reserve league. Despite the difficulty of getting players during the summer holidays the team reached the final and once again after a great game of football they emerged winners against Ratoath. The most recent competition was the under-13 League. Unfortunately despite the best performance by the team for the year in the earlier part of the competition they failed to reach the final. We look forward to next year. Our Under 14 team were unlucky to miss out on the opportunity to progress to the national Feile competition when they lost out to an equally talented Skryne team in the semi-final. Skryne went on to win the Meath final, beating St. Colmcille’s in an exciting final in the club. This year was a historic year for the club as we had three teams playing in the Under 14 leagues. Our first team as mentioned above played in Division 1 with the second team (mainly our Under 13 team) played in Division 4 of the competition. Our third team under the guidance of Michael Doherty played in the reserve league and although playing many second

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teams competed very well and showed great improvement as the league progressed. This team managed to make it to the league semi-final and were unlucky to lose out to eventual winners Ratoath. At Under 15 grade our first competition of 2012 was U16 where the players were used in both the first and reserve team panels. Eight of the U15 players were taken to play with the first team leaving the balance to play in the U16 reserve league, with a much weakened squad. The team won just one match and qualified for a semi-final were they were beaten In the Under 15 Autumn league the team competed well and narrowly missed out on a semi-final place. The Donaghmore Ashbourne under 16 squad have just completed a good year with an average of 23-24 players at each session. Good participation and skill development have shown results with the team reaching the semi-finals of the U16 leagues and the finals of the summer leagues. Jack Giles, Cian O’Rourke, Dylan Brady and Jack O’Connor are all part of the Meath U16 Development squad. Our Under 17 squad for 2012 played in the Meath 7-A-Side and the Meat Autumn league. In the 7-A-Side held in June, Donaghmore won the group stages and then participated in the finals in Dunganny. After defeating Dunshaughlin and O Mahonys, Donaghmore easily won the final beating Meath Hill 13 points to 4. In the league the U17 team won all their group games and overcame Dunshaughlin in the semi final. However, with an under strength team due to injuries, they battled hard but lost by five points to O’Mahony’s in the final. Our minor team has been training since last November. Initially we had strength and conditioning program for 8 weeks with John Byrne which we found hugely beneficial. The league started in February and we eventually played the final in October where St. Peter’s Dunboyne were the opposition when our lads travelled to Bective. Unfortunately our lads did not play to their full potential and lost out on a score line of 2-10 to 0-08. In the championship our lads saw off the challenge of Ratoath after a replay and in the semi-final of the competition they defeated Simonstown Gaels to book a place in


the final. With the back door being introduced to this year’s competition Ratoath provided the opposition when the sides met in the final in Pairc Tailteann. Like the league final our lads did not get up to full speed and although they battled throughout the game they lost on a score line of 1-11 to 0-08 with the Ratoath goal coming from the last kick of the game. Congratulations to Conor Carton and Jack Hanigan who were part of the Meath Minor team who made it to the All-Ireland Final but lost out to Dublin in the final. However Donaghmore Ashbourne can still boast an All-Ireland Minor as Michael Deegan was part of the Dublin Squad. Although playing club football in Meath and County Football with Dublin did raise many eyebrows throughout the year, within the club all of Michael’s team mates seen him as a Donaghmore Ashbourne player first. To see players from both sides train together (as Conor and Michael did) when doing their personal programmes shows the great side of the GAA and is an example of what sportsmanship is all about. This is something that Donaghmore Ashbourne are proud to encourage in all our underage players which is the core of the GAA – sportsmanship and respect.

CAMOGIE In our Camogie Section a lot of work has been done in the recruitment drive to being new players in at the younger age teams. Rebecca Wilson was instrumental in organising the street-leagues and we did capitalise in recruiting new players to the teams. We also took part in another recruitment drive in the Autumn where we introduced “Games on the Greens” to one of the estates in the village. Aideen McMahon and Deirdre Keaveney put in a place a committee for the “Games on the Greens" and following some correspondence with the residents of The Briars we spent a couple of weeks there. This was very successful venture and the participation level exceeded our expectations. It was very successful and we have increased our numbers on a Tuesday at under 6 by over 50%. At Under 8 level our team had a brilliant year overall. We have progressed leaps & bounds. Initially

at the start of the year we only had a handful of girls and now we have 23 girls registered to play. It has been an eventful year; some of the girls went to Croke Park for the first time to support the Meath Camogiers. We had visits pre & post winning the Camogie All-Ireland from our two stars Maggie Randle and Lizzy Lynch. There have been a few after training parties to ensure parents and girls are enjoying the camogie experience e.g. Halloween dress-up training went down a treat!) Overall training is going very well, the basics have been taught and each week we try to introduce a new skill and play a match to allow their new skills be put into practice. Over the year we have had a few challenge matches home and away, with great fun had by all. At Under 10 level our team started training back in February. The number of girls we had attending training varied from 18-22. These numbers have now increased and we get from between 28-32 girls every Monday night. There was a good turnout of the U10s marching in the St. Patrick's Day Parade. The girls had their first Blitz on the 12th of June which we hosted in the club. We had enough girls to have 2 teams and had a very successful blitz. Food and refreshments were provided afterwards. The parents helped with the food preparation which was much appreciated. On the 2nd of June we organised a match for the girls against Navan. This was a chance to practise their skills in a challenge match environment. This turned out to be a confidence booster for the Donaghmore girls as they beat Navan convincingly on the day. On the 21st of July Drumree organised a blitz that we attended, the results from this Blitz saw Ashbourne, draw one game and win two games. Kilmessan hosted a blitz on the 19th of August, the Donaghmore girls attended again in great numbers. We lost two games, drew one and won one. September saw a busy month for the girls with a blitz organised on the 8th of September in Dungany. This was a successful trip for the girls. Later this month the girls would represent the club playing at half time during the All Ireland Intermediate Camogie final held in the club. As well as playing the match at half time four of the girls were ball-girls for the match. On the 27th of October we

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Niall Farrell

Aidan Hughes gets away from Bobby O'Brien Ratoath

Tony Morgan was the driving force behind the juniors run to the championship final


Aengus Mulvihill and Ciaran Finn go for the ball

Tadhg Kelly

Top scorer for the juniors, Mattie Devine

organised another meeting between Navan. Both Donaghmore/Ashbourne and Navan had enough players for two teams and played two matches at the same time. Don/Ash won one and lost one. We are finishing up training with a party on the 26th of November. This will give the girls a chance to say goodbye to the girls moving up to the U12s next year. At Under 12 grade we took part in a competition which we won leading us to Caman to Croker. It was a great honour for us as a club to represent Meath in the blitz .There was over 48 teams participating on the day and a great day was had by all. Kicking our year off we played in our county blitz doing really well. Finishing the year we played in under 12 league getting into the last 8 losing out to a semi final spot. But the commitment from the girls throughout the year was second to none thank you girls. We would also like to thank the parents for their help during the year. At under 14 and 16 level we did struggle with numbers but managed to get games for those interested The girls won one game away to Trim in the under 14 championship and were beaten in the under 15 league earlier in the year. They played teams that were just too strong unfortunately. At Under 16 level we did have to join up with Navan O’Mahonys to ensure that our girls got games and in this Championship and did very well winning two out of the four games and also getting through to the B Semi Final where they lost to Dunboyne. Congratulations to Holly O’Donnell and Redmond who represented the Club on the Meath Under 14 team and to Sinead Power and Sarah O’Connor who were part of the Meath under 16 team. In addition to players on the teams well done to Richie O’Donnell who was part of the Meath Under 14 management team. At Adult Level our Junior Team had another enjoyable year. We had great turn out at training and the girls showed tremendous dedication and commitment throughout the year. As usual we will be on the lookout for new recruits for the New Year when we start back training after Christmas. This team proves one thing, not everything is about results and although we only managed to win one match throughout the season

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that did not stop the girls coming back for more. Having achieved Intermediate success in 2011 our first team made the step up to the senior grade and took this challenge seriously as they commenced training mid-January with girls taking part in circuit training with Roisin Tormey. In theory, this was a great idea and very enjoyable for the girls taking part and training was very beneficial but a severe drop off in the numbers attending made it impractical to keep going. We then started our outdoor training and along with the circuit training got into full swing by mid-February. Numbers were just okay but the girls certainly hit the ground running and had the right attitude towards their training. Feedback from the players regarding the training was positive and we looked forward to getting competitions under way. After a couple of challenge games we played Boardsmill in our first league game and won well with a bit to spare, our one worry was numbers were very tight and we struggled to get 16 players. Then came Kiltale at home, at the half time stage we looked fairly comfortable until we had to take two players off due to injury and we only had the one sub to use, losing in the end by a single point. The remainder of the league saw defeats to Ratoath and Navan, despite having numerical advantage. Drumree conceded points to us. The senior championship started with an away game against Navan. With a seriously depleted side of only 15 players, we started well and held our own until Navan started to get on top and our players heads started to drop, a problem we would have throughout our senior campaign. We were disappointed with losing as this was one game we did target at the start when fixtures came out. Na Fianna at home. We got off to a terrible start and the game was more or less out of reach by half time. After some very strong words during the break we went out like a different team in second half and won the half well but unfortunately game was beyond us. We did prove to ourselves that we could compete at senior level. Next up, Trim and the less said the better. Blackhall Gaels at home probably saw us at our most competitive and although not good enough to win we proved to


ourselves we had nothing to fear. The Killyon game was played in Donaghmore. In this game, playing with a strong wind in the first half we got off to a great start with a lead of seven points at half time but that wasn’t to be enough with Killyon raising their game after the break as we struggled to cope with the wind and their senior quality showed. Another game that got away from us. Dunboyne away was a must win and the first time we actually had a few subs available all season. We gave away some very cheap scores in the first half but held our own in the second. This was a game we were capable of winning. Kilmessan at home, not much to say but with the exception of Trim on a good day, Kilmessan are a class apart from every other team in Meath. We started our senior championship knowing it was a big step up in level from last year at Intermediate but we did hope we could acquit ourselves well. Although we didn’t succeed in winning any games, we have to rue the chances that got away particularly Na Fianna and Killyon. The team will have benefited from playing at senior level and hoping they, along with the management will have learned a lot going forward. They are a great bunch of girls and we have to know that our downfall wasn’t at the end of the season and how results went but with the efforts that were not made by some throughout the year and very poor attendances at training prior to the summer months. .Hopefully players will now know what effort has to be applied from the very start to succeed at the higher level. Lessons were learned by management and players. The Club is very proud of the

achievements of Maggie Randle and Lizzy Lynch with the Meath Camogie team who won the Premier Junior AllIreland final. Another two All- Ireland medals in the Club! Congratulations to Terry Tormey who was awarded a “Volunteer of the Year” award by the Camogie association in acknowledgement of his lifelong work with both Donaghmore Ashbourne and Meath Camogie Committees.

LADIES FOOTBALL Our Ladies Football Section had a mixed bag of results together with some challenges in terms of numbers but overall the section continue to provide games for your players. Our youngest teams, the under 10s and under 11s trained and played regularly throughout the season, with strong numbers every week. The emphasis with football at this level is on learning skills and enjoying the game. In addition to their normal league games, the girls took part in a number of football blitzes this year, one of which was held in our club, organised by Mary O’Shaughnessy, assisted by many of our mentors. This was a County Blitz with 15 clubs taking part. The county board was very appreciative of Donaghmore Ashbourne hosting of this event. Our under 12 team competed in the Division 1 competition this year and were unfortunate to lose out at the semi-final stage. The club was very well represented at County level, with four girls on the County team, Abbie Timmons, Judy Bobbett, Aoisle Lawlor, and Holly Molloy, The County team took part in two Leinster Blitzes in which they won the Division 1 Final in June and were finalists in September. Our under U13 team competed in

the very strong Division 1 this year. They would have been one of the contenders to win this Division outright but were unfortunately beaten in the semi-final by a goal in the last minute however the team managed to regroup and went on to win the shield final. While happy to have won the Shield, this team has strong ambitions to win their Division next year. At U14 grade this team was represented on the County team by Aoibhin Cleary who has been one of the most consistent players on the County team. This was Aoibhin’s first year in this age group and she will be eligible again at U14 next year. Our U16 Ladies team took part in the Division 2 Championship, and enjoyed very competitive football. We reached the Shield final and although we played well we were unfortunately beaten and made our exit out of the competition. At U19 level we had a strong panel of players with a squad of 22 players training on a regular basis. We competed well in the competition but were unfortunate to lose out on a place in the final having been beaten at home at the semi-final stage. On the County front a number of our players including Siofra Cleary, Kate Heffernan, Michelle Peel, Caroline Brothwood and Ailish Moriarty all represented the club on this year’s County Minor panel At adult level 2012 has been a disappointing year for our Adult Senior team. With a number of factors such as emigration, some players living and working away from home, difficulties with bringing younger players through to the senior squad, and management vacancies we struggle to field a team. As a

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result the Ladies Committee took the decision to withdraw from this year’s Senior Championship, although we did complete our League program. With no relegation from the Senior grade this year we aim to regroup for the new season ahead and will assess in the New Year whether we have the resources to compete at Senior level. Congratulations to Michelle Peel, Caitriona O’Shaughnessy and Hazel Dennedy who represented the club on the County Senior team this year.

HURLING With a lot of work being done on recruitment over recent years our U6 Hurling team has gone well over the past year with numbers of children rising every week. The feedback from parents has been positive as the children are very excited about learning the skills of the game every Tuesday. We had a very successful trip to Ratoath in May to play some games against them and the children had a great time representing the club on the playing field. The children are looking forward to playing against other teams in the future. We owe great thanks to the parents who help out every Tuesday evening and get as much enjoyment out of working with the children as the children get from playing. We are hoping for a successful year ahead and maintaining the great numbers that we have at the present time. At Under 8 level our hurling team started training in early January and can boast a squad of 23 players. They participated in 7 blitz days throughout the year in Dunganny, twice in Ratoath, twice in Dunboyne and twice and Ashbourne. They played three games in each blitz and even though learning the skills and enjoying themselves was always the priority our teams rarely tasted defeat. It was heartening to see our teams compete toe to toe with the powerhouses of Meath hurling such as Kilmessan, Kiltale, Kildalkey, Longwood and our neighbours Ratoath.The future of hurling is safe in the hands of these youngsters. Eddie Mather and Davey Gaughan were the coaches for this team but great credit must go to the commitment of all the parents. At under 10 level our hurling team started well with Indoor sessions in the Arena on Friday evenings 7pm to

David Morgan gets in his pass as Moynalvey's David Donoghue and Mark O'Sullivan close in at Skryne

8pm, honing the player’s skills during the winter months. Again we have a strong panel of 24 players and they were very keen to venture outside when the weather allowed. The team participated in a number of blitz games organised by Meath GAA and friendly games organised by the mentors Niall O' Sullivan, Stephen Meagher and Dermot Duke. These games allowed the players to develop their skills and it has been really impressive to see the way they acquit themselves on the field. The under 10s attended a blitz held in Dunboyne where they won all three games played. In the Ratoath blitz they had wins over Dunboyne and St. Colmcilles. Drumree and East Cavan Gales travelled to Donaghmore Ashbourne for challenge games and once again our lads worked hard to come away with victories on both occasions. The Donaghmore Ashbourne Blitz was held in mid June. A very special mention must be given to the parents of the kids who made a huge effort to welcome Dunboyne, Ratoath and St. Colmcilles to our club with cakes and all sorts of baking to ensure the day was a very memorable one and one the club can be proud of. This year’s under 12 team was very young with only four actual players born in 2000 and the rest of the Panel was made up of lads born in 2001 & 2002.The team trained from early in the year and enjoyed some practice

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games against Wild Geese, Ratoath, Drumree, and Curraha. The Meath Championship started in June running through the summer which made it difficult to get numbers as a lot of kids this age were on family holidays. The team played strongly against Kildalkey, Kiltale and Wolfe Tones but were never good enough to make it through to the knock out stages. Special thanks to Jonathan Carr for all his help during the year. At under 13 grade our Hurling team were hard at training as far back as January and their skills showed as the year went on. The total squad of 16 players were always available for training and enjoyed some good competitive practice games earlier in the year against Lucan Sarsfields, Drumree, Wild Geese and Curraha. The Championship started in April and the team had good wins over Moylough and Dunderry and a draw against Wolfe Tones which was good enough to put them into the semi finals against the eventual winners Kildalkey. The semi final was a good game and Donaghmore Ashbourne were only four points down at half time; however, an early goal from Kildalkey in the second half was too much for all lads to pull back. The team was well supported all year from Dave Carroll, Sean Gibney, Eddie Cullen and Kevin O’Toole. If this team can put in the same work rate in training next year a successful 2013 should lie ahead.


Our Under 14 team started training at the end of May and the numbers grew gradually as the weeks went by when we eventually had 22 players involved. The team had a number of challenge matches against St. Finians, Wild Geese before its first round match v Killyon. In this opening game our lads won the match well and also enjoyed good wins over Rathmoylan and Dunderry .This was good enough to give then a home semi final against Kilmessan and this turned out to be a fantastic game of hurling with Donaghmore Ashbourne holding out to win by a single point 5-7 to 6-5. The final was against Killyon in Batterstown and again the team performed outstandingly well to win by a single point. Great work was put in by Dave Carroll and Paul Rea through the year. Unfortunately the Club could not field a team in the U16 grade in its own right and amalgamated with Dunboyne for competition purposes. The Club supplied only a handful of players to the combined team, emphasising the shortage of players within the Club willing to play at this age group. While Dunboyne are arch rivals in the big ball game the joint venture in hurling yielded silverware when the U16 Shield was secured after a replay with Dunderry. Well done to the Donaghmore Ashbourne representatives, David Kent, Daire Morrissey, Luke Andrews and Kevin Fraughan in a management role. Fielding a minor hurling team appeared to be a difficult proposition at the start of the season but the initiative was taken by the players themselves who gathered sufficient numbers to enter competition. Donaghmore Ashbourne fielded a team for every fixture and never sought to postpone a game. The minor team played five league games and secured five points. The highlight was a victory over Kilmessan on their home turf in atrocious conditions. In championship the boys were beaten by the amalgamated team of Drumree/Blackhall Gaels by six points and could perhaps have snatched victory such was their dominance in the second half. The team showed remarkable progress by overturning a cricket score in the corresponding league fixture a few weeks previously. A disappointing aspect to the minor competition is that the full league programme was not completed for what can only be interpreted as expediency reasons on behalf of the fixture makers. With the level of improvement being shown by this team, as the league progressed further wins were anticipated, even if ultimate honours were unlikely. Against the odds the Club fielded an Under 21 team in the Championship, taking advantage of the fair play rules. Na Fianna were the opposition in a home fixture and although Donaghmore Ashbourne came up short, the game was a great spectacle with the home side scoring 3-09 – enough to win most games – in a very entertaining game. Considering that the team had not trained prior to the game the result was a victory in its own way and hopefully some of the players who came out of “retirement” for the game will continue to play with the adult team in 2013. At Adult Level it was a difficult year for the Donaghmore Ashbourne section with the second adult team being withdrawn prior to the start of the competition due to shortage of numbers. Unfortunately, this trend continued with our remaining team failing to field in two league games and lucky not to have incurred a financial penalty from the County Board. On the Championship front the team failed to progress to the knockout stages, having done so the previous year. We did suffer from a lack of commitment from

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players in terms of training and this ultimately reflected on the results of the field as our first touch was not what it could have been. Hopefully over the closed season our hurling committee with the backing of the club executive will review 2012 and develop a plan to get some of our players back onto the training ground and more importantly encourage some of our hurling community personnel to help with the running and development of the adult game within the club. Overall while at Adult level 2012 has been a difficult year for the hurling section the work of the under section is starting to show results. Donaghmore Ashbourne are now competing with the more traditional hurling teams in Meath as is evidenced by the great victory over Killyon in the U14 championship. The unassuming Eamon Hogan deserves special mention for his work in the development of this group of players who fear no team with “Kil” in their name. On a long term we still need our Adult team to be competitive so these younger players have somewhere to go in a few years time.

GROUNDS COMMITTEE This Committee are the unsung heroes who maintain our pitches in excellent condition and have them set-up prior to games and thereby remove that burden from mentors prior to games. Over the year the Club held over 300 games, across all the codes and including County Championship games and national camogie finals. These games all required the erection of nets and flags by the Grounds Committee and our valuable FÁS personnel. Our thanks are due to Dónal Ó’ Loingsigh for taking charge at weekends, Paddy Daly and Eric Callaghan for cutting the grass in Owen Sullivan Park and Milltown, Alan McGeer for his supervision and advice in relation to the high end maintenance. A special thank you is due to our FÁS people, Michael Murphy and Larry Beggy, for their work, in keeping the complex tidy and cleaning the dressing rooms and especially Greg Twomey for his management of the committee.

STEWARDS The work of our club members who steward at major games in the Club is acknowledged. A number of national finals have been held at the Club at the request of Croke Park and the Camogie Association. The most prestigious game in 2012 was the replayed All-Ireland Intermediate Camogie final between Derry and Galway. A large crowd attended and there was broadcast media present. The Camogie Association was fulsome in praise of the Cub for the event arrangements. Our last game of the year saw the club host the AllIreland Junior Club Camogie Final between Four Roads of Roscommon and Myshall of Carlow. Despite many of our regular stewards heading to Navan for the Under 21 final we still managed to have sufficient numbers for the large crowd who attended this final. Mairead Finn deserves praise for her work and persuasion in bringing the game to the Club. If games were not enough for the stewards they diversified in October to marshal the 100k cycle.

CLUB/SCHOOL LINK Progress has been made over the last two years in improving the link between the Clubs and the schools in Ashbourne. Ashbourne Community School, St. Mary’s and St Declan’s national school play their home games at the Club while St.Declan’s

Conor Carton had a great year with club and county

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regularly train in the arena. The club is investigating the possibility of employing a Club Coach but financial considerations militate against this proposal at the present time. As an interim measure the Club are delighted to avail of the Meath Coaching and Games offer of meeting the costs of a coach in the primary schools for two of the three school terms. Hurling and football are coached in this package to both boys and girls. The work of all teachers in the various schools is appreciated in promoting Gaelic games.

MANAGEMENT OF FACILITY The Management Committee under the chair of Frank O’Donnell have the onerous task of running our facility and in these difficult times where funding and budgets are constantly under pressure. Credit is due to all the club members who give freely of their time and their skills to ensure that necessary repairs are carried out with the minimum of expense. The Labour Day was a success and no doubt will be repeated. Ronan Garry deals with IT issues. James Heavey advises on the electrics. Colm Doherty has organised a number of social events which ought to have been better supported by our members. Peter Molloy and his staff run an excellent bar and are always very helpful when functions are being. The Club is very fortunate to have such an excellent Bar Manager serving us. At the front end of the club Jackie Lynch is always efficient and is a great help to the club executive and mentors dealing with many issues on a daily basis. We are also very lucky to have Trish Carton and Ann Lawless helping to run the Club Shop and continue to promote the Donaghmore Ashbourne brand. On the finance end of things 2012 has been a challenging year but our finance committee have worked very hard to ensure that we keep things afloat. Well done to Lix Durkan, head of Finance and also to Dave Donnelly for his work. The work that Dave put in this year did not go unnoticed as he was awarded the 2012 club person of the year.


RATHKENNY Rathkenny have experienced an interesting and varied life since their return to the top flight of Meath championship football, but the 2012 SFC brought no joy as they lost their four group games and were thankful that there was no relegation struggle to worry about as summer turned to autumn.

Donal Keogan had a great year with Meath seniors

W

ith Eamonn O’Brien at the helm and that great servant of the club Donal Curtis acting as captain, Rathkenny won the IFC in 2006, defeating Drumconrath in the final, and they marked their first year back in the senior ranks by reaching the quarterfinals where they were well beaten by Dunboyne. A year later they had survival on their agenda, but they held onto their senior status when beating Kilmainhamwood in the relegation final. It was a similar story in 2009 when they got the better of Walterstown in the survival shoot-out, before an appeal by the blacks over extra-time being played brought further uncertainly. When all was said and done both teams survived. Things improved considerably for Rathkenny in 2010, so much so that they progressed all the way to the SFC semi-finals where they lost to Seneschalstown. Last year they were

CONSOLIDATION IS THE GOAL drawn in an extremely tough group and while they didn’t manage to reach the knockout stages they did record victories over Donaghmore/Ashbourne and Nobber. With Dermot Smyth departing to take over as Seneschalstown manager for 2012, Tony Kearney answered the Rathkenny call. Kearney guided Wolfe Tones to SFC

glory in 2006, but his year at the helm in Rathkenny isn’t one he will recall with a great deal of satisfaction as an understrength panel endured a difficult time. Rathkenny were drawn in group C of the championship and that meant, like last year, that they would again come face to face with two of the big guns in Navan O’Mahonys and Seneschalstown who were to emerge

Prior to their senior championship clash with Seneschalstown at Kilberry, front l/r: Owen Elliott, Ivan Lenehan, Ross Gore, Lee Connolly, Joe Gore, Adam Brennan, Jack Gore, Donal Curtis, Colin Curtis, Michael Macken, Derek Smith. Back: Stephen McCabe, Brian Meade, John Martin, Christopher Meade, Donal Keogan, Michael McBride, Tommy McKeever, Ronan Curtis, James Macken, Cathal McCabe, Brian Lenehan

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Winners over St Ultan's in the JFC C quarter final at Moynalty, front l/r: Darren Barron, Enda Weldon, Ronan Curtis, Joe McKeever, Niall Brannigan, Andrew Finney, Lee Connolly, Owen O'Connor. Back: Matt Hanley, Cathal McCabe, Adam Brennan, Ciaran Rock, Denis Nulty, Michael McCabe, Stephen Lynn, Tom Fleming, Tommy McKeever, Colin Curtis, Mattie Brien, Stephen McCabe

Rathkenny before the Under 12 final with Kilbride at Seneschalstown, front l/r: Pete McCabe, Jack Timmons, Evan Crosbie, Luka Castle, Leah Reilly, Ronan McKenna, Cian Mongey. Back: David Downey, Michael Dineen, Keith Curtis, Robert Field, James O’Hare, Robert Murphy, Brian Griffin. Mentors at back Dermot Downey, Thomas Crosbie, Bernard O'Hare, Siobhan Downey

On duty for the U16 Division 2 FL decider against Skryne at Pairc Tailteann, front l/r: Jack O'Connor, Edward Reilly, Tom Gore, Cormac Maguire, Keith Timmons, Thomas McGuinness, Eoghan Lynch, Jack Mennis, Jamie O'Halloran. Back: Caolach Halligan, Cathal Mongey, Louis Timmons, Conor Brennan, Sean Mongey, Paddy Doherty, Robert Garry, Stephen Crosbie, Graham Brennan

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The U14 Division 5 FL winners who defeated Oldcastle in the final at Moynalty, front l/r: Jack Thomson, Oisin Mathews, Sean Gavagan, Evan Crosbie, David Downey, Keith Curtis, Brian Griffin. Back: Colm Reilly (coach), Jack O'Connor, Aaron Leddy, Shane Lynch, Cathal Mongey, Michael Dineen, Edward Reilly, Conor Hunter, Graham Brennan, Conor Brennan, Dermot (coach), Mick Dineen (coach)

from the section. Also in the mix were Oldcastle and Blackhall Gaels. When the championship action got under way in mid-April Rathkenny were idle and when they did get their first taste of the 2012 SFC it was against O’Mahonys at Kilberry where the Navan men earned their second victory of the competition on a 1-11 to 0-5 score line. Rathkenny battled well in the first half and led by 0-5 to 04 at the interval after playing with the aid of the wind, their points coming from 17 year-old Jack Gore, Richie Timmons, Brian Lenehan, Owen Elliott and Donal Curtis. But they failed to add to their tally in the second period when O’Mahonys took over completely and scored 1-7, their goal coming from Stephen Bray on 54 minutes. It was nearing mid-August before Rathkenny played their second championship match against Blackhall at Ashbourne and the outcome was another defeat (1-3 to 19). Their only score of the first half was a goal from John Donegan and they trailed by 1-0 to 0-6 at the break. When Alan Nestor scored the Blackhall goal from a penalty six minutes into the second period they were ahead by 1-7 to 1-0 and the only scores Rathkenny managed subsequently were points from Brian Meade (two) and Owen Elliott. On a more positive note, it was good to see

Donal Keogan return to action following the injury he picked up playing for Meath against Laois. Rathkenny’s battling qualities couldn’t be faulted next time out against Seneschalstown at Kilberry where Meade scored nine points, five of them from frees. The teams were level six times in the first half, but the Yellow Furze men gradually took a grip on the exchanges in the second period to run out comfortable winners by 0-17 to 0-12. When Rathkenny and Oldcastle clashed in the final round of group games at Kilmainhamwood in early September there was nothing but pride at stake, with the teams going in search of a first victory which would propel them clear of bottom position in the section. Rathkenny got an early tonic in the shape of a well-worked goal set up by a brilliant Curtis pass and a John Donegan finish, but Oldcastle took control during the closing eight minutes of the first half and reeled off 1-6 to push into a 110 to 1-2 interval lead. Their goal was scored by Eoin Gilsenan. When Oldcastle tagged on the first two points of the second period they looked to be home and hosed, but Rathkenny didn’t lie down and accept what appeared to be the inevitable. Instead, they battled back courageously and reduced the deficit to just four points. They were presented with an ideal opportunity to leave themselves the minimum in arrears when Tommy McKeever was fouled, but Meade steered the resultant penalty wide. Oldcastle had two players sent off in the second half, but they still popped up with the game’s last point deep into injury time to seal the win. Rathkenny’s fourth successive defeat left them adrift at the bottom of the group, but at least they GALVANISING & POWDER didn’t have to worry about heading into a dreaded COATING battle for survival in the relegation play-offs. They will AVAILABLE have Des Lane as their new manager as Kearney stepped down. “We had key players missing at various stages of the year and didn’t have a solid team as a result,” said Rathkenny selector Gerry Gavagan as he looked back on the campaign. “Thomas and Emmet Martin went to Australia at the end of last year. We

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Hughie Gilsenan presents the U14 Division 5 FL Cup to Rathkenny captain Cathal Mongey

Rathkenny captain Keith Timmons raises the U12 Cup at Seneschalstown

Senior manager Tony Kearney

were without them all year. Thomas has been a prolific scorer for us and was a huge loss. “Murt Donnelly played in two league games at the start of the year and scored five points, but he transferred back to Kildare due to work commitments. He played with us all of last year. He is a former Kildare senior player and we really missed him too. “We also had the usual injuries during the year. John Donegan had problems with his hamstrings and was ill later in the year. We didn’t want to bring in some of the young lads as early as we did, but we had no choice. Jack Gore and Christopher Meade were on the Meath under-17 development squad this year. We had to elevate them to the senior team.” Gerry, who was rich in his praise for Tony Kearney, describing him as “a fantastic man whose record speaks for itself,” believes that without the threat of relegation this year some players may have taken their eye off the ball. “Because there was no relegation in league or championship it meant there was a safety net there,” he added. “The more experienced lads kept it going, like Donal Curtis who is 39 and a fantastic player and person, Michael McBride, Thomas McKeever and Derek Smith.” Rathkenny had a bye in the first round of the championship and when they did start their campaign it was against title favourites Navan O’Mahonys. “That was a dreadful day weather wise,” said Gerry. “There was a gale force wind. We had it in the first half and led by a point at the interval. I think half-time came at the wrong time for us. We were starting to get on top. Our momentum was broken and O’Mahonys got into it in the second half and took their scores well. They closed it out well in the end. “The game against Blackhall Gaels was very poor. We had a good share of possession in the first half, but our only score was a John Donegan goal. We missed too many chances in that half. We had lads back from injury that day and it just didn’t happen for us. They got a goal from a penalty in the second half and we tagged on only three points. They beat us by six points. “Brian Meade had a great game

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Keith Curtis

Jack Thompson

Evan Crosbie keeps his eye on the ball


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Shane Lynch

Ronan McKenna

Cathal McCabe

against Seneschalstown. He scored nine points. We were missing a few lads that day, including David Donegan who was unavailable. We fielded a lot of young lads that day. They had come up from the Junior C team. “There was nothing but pride at stake in the game against Oldcastle. John Donegan came back for that match and got an early goal. Oldcastle put in a great burst before half-time and led by 1-10 to 1-2 at the break. “They got the first two points of the second half, but we played really well after that and got it down to four points. Brian Meade then shaved the post from a penalty and we had another chance which went wide. Oldcastle got the last point.” This was a tough year for Rathkenny, but they have plenty of promising young players coming up through the ranks to sustain them for the future. “Our hope for 2013 is to consolidate as a senior club,” Gerry added. “We have a small squad, but when they are all there we are as good as anybody. We have a fantastic juvenile set-up and have very good players in the 17, 18 and 19 age bracket. We are bringing those lads through. They offer us great hope for the future.” Rathkenny’s second string advanced from their group in the Junior C FC and then defeated St Ultan’s by 1-11 to 1-8 in a quarterfinal at Moynalty. However, their dream of earning a final place was dashed when Syddan beat them by 1-6 to 1-3 in a semi-final at Castletown. This game was played in very wet conditions and Rathkenny failed to score in the first half as Syddan pushed into a 0-6 to 0-0 interval lead. Points from Barry Carolan and substitute Stephen McCabe cut the deficit to four, but Syddan goaled to move into a 1-6 to 0-2 advantage. Syddan didn’t score again and a McCabe goal gave Rathkenny hope, but they ran out of time. The Rathkenny team was: A Finney; S Lynn, B Carolan (0-1), L Connolly; N Brannigan, T McKeever, C Rock; R Curtis, M McBride; C McCabe (0-1), C Curtis, D Nulty; O O’Connor, D Barron, T Fleming. Subs – S McCabe (1-1) for Fleming, P Mullery for Lynn, J McKeever for Nulty, K Leddy for O’Connor, A Brennan for Leddy.

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Conor Hunter

Robert Murphy

Thomas McGuinness


ST BRIGIDS A tally of three points from their five group matches was never going to be enough to earn St Brigid’s a place in the knockout stages of the 2012 Junior Football Championship and they ended up finishing fifth of the six teams in their qualification section.

H

owever, there is every hope that things will improve because the talented young players who can help to enhance their prospects in future years are being produced thanks to the outstanding work being undertaken at underage level. Last year the Ballinacree side achieved two group victories, against Simonstown Gaels and Meath Hill in the third and fourth rounds, but losses suffered at the hands of Donaghmore/Ashbourne, Summerhill and Dunsany left them well out of the qualification picture on four points. This year they were drawn in group A of the championship and one fixture stood out from all the others in the section – a second round clash with their neighbours from the north-west of the county Moylagh. Also in the mix were last year’s Junior B champions Clonard, Dunsany, Curraha and Cortown, who were relegated from the intermediate ranks last autumn. The St Brigid’s coach this year was Stephen Farrelly and the selectors

St Brigids celebrate their B League Division 6 final win over Kilbride at Paric Tailteann

BRIGID’S BUILDING FOR THE FUTURE were Peter Skelly, Thomas Briody and Ollie Timmins. Their form in Division 4 of the AllCounty A League ahead of the commencement of the championship was mixed. They opened up with a heavy defeat to Moylagh (0-9 to 116), but recovered to beat Slane by 112 to 1-4. That was followed by a loss to Drumconrath (0-6 to 1-8) and a draw with St Vincent’s (0-9 to 1-6), before they won successive matches

against St Paul’s (2-12 to 2-10) and Boardsmill (2-22 to 0-6). They gradually pushed up the table as the competition progressed and that was certainly an encouraging sign with the future in mind. Clonard, impressive winners of the ‘B’ competition in 2011 when they had nine points to spare over Ratoath’s second string in the final, provided the first round opposition in the championship at Athboy and it wasn’t

The squad that recorded a fine win over neighbours Moylagh in the JFC at Millbrook, front l/r: Jerome Hussey, Karl Kiernan, Shane Connell, Peter Moore, Stephen Browne, Brendan Gibson, AJ Gilsenan, Fergal Hennessy, Shane Gilsenan, Philip Tuite, Michael Flood, Padraig Plunkett. Back: Conor Farrelly, Damien Connell, Leonard Tuite, Brendan Smyth, Oisin Kiernan, Darragh Geraghty, Barry Hussey, Ian Browne, Ciaran Plunkett, Ryan Tighe, Rory Geraghty, Michael Briody, Eugene Gilsenan

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The Inny Gaels combination that lost out to Boardsmill in the U16 Division 6 FL decider at Kilmainham, front l/r: Joseph Blake, Shane Barkey, Aaron Kiernan, Kevin Gilsenan, Darren Gibney, Alan Clarke, Sean Reilly. Back: Martin Flynn (mentor), Dylan Tighe, Jack Tighe, Ben Reilly, Andrew Geraghty, Jack Flynn, Kevin Growney, Ciaran Gibney, Eamon Campbell (mentor), Sean Peyton, Rory Gibney, Conan Smyth

the start to the Matthew Ginnity Cup race that St Brigid’s were looking for as they lost by 0-9 to 0-12. With Fergal Hennessy, Oisin Kiernan and Brendan Gibson among their scorers St Brigid’s opened up a 0-7 to 0-5 advantage at the interval, by which stage goalkeeper Ciaran Plunkett had come to their rescue when he made a fine save from a Bernard Reilly penalty. The second period didn’t work out well for St Brigid’s as they added only a brace of points courtesy of Kiernan and Hennessy and were outscored by 0-7 to 0-2. Hennessy finished as

his team’s top marksman with five points, but it represented a disappointing championship opener. Things got a great deal better in that second round encounter against Moylagh at Millbrook where a 1-8 to 0-8 victory got their qualification challenge back on the rails. Early points from Oisin Kiernan, Ian Browne and Fergal Hennessy helped to settle any nerves and a goal from Ryan Tighe provided a significant boost. Plunkett was again in good form between the posts as he pulled off a couple of fine saves and though they

managed to score only a point in the second period they were three to the good when the last whistle sounded. St Brigid’s probably expected to build on that morale-boosting win, but it didn’t work out that way and the concession of three goals proved very costly when they lost to Curraha in the third round at Bohermeen. The 1-13 to 3-9 reversal inflicted serious damage to their hopes of making it to the business end of the championship, but things had looked very promising in the early stages. They made the perfect start when Ryan Tighe found the net and

Inny Gaels - U14 Division 3 championship winners, front l/r: Darragh Moore, Emmett Manning, Robert McGivney, Shane Gibney, Kevin Gilsenan, Darren Gibney, Harry Reilly, Ciaran Boylan, Oisin Smyth, Jack Doyle. Back: Adam Segarty, Dylan Tighe, Matthew Corrigan, Joseph Blake, Conan Smyth, Ben Reilly, Alan Moore, Sean Reilly, Dylan Scully, Cathal Gibney, TJ Tully, Cian Tully

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Inny Gaels captain Kevin Gilsenan raises the U14 Division 3 Championship Cup at Pairc Tailteann

Ian Browne

Conor Farrelly

Hennessy tagged on a couple of points, but that was about as good as it got as they gave away those three goals which helped Curraha to a twopoint victory. The Ballinacree men were also left to rue a missed penalty. Cortown, who would later lose a thrilling quarter-final to Donaghmore/Ashbourne, inflicted a third defeat of the group campaign on St Brigid’s when winning comfortably by 2-11 to 1-6 at Ballinlough where they were well on the way to victory at the interval when holding a 2-5 to 0-4 advantage. The qualification process ended on a more satisfactory note for the Ballinacree men when they drew with one of the championship favourites Dunsany at Drumbaragh.in early September. Michael Flood, Karl Kiernan, Peter Moore and Oisin Kiernan played particularly well and it was Oisin Kiernan who secured a share of the spoils when he slotted over a late leveller. It finished 0-9 each. When all the action was completed in group A Cortown had finished at the top of the pile on nine points from a possible 10 and the other team to qualify for the quarter-finals on eight points was Dunsany who were soon out of the running for honours when they were decisively beaten by Simonstown Gaels’ second string in a last eight clash. Curraha filled third position in the section on five, followed by Clonard on four, St Brigid’s on three and Moylagh on one. Like the vast majority of rural clubs, St Brigid’s have been affected by emigration. “Emigration has affected us,” said club chairman Michael Heery as he looked back on the 2012 campaign. “Brian Briody went to Australia last year. He was one of our best players and was a big loss to us. Fechin Heery went out to China. He qualified as a teacher and decided he wanted to travel. He’s in a college out there teaching English to young Chinese people. Dermot Mullally also went to Australia.” St Brigid’s form in the All-County A League improved as the competition progressed and with a bit more consistency early on they might well have got into the shake-up at the business end of Division 4. “We started off slowly this year and dropped points in the league,”

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St Oliver's captain Michael Flood raises the MFC Division 2 Cup at Carlanstown

Ryan Tighe

Jerome Hussey goes highest


Michael added. “We drew games that we should have won. But we improved and are well up in the league now. Last year we were in danger of relegation, but our position is a lot better this year.” An early defeat suffered at the hands of Clonard provided a setback to St Brigid’s hopes of getting out of their qualification group in the championship, but they then scored a victory over neighbours Moylagh to reignite their challenge. However, that was followed by a disappointing loss to Curraha when they simply gave away too many goals. “We looked to be in the driving seat when we played Curraha in Bohermeen,” Michael said as he reflected on the junior championship campaign. “That was a very important game. We made a very good start and led by three points, but then we gave away three goals and a point. We came back and even missed a penalty, but lost by only two points. It meant we were effectively out of the championship.” That loss was followed by another defeat against Cortown and a draw in the last round of group games

against Dunsany. Failing to advance to play in the knockout stages obviously represented a disappointment for all involved with the club, but they can certainly look to the future with optimism as the vital work to bring young talent through to the adult teams is being undertaken with great enthusiasm and commitment. “The Inny Gaels set-up is working very well from under-12 to under-15 inclusive,” Michael added. “There is a very good committee in place and they are bringing young players through. “This year we sat down and agreed to go in at under-16, under-17 and minor levels with Ballinlough as St Oliver’s. That’s working extremely well. We have a nice panel of players in place. We’re now up in a lot higher division at under-17 level. I believe the most important thing is to ensure that every lad plays football. They all get playing time. “We brought five minor players onto the junior team this year – Ciaran Plunkett, who is a very good goalkeeper, Stephen Browne, Brendan Browne, Karl Kiernan and

Michael Flood. They are all very talented footballers. “When we won the Patrick Kenny Cup final in Moylagh Ciaran Plunkett won the man of the match award. Michael Flood was on the Meath under-17 development squad.” The St Brigid’s club will mark a hugely important and significant milestone next year when various events will be organised to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the club in 1963. The publication of a history type booklet will be part of the plans which are being put in place by a committee set up to look after the organisation of the 2013 celebrations. Interestingly, the club played its first championship game against Moynalty back in April, 1963 and when Ballinacree people young and not so young come together to celebrate the anniversary, that day and many others as well will be recalled. It promises to be a great year for the club.

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Manager Stephen Farrelly

AJ Gilsenan collides with Moylagh keeper Mike Corrigan

Division 3 football championship with a 8-14 to 6-13 win over Moynalvey at Pairc Tailteann. Dylan Tighe and Joseph Blake were the heroes of the hour for the Gaels as the pair scored a total of 6-10 between them. Brian O'Reilly had Moynalvey on the scoreboard first but Inny Gaels replied with three points from Tighe, Blake and Shane Gibney. Moynalvey took over for the next 10 minutes and were 3-3 to 0-3 up after 15 minutes. Inny Gaels hit back to lead at the break 4-7 to 4-6 with fine goals from Blake (2), Tighe and Alan Moore. After ten minutes of the second half the sides were level 5-9 each. Dylan Tighe got his second goal while Hughie O'Sullivan kicked 1-2 for Moynalvey. The Gaels management team moved Tighe to the edge of the square and Blake out on to the forty and this had a desired effect. A point from Sean Reilly was followed by 1-1 each from Tighe and Blake to put the Moylagh Ballinacree combination in control. After the game Meath Juvenile Board Chairman Paul Mooney presented the Division 3 Cup to Inny Gaels captain Kevin Gilsenan. Inny Gaels: Ciaran Boylan, Cian Tully, Conan Smyth, Robert McGivney, Matthew Corrigan, Darren Gibney, Harry Reilly, Sean Reilly (01), Kevin Gilsenan (0-1), Ben Reilly, Dylan Tighe (3-2), Jack Doyle, Shane Gibney (1-2), Joseph Blake (3-8), Alan Moore (1-0).

St Brigid’s U10 squad that took part in the North Meath League

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Full forward Barry Hussey

Ben Reilly


SIMONSTOWN Sean Tobin raises the Joey McKeown Cup at Pairc Tailteann

A Division 2 FL success and a championship quarter-final appearance has to be considered a good return for Simonstown considering both Seamus Kenny and Shane O’Rourke were consigned to the sidelines for the year. Team captain Joe Lyons got his hands on the Gaughan Cup.

M

eath struggled to cope without the services of Seamus Kenny and Shane O’Rourke in 2012 so imagine how their club Simonstown Gaels must have felt having to enter the hoganstand.com Meath SFC minus their two county men. Most intercounty teams couldn’t afford to be without players of that calibre let alone a club team. Still, Simonstown, for the second year running, managed to reach the quarter-finals of the championship with three wins and a draw in Group B under their belt. Outright success in Division 2 of the football leagues coupled with promotion to the top flight for 2013 capped of what can be described as a ‘promising’ year for the north Navan outfit. Simonstown’s season ended with a comfortable 1-17 to 1-4 Division 2 final victory over Seneschalstown in

HEADING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION Brews Hill in October and team captain Joe Lyons took great satisfaction from the fact that the year finished on a winning note. “With all the hard work and commitment that was put into this year it was nice to finish up with a bit of silverware,” he said. “It was worked out that we met 112 times on the pitch this year between training and games and we also did a

lot of extra work on our own in the gym with Paul Meade so it’s always good to get that work rewarded.” Simonstown’s task in the FL Division 2 final was made all the more easier by the decision of the Seneschalstown management to field practically a second string. Eyebrows were raised when the Yellow Furze side lined up for the throw-in with the vast majority of their

The panel on duty for the Division 2 FL final against Seneschalstown in Brews Hill, front l/r: Wayne McCarthy, Stephen O’Reilly, Shane Kieran, McDarragh Fitzpatrick, Shane McGivney, Joe Lyons, Andrew Kearney, Ciaran Kenny, Sean Gaffney, Sean Tobin. Back: Paul Meade, Hank Traynor, Stephen Moran, Ian O`Rourke, Ronan Duffy, Padraig McKeever, Eanna Donoghue, Colm Wickham, Rory O`Connor, Declan Gaffney, Shane Barry, Mark McCabe. Mascots Paddy Heaney and David Barry

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The squad that defeated Dunboyne Kilbride to win the U16 Division 1 FL tiltle at Pairc Tailteann, front l/r: Oisin Lavin-Kelly, Eoghan Prior, Conor Nash, Paul Woods, Jake Powderly, Daniel Molloy, Shane Gallagher, Daire Meegan. Back: Cillian Farrell, Ronan Meegan, Graham Nelson, Daniel Byrne, Brian Conlon, Ben Hoey, Conor Hand, Chris O'Neill, Conor Farrell, Ben Treacy, Stephen Mawhinney, Adam McCabe, Brian McGrath. Missing from photo Ryan Murphy

Before the draw with Dunboyne in the SFC at Pairc Tailteann, front l/r: Eanna Donoghue, Wayne McCarthy, Joe Lyons, Niall McMahon, Shane McGivney, Colin Wickham, Ciaran Kenny, Paul Meade, Robbie Burlingham. Back: Gary Lynch, Michael O’Rourke, Stephen Moran, Rory O’Connor, Sean Tobin, Ronan Duffy, MacDarragh Fitzpatrick, Sean Gaffney, Shane Barry, Declan Gaffney, Mark McCabe, Andrew Kearney

U15 Division 1 champions, front l/r: Shane McHugh, Aaron Geraghty, Oisin Lavin Kelly, Mark Farrell, Eoin O’Neill, Jack Murray, Kevin McGrath, Dylan Staunton, David Ahern. Back: Cian Cullen, Bailey McEvoy, Shane Gallagher, Conor Farrell, Darren Forde, Ben Tracey, Conor Hand, Brian Conlon, Christopher Smith, Conor Nash, Eoghan Prior, Ben Hoey, Ben Gallagher

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The U14 Division 2 Shield Final winners, beating Walterstown in the decider at Pairc Tailteann, front l/r: Tom Philips, Conor Ahern, Cian Cullen, Frankie Cullen, Jack Murray, Johnny Hand, Sean Conlon, Dylan Staunton, Mark Farrell, Andrew Cordial. Back: Joseph Garvey, Ross Shivmangal, Aaron Geraghty, David Ahern, Conor Nash, Eoghan O’Neill, Mark Devlin, Conor Fitzpatrick, Cian Naughton, Cian Power

regular starters sitting on the bench. A championship semi-final date with Wolfe Tones eight days later took precedence over the league showdown. “We weren’t complaining!” joked the Navan-based Garda when it was pointed out that life was made easy for them in the final. “All you can do is go out and beat the 15 lads that are in front of you and that doesn’t matter if it is a Junior B or a Senior team. “I’m sure Seneschalstown were disappointed with the way they performed and they had lads on the sideline who were mad to play but you can understand that they had one eye on a bigger prize and their championship semi-final against Wolfe Tones the following week.”

Securing a return to Division 1, after a two-year absence, was arguably the team in sky blue’s most important achievement this year with the future development of their emerging talent in mind. “One of our main objectives for the year was to secure promotion back to Division 1. “We have a very young team. With the exception of one or two of us, the majority of the squad are 25 or under. We also had very good Minor and Under 21 teams this year so those young players will only benefit and improve from playing against the top teams in Division 1 next year.” The league win went a small way towards making up for the disappointment of their championship

exit at the hands of town rivals Navan O’Mahonys the previous week. Simonstown’s interest in the destination of the Keegan Cup came to an end when they suffered a 0-9 to 1-14 reversal at the hands of O’Mahonys in the last eight of the competition. Joe lined out at centre-forward in the eight point defeat to the men from Brews Hill. “It was a local derby and there was plenty at stake but the better team won on the night. “Maybe the occasion got to us a bit. We were quietly confident going into the game that we could win it after putting in the hard work but it didn’t work out well for us. “We let ourselves down a bit against

Runners up to Dunboyne in the U14 Reserve League final at Dunganny, front l/r: Dylan Staunton, Kevin McGrath, Joseph Garvey, Mark Farrell, Frankie Cullen, Jordan Pender, Andrew Cordial, Aaron Kiernan-Ayars, Kyle Gallagher, Tom Philips. Conor Fitzpatrick, Aaron Duddy. Back: Cian Power, Ross Cunniffe, Ben Gallagher, Mark Devlin, Kyle McEvoy, Sean Conlon, David Maguire, Johnny Hand (captain), Cian Naughton, Conor Ahern, Ross Shivmangal, Daniel Brecknell, Conor Kiernan, James McCabe. Mentors: Cormac McEvoy, Tommy Naughton, John Staunton

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Under 21 Football Championship winners, front l/r: Neil Kane, Nathan O’Brien, Niall O’Mahony, Shane McGivney, McDarragh Fitzpatrick, Stephen O’Reilly, Niall Coughlan, Donagh Fitzpatrick, Shane Gallagher. Back l-r: James Heaney, Colm O’Reilly, Robert Quinn, Padraig Gaffney, Padraig McKeever, Sean Tobin, Michael Sweeney, Robbie Burlingham, Conor Sheridan, Nicky O’Brien, Sean Gaffney, Colin Wickham, Shane Barry, Mark Gardiner

Captain Aaron Geraghty raises the U14 Division 2 Shield at Pairc Tailteann

Conor Hand raises the U15 Division 1 Shield at Lomans Park Trim

Joe Lyons raises the Gaughan Cup for the Division 2 FL at Brews Hill

O’Mahonys.” Simonstown matched their neighbours stride for stride in the opening 30 minutes of the derby clash and trailed by just 0-5 to 0-7 with wind advantage to come in the second half. They lost touch with their opponents, however, during the third quarter. The concession of a sloppy goal in the 43rd minute hammered the final nail into their coffin. “The turning point came early in the second half when a Shane Barry shot at goal came off the O’Mahonys crossbar,” Joe opined. “They went straight down the field and got their goal which was a major set-back for us. “That was big let-off for O’Mahonys. Even if we had have got a point from Shane’s effort the momentum would have been with us and you don’t know what might have happened.” Simonstown’s neighbours to the north, Wolfe Tones, inflicted the only other championship defeat on Sean Barry’s this term. Group B wins over Skryne, Dunshaughlin and Walterstown, as well as a draw with Dunboyne, secured their place in the business end of the championship. “We gave the Tones too big a headstart in the first half and left ourselves with too much to do in the second half,” Lyons recalled. “We came back well in the second half and if they game had have gone on a bit longer we could have snatched a draw or maybe even the win.” A native of Limerick, Joe played his club football with the Mountcollins

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club and captained the west Limerick side in two county junior football finals. He switched his footballing allegiance to Simonstown in 2006 after he was stationed in Navan. It was an easy decision to make as work colleagues Shane O’Neill, Charly McNulty and Willie Stynes were already playing with the team in sky blue. This was his second year as captain of Simonstown’s senior string. Would 2012 have panned out differently if Seamus Kenny and Shane O’Rourke had been available for selection? “We’ll never now that but, in hindsight, it has to be considered an achievement that we got as far as we did without Seamus and Shane. Young lads came in and proved they are well capable of competing at senior level and that is very encouraging for the future. “Fair play to Seamus and Shane they gave us plenty of support and were always at games and training. They are recuperating well from their respective injuries and we look forward to having them back next year.” 2012 marked the end of Sean Barry and his backroom team’s three-year stint at the helm and the captain was keen to express the players’ gratitude to them for their hard work. “The management have been three years working with us with some comings and goings and, as a group of lads, they were immense. They put in serious effort off the pitch and it was our responsibility to reward them with performances on the pitch.


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“I’d like to think the league win was a small thank you to them for their hard work.” This interview with Joe took place prior to Simonstown’s success in the Under 21 FC. Joe was a selector as the North Navan club secured a first ever title victory at this grade. See match report.

U16FL: SIMONSTOWN ARE CHAMPIONS

U14 ‘keeper Daniel Brecknell

Mark Devlin

Dylan Staunton

Simonstown claimed the Meath Under 16 Division 1 Football League title with a six point (1-12 to 0-9) win over St Peters Dunboyne/Kilbride at Pairc Tailteann in May. This very talented bunch of footballers continue to make great strides as two years previous they swept all before them at under 14 level. The teams were fairly even in the opening half. Dunboyne grabbed the first two scores before points from Ben Hoey and Chris O'Neill levelled the game. Further points from Cillian Farrell, Jake Powderly and Graham Nelson pushed Simonstown ahead for the first time, 0-5 to 0-4. Dunboyne went in at the break on level terms with a point from Mark Daly. As in the first half the eartly stages of the second were even. Simonstown went two in front with points from Conor Nash and O'Neill. Four scores left Dunboyne trailing by the minimum 0-10 to 0-9 after twenty minutes. For the final ten Simonstown found that extra gear. Scores from the outstanding Brian McGrath and Ben Hoey gave them a three point advantage before very stylish full forward Chris O'Neill finished of the game with a fine goal. After the game sponsor Pat O'Reilly (O'Reilly & Co Solicitors) and John Kavanagh Minor Board Chairman presented the U16 Div 1 FL Cup to Simonstown captain Brian McGrath. Simonstown: Ryan Murphy, Oisin Lavin Lynch, Conor Hand, Paul Woods, Brian Conlon, Aaron

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Farrelly, Jake Powderly (0-1), Brian McGrath (0-1), Cillian Farrell (0-1), Conor Nash (0-1), Graham Nelson (0-1), Conor Farrell, Ben Hoey (0-3), Chris O'Neill (1-4), Adam McCabe. Subs: Eoghan Prior, Stephen Mawhinney

FIVE-IN-A-ROW FOR SIMONSTOWN SIDE The Simonstown U16 girls claimed their fifth consecutive county championship with an outstanding display of football in blistering sunshine in Walterstown on Sunday May 27th as they overcome Dunboyne by 7-11 to 2-7 in the Division 1 final. The last time these teams met on a final day was back in 2007 at Under 11 and on that occasion Dunboyne claimed the silverware. However on Sunday the Simonstown girls had only one thing on their minds and that was on claiming five-in-a-row. From the throw-in Simonstown laid down their marker and in the first minute Rachel Gardiner rattled the Dunboyne net with a sensational goal. Ruth Coughlan claimed the next two scores and within five minutes of play Simonstown had 2-1 on the scoreboard. Eleanor Lane and Aisling Cassidy dominated at midfield and ensured a steady supply of ball to the Simonstown forwards. Captain Kelly Harris, full-forward Naoise de Graaff and Lane added to Simonstown’s’ first half tally. Dunboyne were finding it difficult to penetrate the Simonstown defence but when they did they were dangerous and they converted some fine scores. Nicole Byrne was outstanding in goals and Ella Devine, Katie Bellew and Niamh Sheridan were solid in defence. Referee Catherine O’Brien blew the halftime whistle and Simonstown went into the break with a 4-7 to 1-6 lead. Dunboyne came out fighting in the second half and were dogged in their attack. They were awarded a penalty but the pressure was on and it went wide. Three minutes later they were awarded a second penalty but Byrne denied them with an exceptional save. Simonstown defenders


Padraig McKeever with Skryne's Ciaran Lenehan

Senior ‘keeper Ronan Duffy

Aoibhinn McGoona, substitute Hayley Costello and Regina Hand were tireless in their efforts to thwart the Dunboyne attack and young Kelsey Nesbitt gave an exhibition on blocking Dunboyne ball. The Simonstown girls found their rhythm once again and dominated all over the field. A third penalty was awarded, this one to Simonstown, and midfielder Lane blasted it into the net. Dunboyne battled hard to the end but Simonstown were unstoppable and finished comprehensive winners with a nineteen point margin to claim their fifth successive title, a very impressive achievement for these talented young footballers. After the game Meath Ladies Chairperson Aisling Clery presented the U16 Division 1 Championship Cup to Captain Kelly Harris. Best for Simonstown were Nicole Byrne, Aisling Cassidy, Eleanor Lane, Ella Devine, Kelly Harris, Ruth Coughlan and Naoise de Graaff. Simonstown: Nicole Byrne, Chloe Keoghan, Ella Devine, Regina Hand, Katie Bellew, Niamh Sheridan, Aoibhinn McGoona, Eleanor Lane (1.1), Aisling Cassidy (0.1), Kelsey Nesbitt, Kelly Harris (0.4), Rachel Gardiner (1.0), Linda Ivers Ducie, Naoise de Graaff (2.4), Ruth Coughlan (3.1), Subs: - Hayley Costello for Keoghan; Hannah Grant for Ivers Ducie; Aine Farrelly for Coughlan; Lauren McLoughlin for McGoona; Amy English for Gardiner

Stephen Moran

Ciaran Kenny with Stephen Corrigan of Wolfe Tones

SIMONSTOWN FEILE GIRLS SCOOP TOP PRIZE

Senior selector Evan Kelly

Simonstown Ladies U14 Feile team claimed the clubs first ever Division 2 title in June when they accounted for Cavan club Lurgan by the narrowest of margins. The Simonstown girls began the competition on the Friday afternoon with a resounding win over their host club St. Josephs of Kellyville, Co. Laois, 5-7 to 3–2. Saturday saw the girls with at least two games to play and in the first of these they had a hard fought win over Monesterevin of Kildare (2–6 to 1–4). Their third and final game of

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Rising star Conor Nash


the group was a must win game if they were to qualify for the semi final. This they did with some fine displays of football. The girls saw off the challenge of Kilmore from Wexford by a handsome margin of 3–7 to no score. The semi-final pitted them against the winners of the other side of the group Sperrin Óg of Tyrone. Another fine display of football saw them dispose of the Tyrone side with ease and earn the coveted final spot. Cavan side Lurgan were to be their opponents. This game without a doubt proved to be the toughest game of all. In a low scoring first half the Simonstown girls led by the only score of the game - a goal. No one is actually sure who had the final touch that sent the ball into the net but a goal is a goal regardless. The second half saw Simonstown pull out to a four point lead courtesy of Kelsey Nesbitt. Not to be outdone the Cavan girls fought hard and notched up four points of their own. But, the Simonstown girls were not giving up that easily and once again Kelsey Nesbitt pointed to see the Navan side pull out to a one point lead with very little time left. This left the Simonstown girls winning by the narrowest possible margin, 1-2 to 04. It was a truly a memorable experience for all concerned with the team. The management team of Michael Hand, Peter Byrne and Sara Shiels would like to thank everybody who helped out in any way before and during the competition. In particular they would like to thank the club, the parents, supporters and mostly the girls themselves who have done themselves proud. On a special

All-Ireland Feile Champions

note a very big thank you to Simonstown’s host club St. Josephs, Kellyville. The Simonstown Panel: Amy Farrell, Adrianna Burca, Lauren Kearney, Aisling Duffy, Kelsey Nesbitt, Lauryn Grier, Niamh Hand, Holly O’Brien, Sarah Ferris, Siobhan Shalvey, Niamh Donnelly, Abbie Lyons, Katie Bellew, Amy English, Laura Barrett, Lynn Hannon, Tara Berrigan, Aisling Brennan, Regina Hand, Aimee Jones, Shona Lister and Molly Byrne. Management: Michael Hand, Peter Byrne and Sara Shiels.

SIMONSTOWN CLAIM FIRST U21 TITLE IN THRILLER Simonstown scored a memorable U21FC title success with a minimum margin extra time win over Donaghmore-Ashbourne in the final of the Coolrite Refrigerationsponsored competition at Pairc Tailteann, claiming a first title on a 114 to 0-16 scoreline. Pauric McKeever's point in the

seventh minute of the second period of extra time proved decisive before Simonstown 'keeper Robbie Burlingham fielded Matthew Devine's long range free. Seconds earlier DonaghmoreAshbourne Bryan Menton levelled matters for the third time. The scores tied twice during the hour and three times in the additional 20 minutes. Donaghmore-Ashbourne led by five points after 23 minutes and were still two points to the good heading into the final ten minutes of the hour. It was until the 56th minute that the scores were tied for the first time, through Simonstown's Shane Barry. His team-mate and top-scorer Sean Tobin left it 0-12 to 1-9 after hour. Goalkeeper Robbie Burlingham and defender Shane McGivney did their bit to prevent DonaghmoreAshbourne's Colin O'Sullivan and Matthew Devine from goaling at the start of the second period of extra

Brian McGrath raises the U16 Division 1 FL Cup at Pairc Tailteann

Meath U16 Division 1 champions

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Jack Murray wins this aerial dual against Walterstown

Under 16 full forward Chris O'Neill

Hank Traynor

time. Tobin and Conor Sheridan were instrumental as Simonstown clawed back the initiative from DonaghmoreAshbourne and the latter's third score left Sean Barry's two points clear two minutes into the second-half of the extra 20 minutes. When Donaghmore-Ashbourne regained parity, Simonstown had the wherewithal to fashion the matchwinning score. Donaghmore-Ashbourne made the better start posting four points without reply in the opening ten minutes. Simonstown got off the mark in the 12th minute courtesy of team captain Sean Tobin from a 45-metre on the right. Seconds later his midfield partner Conor Sheridan doubled the 'Gaels account from a free on the left. The east county side 0-7 to 0-2 ahead after 23 minutes. A tonic for Simonstown arrived in the form of a well-taken MacDara Fitzpatrick goal from close range after a Shane Barry free broke to him. Tobin's second pointed free followed. A fine Simonstown move involving Niall O'Mahony and Fitzpatrick ended with Nickey O'Brien's effort dropping into the arms of Colgan. Donaghmore-Ashbourne led by 0-8 to 1-3 at the break but Simonstown remained on their coattails. A Simonstown point from MacDara Fitzpatrick left just two points in it, 16 to 0-11, by the 50th minute. The scores were tied for the first time when Simonstown achieved parity through Sean Barry in the 56th minute. A Devine pointed free had Donaghmore-Ashbourne back in front. It was left to Sean Tobin to take the game to extra time with an excellent effort to tie things at 1-9 to 0-12. Simonstown - Robbie Burlingham; Shane Gallagher, Colm Wickham, Shane McGivney; Sean Gaffney, Stephen O'Reilly, Niall Coughlan; Conor Sheridan (0-3, 1f), Sean Tobin (C) (0-6, 5 fs); Shane Barry (0-1), Niall O'Mahony, James Heaney; MacDara Fitzpatrick (1-1), Pauric McKeever (0-2), Nickey O'Brien. Subs - Neil Kane (0-1), Mark Gardiner, Nathan O'Brien, Donagh Fitzpatrick.

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Kevin McGrath

Conor Fitzpatrick

Mark McCabe


CLAN NA NGAEL Over the years, Clann na nGael, and Athboy as they were formerly known, produced many excellent hurlers down through the years. The likes of John 'Rack' Doherty, Pat Ennis, Christy Kelly, David Martin and Brendan McGovern to name just a few represented the club with distinction. Another name that can lay claim to that elite group is Gary Mangan, who has been arguably the clubs best hurler over the past decade and a half.

Jerry O'Sullivan

A

t 34 years of age, Mangan is entering the twilight of his career, but if performances in 2012 are anything to go by, there is certainly life in the 'old dog' yet. For the past 16 years, Mango as he is commonly known has been at the heartbeat of the adult hurling team in Athboy. People could argue that his finest performances have come in latter years when he was switched to centre half back and where he has produced some outstanding displays. However, the silverware that was expected to arrive after he made the

MANGO’S AIM step up to senior never materialised and although he has three intermediate titles to his credit, the holy grail of the Jubilee Cup never arrived. Gary admitted to the Royal County Yearbook that having been so successful at underage level, he took for granted that success would follow at adult level. “In 1995, we won the minor and

under-21 championships, while I was also part of the junior team that won the county title. That was my first year playing adult hurling, but I didn't make my senior championship debut until the following year,” said Gary. That debut came against Killyon in Kildalkey and Gary's memories of that game are not all that memorable. “I think it was Mark Gannon that was marking me that day and he gave me

The starting XV that took on neighbours Kilskyre in the IHC at Kells, front l/r: Ciaran Dunne, Ciaran Fitzsimons, Alan Fox, Gary Woods, Matthew Mullen, Andrew McCormack. Back: Aaron Ennis, Pat Shore, Gearoid Breathnach, Garry Mangan, Paddy Geraghty, Christy Fitzsimons, PJ Fallon, Jerry O'Sullivan, Darren Heaney

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The squad and mentors that defeated Rathmolyon to win the U12 B HC final at Boardsmill, front l/r: Drew Hamilton, Dara Canny, Alex McGovern, James O’Shea, Cillian Heaney, Liam Goff, Eoin Griffin, Niall Reilly, Sean Ivers, Liam McNamara, Paul Tuite. Back: Dairmuid O Donnacha, Darragh Doherty, Cian Harmon, Caroline McLoughlin, John Farrell, Callum Sullivan, Killian Swaine, Ultan Tennenty, Tommy Hanly, Conor McGovern, Josh McGrath, Tommy Ennis, Kian O’Neill. Mentors at back: Sean Leavy, Seanie McGovern, Kevin McGovern

a bit of a roasting. It was a real wake up call in the senior ranks, but it was something a few of us younger lads had to adjust to quickly. “Athboy at the time won numerous minor and under-21 titles, so I suppose in our naivety, we did think it would only be a matter of time before we won the senior title. “There is a great history in the club having won eight county titles, but the last of these was back in the early seventies, which even at the time was way too long for a club of our stature, never mind these days.” Gary admitted that the loss of some key players in the late nineties hit the club hard and it was a situation that they were never able to overcome. “We had some outstanding hurlers in the club down through the years and even when I started there was still a strong team there, but a few of the older lads retired while more

emigrated and slowly we started to struggle. “By 2000, we were relegated and we have become something of a yo-yo club ever since. For some reason, we just have never got the same level of

consistency as we had in the 90's.” Gary stated that there is huge work being done at underage level within the club in both grades, which is beginning to bear fruit. “There is an awful of work being

The talented U8’s

Prior to the U13 B Shield decider with neighbours Dunderry at Boardsmill, front l/r: Cain Harmon, Kain O'Neill, Conor McGovern, Tommy Ennis, Niall O'Reilly, Eoin Griffin, Paul Tuite, Sean Ivers, Kevin Tiernan, Tommy Hanly, Calum O'Sullivan. Back: Sean Leavy, Brendan Heany, Kit Ennis, Antoinne Kiernan, Ultan Tennetty, Killian Swaine, Peter Bird, Michael Tiernan, Conor Kelly, Sean Ferguson, Patrick Dunphy, John Farrell, Diarmuid O Donncha, Kevin McGovern

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U10 squad and mentors that won the North Meath League defeating Oldcastle in the final at Ballinlough

Peter Bird raises the U13 B Shield at Boardsmill

Caroline McLoughlin raises the U12 B hurling Shield at Boardsmill

Under 16 and minor star Ross Hanlon

done at underage level, but unfortunately it is being left to the same few to do that. I'm not involved myself at the moment, but it is something I would love to do in the next few years.” Gary was part of the Meath senior hurling panel on different occasions down through the years, but as he admits himself, he never quite put in the necessary commitment needed to play at that level. “I suppose if I'm honest with myself, I never gave the county my all. I played under John Hunt, Paddy Kelly and John Andrews, but I never did myself justice and it's something that I will always regret.” Commenting on the current Clann na nGael intermediate side, Gary feels that the talent is there to not only win the second tier championship, but to also cement its place in the senior ranks. “This year Benny Murray (manager) brought a freshness to the whole set up and in fairness there was a good atmosphere in the camp all year. There are some very good hurlers coming through the ranks, but we were missing some key players all year. “The likes of Decie O'Shea went to Australia, while Alan Fox broke his leg during the year and he was a huge loss to us as he was playing some great hurling. “Darren Griffin also got injured, while Caoimhin Griffin didn't get to play much hurling as he was with the county minor footballers. In saying that I really believed that we could win the intermediate this year, but we just didn't turn up against Rathmolyon in the semi final and it was a very disappointing performance in the end.

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“I definitely believe that if we put in a good effort, not only can we get back up senior, we can also do well in the senior. “My aim is to finish off as a senior hurler and hopefully by doing that I can help bring some of the younger lads through. There is no question that the talent is in the club, but lads have to want it and have to put in the effort if they are to achieve what we want.”

DOYLE LOOKS TO THE FUTURE Anyone looking from the outside will say that it was a very disappointing year for the Clann na nGael footballers and they'd be right in terms of the intermediate championship. However, underage chairman Tom Doyle revealed to the Royal County Yearbook that the hard work being done at underage level is certainly paying off. The dual club plies its trade in the intermediate grade in both the hurling and football and since the amalgamation of the Athboy and Rathcairn clubs, they have had much success in the big ball code. A junior county and Leinster title have been obtained and while they have remained in football's second tier since annexing that title in 2007, they have also gained promotion to division 3 of the league. This year's campaign may have seen them comfortable in the league, but in the championship, preparations did not go to plan as defeats to St Michael's, Syddan and Na Fianna saw them pointless after three rounds of the campaign. With no relegation from the intermediate tier this year, their


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The squad and mentors that defeated Walterstown in the U13 Division 3 final at Grangegodden, front l/r: Cian Harmon, Sean Ivors, Paul Tuite, Eoin O’Griofa, Sean Ferguson, Tommy Hanley, Ultan Tenaty, Kevin Tiernan, Matthew Smith, Colm O Griofa, Tomas Doyle. Back: Tom Doyle (mentor), Kit Ennis, Ben Renehan, John Farrell, Michael Tiernan, Killian Swaine, Peter Bird, Cian Swaine, Dylan Hand, Conor Kelly, Paddy Dunphy,Ryan McManus, Diarmuid O Donnchadha, Tom Hanley (trainer)

The Intermediate footballers that took on Na Fianna in the championship at Loman’s Park Trim, front l/r: Phillip Garry, Thomas Whelehan, Gary Hanley, Ciaran Fitzsimons, Darren Kelly, Darragh Ó Gríofa, Caoimhin Ó Gríofa, Carl Kelly. Back: Aaron Ennis, Aaron McDonagh, Shane McAnarney, Jamie Shaw, Gary Woods, Eamon Conneely, Ben Smith, Anthony Cully, David Smith, Darren Ó Gríofa, Brian Duffy

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Winners over neighbours Dunderry in the MFL Division 3 final at Pairc Tailteann, front: Jeff Kelly, Ross Hanlon, Senan Kiernan, Paddy Tiernan, Aaron Ryan, Jack Doherty, Darragh Brogan, Elliot Grace. Back: Conor Woods, Conor Dunne, Brian Kiernan, Daryl MacDonnacha, Tadhg MacDonnacha, Sean Reilly, Anthony Swaine, Darragh O Griofa, Ronan MacDonnacha, CaoimhĂ­n O Griofa, Luke Swaine, Michael MacEoin

The Under 12 squad and mentors that defeated Slane in the decider at Pairc Tailteann, front l/r: Liam Gough, Christopher Unchenna, Kian Harmon, Josh McGrath, Paddy Cassidy, Michael O'Coffey, Liam McNamara, Evan McGuinness, Matthew Smith, Niall O'Reilly, John Farrell, Diarmuid O Donnacha, Paul Tuite, Sean Ivors, Ryan McNamee. Back: Tom Hanley (coach), Ultan Tennety, Ryan McManus, Jack Castles, Michael Tiernan, Calam O'Sullivan, Killian Swain, Sam Black, Tomas Doyle, Eoin O Griofa, Tom Og O hAinle, Darragh Swaine, Darragh Canny, Darragh Doherty, Sean Leavy, Tom Doyle (selector), Jamie Timmons, Tom Canny (selector)

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Conor Kelly raises the Under 13 Division 3 Cup at Grangegodden

Meath Minor Board Chairman John Kavanagh presents the U16 Summer Shield to Clann Na nGael captain D Brogan

Anthony Monaghan presents the U12 Cup to joint captains John Farrell and Diarmuid O Donnacha

last game against Dunderry was seen as a dead rubber and the points were awarded to their neighbours. It was a dreadful way for the club to end the year, especially one that possesses so much talent, but all year manager Andy Hayes and his selectors struggled to get the required numbers at training. “It was a poor year for the intermediates. Lads just wouldn't give the commitment that they have done in previous years and this was not a fair reflection on the management team, who dedicated a great amount of time and effort into preparing the side,” said Tom. “In saying that we had some great performances in the league so it just goes to show if the effort was put in, we could do well in the intermediate.” Nonetheless, the club can look back on 2012 with great pride as their underage teams took plenty of silverware in both codes. In football, the division 3 minor football title was annexed, which was a first title at this level for the club. The under-12s also had success in the football league, while the under13 hurlers lifted the Shield title. Tom revealed that a huge amount of work has gone into developing the underage structure in the club and he feels it has begun to pay dividends. “We cater for a number of teams at underage level in hurling and football, while we also have ladies football and camogie. So, there are a lot of people needed to look after the various teams and we are fortunate to have many to help out. “We try to keep the same people with the same teams coming up through the ranks and this is something that we have managed to a certain degree.” As a dual club, Tom admits it can be difficult not to have players playing too much as player burn out as become a common issue to be dealt with in the GAA. “We have implemented a rule whereby a player goes with his own age group first and foremost. If he is under-12, then that team is his preference and then if nothing else clashed he can play with the under13s or 14s if available. You have to buy into the dual club philosophy and ensure that both codes are treated as equals. “The hurlers train on a Monday and Thursday, while the footballers are out on a Tuesday and Friday. Sticking

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County minor Caoimhín O Griofa

Minor manager Gary Woods

Darragh O Griofa raises the MFL Division 3 Cup at Pairc Tailteann


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Paddy Tiernan

Minor goalkeeper Aaron Ryan with Dunderry's Stephen Coogan

Senan Kiernan

to this all year has worked well.” Tom feels that the progress that they have made at underage level can be gauged by the levels that they are playing at. “A few years ago, most of our teams at underage would have been playing in division 4, but we are generally in division 2 and 3 now, which is a sign of how far we have come. There is good numbers at all levels; the football would have slightly better numbers than the hurling, but both are strong enough to be fair.” Tom had special praise for the county board, especially the minor board who he feels have done a lot to develop the underage structure. “The amount of competitions at underage levels is great and this has helped bring on the players no end. The minor board and in particular Peter O'Halloran has had a massive input into this and it really has benefited clubs like ourselves.” Teaching kids the basic skills of hurling and football is no easy task at any age, but Tom stated that the club have started training for kids at under6 level. “This is something that we started a few years ago and it really has worked very well. When lads come through to under-12 they are that bit more skilful having started to play so young.” Clann na nGael are fortunate in that they have three pitches to choose from when it comes to training or underage games and given the adverse weather conditions that the country experienced this year, every blade of grass has been tread on. “We have the pitches in Athboy and Rathcairn, while we have also developed another pitch in Fosterfields, which is on the outskirts of the town. This has been used for training and underage games. As I said earlier we cater for teams at all levels in hurling, football, camogie and ladies football, so there is a need for all the pitches.” Tom is pleased with the direction that the club is heading, but knows that this is a long term project. “We'd be happy with the direction that the club is going. It has taken us a few years to get this far and it will take another few to get where we want to be, but fortunately we have good people involved in the club, who are willing to put in the time and effort to look after the various teams, without them none of this would be possible.”

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Tomas Doyle celebrates scoring a goal at Pairc Tailteann

Christopher Unchenna

Sam Black


RATHMOLYON Rathmolyon suffered massive disappointments in both 2010 and 2011, but there was joy this year when they defeated Wolfe Tones in the Intermediate Hurling Championship final to make their return to the top flight.

Neil Cole raises the Meath IHC Cup at Pairc Tailteann

L

osing their senior status two years ago represented a massive blow to a club which had lifted the Jubilee Cup only four seasons earlier, but they appeared to be on course to make an instant climb back to the premier grade last year until Boardsmill got the better of them in the intermediate decider. It was another big disappointment, but there was a clear resolve to make amends this year and a team managed by Martin Curran dropped three points in the group stages of the championship, before gaining momentum and confidence in the knockout stages and eventually finishing the job with a deserved victory over Tones. Nineteen years earlier the same clubs had clashed in the Senior Championship final at Trim when a late Mike Cole pointed free gave Rathmolyon a long overdue title. It was a day of high emotion as the Village people enjoyed their day in the sun after experiencing the lows of the previous decade when they lost three successive finals between 1982 and 1984.

RATHMOLYON RETURN TO SENIOR Rathmolyon went on to win further senior titles in 1996 and 2006 and now that they are back where they feel they rightly belong there will be a determination to stay there and develop into a panel capable of challenging for the top prize in Meath hurling again. The two teams which would eventually contest the final were drawn in group A, a section which also included Dunderry and the second string teams from Kildalkey, Dunboyne and Kilmessan and it was

against the Kilmessan men that the champions to be opened their campaign with a 3-15 to 2-6 victory at Kiltale. Kilmessan led by 2-5 to 1-7 at the interval, but Rathmolyon upped the tempo in the second half to run out comfortable winners. Mike Cole, Stephen Lynch and substitute Daniel Whelan scored their goals and Cole finished as top marksman with 1-7. The first championship meeting of the year between Rathmolyon and Wolfe Tones took place at Trim where

The Meath IHC winners, front l/r: Mark Lynch, Alan Smith, Gerard Doherty, Anthony McEnroe, Michael Cole, Aaron Fagan, Joey Gantley, Graham Whelan, Gary Doherty, Johnny Farrell, Gary Ryan, Robert Kelly, Kevin Fagan, Stephen Ennis, Neil Cole. Back: Stephen Lynch, Conall Stafford, Tom Henderson, Tommy Cosgrove, Eamon Regan, Vinny O'Brien, Gary Cole, Noel Fagan, Tommy Lynch, Thomas Leonard, David Morgan, David Colgan, Shane Doherty, Daniel Whelan. Mascots: Calvin Lynch, Alex Cole

Log onto www.dlynchpics.com to view more club photos

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On duty for the Intermediate championship clash with Dunderry at Dunganny, front l/r: Mick Cole, Stephen Forde, Gary Ryan, Jack Fagan, Neil Cole, Aaron Fagan, Graham Whelan, Gary Doherty, John Farrell, Robert Kelly, Gerard Doherty. Back: Stephen Lynch, David Colgan, Mark Lynch, Tommy Lynch, Anthony McEnroe, Gary Cole, Noel Fagan, David Morgan, Eamon Regan, Tom Henderson, Terry Pearle, Joey Gantley, Connell Stafford

a late goal from Gary Doherty secured both points for the Village. Tones were ahead by 0-9 to 0-6 at the break, but Rathmolyon again got into their stride in the second half to win by 1-15 to 0-13. Mike Cole contributed seven points and Doherty got 1-2. A shock lay in store next time out at Ashbourne where an injury time goal from Sean McGrath earned Dunboyne a 2-11 to 0-16 win. Significantly, Rathmolyon were without Mike Cole and Tommy Cosgrave, but they still managed to lead by 0-7 to 0-5 at half-time. John Delaney scored Dunboyne’s first goal, but Gary Cole’s accuracy

helped Rathmolyon to be in front by 0-16 to 1-11 as the final whistle approached. They looked set for another victory, but McGrath pounced with that late goal to give Dunboyne their first win of the championship. Rathmolyon bounced back in emphatic fashion when they defeated Kildalkey by 2-14 to 1-5 in the fourth round at Trim. Mark Healy scored a first half goal for the losers, but with Johnny Farrell netting at the other end Curran’s team held a slender 1-5 to 1-3 interval advantage. Gary Cole added a goal in the second period and with his brother Mike coming off the bench and notching three points Rathmolyon

cruised to victory. Gary Cole top scored with 1-3 and though both he and Mike notched five points in the last round against Dunderry at Trim they failed to win and book an automatic semi-final place. A late Bob Doherty goal earned Dunderry a draw (2-8 to 1-11) and a place in the knockout stages, but Rathmolyon were looking good when they led by 0-8 to 0-4 at the break and by 1-11 to 1-8 in the closing stages after Noel Fagan had scored their goal. The game had a dramatic conclusion when Doherty netted and Rathmolyon were two steps away from the final rather than one. When all was said and done in

The U12 B Championship finalists, front l/r: Eoin Gilna, Harry McGrath, Scott Douglas, Tom McGrath, Mark Hennessy, Sophie Payne, Nathan Payne. Back: Ciaran Regan, Alan Lewis, Timmy Love, Vincent Ward, Trevor Healy, Simon Ennis, Sarah Ennis, Conor Ennis

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Eamon Regan battles for possession

Gary Cole feels the pain

There's no holding Tom Henderson

group A Wolfe Tones were sitting at the top on eight points from a possible 10, followed by Rathmolyon on seven, Dunderry on five, Dunboyne and Kildalkey on four and Kilmessan on two. Rathmolyon would undoubtedly have preferred an automatic semi-final place, but had to be content with a quarter-final ticket instead. That’s where they really started to gain momentum and Kilskyre were easily accounted for in a quarter-final at Trim where Mike Cole contributed 10 points in a comprehensive 2-15 to 1-6 success. A goal from Gary Doherty boosted them to a comfortable 1-9 to 1-1 lead at the change of ends and with Johnny Farrell adding a second goal the issue never looked in any doubt. Confidence had to be high in the Rathmolyon camp after that moraleboosting victory and they scored freely again in the semi-final against Clann na nGael, again at Trim. First half goals from Johnny Farrell and Gary Doherty set the tone for a dominant performance and with a 210 to 0-3 lead at the interval they were well on their way to the final again. Rathmolyon had done enough at that stage and eased off in the second half as the Athboy/An Ghaeltacht combination demonstrated improved form and added 1-5 to their tally. Mike Cole was again in fine scoring form and tallied eight points in a win which suggested Rathmolyon were peaking at just the right time. Wolfe Tones defeated Dunderry by 2-14 to 1-10 in the other semi-final and by the time they came to play Rathmolyon in the final at Pairc Tailteann their footballers were just a week away from their meeting with Navan O’Mahonys in the Senior Championship decider. When Rathmolyon and Wolfe Tones met in that senior hurling final 19 years earlier Mike Cole was a rising young star of the game in the county and had helped Meath to an overdue success in the All-Ireland ‘B’ Championship as they completed a memorable campaign with a victory

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Aaron Fagan clears

John Farrell celebrates the first of his three goals against Wolfe Tones in the IHC final

Jack Fagan shoots


Back in the senior ranks. 'The Village' celebrate their IHC win at Pairc Tailteann

over London in the final at Ruislip. Donal Curtis was a member of the victorious Meath panel, but missed the senior final due to injury. Of course, he went on to perform with great success for the county footballers and won All-Ireland SFC medals in 1996 and 1999. Almost two decades after the 1993 senior final Cole and Curtis were on opposite sides in this year’s intermediate final and it was Cole

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Vincent Ward heads for the Clann na nGael goals

Aaron Fagan

Tommy Lynch has trouble seeing but still keeps possession in the IHC at Pairc Tailteann

Tones reduced the deficit to the minimum, but a brace of pointed frees from Cole left Rathmolyon three clear. They finished the opening half well as Cole slotted over from another placed ball, Farrell goaled after Tiernan had saved Jack Fagan’s initial shot and Noel Fagan pointed to open up a 27 to 0-6 interval lead. Rathmolyon resumed well with points from Cole (free) and Farrell and when Farrell completed his hattrick of goals they held a commanding 10 point (3-9 to 0-8) advantage as the game headed into the last 20 minutes. It seemed only a matter of coasting to the finish at that stage, but Tones never gave up and battled until the last whistle. There still seemed to be little cause for concern when Alan Callaghan found the net with a long range centre, but when Donal Curtis added a second goal on 51 minutes the Rathmolyon lead was down to five points at 3-11 to 2-9. They defended in numbers after that and the teams managed just a point each for the remainder. The closest Tones came to getting the other goal they needed was when Eanna Harrington’s penalty was saved by Joey Gantley. When referee Stephen Masterson blew his whistle for the final time Rathmolyon were champions and could start to look forward to life back in the senior ranks where they belong. That very disappointing final loss suffered at the hands of Boardsmill a year earlier was forgotten. It was a very proud and happy moment for team captain Neil Cole when he received the Tommy Kane Cup. It was the club’s first intermediate success since their only other triumph in the grade in 1975. The Rathmolyon team in the final was: J Gantley; A McEnroe, G Whelan, N Cole; M Lynch, A Fagan, E Regan; N Fagan (0-1), T Cosgrave; G Cole, T Lynch, G Doherty; J Farrell (3-1), M Cole (08), J Fagan (0-2). Sub – K Fagan for Doherty.

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Team manager Martin Curran and his selectors

Close control from Noel Fagan

Rising star Gary Doherty


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SPECIAL FEATURE

Former Kilkerley footballer Dr Owen Clarke is team doctor to the Meath seniors

For the past 14 years, Dr Owen Clarke has been official team doctor to the Meath senior footballers. A general practitioner at the Abbey House Medical Centre in Navan, Dr Owen is originally from Kilkerley in County Louth; he believes it was during his days lining out for Dundalk CBS and the Emmets senior team that he developed his love of gaelic football.

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here has been a lot of change in Meath GAA circles over the past decade-and-a-half but one constant on the extended backroom team is Dr Owen Clarke, who has served Meath County Board as official team doctor since 1998. Dr Owen experienced the ultimate high of All-Ireland glory when Sean Boylan’s team beat all comers in ’99 and there was another All-Ireland final appearance two years later. Since the Boylan era came to an end, the Royals have been striving to rediscover those glory years. While they haven’t managed to return to the biggest stage, Meath have nonetheless contested numerous Leinster finals (winning the

FROM KILKERLEY TO MEATH title in 2010) as well as two All-Ireland semi-finals. It would be fair to say that Dr Owen has been there, done that and bought the t-shirt! What many people might not know about the Meath team doctor is that he is in fact an honorary Meath man – as he actually hails originally from neighbouring County Louth. It was whilst living here that he first fell in love with the national game: “I’m from Kilkerley, as was my father before me [Michael Clarke, who sadly passed away six years ago]. He would have played football when he was young and we were a Kilkerley family going back generations before that.” There were no GAA nurseries back in those days, no regulated juvenile coaching, no U12s. Reflecting on the genesis of his own playing days, Dr Owen notes: “I started playing with Kilkerley when I was around 16. I went to secondary school at the CBS and played with them. When I finished there, I played with Kilkerley

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while I was doing my medical studies at Trinity College. “I used to come home at the weekends and play for Kilkerley and it was something I always really looked forward to. We didn’t win any trophies or medals but I have to say I had plenty of fun playing for Kilkerley Emmets.” Owen was on the first team from 1968 until 1972 and he got to play senior football against the best footballers in the Wee County at the time. He enjoyed some great battles with the likes of Dundalk Gaels, Hunterstown and Dreadnots and still looks back on that period of his life with satisfaction: “Louth football was strong and competitive and I played a lot of games. The fun was the main part of it but you always gave of your best,” recalls the Navan-based GP who usually lined out in either the half back or half forward line. His playing days would come to an abrupt end: “As soon as I qualified, I


stopped playing football. I was working in a hospital job at weekends and there was also a lot of evening work. I also got married around that time, so it just wasn’t possible to play any more.” Owen qualified in 1973 and went into general practice. As part of his preparation for a career in general practice, he worked long hours in numerous hospitals before setting up in Navan in 1977. He has since made the Meath county town his home. On the subject of divided loyalties, he says: “While it’s not that far from Kilkerley, it is a different county and I’ve spent most of my life here at this stage.” How exactly did Dr Owen end up getting involved with the Meath footballers? “When I came to Navan and settled here, in my head I had left the football behind me. When I look back, I have regrets about the way my playing career ended. When I moved to Meath, I didn’t have any great interest in Meath football and there wasn’t much happening. Then

came 1987 and 1988 and the two AllIrelands and suddenly there was a lot going on. Our children are Meath natives and it would have been very hard not to get caught up in all the excitement. “Then Simonstown Gaels asked if I’d be interested in giving them a hand from a medical point of view and I agreed to do that. In 1998, the County Board asked if I’d be interested in helping them out and that was of course during the Sean Boylan era. I accepted and was fortunate to be involved with the teams that played in the All-Ireland finals of 1999 and 2001.” Another major highlight was travelling as the Irish team doctor with the International rules team to Australia in 2008 under Sean Boylan’s management. In his capacity as team doctor, Owen – who is a GP with a special interest in sports medicine - attends every game that he possibly can. He is also responsible for arranging and co-ordinating the care of injured

Dr Owen Ward is always particularly interested when Meath clash with his native Louth. Paddy Keenan and Mark Ward in aerial combat here

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players, including aftercare and follow-up care for players going through the recovery process. He also offers advice and guidance on diet, fluids, injury prevention etc. and liaises with physiotherapists and other specialists. “The game has become very intense and it pushes players to the very limit of their endurance,” he comments. “They are obliged to invest all their spare time into it and they have little or no time for other activities. Year on year, the intensity level increases and it just keeps getting more intense.” Dr Owen Clarke has come a long way in his GAA career. Even though he stopped playing 40 years ago, he will never forget his Kilkerley roots: “I feel very grateful to Kilkerley Emmets and Dundalk CBS for the fact that I grew to love gaelic football while there. I remember the Sam Maguire Cup being brought around the Friary School in 1957 and that really inspired me at the time. It made a big impression on me and the buzz in Kilkerley and Dundalk was unreal. When I look back on those days, that’s where my interest in the GAA was born. With that in mind it gave me special pleasure to bring the Sam Maguire cup to Kilkerley school with Trevor Giles in 2000. Headmaster John McCarthy kindly facilitated this visit and I hope it made an impression on some of the children who were there that day. They were certainly very excited to have the Sam Maguire in their midst. “Visits to Kilkerley have become less frequent since my mother sadly passed away in May 2011 but I still have family there and enjoy the occasional social visit.” Navan is my home now but I’ll never forget the vital role Kilkerley GAA played in shaping my life.”


SPECIAL FEATURE Joe Stafford outside Stafford Fine Foods in Drogheda

Former Meath minor and under 21 player Joe Stafford enjoyed junior and intermediate success with St Colmcille’s back in the eighties and, as a selector with the club’s first team, he is playing his part in trying to bring the glory days back to the Seasiders.

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obbie O’Malley and Bernard Flynn may have been the leading men on the St Colmcille’s team that claimed junior and intermediate championship honours back in the eighties but they had a strong support cast. Joe Stafford, for instance, was centre-back on the Meath minor team that captured Leinster MFC honours in 1985 and added a provincial Under 21 souvenir to his medal collection four years later. At just 13 years of age, Stafford was amongst the substitutes for the 1983 JFC final win over Moynalty. 12 months on, he was introduced as a

NO ORDINARY JOE substitute in the IFC final defeat by Slane. It took the ‘Cille’s four years to make up for that final disappointment at the expense of Dunderry and Joe manned the pivotal centre-back position. “I played all the age groups up with Robbie and Bernard,” Joe recalled. “As everyone knows, they were savage footballers and to be able to say that you played alongside two legends of the game on the one club team is actually quite something.” Joe was no slouch either and his performances at club level attracted the attention of the county minor football selectors. Captained by Dunderry’s Phil Fay and with future All-Ireland senior medallists such as PJ Gillic, Mickey McDonnell and Podgie Coyle on board, the Under 18 class of 1985 claimed the county’s fifth Leinster MFC crown when defeating Offaly on

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a scoreline of 0-11 to 1-4. Unfortunately, Mayo proved to be the rock on which their All-Ireland ambitions perished at the semi-final stage. “There was a feeling within the squad that we were getting better with every game but we had a dreadful start against Mayo, who went on to win the All-Ireland, in the semi-final. “They got a head start on us and although we did manage to pull them back we came up short. At the time it was nearly like the end of the world!” Dublin denied Joe a second Leinster minor medal in 1986 when inflicting a 2-16 to 0-6 final defeat on the Royal County but, in 1999, he was corner-back on the Under 21 team that overcame a fancied Kildare side in the Leinster Under 21 decider by 2-5 to 0-9. “That win came against the grain,” Stafford remembered. “Kildare were


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trained by Mick O’Dwyer and a lot people thought they were shoo-ins for the All-Ireland. Martin Lynch would have been the star of their team. “Galway beat us in the semi-final and their team was a who’s who of the players who would later go on to win two senior All-Irelands, the likes of. Ja Fallon, Sean Og de Paor and Kevin Walsh “They only beat us by a couple of points and it was a game in which we never really played to our potential.” Any time he pulled on the green and gold and jersey was a proud day for Joe and his family. “When you start out playing with your club the ambition is to win a championship and play in Navan. You then want to play on county teams and in Croke Park. It’s stepping stones, you set yourself goals and aspire to achieve them. “My father was very proud when I made the county teams and travelling to Croke Park to support us. He was very passionate about Meath football.” That might be a bit of an understatement on Joe’s behalf because his father Jimmy was one of the founding members of the St Colmcille’s club back in 1971 when the Stars of the Sea and Shallon amalgamated. Jimmy served as chairman of the club and was a selector for the Intermediate success in ’88. Nowadays, Joe and his 9 year old son Liam are carrying on a proud family tradition. Football is a way of life in the Stafford household with wife Caroline, nee Carr from Drogheda, sharing her husband’s passion for the game. When Joe is not running his three Drogheda-based retail/convenient shops – Stafford Fine Foods - he is most likely to be found watching a game of football. He has just completed a second year as selector with the Seasiders’ intermediate team alongside manager Niall Flynn and Ciaran Rohan.

2012 won’t be recalled with any great fondness by St Colmcille’s supporters after they won just one game in Group A of the IFC but in Graham Reilly they possess one of the great hopes of Royal County football. “It was frustrating in the sense that we didn’t get the results we required to advance to the knock-out stages but we have seen progress over the last two years. “Working with a player of Graham’s quality is one of the highlights of being involved with the intermediate team. Most people don’t realise that he was the top point scorer from play in this year’s All-Ireland championship which was a marvellous achievement considering he played mostly at midfield. “He was very unlucky not to get an All Star after being nominated for a second one.” So what is the likelihood of St Colmcille’s producing another Graham Reilly, or indeed Robbie O’Malley and Bernard Flynn, in the future? “The future of St Colmcille’s is a strange one because of the demographics of the area. A massive issue for the club is trying to monitor

Joe runs three shops in Drogheda

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and engage with the young people and, also, how do we get Dublin people who have moved here to interact with the club? “There are seventy-five kids in the club that are Liam’s age. We have over 250 kids in the club every Sunday morning who are under 11 years of age. “While it is exciting, was have to ask ourselves as a club: how do we manage that number properly? You need to get people who are qualified to bring the kids on and give them proper coaching. “Ultimately, you are trying to bring footballers forward to intercounty level. The ‘Cille’s have supplied just one senior intercounty player in the last twenty-five years. It’s not as if there is a gravy train of players coming onto the county team from east Meath. “If the underage structure is right going forward the ‘Cille’s will fulfil their promise but the management of that will be the key to any future success.” Joe – who sponsored a set of jersey for the St Mary’s Parish School gaelic football team – concluded with an positive assessment of the county senior team’s prospects under new manager Mick O’Dowd. “I think we have to unearth two or more solid players like Donal Keoghan who arrived on the scene out of the blue this year. The players are there, we’ve played a lot of games and I have seen players with a lot of potential. “Mick O’Dowd will freshen things up and he, and his selectors, will be aware of the talent that is available to them. “Football, in general, is gone very defensive but forwards win games. At all times you have to endeavour to defend but you need the likes of a Brian Stafford, Bernard Flynn or Graham Reilly to put the ball over the bar. “Forwards generally win ‘manof-the-match’ awards and that is for a good reason. I’d love to see Meath discover another couple of forwards.”


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SPECIAL FEATURE

Tom Murphy is still proud of his Skryne roots

Meath County Council’s Tom Murphy has been living in Trim since 1989, but remains fiercely proud of his native Skryne who celebrated two significant milestones this year.

kryne GFC recently hosted a gala dinner in the Knightsbrook Hotel in Trim to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the foundation of one of Meath’s oldest and greatest clubs and its unique record of being a senior club for 75 consecutive years. It was a special occasion for everyone associated with the small, rural club which has won the Meath senior football championship on 13 occasions and has made an enormous contribution to the Royal County’s success down the years. As a former Skryne footballer, Tom Murphy, General Services Supervisor

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TOM IS PROUD OF HIS SKRYNE ROOTS with Meath County Council, was delighted to support the event. “It was a great night. For a club with no village as its heart, the success it’s had has been remarkable,” he proudly says. “Skryne is Meath’s most successful football club and has produced some of the greatest players the game has ever seen. It has had at least one player on every Meath team that won the All-Ireland and has never been relegated from the senior ranks. I don’t think there is a club in the country quite like it.” Since winning the Meath intermediate championship in 1937, Skryne have appeared in 30 senior championship finals, winning 13 of them, the most recent coming two years ago when they came from behind four times to defeat Seneschalstown by 0-21 to 4-8 in one of the great Keegan Cup deciders. In March of this year, Skryne published

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its history, ‘The Blue Kings of Tara’, a major work completed by David Carty spanning the club’s 125 years and necessitating two volumes. Skryne’s contribution to Meath GAA is legendary. When the Royal County captured the Sam Maguire for the first time in 1949, Brian Smyth was captain. Since then, Paddy ‘Hands’ O’Brien, Michael O’Brien, Tom O’Brien, Paddy Mulvany, Dave Carty, Paddy Cromwell, Colm O’Rourke, Liam Hayes, Trevor Giles and John McDermott have also brought AllIreland medals back to the club. New Meath selector Giles is a twotime Footballer of the Year, pipping fellow Skryne man John McDermott for the prestigious award in 1999. Colm O’Rourke, who is regarded as one of the Royal County’s greatest ever forwards, has managed Ireland in the International Rules series with Australia, while McDermott captained his country in the same series.


Aidan Tuite raises the Keegan Cup in 2010

Skryne is also the home club of new Meath football manager Mick O’Dowd. The club has also produced great administrators like the late Tommy Mooney and the late Colm Cromwell, who both served stints as chairman of the county board. The Fr McManus Park-based outfit has also enjoyed much success at underage level, and Tom Murphy was proud to play on the team that won a minor championship in 1973. “We beat Deel Rangers, who were an amalgamation of clubs from north Meath, in the final and the likes of Colm O’Rourke, Dessie Finnerty and Mick Ryan were playing for us,” he fondly recalls. “I played in a few junior finals after that, but never really played for the seniors. I still follow Skryne even though I’ve been living in Trim for over 20 years. They didn’t have one of their better years this year, but you can’t be winning all the time! Seriously, though, I think emigration

and injuries took their toll. Emigration has become a huge problem for GAA clubs, especially the rural ones like Skryne who don’t have the same resources or back-up of the town clubs.” After a tumultuous year for the Meath footballers, Tom is confident that Mick O’Dowd can bring some stability back to the team in 2013. “Mick enjoyed success as a player and a manager with Skryne, and is now hoping to make his mark at intercounty level. He has a big task ahead of him, especially after what happened this year. I don’t think the standard of football in the county is as good as it was a few years ago either, but himself and Trevor (Giles) will endeavour to get the best 15 out on the field and to put the pride back in the Meath jersey. “It’s a great honour for Mick to manage his county and a great honour for his club. It’s also great to see Raymond Coyle of Tayto Park

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taking over the sponsorship – another Skryne connection!” Tom is married to Longford woman Mary and the couple has five grownup children – Avril, Derek, Thomas, Niamh and Kevin. He has been employed by Meath County Council since 1985 and is responsible for overseeing all road works in the Navan area. Meath County Council is the local authority responsible for the administration of the county. The Council’s elected members discharge the reserved functions, e.g. adoption of the annual estimates, the borrowing of money, the making of the development plans etc. The County Manager performs executive functions which include employment of staff, property management, planning decisions, and the day-today administration of the Council's business.


KILMESSAN Kilmessan’s bid to win a 29th Senior Hurling Championship title met with disappointment in 2012 when they advanced from their group but were then shocked by Longwood at the quarter-final hurdle.

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ince they last claimed the Jubilee Cup in 2008 with a victory over Kildalkey in a replayed final Kilmessan - and the rest of the contenders for the top prize in Meath hurling - had to look on in envy as the Kildalkey men took a stranglehold on the competition. Kildalkey gained a good measure of revenge for that final defeat by beating Kilmessan in a semi-final replay in 2009, before getting the better of Dunboyne in the final. A year later it got even more painful for Kilmessan when Pat O’Halloran’s team beat them in the decider and last year they repeated that triumph at the penultimate stage. Kilmessan possess a spine of experienced players, but they are also undergoing a rebuilding process which involves ‘blooding’ younger players on the senior panel. That’s a process which takes time and some patience, but there can be no doubt that they will return to the summit in the near future. The club went outside to find a

Darren Maguire gets away from Jack Walsh of O'Mahonys

QUARTER-FINAL SHOCK manager this year when Westmeath native James Heffernan, who guided Rathmolyon to SHC success in 2006, answered the call and when the championship draws were made back in the spring they came out in a tough section which included four ina-row chasing Kildalkey. Also in group A were last year’s beaten finalists Navan O’Mahonys, Kilmessan’s neighbours and keen

rivals Kiltale, Trim and Na Fianna and it was against the Kiltale men that they commenced their divisional campaign with a 0-13 to 0-11 victory at Trim in early June. This was a well contested game played in difficult conditions and Kilmessan eased into a 0-9 to 0-4 interval advantage thanks to points from Stephen Clynch (three), Nicky Horan and Danny Maguire (two

Prior to the SHC clash with neighbours Trim at Pairc Tailteann, front l/r: Eric Horan, Tony Horan, Paul Grimes, Ritchie Donnelly, Daniel Maguire, Darren Maguire, Mark Brennan, Padraig Maguire, Paddy McGovern, Pauric Burke, Michael Gorman, Peter Farrell. Back: Stephen Clynch, Shane Clarke, Paul O’Brien, Christopher Curtis, Martin Horan, Eoin Marsh, Kevin Keena, Johnny Clarke, Darren Reilly, Sean Power, Shane Brennan, Anton O'Neill

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Victors over Killyon in the 2011 U21 hurling final, front l/r: Michael Gorman, Niall O`Donoghue, Kevin Kenna, Matthew Bisett, Daniel Maguire, Padraig Burke, Pauric Burke. Back: Tomas Oakes, Declan Smith, Danny Thynne, Darren Brennan, Niall Flynn, Niall Cleary, Sean Power, Eoin Marsh, Shane Brennan, Scott Bagnall, Malcolm Doyle, Christopher Smith

each), Paul O’Brien and Eoin Marsh. It might have been a bigger lead, but Kiltale ‘keeper Shane McGann denied Maguire a goal with a brilliant save late in the first half. McGann again came to his team’s rescue with a fine save from Darren Reilly in the second period, but three points from Horan helped Kilmessan to lead by 0-12 to 0-7 entering the closing stages. Three Jack Regan frees enabled Kiltale to cut the deficit to two with eight minutes remaining, before Horan and Peter Durnin traded points. Kilmessan came under strong pressure in the closing stages as Kiltale attempted to pull the game out of the fire, but they held out to make the ideal start to the group campaign.

O’Mahonys, who lost last year’s final to Kildalkey, provided the second round opposition at Trim where goals were the key to a battling Kilmessan victory. Clynch was superb at centreforward, but it was a brace of Horan goals which sustained Kilmessan in the first half as the Navan team edged into a wind-assisted 0-11 to 22 interval cushion. O’Mahonys added only a point in the second period, but it took Kilmessan 18 minutes to open their account. Once they did get motoring they scored 1-7 in the closing 12 minutes and an injury time goal from substitute Sean Doyle secured a 3-9 to 0-12 victory. Kilmessan played poorly in the third round against Trim at Pairc Tailteann,

but still won by 2-11 to 1-10 as the team in red hit 12 wides. An early goal from Darren Reilly helped the winners to a 1-6 to 0-5 lead at the break, but Shane Ashe goaled for Trim 45 seconds into the second period and they hit the front briefly. However, a 47th minute goal from Horan put Kilmessan on the road to victory, but it was clear that they would need to improve considerably if they were to have a chance of defeating Kildalkey next time out at Trim. This turned out to be a thrilling contest which the champions won by 1-13 to 1-12 to move into pole position in the group. Kildalkey’s Paddy Conneely scored 10 of their points in a brilliant performance, but Kilmessan led by

Senior Camogie Championship winners, front l/r: Nicola Lynch, Mary-Ellen Sheridan, Ailbhe Lynch, Stephanine Horan, Aileen Donnelly, Tara Murphy, Frances Lynch, Meabh O'Leary, Katie Ni Choilleainn, Tracey King, Niamh Carroll. Back: Clare Donohue, Emma Fitzgerald, Kelly Gorman, Laura Irwin, Alison Lynch, Ciara Ni Choilleainn, Etaoin Doyle, Megan Ni Choilleainn, Noreen Sheridan, Ashling McLoughlin, Michelle Horan, Ann Gorman

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Kilmessan captain Matthew Bissett raises the 2011 U21 A hurling championship cup at Trim

Stephanie Horan receives the Meath Senior Camogie Championship Cup from Christy Mangan Chairman of the Meath Camogie Board

Kevin Keena heads for the O'Mahonys goal

three points on two occasions in the first half, before the sides retired level at the interval on 0-8 each. Kildalkey edged three clear after the change of ends, but Kilmessan recovered from a 16-minute barren spell as points from Clynch and Horan (two each) left them ahead with 12 minutes remaining. Conneely equalised with his 10th point, but Sean Doyle goaled for Kilmessan. The champions replied with a goal from Darie Laharte to level things up again and as the match finished in a welter of excitement Sean Heavey gave them the lead with a point. Horan looked certain to win it for Kilmessan, but Conor Flynn denied him with a great save three minutes into added time. Kilmessan were already assured of a quarter-final place by the time they played Na Fianna in the last round, again at Trim, but with Horan notching 1-9 they won by 2-14 to 213. Goals from Horan and Darren Maguire helped them to a 2-5 to 1-5 interval lead and they pushed into a 2-13 to 1-11 advantage in the second half. Na Fianna did the brunt of the scoring subsequently, including a Sean Griffin goal, but Kilmessan just did enough to prevail. Kildalkey topped the section with a maximum 10 points and went straight into the semi-finals, while Kilmessan and Kiltale filled the two quarter-final slots. Kilmessan were hot favourites to beat Longwood in a quarter-final at Pairc Tailteann, but the ‘Wood tore up the script and won by 1-11 to 0-12 to record their first win over Kilmessan since 1986. The losers were left to rue 11 damaging wides and their failure to take advantage of the wind in the first half. Joey Keena was flown home from Australia for the game, but was forced off after 49 minutes. This was a close contest throughout and the teams were level on six occasions, including at half-time and at the end of normal time, before Longwood pounced for victory in added time. Kilmessan started best and led by 0-3 to 0-0 with points from Kevin Keena, Clynch and Horan, but the accuracy of Anthony Healy enabled Longwood to get level. Danny Maguire almost goaled when he hit a post, before a Ryan Moore goal gave the ‘Wood a 1-5 to 0-5 lead. Points from Kevin Keena, Maguire

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Senior manager James Heffernan

Aileen Donnelly receives the Player of the Match in the senior final from Tom Walsh

Danny Maguire has Cormac Reilly for company


and Clynch (free) left Kilmessan level (0-8 to 1-5) at the interval and they edged ahead with scores from Clynch and Horan. Longwood went 22 minutes without scoring, but recovered to lead by 1-8 to 0-10 with 11 minutes to play. A brace of Horan points gave Kilmessan the lead, but they didn’t score again and Longwood added points from Healy (two) and Aaron Ennis to secure a famous victory. Kilmessan’s day of misery was complete when Horan was sent off near the end. Nicky Horan is the holder of six SHC medals and has been a member of the Meath senior panel since 1995. He was as disappointed as anybody in the club with the way the championship ended. “We were without Joey Keena who is in Australia and Ger O’Neill due to illness,” he said as he reflected on the 2012 campaign. “They were both big losses. They have been key men for us. I suppose you could say we are a team in transition. We have a lot of lads who are 22 and under. It takes time to bed them in and it takes a lot of commitment for them to make it.” Kilmessan started the Jubilee Cup race with a narrow victory over Kiltale. “Kiltale are our local rivals,” Nicky added. “It’s always nice to beat them. They hit us for six in the senior final in 2007, but I don’t think they have beaten us in the championship since. We were lucky enough to beat them in the first game this year. We had a lot of lads back from the county team and they hadn’t done much hurling with the club. “We were lucky enough to beat Navan O’Mahonys as well. We fell well behind in the first half when we gave away a lot of frees. Luckily, we got a couple of goals in the first half and got another in the second half. We picked off our points in the second half and ground out a result. “We didn’t play well in that game and we also struggled to find our form against Trim. That was a game we could have left behind us. We looked like pulling away at times, but we just couldn’t get the momentum going. We won it by a few points. “Against Kildalkey we played probably our best game of the year but lost by a point. Both teams were missing a few players which probably balanced things out. It was one of our better performances. We went out against Na Fianna like a team which was already through to the knockout stages. We just went through the motions. We didn’t perform, but we won narrowly. “It was a big shock to us losing the quarter-final to Longwood. They hadn’t beaten us in ages. We didn’t win enough ball in the half-forward line or midfield. They are a big, strong, physical team and were the more hungry side. “We never really got confidence into us this year. We had a new man coaching us in James Heffernan. There was great intensity in training and Kilmessan were probably never as fit as they were this year. Every lad got a chance to perform this year, but we just didn’t perform as a team.” Kilmessan’s second string operated in the IHC, but it was a case of fighting for survival at the end of the group campaign. Their only win came against Dunboyne (4-18 to 1-6), but they lost to Rathmolyon (2-6 to 3-15), Kildalkey (04 to 1-10), Dunderry (0-9 to 1-22) and Wolfe Tones (0-6 to 5-12). They finished bottom of their section, but survived in the grade thanks to a 2-13 to 0-7 victory over Navan O’Mahonys in a relegation play-off.

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ST ULTANS St Ultan’s went for a man with an impressive track record to manage their intermediate football team this year, but at the end of a difficult IFC group campaign which saw them pick up just one point they were thankful that they didn’t have to again face into a battle for survival in the relegation play-offs. By Paul Clarke.

C

avan native Damien Sheridan enjoyed a hugely successful playing career, among the highlights of which was captaining Navan O’Mahonys to their SFC triumph in 1985. On the coaching front his finest achievements were guiding Seneschalstown to their memorable Keegan Cup triumph in 2007, when they beat O’Mahonys in a replayed final, and the regaining of the senior title two years later. It seemed strange this year watching Seneschalstown in action without Sheridan patrolling the sidelines. He was replaced in the Yellow Furze hot seat by former Rathkenny manager Dermot Smith and that left the way open for St Ultan’s to call on the services of the vastly experienced coach. After St Ultan’s won the intermediate title in tremendous style in 2008, beating parish rivals Cortown in the final, they went on to

St Ultans relaunched the Coogan Cup in 2012. Pictured before the final at Martry were, front l/r: Jason Bennett, Dessie Smith, Jim Fitzsimons, Mickie Ball, Sean Bennett, Padraig Travers, Johnny Mulroe. Back: Cian Rennicks, Tony Casserly, David Ball, Tommy Tallon, Denis Lynch, Tomas Coyne, Tom Lynch, Robbie Daly

REBUILDING WORK UNDERWAY fare very commendably in their first year in the SFC. They didn’t manage to emerge from their qualification group to contest the knockout stages, but they went close. Sadly, they are a club which has been severely affected by emigration and by 2010 they were heading back to the intermediate ranks after being relegated. They lost both their matches in the play-offs, firstly to

Simonstown Gaels and then to Oldcastle. Last year proved to be a big struggle as well and they ended up facing the possibility of suffering a further drop down the ranks. However, a team managed by former O’Mahonys and Meath goalkeeper Donal Smyth did enough to survive in the relegation round robin series. They lost narrowly to St Michael’s by

Prior to the JFC C quarter-final clash with Rathkenny at Moynalty, front l/r: Barry Allen, Ronan Breslin, Conor Smith, Emmett Costello, Ciaran Timmons, Tomas Coyne, Pearse Mulvaney, Ger Brennan, Derek O Brien. Back: Jimmy Brennan, Eugene Brady, Barry Brady, Richie Lynagh, Alan Rogers, Tommy Tallon, Sean Herward, Cian Farnan, Denis Lynch, Ronan Galligan, Mark Allen, Jack Murray, Gordon Finnegan. Missing from photo Stephen Quirke, Paddy McLoughlin and Shane Dolan

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The squad that took to the field against Castletown in the IFC at Carlanstown, front l/r: Conor Smith, Paddy McLoughlin, Ciaran Timmons, Robbie Dolan, Jason Bennett, Cian Rennicks, Daryl McLoughlin, Ciaran Rogers, Emmett Costello, Stephen Quirke, Shane Mulroe, Tony Smith. Back: Cian Farnan, Sean Herward, Chris Murray, Conor Smith, Rob Duffy, Gearoid Rennicks, Robbie Daly, Paul Murray, Richie Lynagh, Darren Mallon, Shane Rennicks, Eugene Brady, Darren Costello

0-11 to 1-10, but secured a 1-10 to 09 victory over Cortown which was enough to guarantee survival in the intermediate grade. Alongside Sheridan this year were selectors Pat English and Tommy Mallon and St Ultan’s second year back in the IFC saw them drawn in group C. Matches between themselves and Cortown have become almost common in recent years and their neighbours were also in a section which was completed by Carnaross and the junior champions of the previous two years, Ballivor and Ballinabrackey. St Ultan’s were the idle team in the section when the championship action got under way and when they did get their first taste of the Mattie McDonnell Cup race they secured a draw with Ballivor at Trim thanks to a late equalising point scored by Cian Rennicks. They made a bright start with a point from Shane Rennicks, but Ballivor soon gained the upper hand and pushed into a 0-4 to 0-1 lead. Cian Rennicks reduced the gap with a point, but Ballivor upped the tempo and added three points to hold a 0-7 to 0-2 advantage. St Ultan’s were in danger of slipping well behind, but a Gearoid Rennicks goal gave them a timely boost and they retired at the interval with the deficit down to just a couple of points at 1-2 to 0-7. It was all to play for going into the second half, during which scores were few and far between, and it was Ballivor who resumed best as they notched the first two points. The Bohermeen/Martry combination managed to stay in touch, though Ballivor were ahead by 0-9 to 1-4 in

the closing stages. There was still time for a successful rally as Gearoid Rennicks pointed to bring the deficit down to the minimum and then Cian Rennicks slotted over the equaliser. It finished 1-6 to 0-9. That game took place in late April and it was nearing the middle of August before St Ultan’s got their next taste of championship action against an improving Castletown team at Moynalty. When these teams met in the final round of group matches at Kells last year Castletown won by eight points and this time their victory margin was just four as they triumphed by 1-12 to 1-8 to maintain their push for a place in the knockout stages. A Tommy Smith goal helped Castletown to hold a 1-4 to 0-2 lead at half-time and they extended their advantage to eight points during the third quarter. Two points from Paul Murray and another by Conor Smyth gave St Ultan’s hope and when Eugene Brady added a goal that hope started to turn to optimism. However, they failed to trouble the scoreboard operator again and Castletown finished strongest to secure victory. Brady was the losers’ top marksman with a personal tally of 1-2. Trim was the venue for a meeting with Ballinabrackey and a second successive defeat was the outcome for St Ultan’s as the Offaly-border outfit won by 1-11 to 0-8. It didn’t get any better in the last group game against fellow strugglers Carnaross at Kilmainham when there was nothing but pride at stake. A 2-10 to 0-7 victory enabled Carnaross to leapfrog St Ultan’s at the bottom of the section. They led by

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2-5 to 0-3 at the interval, by which stage the losers had missed a penalty, and were comfortably ahead at the end. When all was said and done in group C Ballinabrackey were the dominant team as they won three matches and received a walk-over from Ballivor to finish at the head of the field with a maximum haul of eight points. The other qualification slot was filled by Castletown who won three of their four games and lost once for a points total of six. Ballivor were third on three points, followed by Carnaross on two and St Ultan’s on the one point they picked up from that draw with the Ballivor men in the opening round. When looking back at the St Ultan’s team which won the intermediate championship so well in 2008 and comparing it with the side which lined out in the same competition this year, it’s understandable that they endured another struggle. Emigration has hit the club hard, as is sadly the case with so many rural outfits all over the country, and until the dreaded recession shows definite signs of abating things are unlikely to get any better. The Galligan brothers were vital to that memorable success four years ago, but they are gone. “We didn’t really have any additional losses because of emigration this year, but from the 2008 team we have lost a lot,” said club secretary Tommy Tallon as he looked back on the campaign. “The Galligans, Brian, Kevin and Declan, all went to Australia. Kevin Rogers is also in Australia. “Brian Mulroe, who was our captain when we won the junior championship in 2006, transferred to


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Ciaran Timmons

Conor Smith

Tomas Coyne

a club in Limerick. Neil Burke, who was our goalkeeper, has retired from the game. All in all, we have been badly hit. We also had a few players out with injuries at various stages this year, but none of them were long term.” Damien Sheridan got his first taste of championship action as St Ultan’s manager when they played Ballivor in the second round of games and Tommy was impressed with the former Seneschalstown supremo. “I have to say Damien was great to work with,” he added. “He was 100 per cent. He’s a great motivator, great with the players. We are just lacking in players at the moment which is a pity.” The championship opener against Ballivor brought St Ultan’s their only point of the group campaign. “We made a reasonable start to the championship when we drew with Ballivor at Trim back in April,” said Tommy. “We played quite well in that game and we probably could have won it. Cian Rennicks earned us a draw with a late point. “We played reasonably well in the second game against Castletown as well. We were poor enough in the first half, but we were much better in the second half and probably could have caught them. They beat us by four points. “Ballinabrackey were a better team than us in the third game and won by six points. There was nothing at stake when we played Carnaross. We had only half a team that day. They won comfortably.” St Ultan’s introduced several young players onto their intermediate team this year and that is certainly a positive sign as the club looks to 2013 and beyond .in the hope of a brighter future. “We have brought in five or six young players to the first team this year,” Tommy added as he looked to the future. “Cian Farnan, Conor Smyth, Tony Smyth, Emmet Costello, Sean Herward and Ronan Breslin all got action in the championship. They are all current minors. They offer us hope for the future.” St Ultan’s also fielded a team in the Junior C Championship and among their victories was one against Cortown which helped them through to the knockout stages. However, they failed to negotiate the quarterfinal hurdle as Rathkenny won by 111 to 1-8 at Moynalty.

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Junior keeper Cian Farnan

Richie Lynagh

Barry Brady


ST. CUTHBERT’S St Cuthbert’s landed U16 and U14 summer league titles, both at the expense of St Michael’s in keenly-contested deciders.

S

t Cuthbert's edged out St Michael's in this replayed Summer League Division 6 final in Carlanstown, winning on a final scoreline of 2-13 to 4-5. After an exciting final the previous week with 20 minutes extra time played the action switched to St. Michael's home ground for the final replay. When the ball was thrown in both teams got into the game with some great quality football. In the earlier part of the game St. Cuthbert’s were unlucky not to get some valuable scores; they seemed to have left their scoring boots at home compared to the previous match. As a result when half time came they were trailing by three points. Half time score 3-3 to 16. The second half started with St. Michael's scoring extra points to bring their lead to 7 points. At this stage everyone would have had St. Cuthbert's written off but at this stage the Never Say Die spirit of the St.

Sean Power raises the U16 Roinn E Shield at Grangegodden

SILVERWARE FOR ST. CUTHBERT’S Cuthbert team fought back with some tremendous scores to edge out St. Michael's to win by a slim margin of 2 points. St. Cuthbert's - Jack Harte, Cormac Lyndsey, Brian Byrne, Dylan Byrne, Tadgh Ratty, Charlie Monaghan, Eoghan Monaghan (0-2), Declan Ball (1-2), Richie McKeever, Hugh Staunton (0-3), Eanan Peppard

(0-1), Carl Reilly (0-1), Mickey Bucannan (1-4), Jack Kearney, Ross Hodgins, Matthew Reilly.

St Cuthbert’s claimed the Roinn D title of the Meath U16 Summer League with a hard earned victory over a gallant St Michaels side at Grangegodden, 2-10 to 2-8.

St Cuthbert's won the Roinn E U16 Summer League, front l/r: Daragh Smyth, Conor Whelan, Chris Rennicks, Martin Dolan, Liam Carey, Sean Power, Eoin McLoughlin, Karl Sheridan, Darrren Kavanagh, Gregory McKeever. Back: Luke O'Reilly, Liam Clarke, Paidin Boggins, Sean Condren, Cian Dolan, Ronan Costello, Cathal Ryan, Gary Byrne, Ryan Tevlin, Conor Rennicks

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The MFL Division 4 finalists, front l/r: Cathal Ryan, David Rispin, Shane Dolan, Andrew Barry, Tony Smith, Glen Kavanagh, Ryan O'Rourke, Gregory McKeever, Sean Condren. Back: Aaron Clarke, Paidin Boggins, Shane O'Mahony, Ronan Breslin, Sean Heward, Cian Farnan, Sean Power, Ronan Galligan, Emmet Costello, Conor Smith, Cormac Farrell, Barney O'Rourke

Having drawn in the earlier rounds of the competition, this match was always going to be a tight affair and so it proved as the sides traded the lead on several occasions. St Cuthbert’s made the brighter start and had two pointed frees from Sean Condren on the board before three points gave the Carlanstown lads the lead after 15 minutes. Sean Power restored parity with his first score of the night but St Michaels responded with two points of their own to establish a 0-5 to 0-3 lead. The margin could have been much worse for St Cuthbert’s only for 'keeper Liam Carey pulled off a magnificent save from Oran Meehan to keep the score down. Sean Condren notched his third point just before the interval to

Matthew Yore raises the U12 Summer Shield at Cortown

leave the score 0-05 to 0-04 in favour of St Michaels at half-time. St Michaels extended their lead within 12 seconds of the second half with a point but Sean Power countered that with his second point. Substitute Ryan Tevlin volleyed over the sixth point for St Cuthbert’s. Darren Kavanagh restored parity before St Michaels hit the net which they followed with a point to take a four point cushion and seemingly on the way to victory. However the Bohermeen lads dug deep and a point from Darren Kavanagh was followed by a converted free from Sean Condren to leave the score 1-8 to 0-9 in favour of the side in black and red after 21 minutes of the second half. Two minutes later Condren was fouled in the square

The U12 Summer Shield winners, front l/r: Jordan Reilly, Aaron Mallon, Darragh Reilly, Louis Casserly, Jamie Smith, Adam Rogers, Paul Casserly, Alan Casserly, Jonathon Foster, Sean Og Yore. Back: Austin Casserly, Cian McBride, Mark Rennicks, Jason Meehan, Jack Henry, Aaron Rafferty, Matthew Yore, Kathleen Yore, Daniel Henry, Evan Oliver, Cian Smith, Kevin Barry. Mentors at back Mattie Rogers, Kit Henry, Sean Yore, Liam Rennicks, Eamonn Barry

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The U15 Division 4 finalists

and he duly converted the spot kick to give St Cuthbert’s the lead for the first time since the 12th minute. The match was held up for an injury to Cuthbert’s keeper Carey, and when play resumed there were two goals in the space of a minute. Firstly Stephen Dolan restored St Michaels lead with a pile driver past sub keeper Ronan Costello. But within a minute Darren Kavanagh had raised a green

flag at the other end when he calmly stroked the ball past St Michael’s net minder Aaron Kiernan to leave the score 2-9 to 2-8 entering injury time. Both sides had chances to either level the match or extend the lead but were unable to do so until the 10th minute of injury time when Darren Kavanagh slotted over from 30 metres to give a final score of 2-10 to 2-08 in favour of St Cuthbert’s.

St Cuthbert’s: Liam Carey, Martin Dolan, Gary Byrne, Karl Sheridan, Conor Rennicks, Luke O'Reilly, Paidin Boggins, Sean Power (0-02) Eoin McLoughlin, Sean Condren (104), Cian Dolan, Darren Kavanagh (1-03), Cathal Ryan. Subs: Ryan Tevlin (0-01), Ronan Costello, Gregory McKeever, Chris Rennicks, Conor Whelan, Liam Clarke, Daragh Smyth

The squad that reached the U13 Division 5 final against Round Towers at Grangegodden

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CORTOWN Two visits to Pairc Tailteann brought contrasting emotions for Cortown during 2012. There was disappointment when Donaghmore/ Ashbourne edged them out in a hugely entertaining JFC quarter-final, but it was all joy when they defeated Drumconrath in the A League Division 4 final.

Gary Coyne raises the Division 4 league Cup as the celebrations begin at Pairc Tailteann

C

ortown were relegated from the IFC last autumn when they lost to St Ultan’s and St Michael’s in the round robin series and they made a favourable impression in the junior grade this year as they topped their group with an unbeaten record, before faltering at the first hurdle in the knockout stages. It was disappointing for a team managed by Con Cleary and John Henry, but they still had plenty to play for in the Tailteann Cup and the league. Ratoath eliminated them at the semi-final stage of the former competition, before they set about trying to fill one of the top two positions in the league. They got the better of Curraha in the last game and that earned them promotion and a place in the final against Drumconrath. Gary Coyne scored 2-4 in that JFC quarter-final against Donaghmore/Ashbourne and he bettered it in the league decider when his contribution of 2-5 proved invaluable in a 2-8 to 0-11 victory. Glen Loughran was another star of the success, especially when he was

SILVERWARE SECURED switched out to midfield, but it was Drumconrath who made the more productive start as they scored the first two points. Cortown took time to settle into the match, but they were on level terms by the 19th minute after Coyne had slotted over a brace of frees. They were ahead by 1-3 to 0-3 by the 30th minute after Loughran had pointed a free and Coyne scored his first goal, but Drumconrath rallied to be level (0-6 to 1-3) at the interval. Loughran restored Cortown’s lead with a point from a ‘45’ early in the second half, but Drumconrath hit back to edge

ahead. A magnificent point from substitute Tommy Smith levelled things up, before Drumconrath went ahead again. With Loughran a big influence Cortown made a decisive dash for the winning post and when Coyne pointed from a free and then scored his second goal they were in front by 2-6 to 0-9. Both sides scored two points before the end, with Coyne getting a brace of Cortown scores, and their chief marksman also had the honour of captaining the victorious team. The

Division 4 league winners, front l/r: Darragh O`Halloran, David Flanagan, Tomas Smith, Ryan O`Rourke, Pierce Clarke, Michael Costello, Ivor O`Halloran, John Casserly, Declan Clarke, Colm Kerrigan, Kevin McGuinness, David Coyne, Glen Flanagan. Back l/r: Paddy Kerrigan, Richard Reilly, David Wright, Gary Coyne, Brian Smith, Declan Coyne, Thomas Brien, Richard Flanagan, John McGearty, Martin Henry, Brian Casserly, Mark Casserly, Mervin O`Brien, Barney O`Rourke

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The panel that defeated Clonard in the JFC at St Loman’s Park Trim, front l/r: David Wright, Declan Clarke, John Casserly, Patrick Kerrigan, Brian Casserly, Colm Kerrigan, Mark Casserly, David Flanagan, David Coyne. Back: Gary Coyne, Thomas Brien, Martin Henry, Glen Flanagan, Kevin McGuinness, Brian Smith, Richard Flanagan, Declan Coyne, John McFadden, Thomas Smith, Mervyn O'Brien, Patrick Watters, Brian Faulkner, Daragh O'Halloran

league final came at the end of a hectic schedule of games and the victory was a fitting reward for the massive amount of dedicated work put in by the players and team management. It was a great way to end the campaign. The Cortown team in the final was: J McFadden; David Coyne, P Kerrigan, J McGourty; I O’Halloran, D O’Halloran, K McGuinness; Declan Coyne, R Flanagan; J Casserly, B Casserly, B Smith; G Coyne (2-5), C Kerrigan, G Loughran (0-2). Subs – T Smith (0-1) for Flanagan, D Clarke for I O’Halloran, M Henry for B Casserly, B O’Rourke for Declan Coyne. Cortown were drawn in group A of the JFC along with Clonard, St Brigid’s, Moylagh, Dunsany and Curraha and opened their campaign in highly encouraging fashion when they defeated Curraha by 2-8 to 1-6 at Walterstown where they trailed by 0-5 to 1-3 at the break after Gary Coyne (two), David Coyne, Brian Casserly

Ready for the Division 4 Final. Glen Loughran poses with his sons Daragh and Cian at Pairc Tailteann

and Kevin McGuinness had scored their points. Sean Mallon had goaled for Curraha in the first half, but Colm Kerrigan did the same for Cortown within 60 seconds of the restart to give them the lead. Points from Gary Coyne (free), Brian Smith and substitute Tommy Smith and a goal from another substitute, Declan Clarke, enabled them to win comfortably. A hard working performance helped Cortown to a 0-16 to 1-6 win over last year’s Junior B champions Clonard at Trim where they held a wind-assisted 0-10 to 1-2 interval advantage. Gary Coyne contributed six points and Brian Smith and Glen Loughran both got three. Scores were few and far between when Cortown drew with Dunsany (07 to 1-4) in the third round at Athboy. Declan Smyth’s goal after 24 minutes helped Dunsany to a 1-2 to 0-3 lead, but the sides were level at the break (0-5 to 1-2), before Cortown edged ahead in a low scoring second period. Dermot O’Donoghue’s point levelled things up and neither team scored during the last eight minutes as the rain pelted down and made playing conditions extremely difficult. Gary Coyne and Loughran both scored three points and John Casserly got the other. Cortown achieved their first big goal of the championship when they booked their place in the quarter-finals after they easily accounted for St Brigid’s by 2-11 to 1-6 at Ballinlough where goals from Declan and Gary Coyne helped them to a 2-5 to 0-4 lead at the change of ends. Gary Coyne took the scoring honours with 1-5. It was back to Ballinlough for a meeting with Moylagh in the last group game and a very comfortable 3-12 to

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1-8 win secured top position in the section. John Casserly’s goal boosted Cortown to a 1-9 to 1-2 interval lead and Colm Kerrigan and Brian Smith added goals in the second period to leave them well clear at the end. Cortown contributed enormously to a hugely entertaining quarter-final against Donaghmore/Ashbourne, but it just wasn’t enough as a failure to score beyond the 42nd minute proved their undoing. Sean Kelly’s team won by 210 to 2-8 and went on to get the better of Bective in a semi-final, before they were edged out by the minimum margin in the final against neighbours Ratoath Gary Coyne was highly impressive for Cortown as he contributed 2-4 and he certainly didn’t deserve to end up on the losing team. His first goal arrived in the 22nd minute when he rose high to fist powerfully to the net after a point attempt by Colm Kerrigan fell short. However, Conor Carey found the net for Donaghmore/Ashbourne late in the first half and they led by 1-7 to 1-6 at the interval. When David Murtagh scored their second goal 10 minutes into the second period they were ahead by 2-7 to 1-7, but the impressive Coyne kicked a brilliant point and then notched his second goal to edge Cortown to the front. It was all to play for at that stage, but they failed to score again and Donaghmore/Ashbourne got the last three points to shade the verdict after a thrilling contest. Cortown had chances when they were a point adrift near the end, but substitute Ryan O’Rourke shot wide from close range and John McGourty was off target with a ‘45’. It was disappointing, especially after Cortown had contributed so much to


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Kevin McGuinness

Brian Smith claims possession under pressure from Clonard's Ian Campbell

Patrick Kerrigan

one of the best games played at Pairc Tailteann all year, but that league success was just around the corner. “It was great to win something at the end of the year,” said joint manager John Henry. “The players put in a huge effort and they got their reward by winning the league. The commitment was unbelievable. I don’t think the numbers at training ever dropped below about 25. “Myself and Con Cleary were joint managers. Trevor Coyne did the physical work and Brian O’Rourke looked after the coaching. It worked out very well. We were unbeaten in 22 games at home in the league, Tailteann Cup and challenges. That was a great level of consistency.” Three years after they lost the Intermediate Championship final to parish rivals St Ultan’s, Cortown were relegated from that grade last autumn, but they fared well in their first campaign at junior level, reaching the knockout stages. “After coming down from the intermediate grade I thought we could win the Junior Championship this year once the effort was put in,” John added. “As I said, the effort was great. We topped our group, but we lost to Donaghmore / Ashbourne by two points in a very good quarter-final and they went on to reach the final where they lost to Ratoath by only a point. “We were without Richie Flanagan who was in America. He was a huge loss to us. After he came back we won three games in the league, including the final, so it’s clear how important he is to us. “It was disappointing to be knocked out of the championship, but after all the effort the lads put in it was just great to win the league. It put the icing on the cake for us. It will also make it a lot easier to get lads back out for training in January. “We have a few young players who got some football this year, but not a huge amount, like Tommy Smith, Ryan O’Rourke, Conor Mulroe, Brian Faulkner and Michael Costello. They should help to strengthen things up in the next few years.” Cortown, who played their football in the senior grade as recently as 2006, possess a burning desire to move back up the grades again. This year’s championship campaign was promising, while the league success will have worked wonders for their confidence. They are likely to be serious contenders for the Matthew Ginnity Cup next year.

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Richard Flanagan

Gary Coyne

Daragh O'Halloran kicks a great point against Clonard


Continued Good Wishes To

Duleek/Bellewstown GAA from

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DULEEK BELLEWSTOWN After having to defeat Trim in the final relegation tie of the 2011 Meath SFC to survive in the top flight, Duleek / Bellewstown did slightly better this year. Although failing to win from five starts, two draws enabled them avoid finishing at the bottom of Group A. By Noel Coogan.

T

here have been two frustrating campaigns since the amalgamated side topped their group in 2010 before losing a quarter-final to Rathkenny. This time round draws with Nobber and Moynalvey left them just above Nobber but six points off the qualifying teams. Duleek / Bellewstown had Martin Freyne (formerly of Skryne) as their new manager and Kenny McDonnell and Gordon Hynes were his selectors. Their opened their campaign with a 0-9 each draw with Nobber at Simonstown. Nobber finished the match with 13 players on the pitch after Slane referee David Gough sent off county forward Brian Farrell and Padraig Weldon inside the last few minutes. The sides were also level (0-4 each) at the break, the east Meath side having led by three points in the first half. They were on equal terms three times in the second period and in between the two dismissals Conall

Paudge Howard in determined mood

INJURIES HAMPER McGinley appeared to have given Duleek/Bellewstown the win when converting a free before Jamie Owens hit a late leveller from a similar kick. Duleek / Bellewstown’s second SFC outing, against local rivals St Patrick’s, was an even more lowscoring affair with Pat’s winning by 06 to 0-4 at Ashbourne, having led by 0-3 to 0-2 at the break.

The losers had four different scorers with Conall McGinley (free), Darren Mills, substitute Stephen McArdle and Tony Cunningham getting on target. Padraig Howard had a chance of snatching the win with a late goal but his attempt was kept out. When Duleek / Bellewstown returned to championship action 15 weeks later they were well beaten by Donaghmore / Ashbourne, who

The squad that drew with Nobber in the SFC at Simonstown, front l/r: Des Teeling, Mark Collins, John McDonnell, Brian Moore, Paudge Howard, Darren Mills, Peter Curran, John Flood, Kevin Smith, Kieron Collins. Back: Karl McDonnell, Jason Branigan, Conall McGinley, James Murphy, Tony Cunningham, Cianan Byrne, Anthony Dowling, Ricky Nolan, Eanna Byrne, Kevin McCann, Casey Dunne, David Moore, Paul Callaghan, Anthony Doonan, Anthony Burke

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Prior to their Under 12 Summer League final with Gaeil Colmcille at Rathkenny, front l/r: M. Finnegan, S. Erdogan, J. Hartford, E. Heeney, R. Quinn, D. Gallagher, B. Birmingham, A. Cassin, A. Collins, O. Miland, A. Reilly, N. Collins. Back: Peter McCabe, Johnny Reilly, D. McCabe, R. Caffrey, AJ. O'Brien, R. Little, J. McWeeney, C. Ryan, J. O'Leary, G. Rafferty, G. Reddy, A. Lenehan, D. Moore, F. Hartford, S. Hamilton, Liam Reddy

scored a 0-15 to 0-7 victory at Stamullen. After failing to register in the first quarter, Duleek /Bellewstown put over five of their seven points in the next 15 minutes with John Flood getting three of them to trail by 0-5 to 0-8 at the halfway stage. Then they resumed well with points from Stephen Nolan and Darren Mills but did not score for the last 26 minutes. That result meant that Duleek / Bellewstown needed to win their last two games to have a chance of reaching the last eight and their 2-8 to 0-14 fourth round draw meant that Moynalvey could not advance either. A dramatic late goal from Eanna Byrne gave the east Meath side their

second point of the campaign. Duleek / Bellewstown got away to a flying start with a first minute goal from David Moore and with John Flood impressing in attack, they led by 1-7 to 0-4 at the break. Johnny McDonnell added to their total early in the second half and then they did not score again until Byrne struck in added time at the end. Duleek / Bellewstown concluded their 2012 SFC programme when losing by the minimum margin to defending champions Summerhill, who came from seven points behind to register a 1-12 to 0-14 victory in a well-contested tie at Pairc Tailteann. With county forward Mark Collins to the fore, the east county outfit led by

0-9 to 0-4 at the interval before increasing the advantage with points from Stephen Nolan and Collins (his third converted 45) soon after the restart. However, Collins was forced to retire injured towards the end of the third quarter and as his side went 23 minutes without a score, Summerhill, boosted by three points from substitute Adrian Kenny, sneaked ahead at the finish. Duleek / Bellewstown also struggled in Division 1 of the All-County A Leagues, gaining just two wins from 11 outings. They started off with a four-point loss to Summerhill before being defeated by Dunshaughlin, Oldcastle and Dunboyne.

The squad and mentors that overcame Navan O'Mahonys to claim the Ladies Intermediate Football Championship title at Kiltale, front l/r: Orla Byrne, Roisin Lenehan, Leanne Woods, Kim Saurin, Shauna Leech, Natasha Barnett (captain), Vivienne Reilly, Stephanie Andrews, Katie Dowling. Back: Gerry Saurin, Karen Blake, Kate Byrne, Debbie Maughan, Shannon Clarke, Rachel Andrews, Monica McGuirk, Alex Goodman, Hazel Callaghan, Ciara Power, Lauren Mohan, Sarah Monaghan, Dessie Callaghan

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Tony Cunningham

John McDonnell

Conall McGinley

After four losses there was a victory over Blackhall Gaels and the other win was recorded at the expense of Castletown. Duleek / Bellewstown finished up at the bottom along with Blackhall but were spared relegation. Duleek / Bellewstown enjoyed a decent run in the Feis Cup, winning three games to reach the semi-final stage where they were well beaten by Navan O’Mahonys at Simonstown. In fact Martin Freyne’s side had five games in the competition as it took them two hours to get the better of Nobber in the opening round. In the first game at Nobber the home side scored 2-10 to 0-16 for the visitors before Duleek / Bellewstown won the replay by 1-17 to 1-8 at Bellewstown. Later in July Seneschalstown provided the opposition at Bellewstown where the home team emerged 1-13 to 1-10 victors. Gaeil Colmcille provided the quarter-final opposition and the seniors outscored the intermediates an a 1-16 to 0-10 scoreline. O’Mahonys proved too strong in a semi-final tussle in which both sides lacked regulars, finishing up 0-18 to 1-6 winners. Duleek / Bellewstown were missing Mark Collins in attack. The town team led by 0-10 to 0-3 at the break and Jake Regan contributed eight points to their overall total. Ciaran Collins netted the goals and could have had another but for a smart save by Martin Sherlock. Johnny Flood hit four of the losers’ points, two from frees. Their second side operated in the JFC and missed out on qualification from Group B. The third string played in the Junior C FC and just one point, from a draw with St Michael’s, was gained. Duleek / Bellewstown chairman Oliver Cudden described the 2012 SFC campaign as “disappointing,” adding: “We didn’t win any of our five games in the group, getting two draws and defeats by one and two points. There wasn’t much between the teams in the group and there is a thin line between finishing at the top and the bottom of the table. “While there was no relegation this year, we avoided finishing at the bottom, finishing just above Nobber. We met them in the first round, a game which ended in a draw, we expected to win that game and we should have won it.

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Meath ladies Chairperson Aisling Clery presents the Ladies IFC player of the match award to Alex Goodman

Duleek Bellewstown captain Natasha Barnett raises the Brian McKeown Memorial Cup at Kiltale

Under 12 goalkeeper Niall Collins


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Liam O’Brien

“We were handicapped by injuries to key players. Paudge Howard missed most of the year with a dislocated shoulder while Mark Collins was troubled by a hamstring problem earlier in the season and after returning to action with his club and county, he was again sidelined with a broken collar bone, sustained in the last round game against Summerhill. “In the second round of the SFC we lost by two points to St Patrick’s in a low-scoring game. Pat’s are a good team but we hit too many wides and should have got a draw at least. “We were well beaten by Donaghmore / Ashbourne in the third round and that defeat knocked a bit out of the lads. Still they recovered well to draw with Moynalvey. That was a game we looked like winning when ahead by six points at half-time. Then we were out of it for most of the second half before snatching the draw with a late goal. “Although out of contention for a quarter-final place, we went out to win the last round game against Summerhill and we gave our best display that evening. After going into a seven points lead, we lost Mark Collins who was playing very well and they beat us with a late winning point. “We were only playing for pride in that game but we showed a good bit of that. Manager Martin Freyne, who took over from Declan Sheehan, put in a lot of good work and got on well with the players. “Next year could be a tough year for the team but hopefully we will have less problems with injuries. This year we also fielded teams in the Junior A and C Championships and maybe some younger players from those teams will challenge for senior places. “We would have to hope that we could emulate the feat of 2010 when we beat Summerhill and Navan O’Mahonys to reach the quarter-finals before losing to Rathkenny after extra-time.” Morgan Browne scored four goals as Duleek / Bellewstown took the county under-14 Division 4 title with an 8-3 to 2-7 victory over Kilbride at Kilbride. Captain Dean Brodigan, goalkeeper Richie Kearns. Callum Cooney, Evan Ryan, Adam Noone, Jordan Lynch Daly and Joe Corduff were others to impress in the success. Last August Duleek /Bellewstown GFC launched a comprehensive plan which provides a ‘road map’ for the future direction of the club. Speaking at the launch, chairman Oliver Cudden said: “The objective of the club plan is to make sure we continue to effectively serve our members, supporters and the local community. With this plan we will offer a blueprint for the future of Duleek / Bellewstown GFC and address the key issues facing the club over the next number of years.” The club plan covers aspects such as coaching and games development, finance and fundraising, facilities and development and communications and public relations. The chairman had special words of praise for Stephen McKee for the hard work put in with the delivery of the plan. “The plan makes us have a good, hard look at ourselves and how we do things, through the club forum, it has allowed all those who wished to offer an opinion the platform to do so. Through the feedback gained, it has allowed us create a footprint for the club’s medium term plan and, though its publication, it now produces a reference and guidance document to measure our performance against the targets set as we deliver the five-year plan,” said Cudden. Duleek /Bellewstown captured the Meath women’s intermediate football championship title with a 1-12 to 0-9

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Kevin McCann

Brian Moore

Des Teeling is under pressure from Nobber's Darren Lambe

victory over Navan O’Mahonys in the final played at Kiltale. O’Mahonys went into the game as favourites, having won the Division 2 League earlier in the year and they took an early lead with the first two points. However, Duleek/Bellewstown, who had overcame Blackhall Gaels at the semi-final stage settled with points from Alex Goodman, Orla Byrne and Rachel Andrews enabling them to go ahead. After the Navan side regained the advantage for a spell, the east Meath side rallied to lead by 0-6 to 0-4 at the break following scores from the outstanding Alex Goodman (two) and Byrne. Then there was little between the teams for much of the second period. Leanne Woods netted the game’s only goal from a penalty kick to leave her side four points to the good. O’Mahonys hit back to reduce the arrears to the minimum and could have gone ahead but for two fine saves by Monica McGuirk. Shauna Leech and Debbie Maughan made their presence felt after coming on as substitutes. Shannon Clarke and Roisin Lenehan enjoyed dominant spells at midfield while Katie Dowling did well as a roving corner-forward. The half-back trio of Hazel Callaghan, Kate Byrne and Kim Saurin also made valuable contributions to the success. Duleek / Bellewstown finished strongly with four unanswered points, from Goodman, Woods (two) and Andrews. Goodman picked up the ‘player of the match’ accolade and winning captain Natasha Barnett was presented with the Brian McKeown Cup by county chairperson Aisling Clery. The Duleek / Bellewstown team and scorers in the final: Monica McGuirk; Karen Creed, Ciara Power, Natasha Barnett; Hazel Callaghan, Kate Byrne, Kim Saurin; Shannon Clarke, Roisin Lenehan; Vivienne Reilly, Alex Goodman (0-3), Orla Byrne (0-3), Leanne Woods (1-4), Rachel Andrews (0-2), Katie Dowling. Subs: Stephanie Andrews, Natalie Duff, Lauren Mohan, Sarah Monaghan, Shauna Leech, Debbie Maughan, Gemma Saurin

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Casey Dunne

Steady ‘keeper Ricky Nolan

B. Birmingham


WALTERSTOWN After reaching the quarterfinals of the hoganstand.com Meath SFC in each of the two previous campaigns, Walterstown suffered three defeats and failed to advance from the group stages in 2012.

The celebrations begin with the Under 15 Division 3 League Shield at Syddan

M

ick O’Brien, who had guided the Blacks to their five Keegan Cup triumphs between 1978 and ’84, returned to the helm for the championships of 2010 and 2011 and played a part in improving the situation after they had been battling against relegation in the previous three years. With O’Brien and John McCarthy, who had been involved with the county manager of the ‘70s, both departing, Walterstown sought the services of Dublin All-Ireland winner in 1983, PJ Buckley. The former wing-back had Willie Clarke, full-back during the glory years, Derek McDonnell and Donal Kennedy as his assistants. The Blacks had lost to Dunboyne and Wolfe Tones in last eight ties during Micko’s ‘second coming’ and this year they went down to them again in their opening two games. Following a win over Dunshaughlin and a draw with Skryne, hopes of reaching the quarter-finals were alive

YOUNG BLACKS GAIN CRUCIAL EXPERIENCE going into the last round of the group phase but were well quenched as Simonstown Gaels inflicted an eight point defeat. Wolfe Tones were Walterstown’s initial opponents at Rathkenny in midApril and despite a bright beginning which enabled them to lead by two points, the Blacks finished up as 0-8

to 0-12 losers. Tom Walsh, from a sideline kick, and a Mark McCormack effort from play got Walterstown’s SFC bid off on the right foot before Tones settled to hit them with the next five scores and go on to lead by 0-7 to 0-5 at the break. In the second half the advantage

On duty for the senior championship match against Dunboyne at Lomans Park Trim, front l/r: Cormac Madden, Tom Walsh, David Maguire, David Reynolds, Mark McCormack, Peter Reynolds, Michael Clarke, David Donnellan, Conor McGuinness, Raymond Reynolds. Back: John Geoghegan, Richie Ellis, Colin McGrane, Barry O'Dowd, Alban Crosbie, Ciaran Lydon, Stephen O'Keeffe, Niall Conaty, Ruairi O'Dowd, Richie Barry, Mark McGrane, Aaron McLoughlin, Robbie McDonnell, Joe Clarke, Ronan Barry, Christopher Reynolds

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The U21 squad that lost out to Seneschalstown after extra time in the U21 FC A Final

was stretched to 0-10 to 0-5 and although Buckley’s side replied with scores from Michael Clarke, Robbie McDonnell and McCormack, two more points enabled the 2006 winners double their lead by the final whistle. In the second round outing against Dunboyne at Trim, Walterstown again took up the running soon after the start with a point from Richie Barry raising hopes. However, the wind-assisted Dunboyne went on to lead by 0-4 to 0-2 at the break. Walterstown suffered a blow in the first half when their county senior player, Tom Walsh, was forced to retire with a shoulder injury which caused him to miss some championship action with Meath.

With Dunboyne leading by 0-6 to 0-3, Michael Clarke was narrowly wide with a goal attempt and although Barry and Alban Crosbie fired over points to reduce the deficit to two, that was as close as the Johnstown parish side got as they lost by 0-6 to 0-9. Walterstown got into the winners’ enclosure at the third attempt and following a 15-week break from championship action, they had Tom Walsh back in action for the 1-11 to 010 victory over last year’s beaten finalists, Dunshaughlin. Dunshaughlin went into an early lead before Walterstown hit four points on the trot, from Cormac Madden, Mark McCormack (two) and Walsh, to take control. Then a volleyed goal from Michael Clarke helped them to a 1-7 to 0-4 interval advantage. With Cathal O’Dwyer putting over four points, Dunshaughlin rallied to get the arrears down to the minimum. But they did not register in the last 13 minutes of the hour as Walterstown held out for the win. Although only managing a 0-10 each draw with Skryne in the next round at Dunshaughlin, the result kept them in contention while their old rivals bowed out of the title race. After the sides were on level terms three times, the Blacks were ahead by 0-5 to 0-3 at the break, thanks to points from Alban Crosbie (free) and Michael Clarke (45). Then white flag efforts from Tom Walsh and Mark McCormack doubled the advantage and although two more McCormack points left four between them with nine minutes left, Skryne rallied to get the draw. After the fourth round games seven of the eight quarter-final places had been earned and the other spot would be decided in the Simonstown v Walterstown Group B clash at the Walterstown U12 Girls won the Shield Final against Rathkenny

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The U14's put up a great display against Simonstown in the Division 2 Shield final at Navan, front l/r: Jonathon Murchan, Cathal McGuinness, Paul Crowley, Conor Grogan, Dean Ahearne, Dean Menton, Michael Donnellan, Harry Beggy. Back: Sean Allen, Conor Cassidy, Patrick Donnellen, Mark Foy, Conor Cullen, Eoin McAlister, Sean Irwin, Hubert McSienman, Alan Wall, Neil Freeman, Paddy McCabe, Jack Hennelly

The U13 Division 3 finalists, front l/r: Robert Deane, Ryan Carroll, JP Beggy, Conor Farrelly, Brandon Dempsey, Cormack Freeman, Frank Hennelly, Eoin Finlay, Stephen Davis, Sean Duffy, Conor Lenehan, Sean Campbell, Adam Treanor. Back: Jason Finlay, Joe Treanor, Barry O’Connell, Michael Donnellan, Sean Davis, Conor Darby, Sean Allen, Harry Beggy, Eoin McAllister, Hubert Matynia, Jonathan Murchan, Luke Cullen, Alan Wall (captain), Sam McCabe, Sean McGinley, Mark Davis

The panel on duty for the Feis Cup decider at Pairc Tailteann, front l/r: John Geoghegan, Tom Walsh, David Reynolds, Mark McCormack, Ruairi O`Dowd, David Maguire, Michael Clarke, Richard Barry, Richard Ennis. Back: Joey Farrelly, Raymond Reynolds, Ciaran Lydon, Alban Crosbie, Ronan Barry, Stephen O`Keeffe, Barry O`Dowd, Gareth McGuinness, Joe Clarke, Peter Reynolds, Conor McGuinness, Mark Reynolds, Karl Henry, Kit Reynolds, David Donnellan, Aaron McLoughlin

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Navan O’Mahonys grounds on Brews Hill with a noon throw-in on the day of the drawn All-Ireland hurling final. There was little joy for PJ Buckley’s men as they finished up 1-7 to 2-12 losers after being 1-2 to 1-6 adrift at the break. Walterstown had trailed by seven points before a penalty goal from Alban Crosbie improved their situation. Although the Blacks made a promising start to the second period with Cormac Madden (free) and Tom Walsh pointing, that was as good as it got for them as Simonstown rocked them by scoring 1-2 in a four-minute spell to book the outstanding last eight spot. Walterstown were operating in Division 2 of the A Leagues and missed out on promotion, finishing fourth on 14 points below three other senior sides. Simonstown Gaels and Seneschalstown ended up as joint top on 18 points with Nobber just one below them. Simonstown defeated the Blacks by two points in the opening round before Walterstown gained their first win when having four points to spare over Dunderry. A minimum margin loss to another intermediate side, Ballinlough, followed. Overall Walterstown won seven games and lost four. The other victories were at the expense of Kilmainham, Seneschalstown, St Michael’s, Rathkenny, Gaeil Colmcille and Trim. There were also defeats to St Colmcille’s and Nobber. The Blacks’ second championship side operated in the Junior B FC and failed to qualify from their division, finishing just below St Vincent’s and Dunderry, with Ratoath and St Colmcille’s the other teams in Group

B. Walterstown’s county senior player, Tom Walsh, described 2012 as a year of change with PJ Buckley and his assistants giving some of the younger players the opportunity to prove their worth. “With no relegation this year some younger lads mark were introduced. After being relegated from Division 1 of the league last year, the main target was to get back up to the top flight again,” he said. “We didn’t achieve that, we suffered two defeats in our first three outings and while we wanted to get back up to be playing more senior teams, we lost to two intermediate sides, Ballinlough and St Colmcille’s, as well as Simonstown and Nobber. “In the championship we lost our first two games to Wolfe Tones and Dunboyne and we felt we could win both of them. We got off to a good start against Tones with a couple of early scores putting us ahead. However, they got a run of scores, we lost the lead and were unable to get it back. “In the second game against Dunboyne I was unlucky to pick up a shoulder injury which kept me out of action for a few months. Although the injury meant that I was unavailable for most of Meath’s games, I was back for Walterstown’s third round game in August. “We played Dunshaughlin, who had been beaten finalists the year before, at Pairc Tailteann and after leading by six points at half-time, we won by four. That was a better display than in the first two games and it gave us renewed confidence. “Although only drawing with Skryne in the next round, we still had a chance of reaching the quarter-finals Best Wishes To Walterstown GFC In 2013 From and would go through if beating Simonstown in the last round of the group phase. William Sharp BVM&S • MRCVS “However, we got our tactics wrong Office Hours on the day. After Mon-Fri 8.30am - 5.30pm being seven points 24 Hour Emergency Service Follistown, behind, we got it Navan, Co. Meath down to four points at half-time. At the Email: lisadellequinehospital@gmail.com start of the second www.lisadellequinehospital.com half we reduced the

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U14 manager David Beggy

Senior manager PJ Buckley

Another score for Robbie McDonnell

arrears to two points but then they scored 1-2 and there was no way back for us. It was very disappointing to lose but maybe we played too negatively.” Tom Walsh was on the Meath squad during both of Seamus McEnaney’s years at the helm, having been there for the National League in Eamon O’Brien’s first year in charge in 2009. “It was disappointing to get injured and miss so much time, especially, with Mark Ward out, I thought I had a chance of claiming out of the midfield positions. I was on the bench for the Leinster final against Dublin but was not 100 per cent fit and then was given a run in the closing stages of the game against Laois,” he said. Walsh’s mother, Vivienne, is a sister of showjumping ace of a few years ago, Con Power, and Tom’s cousin, Robbie, made a big name for himself when partnering Silver Birch to victory in the Aintree Grand National in 2007. It is not surprising that Tom likes to go to race meetings when he has time off from his football commitments. “I suppose it was inevitable that I became interested in horse racing. I like to go to meetings whenever I can and give Robbie a bit of support and have a bet myself,” he remarked. Tom was living in Rathkenny before his parents moved to the Walterstown area when he was 10-years-old. “I began playing football with Rathkenny and had Brian Meade and James Macken among my teammates,” he recalled. As well as playing with Walterstown and Meath, Walsh has been involved with coaching under-10 players in the club. “An incredible amount of work is being put in coaching young players with the number participating from under-8 up under-14 fantastic. “Club secretary Aidan McCague, who is a native of Monaghan, is also heavily involved with the juvenile section of the club. A lot of kids with Dublin parents and from other counties as well as locals are being coached. “There is no shortage of young players in the club. A couple of under21 titles were won in the last couple of years and with good footballers around the ages of 18, 19 and 20, the future could be brighter for Walterstown,” concluded Tom Walsh.

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Cathal McGuinness

Harry Beggy clears

Peter O'Halloran presents the U15 Division 3 League Shield to Andrew Moran


GAEIL COLMCILLE Goalkeeper David Drew clears his lines against Ballinlough

Gaeil Colmcille’s long-awaited return to senior ranks has been put on hold for another year at least. The Kells crew went into the 2012 IFC campaign as one of the competition’s fancied sides, having reached the final the previous year. But Jody Devine’s charges failed to catch fire this time around and – for the first time since dropping to the middle grade in 2006 – they failed to make the knockout stage. Centre back Barry Smith believes they can put the blip behind them and re-emerge as genuine contenders in 2013.

I

t was always going to be difficult for Gaeil Colmcille to emulate their achievements of 2011. With former Meath star Jody Devine at the helm, the Kells club won the Division Three title and powered through to the final of the intermediate championship, only to be pipped by Moynalvey. The club also reached the final of the U21 FC, beating Dunboyne and Skryne before losing to Navan O’Mahonys. With such a solid campaign under their belts, the town side were one of the favourites to take the 2012 IFC

THE WAIT GOES ON ... but their championship campaign never got off the ground. After drawing with Trim, they suffered successive defeats to Longwood, Ballinlough and St Colmcille’s to crash out at the group stage for the first time since surrendering their senior status in 2005. While a mid-table finish in Division Two was an obvious source of

contentment, long-serving defender Barry Smith admits that the disappointing championship run was a source of frustration to all concerned: “We were definitely disappointed compared to last year. To get out of Division Three and then reach the intermediate final last year was probably more than we expected, but

Prior to the Intermediate Championship clash with neighbours Ballinlough at Carnaross, front l/r: Eibheann Keegan, Barry Tormey, Shane Reilly, Barry Smith, Stephen Reddy, Brian Hanlon, Danny McGovern, Declan Smith, Seamus Mattimoe, Barry Farrelly, Cormac Ferguson. Back: David Drew, Martin Barrett, Cormac Reilly, Keith Reilly, Cormac Keegan, Justin Carry Lynch, Eanna Reilly, Gary Arkins, Seanie Curran, Fionn Ferguson, Conor Murray, Michael Foley, Timmy Reddy, Joe Flanagan

Log onto www.dlynchpics.com to view more club photos

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The XV that took on Killyon in the SHC at Longwood, front l/r: Ollie Murphy, Seamus Mattimoe, Ryan Farnan, Stephen Reddy, Barry Tormey, Liam Ferguson, Gary McGovern, Eoin O'Sullivan. Back: Evan Keegan, Barry Smith, Conor Roche, Fionn Ferguson, John Morris, Conor Murray, Keith Reilly

we wanted to build on that this year. The goal would have been to do well in Division Two and then to push on in the intermediate championship, but it didn’t work out… “We put an awful lot into the 2011 campaign. We gave it everything. This time around, it was an accumulation of things. We lost three or four of our main players, which had an obvious effect on us, and we failed to get going. “It had been a while since we failed to win our first game in the championship, so the draw against Trim was a disappointing start. We felt that we should have won that game. Then Longwood caught us on

the hop and the break didn’t help after that. It’s hard to get going again and to keep lads interested.” If winning is a habit, the opposite is also true. When a team fails to get a win in those first two championship outings, it’s difficult to turn the corner and find some momentum. “It’s a killer,” Barry agrees. “For as long as I’ve been playing, we’ve always made the quarter-finals. This year was the first time we exited after the group stage. We knew after the Longwood game that we were in trouble. We knew that even if we’d beaten Ballinlough, qualifying would be next to impossible.” Even though it was a tough group,

was it a sobering experience for Gaeil Colmcille to miss out on the last six? “We would always have thought we were good enough to get to the quarter-finals and after that anything can happen. I actually felt that we were playing well and were improving from last year. I know my own game has certainly improved playing under Jody for the past two years and we were starting to get a balanced team together. “But you never really know where you stand in the IFC and a team can come out of nowhere. You never know just what’s going to happen. Philly Ward was a big loss at midfield. We’re not the biggest team anyway

Prior to the U14 B Shield final against Boardsmill in Kildalkey, front l/r: Michael McNally, Niall Williams, Conal Courtney, Liam Murray, David Ryan, James Farrelly, Peter Smyth, Jack Jordan. Back: Ryan Norton, Jim O'Brien, James Hennigan, Ronan McGovern, Shane Bennett, Sean King, Cormac Mattimoe, Conor McGovern (Captain), James Deighan

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Liam Ferguson

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and Philly was our main fielder. We could have been doing with his presence around the middle of the field.” The IFC is like a minefield at times and most of the teams involved are capable of pulling a result out of the fire. The standard of football is higher than casual observers might realise: “There are a lot of intermediate teams – the likes of Ballinlough and Dunderry, for example – who could go up to senior level and hold their own. Moynalvey were very comfortable up there this year and they came from out of nowhere last year.” What will Gaeil Colmcille’s approach be in 2013? “I’m sure we’ll do what we do every year. We’ll hold a meeting at the start of the year and get training organised and see what way we are fixed for numbers. Hopefully everybody will be back and the lads will have a bit more motivation after what happened this year. Hopefully the bite will be back. “We have a good few young fellas coming up and we will try to bring them through because they are the future of the club. It’s a fairly young team as it is but we need to bring a few more fresh faces through as well.” A lot of clubs in Meath have been decimated by the blight of emigration that has struck in the wake of the recession. To what extent have Gaeil Colmcille been affected? “From the team that contested the 2011 intermediate final, we were missing Philly Ward and Conal Finn off the starting team as well as Paul Tormay, who came on as a sub. That’s three lads and there are also a couple of hurlers gone but it’s nothing major compared to a lot of other clubs. I wouldn’t be putting it forward as an excuse anyway. “Even with a few lads missing, I still think we have enough strength in depth to be competitive in intermediate. As far as numbers are concerned, we are doing okay and we have a good minor team coming up as well. They are playing minor as a sole club now and hopefully we can bring those lads on and we’ll be able to improve in the years to come.” A former county minor, Barry Smith

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Conor Murray under pressure

has been a regular with Gaeil Colmcille since late 2005 but his exposure to senior football thus far has been limited. This is something he’d obviously like to change! “My first start with the first team was the senior relegation play-off final in 2005. That’s my only senior game so far. At this stage, I’d be happy just to play senior for three or four years. “Opportunities to play senior football don’t come around too often. We had a good chance last year. You need a bit of momentum and we got that last year but were beaten in the final. Hopefully next year we can give it a good shot again.” The Gaeil Colmcille side that earned a 0-11 to 1-8 draw by striking two late, late points against Trim in the first round of the 2012 Meade Potato Co. IFC at Athboy on Friday April 20th was:: D Drew; M Foley, R Flanagan, D Smith; A Hickey (0-1), B Smith, S Reddy; P Ward, J CarryLynch; D McGovern (0-1), K Reilly, S Curran; S Mattimoe (0-5), M Barrett, B Hanlon (0-4). Subs: G Arkins for Reilly (35), S McManus for Curran (58).

Fionn Ferguson

GAEILS DECIDE TO REGROUP AT INTERMEDIATE

Barry Farrelly

Brian Hanlon

In 2013, Gaeil Colmcille hurlers will contest the intermediate hurling championship, having decided that it would be in the best interests of the club to make the move. The area may be more known for its football exploits, but the fact of the matter is that the Kells outfit have plied their trade in hurling's top flight for the past four seasons, while their footballers are currently in the second tier competition. Down through the years, Gaeil Colmcille have on occasion produced teams that have competed at the business end of the hurling championship, but in recent years, they have been in a battle to avoid relegation. A culmination of factors has played a part in their struggles and none more so than the loss of key players through emigration and retirement. Last year, Gaeil Colmcille produced something of a Houdini effort when in

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Keith Reilly in Feis Cup action

David Drew


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Conor McGovern raises the U14 B Shield at Kildalkey

Former Meath great Ollie Murphy made his SHC debut for Gaeil Colmcille against Killyon

Cormac Keegan with Ballinlough's Peadar Byrne

the relegation play off, they trailed Clann na nGael by ten points at one stage before staging a remarkable comeback to claim a much-needed victory and preserve their senior status for yet another year. This has become an all too familiar trend for the club, but it is one that is unavoidable at the moment as they struggle to field their strongest line outs. For the players that have remained in the area, work and college commitments obviously take priority as given the current economic climate; sport must take a back seat. However, that is not too say that the club won't continue their impressive work at underage level and ensure that hurling is kept alive and well in the area. Overseeing the senior hurlers this year was Waterford native Eoin O'Sullivan and we speak to him for this year's edition of the Royal County Yearbook about the work being done throughout the club. Eoin was joined on the management team by Richie Bradley, Terry Ferguson and John Morris; all four bring invaluable experience to the set up. Having avoided relegation in such dramatic circumstances last year, Eoin revealed that hopes were high of an improved performance for this year's campaign, until the realisation of just how many players wouldn't be available set in. “It was great to avoid relegation last year as we were probably many people's favourites for the drop, but we produced a great second half to record a good win. After that we hoped that we could build on that victory for this year, but it was soon obvious that we would be missing a lot of players,” admitted Eoin. Talented players like Cormac Ferguson, Ross Kelly, Paul and Darren Tormey all emigrated, while Eoin himself retired, but later returned to the side and the talismanic Tom Shine transferred to neighbours Kilskyre and this was only a few of the absentees from the previous year. “A few lads emigrated and more retired, while some said that they just couldn't give the commitment this year and decided to opt out. We

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Sean Curran

Eanna Ryan

Declan Smith


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wouldn't have the biggest of panels and to lose anyone was a loss for us. “In saying that we sat down at the start of the year and said that we would give youth a chance. The club has had a good bit of success at underage level in recent years, particularly at minor and it was time that those lads came through.” Gaeil Colmcille's cause was helped by the draw for the senior hurling championship as they avoided all the big guns like Kildalkey, Kilmessan, Kiltale and Navan O'Mahony's. Instead they were in a group

alongside Dunboyne, Killyon, Drumree, Longwood and Boardsmill and on their day, the Kells outfit were more than capable of beating any of those teams. “We set out at the start of the year to have a game every two weeks and that was something that we felt was important. Lads needed to be playing hurling as most are dual players. Between championship, league and challenges, we managed to achieve that.” Eoin revealed that they have a good relationship with the football

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management, which is vital in any dual club. “We sat down at the start of the year with Jody Devine (football manager) and set out a plan for training and this worked well for us as we know when we would have the lads.” Of the five games played, Eoin believes that apart from the display against Drumree in the last match, their display against Killyon, particularly in the first half was their best performance of the year and the game was a landmark for former Meath All-star footballer Ollie Murphy, who made his senior hurling championship debut lining out at corner forward as Gaeil Colmcille went in search of their first win. Killyon got the scoring underway but this was cancelled out by a Fionn Ferguson free. The sides were level at four each after fifteen minutes with some fine points from Eoin Sullivan, Conor Roche. Further points pushed Killyon three clear and just when it looked liked the flood gates were about to open Gaeil Colmcille battled back. Scores from Fionn Ferguson, Ryan Farnham and Gary McGovern left them a point in arrears. Farnham levelled the game with a long range effort before they had a player was sent off by referee Stephen Masterson. Their opponents got the last score of the half to leave Killyon a point ahead at the break 0-9 to 08. Killyon added seven unanswered points within ten minutes of the second half to set them up for victory. Gaeil Colmcille replied with two pointed frees from Fionn Ferguson and a fine effort from Seamus Mattimoe but two points each from Keith Keoghan and Clayton Keegan closed out the win for Killyon by 0-20 to 0-11. “We played very well against Killyon and were level at half time. But they pulled away in the second half. In fairness in all our championship games, we started reasonably well, but the fact that for every game, we were missing between seven and ten players just proved too much for us.” Dunboyne won pulling up when the sides met in Ashbourne in July. The winners led by 0-13 to 0-5 at the


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Goalkeeper Conor Murray

break and John Waters' second half goal put a further shine on the scoreboard as it finished 1-20 to 0-7. A good start against Boardsmill saw Gaeil Colmcille getting the first score on the board with a point from play. However they gained their momentum quickly and went into the half time break 0-08 to 0-03 ahead. However the 'Mill side were slow coming into the second half and Gaeil Colmcille took advantage getting back into the match scoring three points without reply. Boardsmill then got into their stride to pull away but a goal from Gaeil Colmcille gave the Kells side the final say in this encounter. Boardsmill ran out comfortable winners at 2-13 to 1-09. The game against Longwood went in much the same vein and Sullivan's charges needed a win in their last game against Drumree to ensure their survival. They thought they had achieved that as a late point appeared to give them the win, but proceedings were halted just before the final whistle after ugly scenes broke out on the field. Kells thought the full time whistle had gone and they were safe, but the county board decided the game did not finished and ordered it to be refixed. In the meantime a number of players became unavailable, so Kells decided to forfeit the Drumree game and the subsequent relegation playoff against Na Fianna, meaning that they would be operating at intermediate level in 2013.

Dual star Seamus Mattimoe

Justin Carry Lynch makes a fine fetch

Fionn Ferguson

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Player manager Eoin O'Sullivan

Barry Tormey

John Morris clears


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DUNSANY Dunsany made their own little piece of history last year when the club won its first adult championship title in the shape of the Junior D FC, but the most sought after prize eluded them yet again as they exited the race for the Matthew Ginnity Cup at the penultimate hurdle. By Paul Clarke.

Pauraic Burke raises the Meath U21 C championship cup at Pairc Tailteann

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hat Junior D triumph, completed with a final victory over Clann na nGael, was significant in its own right. So too was the win over Curraha in the delayed 2010 Tailteann Cup decider, but the one Dunsany really crave is the JFC. They topped their group with a maximum haul of 10 points last year, took another big step when beating Ratoath in a quarterfinal, but then lost to Navan O’Mahonys in a semi-final. Dunsany last reached the junior final in 2009 when Longwood spoiled the party and a year later Ballinabrackey dashed their hopes in another semi-final. They have been the epitome of consistency over many seasons and when they again emerged from their group this year they had reached the knockout stages for the 14th time in 15 years. However, there was further disappointment when a team

SURPRISE QUARTER-FINAL LOSS managed by Jerry O’Donoghue under performed in a quarter-final against Simonstown Gaels’ second string and exited the title race. Earlier in the year Dunsany’s form in the All-County A League Division 4 had been far from encouraging as they suffered a succession of defeats which might have been expected to erode confidence ahead of the greater challenges to come. They

were drawn in group A of the JFC along with Clonard, St Brigid’s, Moylagh, Curraha and Cortown and once the championship action got up and running their form improved considerably. Kildalkey was the setting for their championship opener against Moylagh and a runaway 2-14 to 0-6 victory provided the ideal start. A Charlie Keena goal in the 16th minute

Meath Under 21 C football championship winners

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The squad that had a comfortable win over Curraha in the Junior Championship at Donore, front l/r: Noel Duffy, Danny Thynne, Pauric Burke, Donal Clynch, Charles Keena, Pauric Maguire, Diarmuid O'Donoghue, Mark Brennan, Danny Maguire, Emmett Ferguson, Paddy McGovern. Back: Paul O'Brien, Niall O'Donoghue, Stephen Clynch, Niall Flynn, Eoin Marsh, Declan Smyth, Alan Hogan, Ciaran Kenny, Shane Brennan

The Under 14 panel and mentors prior to the Division 4 Shield final against Dunderry at Dunganny

The Ladies squad that was on duty for the Division 3 FL decider against Dee Rangers at Dunganny, front l/r: Christine Grimes, Roisin Hogan, Jenny Cusack, Niamh Hogan, Shannen Thynne, Mary Ellen Sheridan, Sinead Cusack Markham, Sandra Coleman, Niamh Carroll, Krystel Clynch, Dee Duffy, Breda Dennehy, Maria Power, Aine Sheridan, Grainne Byrne. Back: Claire Donohue, Collette O'Connell, Nicola Leddy, Aisling Carroll, Kelly Gorman, Michelle Horan, Enya Flynn, Treasa Sheridan, Dionne Meehan, Caitriona Bolger, Noreen Sheridan, Katie Carroll, Sabrina Gibney, Lisa Donnelly, Tracy King

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helped Dunsany to a 1-6 to 0-3 interval lead and when Danny Maguire added a second 10 minutes after the change of ends the issue was decided. Meath minor player Declan Smyth played very well at midfield, scoring three points, and was ably assisted by Eoin Marsh, while Mark Brennan was top scorer with five points, including three from play. Keena again found the net in Dunsany’s second championship outing against Curraha at Donore, with his goal in the final quarter sealing a 1-10 to 0-4 win. They led by 0-5 to 0-2 at the interval and Brennan again topped the scoring charts with a personal contribution of five points. Dunsany were held to draws twice in the group stages of the championship, starting with a clash against Cortown at Athboy where it finished 1-4 to 0-7. Smyth scored the game’s only goal after 24 minutes and the sides were also level (1-2 to 0-5) at the interval. A Dermot O’Donoghue point eight minutes from the end proved to be the last score and both teams missed subsequent chances to snatch victory as the rain pelted down. Last year’s Junior B champions Clonard were next up for Dunsany at Trim where a 1-15 to 0-11 victory booked a place in the knockout stages yet again. Dunsany started well with a Brennan point and a Danny Maguire goal and pushed into a six-point lead, but Clonard recovered and were adrift by only 0-6 to 1-6 at half-time. Points from Smyth and Maguire pushed Dunsany five clear early in the second period, but Clonard came back again and had the deficit down to 0-11 to 1-10 early in the final quarter. However, they didn’t score again and points from Brennan and Kevin Keena (two each) and Alan Hogan enabled Dunsany to push clear. Dunsany were expected to defeat St Brigid’s and book top position in the section, but they could only draw (0-9 each) at Drumbaragh where a late Oisin Kiernan point earned the Ballinacree men a share of the spoils. Cortown, who scored a comfortable win over Moylagh in their last game, claimed pole position on nine points, followed by Dunsany on eight. That wasn’t a particularly

encouraging performance heading into a quarter-final against Simonstown Gaels which formed the first leg of a double header at Pairc Tailteann in early September and the concerns of the Dunsany supporters were justified as they were well beaten (0-11 to 3-11). They managed only three points from play over the hour and the fact that Brennan scored eight of their points from a variety of placed balls demonstrates how lacking they were in attack. Simonstown were a superior team as they played some superb football and took their scores well to reach the penultimate stage. A goal from Shane Kieran helped them to a 1-2 to 0-3 advantage by the end of the opening quarter, after Brennan had slotted over two frees and a ‘45’ for Dunsany, Only Maguire and Brennan (free) added to Dunsany’s tally in the first half and Simonstown led by 1-7 to 0-5 at the break. The team in red needed a productive start to the second half, but instead it was Simonstown who made a decisive dash towards a semi-final ticket. Shane O’Neill and John Lunney, two players with vast experience at senior level, both goaled inside a minute of the restart and there was never going to be any way back for Dunsany after that double blow. Simonstown were nine points clear when the last whistle sounded and Dunsany were out. Chairman Richard Harrahill was as disappointed as anybody involved with the club coming away from Pairc Tailteann. A year which started with poor league form and which steadily improved once the championship began hit a real low point on that balmy September evening. “Our form in the early part of the league wasn’t good,” he acknowledged. “We lost all our games in the league before the championship started. But traditionally the league isn’t great for us because we tend to be without players who are involved with the Meath hurlers. That wasn’t so much the case this year, but we were still without one or two early on. “We were also affected by emigration. Connor Brennan and Joey Keena are in Australia and Paul Kennedy is in Edinburgh. We didn’t

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The vesatile Niall Flynn

Danny Maguire

Mark Brennan


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have them at all this year. We were also missing Ger O’Neill due to illness. He played in only our first game. “Donie Clynch went off injured early in the quarter-final against Simonstown. He lasted only five minutes. Of the team which lined out in the semi-final against Navan O’Mahonys last year, five didn’t start against Simonstown and Donie only lasted a few minutes. A rural club can’t cope with that many missing.” Once the serious business of the championship got under way Dunsany put their indifferent league form behind them and won their first two matches with a fair bit to spare. “We were building up to the championship,” Richard added. “That was our main focus. Once we won our first couple of championship games we got going in the league as well. We played well in our first two championship games against Moylagh and Curraha and won them comfortably. We were moving nicely at that stage. “After that we drew with Cortown on a wet day in Athboy. That was a low scoring game which either side could have won. We both had chances to win it, but a draw was probably a fair result. “The game against Clonard was a big one. If we had lost that one we could have gone out of the championship. Clonard won the Junior B Championship last year, but we played well and beat them by seven points. It was a good performance, better than the one against Cortown. “We were already through to the knockout stages by the time we played St Brigid’s. We didn’t play well in that game, but we were happy enough with the draw because we didn’t mind whether we got Donaghmore/Ashbourne or Simonstown in the quarter-finals.” It turned out to be Simonstown who inflicted a heavy defeat and put an end to Dunsany’s hopes of winning that eagerly sought after junior title. “We thought the big Pairc Tailteann pitch would suit us and we usually manage to beat Simonstown, but we didn’t perform on the night,” said Richard. “We were five points behind at half-time, but the lads were really up for it at that stage. We believed we could still win it, but Simonstown got

two goals at the start of the second half which killed us. Simonstown deserved plenty of credit. They played very well on the night. “It was a huge disappointment. That was our biggest defeat in the knockout stages in a long time. We expected to get to the semi-finals. But hope springs eternal. Every year is a new year. We have good young players coming through. That gives us hope.” Dunsany will mark the 50th anniversary of their foundation next year. It’s a milestone worth celebrating and there couldn’t be a more fitting year to make that breakthrough in the JFC.

SMYTH GOAL SECURES U21FC TITLE FOR DUNSANY

the half looked like being vital until Smyth popped up with a brilliant strike. Pleavin landed his second free before county minor cut through the Longwood defence before unleashing a fierce drive to the net to leave Dunsany leading by 1-8 to 1-6. Kevin Keena added an excellent point and heading into the final ten minutes the balance appeared to be with Dunsany. So it proved, Dunsany - Niall Flynn; Eoghan Hogan, Niall Cleary; Jake Harlin, Pauric Burke, Pauric Maguire; Declan Smyth (1-0), Eoin Marsh (0-1); Kevin Kenna (0-3), Niall Thynne, David Hobson (0-2); Danny Thynne, Shane Brennan (0-2). Subs - Nathan Pleavin (0-2 fs) for Niall Thynne (23), Seanie Doyle for Hobson (51)

Declan Smyth's brilliant goal was central to a strong final quarter rally as Dunsany overcame a dogged Longwood and claim the Coolrite Under 21 FC C title at Pairc Tailteann on a 1010 to 1-8 scoreline. The county minor's goal was one of the best of the year and restored Dunsany's lead, 1-7 to 1-6, in the 47th minute. A tenacious defence ensured Longwood were unable to snatch another goal. Kevin Kenna finished with three points from play while David Hobson one less while all bar two of Paul O'Donnell's charges scores came from play Dunsany were first to show with a third minute Shane Brennan point. Longwood responded with four points but it was then Dunsany's turn to enjoy a productive spell with David Hobson, Kevin Keena and Hobson again registering to leave it 0-4 each after 29 minutes, before Longwood landed the last point of the game. A period of Dunsany dominance was rewarded with a Shane Brennan point to leave it 0-5 each after 36 minutes. A Nathan Pleavin pointed free put Dunsany in front for since they opened the scoring. Things should have got better for the team in red, but Kevin Keena blazed wide from a goal attempt. Longwood’s goal midway through

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Dual star Eoin Marsh

Sean Stephens has the ball


DRUMREE With the club not fielding a football team in 2012, it was left to the hurlers to fly the flag for Drumree and their SHC campaign was not what they hoped for with four of their five Jubilee Cup outings resulting in defeats.

Keith Commons and Johnny Gilsenan in the thick of the action against Boardsmill in Brews Hill

A

fter gaining intermediate championship honours with a final victory over Boardsmill in 2010, the men in the red and white stripes performed creditably in their first year in the senior ranks when defeating Gaeil Colmcille and drawing with Trim. This year they suffered losses to Dunboyne, Longwood, Killyon and Boardsmill in Group B before again crossing camans with Gaeil Colmcille in a relegation tussle at Longwood. Gaeil Colmcille held a narrow lead when that game was called to a premature conclusion and with the Kells side not prepared to field in the refixture, the Dunshaughlin parish side survived in the top grade for at least one more year. Former county hurler Kevin Dowd of Dunderry was in charge for a second term with local men Stephen McMorrow and David Farrell his assistants. The 2012 SHC campaign began with a clash against Dunboyne

SENIOR STATUS RETAINED at Longwood where the side in black and amber had matters very much their own way as they cruised to a 310 to 1-4 victory. Drumree actually held the lead in the early stages of that opener with Shane Troy firing to the net from a 20metre free after Neil Hackett had hit the first score, also from a free.

However, that was Drumree’s only score before the break when they trailed by 1-0 to 2-6, despite Dunboyne having Michael Dunne sent off in the second quarter. Although Gareth Rooney, Ciaran Kenny and Shane Troy showed up well, Drumree could only add four points in the second half and finished

The senior hurlers before the championship clash with Boardsmill in Brews Hill Navan, front l/r: Cillian Dennehy, Paul Walsh, Keith Commons, James Reilly, Fergal Delaney, Dermot Doyle, Keith Rooney, Stephen Doyle. Back: Shane Troy, David Crimmins, Christopher Doyle, Brendan Walsh, Mark Devaney, Ciaran Kenny, David Troy, Johnny Gilsenan, Gareth Rooney

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Drumree before the delayed MHL B final clash with Dunderry at Lomans Park Trim, front l/r: Leon Everett, Keith Rooney, David Moore, Joshua Wall, Killian Gavin. Back: David Baggot, David Reilly, Gareth Rooney, Liam Carey, Colin Farrell, Darren Lawless, James Reilly, Sean Gavin

up a dozen points off the winners. The men in red and white put up a much more creditable performance in round two when losing by 2-6 to 2-11 to Longwood at Trim, having been ahead by 2-4 to 1-6 at the break. Longwood raced into a decisive early advantage of 1-2 to 0-0, the same margin which would separate the sides at the end. Drumree rallied with points from James Reilly (three frees) and David Troy to reduce the deficit to the minimum and then struck for two goals in the closing stages of the first half. Troy fired in the first of them when finding the net after his initial attempt came back off an upright. Then a long delivery from John Crimmins went to brother David who doubled on the sliotar for a spectacular goal which put his side into the lead. A Jim Dorran goal in the second period proved decisive and although Drumree sent on Caoimhin King, GT Troy and Johnny Gilsenan, they were unable to keep up the steam generated before the interval. Drumree failed to reproduce the promising form of that outing in their next outing when returning to the Longwood venue where eventual finalists Killyon showed no mercy when romping to a 4-16 to 0-5 victory. In the fourth round Boardsmill reversed the result of the 2010 IHC final when scoring a 0-13 to 0-8 win in a Friday evening clash at the Navan O’Mahonys ground, having held a narrow 0-6 to 0-5 advantage at the break. The sides were on level terms (0-4 each) before James Reilly’s fifth point gave Drumree the lead. Although Boardsmill had James Pratt sent off before the halfway stage, they made light of the numerical shortage when having the better of the exchanges after the switching of ends. Boardsmill went 0-8 to 0-5 clear soon after the restart before points from David Troy and Brendan Walsh brought the difference back to the minimum again. However, the ‘Mill outscored their opponents by 0-5 to 0-1 for the rest of the hour with another Troy score no more than a consolation.

Drumree had a third SHC outing at Longwood when facing Gaeil Colmcille in a relegation tussle. The Kells side were leading by 0-13 to 0-12 in a contest which was generally sporting before a few incidents caused referee Marcus Quinn to the abandon the match near the end of the hour. Back in the spring Drumree took part in the Leinster Club Hurling League Division 2 and turned in some creditable performances, winning twice and losing their other two games by narrow margins. In their opening game a 2-12 to 1-13 victory was recorded over Mountrath of Laois at Warrenstown before Dublin side St Kevin’s defeated them by 3-12 to 3-9 at Dolphin Park. Then Drumree travelled to Delvin where they accounted for the home team on a 1-10 to 1-7 scoreline and in a quarterfinal clash St Kevin’s again got the better of their Meath rivals, winning by 1-14 to 1-12 at Warrenstown. Although disappointed that Drumree did not perform as well in the SHC in 2012 as in their debut year, club chairman Martin Walsh took some positives from the second campaign. “While the season may have been disappointing, it was good that we maintained senior status and with some good young players on the way up to freshen things, the future can be better,” he said. “The form shown in the SHC was not consistent enough. After being well beaten by Dunboyne in our first game, the display against Longwood was much better. We led at halftime in the second round game and although eventually losing by five points, Longwood went on to reach the semifinal stage and, with a little luck, could have gone further. “We slipped back after that promising performance when at the receiving end of a very heavy beating from Killyon. They went on to reach the final but we should not have lost to them by 23 points. “In the fourth round Boardsmill get some revenge for losing the intermediate final two years ago and that win left them safe. Then we had the last round clash with Gaeil Colmcille, there wasn’t much between the teams and then the Kells side were unable to fulfil the refixture, which meant that we

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Jim Tallon

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stayed up. “We had three players on the county minor panel, Gareth Rooney, Josh Wall and David Reilly, and other youngsters also coming through the ranks, we have potentially good hurlers for the future. “We are joined up with Blackhall Gaels for underage hurling and we supply a good number of players to teams who served up some good displays. In the under-16 B competition Na Fianna beat us narrowly at the semi-final stage before going on to win out. “I hope the senior team won’t have the same struggle next year as they had this year, they have the ability to do a bit better in 2013,” concluded the chairman. The Drumree club has been quite busy off the pitch as well as on it over the last few years with facilities at Knockmark being improved since the start of a redevelopment programme in 2009. The main improvements were the installation of a full-sized astro turf pitch, the turning of the main pitch, the completion of work on the juvenile pitch and the erection of a hurling wall. The official opening of the astro turf pitch and the hurling wall took place on May 27th last as part of a family fun day and a fundraising ‘hurlathon’ involving all age groups which went on for four hours. As well as the hurling, there were a number of other attractions and the venture was well supported.

All-Ireland junior football triumph when Cavan and London were defeated in the last two games. Drumree went on to held their own in senior ranks for a few years, their best achievement being reaching the semi-final stage of the championship in 1965 when they lost narrowly to Skryne. A few All-Ireland medal winners have worn the red and white, starting with Billy Rattigan of Meath’s 1954 team and followed by Jimmy Walsh, who was on the 1967 senior panel and was part of the historic trip to Australia the following year. Fast forward to the ‘90s and Evan Kelly brought further glory to the small club when part of the Royals’ Sam Maguire Cup triumphs in 1996 and ’99. John Cullinane kept the flag flying in 2001 but missed out on glory as Galway dashed Meath hopes. Drumree had a memorable year in 1998 when capturing county JFC honours with a final victory over St Mary’s. That was followed by a memorable Leinster success with Ballyroan of Laois defeated in the provincial decider at Dunshaughlin. They then played in the intermediate grade up to 2005 but had been struggling in more recent years. The decision not to field in football in 2012 was taken early in the year. At the time of compiling this article the future of Drumree football was unclear but it would not be a surprise to see the club with such a proud tradition in the game fielding again soon in the big ball code.

Ciaran Kenny

Keith Rooney

FOOTBALL Drumree did not field a football team for the first time in over 50 years in 2012. Although football in the area dates back to 1887, the modern day club was founded in 1956 and some outstanding players wore the red and white hoped jerseys in county title triumphs since then. It did not take the new club long to make their mark and junior championship honours were annexed in 1959 when St Patrick’s were overcome after three games, the first at Trim and the next two at Skryne. An intermediate success followed two years later when Slane were defeated in the final and the following year, 1962, Drumree supplied the captain, Jimmy Walsh, for Meath’s

U13HL: TITLE FOR DRUMREE/BLACKHALL There was plenty of drama as the Drumree/Blackhall Gaels combination edged Ratoath by 3-9 to 2-10 in this Shield Final played in Dunganny. They dominated play and lead by seven points near the end of the first half, with Andrew Leneghan scoring the only goal. Ratoath hit back to leave the interval score 1-6 to 1-4 in favour of Drumree/BHG. It was nip and tuck throughout the second-half, with never more than a score between the teams. With seven minutes left on the clock, Drumree/BHG lead by a point but

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David Troy


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were dealt a blow when Ratoath struck for a goal. Drumree/BHG went back up the pitch and won a free 30 metres out and in front of the goal. Niall Gavin stepped up and coolly drilled the sliotar to the back of the net to leave his side leading by two points. With time nearly up Ratoath scored another goal, but to their credit the

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Drumree/BHG boys didn't drop their heads and deep in injury-time won a long range free. The ball was dropped into the edge of the square and broke-out to Paddy Conway, who burst through and drove the ball low and hard for goal, to set of wild scenes of celebration. The final score was 3-9 to 2-10 in favour of Drumree/BHG This was a real team performance with the whole squad of eighteen players contributing handsomely to the victory.Special mention has to go to goal-keeper Conor Jones who returning from injury, put in a man of the match performance with pinpoint puck-outs and some wonderful saves. There were also outstanding performances from Jamie Rattigan, Ross McQuillan, Daniel Byrne, Niall Hurley and David Fildes. Drumree/Blackhall Gaels - Conor Jones, Conor Moyles, Jamie Rattigan, Liam Hanley, Niall Hurley, Ross McQuillan, Daniel Byrne, Paul Briody, Matthew Costello, David Fildes, Paddy Conway, Kevin Bawle, Padraig Clinton, Andrew Leneghan, Niall Gavin, Odhran O'Riordan, Jonathan Pearle, Luke Mitchell.

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Fergal Delaney

David Crimmins


OLDCASTLE Oldcastle went for a threetime All-Ireland SFC medal winner to be their coach in 2012, but their SFC campaign proved to be something of a struggle as they lost their first three group matches, before achieving a morale-boosting victory over fellow strugglers Rathkenny last time out. By Paul Clarke.

C

olm Coyle also managed the Monaghan and Meath senior teams in the past, but this year he was patrolling the sideline for Oldcastle as they attempted to reach the knockout stages of the championship for the first time since they returned to the Keegan Cup race following their IFC triumph in 2009. Coyle took over from Seamus Kiernan, who played such a big role in that stylish intermediate success, and he inherited a team which had achieved promotion to Division 1 of the All-County A League last year, before losing the Division 2 final to Castletown. Early in 2011 Oldcastle tasted success when they defeated Walterstown in the previous year’s Feis Cup decider. A close scrutiny of their SFC results from last year suggests that with a bit of luck they might have emerged from

Cian McPartland has it under control

A TOUGH GROUP FOR OLDCASTLE their section. They failed to win a game, but they drew three times (against Trim, Blackhall Gaels and Simonstown Gaels), lost to Wolfe Tones by just two points and went under to eventual champions Summerhill by six. When the draw for the 2012 hoganstand.com SFC was made last spring Oldcastle came out in group C

which included two of the big contenders for outright honours in favourites Navan O’Mahonys and Seneschalstown. Also in the mix were Blackhall and Rathkenny and it was clearly the meetings with those sides which offered Coyle’s team the most realistic opportunity to garner points. Oldcastle couldn’t have asked for a

The senior squad on championship duty against Navan O'Mahonys at Kells, front l/r: A. McCann, R. Pakenham, B. Curran, S. Feeney, T. Rahill, D. Hawdon, T. Farrelly, E. Gilsenan, S. Farrelly, P. Kevin, E. McPartland, A. McCabe, P. Gilsenan, M. Cadden, J. Smith. Back: R Farrelly, T. Farrelly, C. McPartland, P. Lynch, S. Tierney, G. Reidy, R. McHugh, P. Coakley, P. Rahill, R. Farrelly, C. McHugh, P. Higgins, V. Reynolds, D. McPartland, N. Mangan, T. Lynch

Log onto www.dlynchpics.com to view more club photos

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The ladies celebrate their Junior B Championship final success at Lomans Park Trim. Players included are, front l/r: Niamh Foy, Emma Healy, Niamh Fitzsimons, Niamh Plunkett, Aoife Fitzsimons, Florence Smith, Eileen McDermott, Ciara Delaney, Lorna Tuite, Annieka Cadden. Back: Aoife Caffrey, Rebecca Farrelly, Nicole Maguire, Grainne Sheridan, Alison Farrelly, Cliodhna Caffrey, Caoimhe McKenna, Aoife Maguire, Karen Cadden, Ciara Foy, Emma Higgins, Lorraine Farrelly, Maggie Caffrey

The U15 Division 4 winners, front l/r: Ronan Taggart, Christopher Smith, CJ Healy, Jason Scully, Keith Connell, Mossy Flood, Kyle Kavanagh, Owen McCluskey, Dylan Garrigan. Back: Oran O'Reilly, Shane Quinn, Conor McCluskey, Keith Cunningham, Cian McKenna, Conor Delaney, Matthew Taggart, Stephen Lawless, Karl Gibney

Defeated by Rathkenny in the U14 Division 5 FL decider at Moynalty, front l/r: Mossie Flood, Lee Healy, Stephen Milmo, Sean Martin, Dylan Garrigan, Kyle Kavanagh, Kyle Rudden, Ronan Taggart. Back: Karl Gibney, Keith Connell, Matthew Magowan, Cillian Eager, Jason Scully, Oran O'Reilly, James Caffery, Eoin McCloskey, Stephen Lawless

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Kyle Kavanagh

Full forward Niall Mangan

Team manager Colm Coyle (centre) with selectors Owen Gilsenan and Mick Kavanagh

tougher championship opener than a meeting with O’Mahonys and being without the hugely talented Paddy Gilsenan added considerably to the task. The Navan men won comprehensively at Kells, pushing clear in the second half to be 1-15 to 0-4 clear by the end, but they were far from convincing in a dreadful first period. Niall Mangan scored Oldcastle’s only point in that half from a free and boosted by a 12th minute goal from Alan Forde O’Mahonys led by 1-3 to 0-1 at the break. They might have got another goal, but Stephen Bray was denied when Paddy Coakley pulled off a brilliant save. O’Mahonys eased into a 1-8 to 0-1 lead by the three-quarter stage and added seven more points as they simply went through the motions. Things improved ever so slightly for Oldcastle in the last quarter when they added three points courtesy of Mangan, Alan McCann and substitute Ronan Farrelly, but they were a well beaten team. The Navan O’Mahonys’ grounds at Brews Hill provide the setting for a meeting with Blackhall Gaels and the outcome was more or less decide inside the first 20 minutes when the Batterstown-Kilcloon amalgamation opened up an eight-point (2-4 to 0-2) advantage. Thomas Coyle and Alan Nestor scored the goals in quick succession and Blackhall went on to lead by 2-4 to 0-3 at the interval after McCann had accounted for all of Oldcastle’s points from frees. The winners managed only a Mark Ferris point in the second half as McCann (two frees) and Paddy Rahill scored for Oldcastle to leave them adrift by 0-6 to 2-5 at the final whistle. After a very lengthy spell of championship inactivity Oldcastle and Seneschalstown became the first teams to contest an SFC game at Kilmainham and despite a highly committed performance Coyle was unable to plot a victory over his former club. Oldcastle defended heroically in numbers and it was only in the closing stages that Seneschalstown tagged on a couple of scores to carve out a 0-11 to 0-7 victory. Ronan Farrelly (two), Robert Farrelly – when

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U14 keeper Cillian Eager

Rory McHugh

Stephen Lawless raises the U14 Division 4 Championship Cup at Dunganny


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Unlucky to lose to Blackhall Gaels after extra time in the U16 Division 5 FL decider at Navan, front l/r: Emmet Lynch, Cian McKenna, Christopher Smith, Robert Weir, Conor Delaney, CJ Healy, Philip Reilly, Matthew Taggart. Back: John McEnroe (manager), Keith Cunningham, Adam Halpin, Ignes Ramonas, Ronan Maguire, Shane Quinn, Devidas Slomskis, Jason Stanley, Desmond Patrick Martin, Sean McEnroe, Paul Smith (selector)

Before taking on St Patrick’s in the U14 Division 4 Championship final at Dunganny, front l/r: Kyle Kavanagh, Stephen Milmo, Dylan Garrigan, Sean Martin, Lee Healy, Cillian Eager, Conor Hetherington, Kyle Rudden, Colin Hawden. Back: Jason Scully, James Caffrey, Oran O'Reilly, Stephen Lawless, Matthew Magowan, James Caffrey, Keith Connell, Carl Gibney, Mossie Flood, Ronan Taggart Missing from photo: Eoin McCloskey, Robert Smith

Finalists in the Ladies Division 1 FL, front l/r: Emma Higgins, Niamh McEnroe, Eileen Rahill, Aine Bennett, Grainne Sheridan, Joanna Byrne, Niamh Plunkett, Emma Healy, Gemma Galligan, Ciara Delaney, Sarah O'Reilly, Emer McEnroe, Stephanie Caffrey. Back: Kelly Allen, Sinead Coyle, Bridgetta Lynch, Aine Finlay, Eileen McDermott, Caoimhe McKenna, Lorraine Farrelly, Claire Griffin, Aoife Maguire, Shauna Coakley, Maggie Caffrey, Deirdre Mangan, Jane Browne, Annikea Cadden, Ashley Leavy

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Stephen Tierney

Barry Curran

he might have goaled – and Paddy Gilsenan scored first half points for Oldcastle and they were the minimum (0-4 to 0-5) behind at the change of ends. It could well have been a far bigger deficit as Seneschalstown missed three goal chances early in the second quarter. Oldcastle ‘keeper John Weir saved brilliantly to deny Brian Sheridan, Joe Sheridan then blazed wide and the same player was also off target from the penalty spot. Seneschalstown held a 0-7 to 0-4 lead at the three-quarter stage and with Oldcastle’s only second half points coming from Ronan Farrelly, Paddy Gilsenan and Stephen Tierney they were never scoring consistently enough to pull off a shock victory over the Yellow Furze team. Oldcastle were idle in the fourth round of the championship, but when the group phase concluded in early September they got their first victory when defeating Rathkenny by 1-13 to 1-8 at Kilmainhamwood. With no relegation this year there was nothing more than pride at stake and the defeat consigned Rathkenny to the foot of the section. McCann gave Oldcastle an early lead with a pointed free, but John Donegan replied with a goal for Rathkenny who were a point to the good as the first half entered the last 10 minutes. However, Oldcastle took over completely and scored 1-6 in the last eight minutes of the period the goal coming from Eoin Gilsenan to open up a 1-10 to 1-2 interval advantage.

Darren Hawdon with Stephen MacGabhann of O'Mahonys

They stretched the lead to 10 points early in the second half, but Rathkenny battled back to within four points and had a chance to cut the gap to the minimum when they were awarded a penalty. But there was relief for Oldcastle when Brian Meade kicked his effort wide and despite having two players sent off they scored the last point six minutes into injury time to seal victory. Oldcastle’s senior team captain this year was Eoin Gilsenan who was very impressed by Colm Coyle in his first year as coach. “Colm was very good to work with,” he said. “He has done it all. He was great with the players.” Unfortunately, Oldcastle’s third year back in the senior ranks after their intermediate success in 2009 was affected by injuries to key players at various stages. “We seemed to get a lot of injuries at the wrong times of the year and when you are working off a small panel like we are it puts pressure on you,” Eoin added. “Paddy Gilsenan was missing for some of our games and was a big loss to us. Ronan Farrelly was missing at various stages as well. Robert Pakenham played very little football this year. Our free-taker Niall Mangan was out through injury for a while too. We can’t afford to be without players like those lads.” Oldcastle’s five-team group in the SFC was a tough one because it contained title favourites O’Mahonys and other genuine contenders in Seneschalstown and it was against the Navan men that they got the

The talented U8’s

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The U10’s reached the final of the North Meath League

competition up and running at Kells back in April. “O’Mahonys just overpowered us in the first championship game,” Eoin said. “We went into that one asking ourselves was the first round a good time or a bad time to get O’Mahonys? It turned out to be a bad time. They were missing players, but they were still very strong. They went well clear of us in the second half.” Things didn’t work out much better when Oldcastle attempted to get their championship campaign back on the rails against Blackhall Gaels, with the concession of a couple of goals putting a big dent in their hopes of victory . “We didn’t play at all in the first half against Blackhall,” Eoin added. “They got in for two goals in that half which left us playing catch-up. We fell too far behind. We owned the ball in the second half, but we just couldn’t break them down. It was very disappointing. “We played quite well in the third round against Seneschalstown at Kilmainham, but we kicked a few balls away at crucial times in the second half and they pushed on in the closing stages. Seneschalstown have a bit of class.” Oldcastle had to wait until the last round of group matches to get their first championship victory when they got the better of Rathkenny at Kilmainhamwood to avoid finishing at the bottom of the section. “There was nothing at stake when

we played Rathkenny in the last game, but it was just great to get the win,” Eoin added. “We got a monkey off our back that evening. We targeted winning that game and we did it well. It was a good end to the championship for us.” Looking to 2013 and beyond Eoin is looking forward to a championship in which there are no five-team groups and he is also hoping that Oldcastle will be less badly affected on the injury front. “Injuries have been a problem for us and we have also been drawn in a five-time group twice in our three years back at senior level,” he said. “That’s a big disadvantage, especially when you lose your first game. It puts you under a lot of pressure. But, thankfully, that’s something which is being rectified.”

OLDCASTLE TAKE U14 TITLE Finally ... the boys in blue brought the cup across the Mountain. After several finals, semi finals, close encounters and heartache for this group of boys the roar when captain Steven Lawless lifted the Division 4 championship cup after a 5-7 to 5-5 win over St Patrick’s could be heard in Oldcastle all the way from Dunganny. Oran O'Reilly opened Oldcastle's tally with a fine point from play. St Pat's quickly realised that the Oldcastle forwards would be hard to

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handle and operated a sweeper in the half back line. Oldcastle piled on the pressure early on but found the scores hard to come by. Steven Lawless and Oran O'Reilly were operating well in midfield. Jason Scully opened his account with a well taken goal but despite having alot of the ball Oldcastle failed to turn this into scores. St Pat's started coming into the game more and the long ball from the midfielders to a very tall full forward was working well but James Caffrey was not to out done and won a lot of ball. When the ball did break of the taller attackers Dylan Garrigan and Mossy Flood were quickly in on the ball. Keith Connell took a heavy blow in a collision with a St Pat's player along the side line but the centre back showed what this game meant to the lads when he jumped to feet and showed no ill effects. Kyle Kavanagh’s points kept Oldcastle in touch. St Pat's pushed for a goal and that looked likely when the forward closed in on goals but Sean Martin somehow made up about 10 yards on his man to deflect the ball wide for a ‘45. Oldcastle's last score of the first half was a goal but the scorer was open to debate with both Carl Gibney and Ronan Taggart claiming the last touch. The score at half time was Oldcastle 2-3 St Pat's 1-3. Oldcastle made some changes with Carl Gibney replacing Cillian Eager in goal and Kyle Rudden taking up Gibney's corner forward role. Scully added his second goal early in the


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Terry Farrelly

Eoin Gilsenan

Alan McCann has possession

second half but St Pat's kept pushing and added a goal of their own. The game was in the balance as St Pat's added another goal but Oldcastle battled well with James Caffrey gathering a lot of ball having been left a free man as St Pat's stuck to the sweeper system. Points from Scully, O'Reilly and Lawless kept the score board turning over. A big push from St Pat's saw Jason Scully dropping deep around the middle to help out and the switch of Oran O'Reilly and James Caffrey steady the ship. The sun played a big factor in Oldcastle fourth goal when a long ball from Steven Lawless drifted into the top corner by a blinded Goalie. No one wanted to say it but maybe that was the bit of luck which normally does not fall Oldcastle's way. Stephen Milmoe made way for Colin Hawdon who made some goods runs looking for possession. Lee Healy, who's second half goal scoring ability has become key to this team so far this year, pushed to get his name on the second board. However his power full shot rebounded off the cross bar. Gasps rang out around Dunganny but Colin Hawdon kept his eye on the ball and kept his nerve to drive the ball into the net. St Patricks kept pushing but Oldcastle knew that that this time no one was going to stop them and when referee Rory O'Connor blew the final whistle it signalled wild celebrations for the boys in Blue. To pick a few players who stood out would be unfair. This group of lads all gave 100% and more when needed over the last couple of years and this was just reward for all their hard work. A word of praise must also go to the management team of Harry Taggart, Lorcan Fox and Myles Lawless who had their team tuned to perfection on the big day. Oldcastle: Cillian Eager, Matthew McGowan, James P Caffrey, Sean Martin, Dylan Garrigan, Keith Connell, Mossy Flood, Oran O'Reilly (0-2), Steven Lawless (1-1), Kyle Kavanagh (0-3), Ronan Taggart (10), Lee Healy, Stephen Milmoe Jason Scully (2-1), Carl Gibney. Subs: James R Caffrey, Kyle Rudden, Conor Hetherton, Colin Hawdon (1-0)

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A determined Dylan Garrigan

Lee Healy

Keith Connell


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SKRYNE 2012 was a landmark year for Skryne GFC with the club celebrating the 125th anniversary of its foundation and its proud record of competing at senior level in the Royal County for 75 consecutive years.

Harry Rooney raises the MFL Division 2 Cup at Pairc Tailteann

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nfortunately, the club’s senior team was unable to mark the occasion on the pitch as they failed to make the knock-out stages of the Meath SFC but there were plenty of off-field activities to keep club members and supporters occupied during the course of the year. First up was the launch of the club’s book – ‘A History of the GAA in Skryne, 1887-2010; The Blue Kings of Tara’ – by then GAA President Christy Cooney in Killeen Castle back in March. Meticulously compiled by 1967 AllIreland winner David Carty over an eight-year period, the publication sets new standards in club history projects. Presented in two beautifully illustrated hardback volumes of 800 pages, in a presentation case, Carty’s work details the highs and lows of the club, from its pioneering 1887 GAA forebearers Killana Shamrocks to the county championship victory of 2010.

KINGS OF TARA MARK MILESTONE YEAR IN STYLE Approximately 450 attended the launch at Killeen Castle where Christy Cooney, Micheal O Muircheartaigh and Sean Boylan were amongst the guests of honour. The roll call included the county’s first All-Ireland winning captain Brian Smyth who was joined by Paddy O’Brien, Micheal O’Brien, Cyril O’Brien and Tom O’Brien from the

1940s/50s. Paddy Mulvany of ’67 fame was also in attendance along with Colm O’Rourke, Liam Hayes, Trevor Giles and John McDermott. The late Paddy Cromwell – who was sub-goalkeeper for the ’67 AllIreland win over Cork – was represented by his wife Pat while many other current and former

The senior panel on championship duty against Wolfe Tones at Trim, front l/r: Johnny Quinn, Jamie Jordan, Conor O'Brien, Neil Burke, James Hegarty, Trevor Giles, Martin Mulvany, Mark Battersby, Ronan McCabe, Adam O'Sullivan, Ciaran Lenehan, Felim O'Rourke, Kevin O'Reilly. Back: Cian Byrne, Niall Lenehan, Harry Rooney, Paul McGoldrick, Dermot Brennan, David Lynch, Tomas McKeown, Ian Davis, David McGoldrick, Aidan Tuite, Declan Morley, James Looby, Gordon Geraghty, Allan Carty

Log onto www.dlynchpics.com to view more club photos

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Beaten but unbowed, the Skryne panel before the U14 Reserve Shield final against Dunboyne in Pairc Tailteann, front l/r: J. Connon, T. Kelly, C. Doherty, E. O'Brien, S. Dowling, T. Carpenter, E. Quinn, L. Thorpe. Back: J. Quinn (manager), L. Carolan, S. Byrne, D. Bissett, M. Long, J. Jordan, M. Swan, C. O'Dowd, D. Hawes

Skryne players who donned the green and gold jersey were also in attendance on the night. An entertaining night was had by all as MC Brendan Cummins introduced the main speakers and O Muircheartaigh interviewed many of the guests, in particular the holders of All Ireland medals. “The night surpassed all our expectations,” Book Launch chairman Dermot Carty – David’s brother - told Royal County. “Christy Cooney was highly complimentary of the book and said that all clubs should use it as the standard in the future. “Fair play to David. Every bit of the book was written by hand and his daughter Karen, in conjunction with her husband who together own Anu Design, helped with the typing and the design. “The history of the club was there it was just a matter of someone garnering it and putting it together. The club is very appreciative of his efforts and the history of Skryne GAA club is now there for generations to come.” No sooner had the book launch come to an end, when the thoughts of the club’s committee members turned to organising a dinner to mark the milestones celebrated by the club this year. A fitting precursor to next year’s hosting of ‘The Gathering’, the event took place in Knightsbrook Hotel on Saturday, November 17 last and former GAA Director General Liam Mulvihill was the guest of honour. “Personally, I thought there would be about 200-250 there but we had 307 people in attendance in Trim on the night. We couldn’t believe how successful it was,” recalled Dermot who is also the club’s vice-chairman. “People came from Paris, England and all over Ireland. Even though ‘The Gathering’ isn’t due to take place in Ireland until next year, our committee decided that we

should encompass it in that evening as it coincided with our anniversary celebrations. It couldn’t have gone any better.” The doors of Skryne’s re-developed clubhouse was also open in 2012 and there was a large turnout back in April when the club named its new home dressingroom ‘The Liam Tolan Room’. Named in memory of the talented young footballer who tragically lost his life in a road accident in 2010 just hours after lining out for the Meath minors, Fr Thomas O’Mahony blessed the plaque which was unveiled by Liam’s father. Plans are in the pipeline to officially open the new facilities in 2013. “We are hoping to organise a game between Meath and Dublin,” Carty revealed. “Hopefully the new Meath manager will look sympathetically on our request!” On newly appointed Royal County manager Mick O’Dowd, Dermot said: “Everyone in Skryne wishes Micko and Trevor well. We couldn’t have asked for a better appointment. “Micko has been a great servant to the club. He was player/manager when we won the championship in 2004

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The team that took on Ratoath in the U14 Reserve final at Kilbride, front l/r: Eoghan Quinn, Evan O'Brien, Cormac O'Dowd, Cian Twomey, Aaron Gaynor, Tommy Kelly, David Carroll, Sean Byrne. Back: James Conlon, Dillon Bisset, Luke Thorpe, Michael Long, Shane Dowling, Andrew Moore, Tommy Carpenter, Colm Doherty, Jarlath Jordan, David Hawes, Michael Swan

The squad that defeated Rathkenny in the U16 Division 2 FL final at Pairc Tailteann, front l/r: Eoin Greene, Eoin Smith, Tiernan McGrath, Aidan Gill, Dean Reddy, Darragh Campion, Jason Reddy, Jason Fox, Kyle Donnelly, Jack Byrne. Back: Oisin Gryson, Anthony Byrne, Darren Fox, John Morley, Timmy Lennon, Barry Clarke, Cathal Murphy, Paddy Carpenter, Sean Cassidy, Enda Byrne, Paddy Doherty, Michael Doherty

The squad and mentors that defeated Jenkinstown Gaels in the MFL Division 2 decider at Pairc Tailteann, front l/r: Cian Lynch, Cathal Murphy, Niall Morley, Timmy Lennon, Paraic Murphy, Paddy Doherty, Barry Clarke, Sean Cassidy, Stephen O’Brien, Josh Finnegan, Jason Fox, Conor O’Brien, Ray Mooney (mentor). Back: Mick O’Dowd (manager), Amy O’Dowd, Niall Lenihan, Conor Whelan, John Morley, Emmet Jordan, Gareth O’Brien, Harry Rooney, Tony Kennedy, Oisin Coyle, Neil Burke, Stephen Rathbourne, David O’Brien, Donal Ryan, Martin Kennedy (mentor)

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U14 Division 1FL winners, front l/r: Tommy Carpenter, Tommy Kelly, Colm Craige, Padraig Finnerty, Colm Doherty, David Carroll, Eoin Smyth, Cian Twomey, Jason Reddy, Robbie Clarke. Back: Andrew Moore, Declan Smyth (mentor), Colm McLoughlin, Dean Reddy, James Finnerty, Darren Fox, Fiachra Finegan, Paddy Carpenter, Michael Doherty, Frank Carty, Darragh Campion, James Reddy (mentor)

The U12 squad and mentors prior to the Division 2 final against Seneschalstown in Dunganny, front l/r: David Rathborne, Luke Mahon, Heather Monaghan, Josh Farrell, Sophie Finnegan, Evan O'Brien, Niall Mooreland, Shane Smyth, Niall Finnerty, Ciaran Cahill, Luke Brady, Karl Schnider, Ian Mc Keown. Back: David Lynch (mentor), Peter Swan, Keith Nolan (mentor), Ava Swan, Susie O'Rourke, Liam Gill, Colm Doherty, Effie Carty, Tommy Carpenter, Craig Nolan, Eoghan Quinn, Padraig Finnerty, Tommy Kelly, Bryan Clarke, Tom Rafter, Sean Whelan, Jack Dardis, Alex Grendon, Eoghan Conway, James O'Brien, John Quinn (mentor), David Clarke

Prior to their U14FC final meeting with St Colmcille’s at Pairc Tailteann, front l/r: Tommy Carpenter, Padraig Finnerty, Eoin Smyth, Jason Reddy, Fiachra Finegan, Dean Reddy, Frank Carty, James Finnerty, Colm Craigie, Robbie Clarke, Colm Doherty. Back: Tommy Kelly, Eoghon Quinn, David Carroll, Michael Doherty, James Reddy (mentor), Cian Twomey, Darren Fox, Paddy Carpenter, Colm Mc Loughlin, Darragh Campion

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Michael Doherty raises the U14 Division 1 FL Cup at Ashbourne

Skryne captain Timmy Lennon raises the U16 Division 2 FL Cup at Pairc Tailteann

Paddy Carpenter

and was manager of the minors up to this year, winning the Division 2 league title. He will leave no stone unturned and we wish him and the county team every success.” Meanwhile, under the management of former Dublin star Barney Rock for a second year, the team in blue and white finished fourth in Group B of the hoganstand.com sponsored Meath SFC. Their championship campaign got off to a bad start when they lost to Simonstown by 0-8 to 1-9. Draws against Dunshaughlin and Walterstown and a final round win over Dunboyne was as good as it got. “2011 was a comedown after the high of 2010 but we thought we would pick it up again this year. Unfortunately, we were badly hampered by long-term injuries. “Mark Jordan, Paddy Fox, Kevin Mulvaney and Bryan Davis were all long term absentees with injuries and when you take four players out of any team you are at a serious disadvantage. “We were competitive in the league and almost made the league final but the championship was a disappointment. Hopefully, we will get everyone back fit in the New Year and it should be a different story.” The story of the history of Skryne GFC would make an ideal Christmas present. ‘The Blue Kings of Tara’, a history of the GAA in Skryne from 1887-2010, can be purchased by contacting Dan O’Leary at 087 8222012, Dermot Carty at 086 8760336 , Michael Mulvaney at 0872525586, or Eamon Giles at 08741617632 or any committee member. The price for this history is €50 plus post and packaging. The Skryne team which secured a Meath SFC win over Dunboyne was as follows: F O'Rourke; D Brennan, M Mulvany, J Looby; D Lynch, A Carty, J Hegarty; D McGoldrick,

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C Lenehan; A O'Sullivan, T Giles, C Byrne; R McCabe, P O'Rourke, M Battersby. Subs: J Quinn for Mulvany, D Ryan for Byrne, J Jordan for McCabe.

UNDERAGE SUCCESS FOR SKRYNE What a month May was been for underage football in Skryne. The U14's won the Division 1 league title and will represent Meath at the National Feile Finals, the U16's defeated Rathkenny to claim Division 2 FL honours while the minor footballers defeated a fancied Jenkinstown Gaels side (1-11 to 1-8) to win the MFL Division 2 crown at Pairc Tailteann. Skryne minors played with the wind in the opening half and were two points to the good, with scores from Conor O'Brien and Stephen O'Brien after five minutes. On their very first attack Jenkinstown (Moynalvey and Blackhall Gaels) got in for a goal before Skryne kicked five unanswered points from Stephen Rathbourne, Neil Burke, Sean Cassidy, Cian Lynch and Stephen O'Brien. Going in at the break Skryne led 0-9 to 1-3. The Tara men extended their lead in the early minutes of the second half. Points from Conor O'Brien and Burke gave them a 0-11 to 1-3 advantage. Three Jenkinstown scores had the game level 0-11 to 1-8 with five minutes left. Some great defending and a powerful display from midfielder and captain Harry Rooney prevented Jenkinstown from taking the lead. On a rare attack Conor O'Brien converted a penalty to put Skryne back in control. Skryne: Barry Clarke, Paraic Murphy, Donal Ryan, Niall Lenihan, Timmy Lennon, Conor Whelan, David O'Brien, Harry Rooney, Tony Kennedy, Cian Lynch (0-1), Stephen O'Brien (0-2), Sean Cassidy (0-1), Conor O'Brien (1-3), Neil Burke (0-3), Stephen Rathbourne (0-1). Sub: Jason Fox Skryne earned the right to represent Meath at the National Feile Finals to


Paddy Doherty

Conor O'Brien under pressure against Jenkinstown Gaels

Neil Burke

be held in with a 1-12 to 2-4 win over St Colmcilles. The Tara boys had to withstand a second half fight back in a very entertaining game played at Ashbourne. The win led to Skryne's first ever appearance at the National finals. Playing with the wind Skryne went in at the interval 0-8 to 0-0 ahead. Corner forward Jason Reddy was outstanding in the opening half. The very stylish forward kicked six points in this period. St Colmcilles fought their way back into the game ewarly in the second half. Two goals had the gap down to two points 0-9 to 2-1. James Conlon pointed for the seasiders and all the momentum was with the Cilles. With five minutes remaining the gap was still a point, 0-10 to 2-3. Reddy kicked his 8th point and then laid a pass to Eoin Smyth who finished brilliantly to the net to put the game beyond St Colmcilles. After the game Paul Mooney Juvenile Board Chairman presented the cup to Skryne captain Darren Fox. Skryne - Fiachra Finnegan, Colm Craigie, Robbie Clarke, Dean Reddy, Michael Doherty, James Finnerty, Darragh Campion, Eoin Smyth (1-0) Cian Twomey, Frank Carty, Darren Fox (0-1), Paddy Carpenter (0-1), David Carroll, Colm McLoughlin (01), Jason Reddy (0-9), Andrew Moore, Colm Doherty, Padraig Finnerty, Tommy Carpenter and Tom Kelly

Minor full back Donal Ryan

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John Morley

Stephen O'Brien surges forward

Tony Kennedy


SKRYNE 2012 was a landmark year for Skryne GFC with the club celebrating the 125th anniversary of its foundation and its proud record of competing at senior level in the Royal County for 75 consecutive years.

Harry Rooney raises the MFL Division 2 Cup at Pairc Tailteann

U

nfortunately, the club’s senior team was unable to mark the occasion on the pitch as they failed to make the knock-out stages of the Meath SFC but there were plenty of off-field activities to keep club members and supporters occupied during the course of the year. First up was the launch of the club’s book – ‘A History of the GAA in Skryne, 1887-2010; The Blue Kings of Tara’ – by then GAA President Christy Cooney in Killeen Castle back in March. Meticulously compiled by 1967 AllIreland winner David Carty over an eight-year period, the publication sets new standards in club history projects. Presented in two beautifully illustrated hardback volumes of 800 pages, in a presentation case, Carty’s work details the highs and lows of the club, from its pioneering 1887 GAA forebearers Killana Shamrocks to the county championship victory of 2010.

KINGS OF TARA MARK MILESTONE YEAR IN STYLE Approximately 450 attended the launch at Killeen Castle where Christy Cooney, Micheal O Muircheartaigh and Sean Boylan were amongst the guests of honour. The roll call included the county’s first All-Ireland winning captain Brian Smyth who was joined by Paddy O’Brien, Micheal O’Brien, Cyril O’Brien and Tom O’Brien from the

1940s/50s. Paddy Mulvany of ’67 fame was also in attendance along with Colm O’Rourke, Liam Hayes, Trevor Giles and John McDermott. The late Paddy Cromwell – who was sub-goalkeeper for the ’67 AllIreland win over Cork – was represented by his wife Pat while many other current and former

The senior panel on championship duty against Wolfe Tones at Trim, front l/r: Johnny Quinn, Jamie Jordan, Conor O'Brien, Neil Burke, James Hegarty, Trevor Giles, Martin Mulvany, Mark Battersby, Ronan McCabe, Adam O'Sullivan, Ciaran Lenehan, Felim O'Rourke, Kevin O'Reilly. Back: Cian Byrne, Niall Lenehan, Harry Rooney, Paul McGoldrick, Dermot Brennan, David Lynch, Tomas McKeown, Ian Davis, David McGoldrick, Aidan Tuite, Declan Morley, James Looby, Gordon Geraghty, Allan Carty

Log onto www.dlynchpics.com to view more club photos

728


Beaten but unbowed, the Skryne panel before the U14 Reserve Shield final against Dunboyne in Pairc Tailteann, front l/r: J. Connon, T. Kelly, C. Doherty, E. O'Brien, S. Dowling, T. Carpenter, E. Quinn, L. Thorpe. Back: J. Quinn (manager), L. Carolan, S. Byrne, D. Bissett, M. Long, J. Jordan, M. Swan, C. O'Dowd, D. Hawes

Skryne players who donned the green and gold jersey were also in attendance on the night. An entertaining night was had by all as MC Brendan Cummins introduced the main speakers and O Muircheartaigh interviewed many of the guests, in particular the holders of All Ireland medals. “The night surpassed all our expectations,” Book Launch chairman Dermot Carty – David’s brother - told Royal County. “Christy Cooney was highly complimentary of the book and said that all clubs should use it as the standard in the future. “Fair play to David. Every bit of the book was written by hand and his daughter Karen, in conjunction with her husband who together own Anu Design, helped with the typing and the design. “The history of the club was there it was just a matter of someone garnering it and putting it together. The club is very appreciative of his efforts and the history of Skryne GAA club is now there for generations to come.” No sooner had the book launch come to an end, when the thoughts of the club’s committee members turned to organising a dinner to mark the milestones celebrated by the club this year. A fitting precursor to next year’s hosting of ‘The Gathering’, the event took place in Knightsbrook Hotel on Saturday, November 17 last and former GAA Director General Liam Mulvihill was the guest of honour. “Personally, I thought there would be about 200-250 there but we had 307 people in attendance in Trim on the night. We couldn’t believe how successful it was,” recalled Dermot who is also the club’s vice-chairman. “People came from Paris, England and all over Ireland. Even though ‘The Gathering’ isn’t due to take place in Ireland until next year, our committee decided that we

should encompass it in that evening as it coincided with our anniversary celebrations. It couldn’t have gone any better.” The doors of Skryne’s re-developed clubhouse was also open in 2012 and there was a large turnout back in April when the club named its new home dressingroom ‘The Liam Tolan Room’. Named in memory of the talented young footballer who tragically lost his life in a road accident in 2010 just hours after lining out for the Meath minors, Fr Thomas O’Mahony blessed the plaque which was unveiled by Liam’s father. Plans are in the pipeline to officially open the new facilities in 2013. “We are hoping to organise a game between Meath and Dublin,” Carty revealed. “Hopefully the new Meath manager will look sympathetically on our request!” On newly appointed Royal County manager Mick O’Dowd, Dermot said: “Everyone in Skryne wishes Micko and Trevor well. We couldn’t have asked for a better appointment. “Micko has been a great servant to the club. He was player/manager when we won the championship in 2004

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The team that took on Ratoath in the U14 Reserve final at Kilbride, front l/r: Eoghan Quinn, Evan O'Brien, Cormac O'Dowd, Cian Twomey, Aaron Gaynor, Tommy Kelly, David Carroll, Sean Byrne. Back: James Conlon, Dillon Bisset, Luke Thorpe, Michael Long, Shane Dowling, Andrew Moore, Tommy Carpenter, Colm Doherty, Jarlath Jordan, David Hawes, Michael Swan

The squad that defeated Rathkenny in the U16 Division 2 FL final at Pairc Tailteann, front l/r: Eoin Greene, Eoin Smith, Tiernan McGrath, Aidan Gill, Dean Reddy, Darragh Campion, Jason Reddy, Jason Fox, Kyle Donnelly, Jack Byrne. Back: Oisin Gryson, Anthony Byrne, Darren Fox, John Morley, Timmy Lennon, Barry Clarke, Cathal Murphy, Paddy Carpenter, Sean Cassidy, Enda Byrne, Paddy Doherty, Michael Doherty

The squad and mentors that defeated Jenkinstown Gaels in the MFL Division 2 decider at Pairc Tailteann, front l/r: Cian Lynch, Cathal Murphy, Niall Morley, Timmy Lennon, Paraic Murphy, Paddy Doherty, Barry Clarke, Sean Cassidy, Stephen O’Brien, Josh Finnegan, Jason Fox, Conor O’Brien, Ray Mooney (mentor). Back: Mick O’Dowd (manager), Amy O’Dowd, Niall Lenihan, Conor Whelan, John Morley, Emmet Jordan, Gareth O’Brien, Harry Rooney, Tony Kennedy, Oisin Coyle, Neil Burke, Stephen Rathbourne, David O’Brien, Donal Ryan, Martin Kennedy (mentor)

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U14 Division 1FL winners, front l/r: Tommy Carpenter, Tommy Kelly, Colm Craige, Padraig Finnerty, Colm Doherty, David Carroll, Eoin Smyth, Cian Twomey, Jason Reddy, Robbie Clarke. Back: Andrew Moore, Declan Smyth (mentor), Colm McLoughlin, Dean Reddy, James Finnerty, Darren Fox, Fiachra Finegan, Paddy Carpenter, Michael Doherty, Frank Carty, Darragh Campion, James Reddy (mentor)

The U12 squad and mentors prior to the Division 2 final against Seneschalstown in Dunganny, front l/r: David Rathborne, Luke Mahon, Heather Monaghan, Josh Farrell, Sophie Finnegan, Evan O'Brien, Niall Mooreland, Shane Smyth, Niall Finnerty, Ciaran Cahill, Luke Brady, Karl Schnider, Ian Mc Keown. Back: David Lynch (mentor), Peter Swan, Keith Nolan (mentor), Ava Swan, Susie O'Rourke, Liam Gill, Colm Doherty, Effie Carty, Tommy Carpenter, Craig Nolan, Eoghan Quinn, Padraig Finnerty, Tommy Kelly, Bryan Clarke, Tom Rafter, Sean Whelan, Jack Dardis, Alex Grendon, Eoghan Conway, James O'Brien, John Quinn (mentor), David Clarke

Prior to their U14FC final meeting with St Colmcille’s at Pairc Tailteann, front l/r: Tommy Carpenter, Padraig Finnerty, Eoin Smyth, Jason Reddy, Fiachra Finegan, Dean Reddy, Frank Carty, James Finnerty, Colm Craigie, Robbie Clarke, Colm Doherty. Back: Tommy Kelly, Eoghon Quinn, David Carroll, Michael Doherty, James Reddy (mentor), Cian Twomey, Darren Fox, Paddy Carpenter, Colm Mc Loughlin, Darragh Campion

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Michael Doherty raises the U14 Division 1 FL Cup at Ashbourne

Skryne captain Timmy Lennon raises the U16 Division 2 FL Cup at Pairc Tailteann

Paddy Carpenter

and was manager of the minors up to this year, winning the Division 2 league title. He will leave no stone unturned and we wish him and the county team every success.” Meanwhile, under the management of former Dublin star Barney Rock for a second year, the team in blue and white finished fourth in Group B of the hoganstand.com sponsored Meath SFC. Their championship campaign got off to a bad start when they lost to Simonstown by 0-8 to 1-9. Draws against Dunshaughlin and Walterstown and a final round win over Dunboyne was as good as it got. “2011 was a comedown after the high of 2010 but we thought we would pick it up again this year. Unfortunately, we were badly hampered by long-term injuries. “Mark Jordan, Paddy Fox, Kevin Mulvaney and Bryan Davis were all long term absentees with injuries and when you take four players out of any team you are at a serious disadvantage. “We were competitive in the league and almost made the league final but the championship was a disappointment. Hopefully, we will get everyone back fit in the New Year and it should be a different story.” The story of the history of Skryne GFC would make an ideal Christmas present. ‘The Blue Kings of Tara’, a history of the GAA in Skryne from 1887-2010, can be purchased by contacting Dan O’Leary at 087 8222012, Dermot Carty at 086 8760336 , Michael Mulvaney at 0872525586, or Eamon Giles at 08741617632 or any committee member. The price for this history is €50 plus post and packaging. The Skryne team which secured a Meath SFC win over Dunboyne was as follows: F O'Rourke; D Brennan, M Mulvany, J Looby; D Lynch, A Carty, J Hegarty; D McGoldrick,

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C Lenehan; A O'Sullivan, T Giles, C Byrne; R McCabe, P O'Rourke, M Battersby. Subs: J Quinn for Mulvany, D Ryan for Byrne, J Jordan for McCabe.

UNDERAGE SUCCESS FOR SKRYNE What a month May was been for underage football in Skryne. The U14's won the Division 1 league title and will represent Meath at the National Feile Finals, the U16's defeated Rathkenny to claim Division 2 FL honours while the minor footballers defeated a fancied Jenkinstown Gaels side (1-11 to 1-8) to win the MFL Division 2 crown at Pairc Tailteann. Skryne minors played with the wind in the opening half and were two points to the good, with scores from Conor O'Brien and Stephen O'Brien after five minutes. On their very first attack Jenkinstown (Moynalvey and Blackhall Gaels) got in for a goal before Skryne kicked five unanswered points from Stephen Rathbourne, Neil Burke, Sean Cassidy, Cian Lynch and Stephen O'Brien. Going in at the break Skryne led 0-9 to 1-3. The Tara men extended their lead in the early minutes of the second half. Points from Conor O'Brien and Burke gave them a 0-11 to 1-3 advantage. Three Jenkinstown scores had the game level 0-11 to 1-8 with five minutes left. Some great defending and a powerful display from midfielder and captain Harry Rooney prevented Jenkinstown from taking the lead. On a rare attack Conor O'Brien converted a penalty to put Skryne back in control. Skryne: Barry Clarke, Paraic Murphy, Donal Ryan, Niall Lenihan, Timmy Lennon, Conor Whelan, David O'Brien, Harry Rooney, Tony Kennedy, Cian Lynch (0-1), Stephen O'Brien (0-2), Sean Cassidy (0-1), Conor O'Brien (1-3), Neil Burke (0-3), Stephen Rathbourne (0-1). Sub: Jason Fox Skryne earned the right to represent Meath at the National Feile Finals to


Paddy Doherty

Conor O'Brien under pressure against Jenkinstown Gaels

Neil Burke

be held in with a 1-12 to 2-4 win over St Colmcilles. The Tara boys had to withstand a second half fight back in a very entertaining game played at Ashbourne. The win led to Skryne's first ever appearance at the National finals. Playing with the wind Skryne went in at the interval 0-8 to 0-0 ahead. Corner forward Jason Reddy was outstanding in the opening half. The very stylish forward kicked six points in this period. St Colmcilles fought their way back into the game ewarly in the second half. Two goals had the gap down to two points 0-9 to 2-1. James Conlon pointed for the seasiders and all the momentum was with the Cilles. With five minutes remaining the gap was still a point, 0-10 to 2-3. Reddy kicked his 8th point and then laid a pass to Eoin Smyth who finished brilliantly to the net to put the game beyond St Colmcilles. After the game Paul Mooney Juvenile Board Chairman presented the cup to Skryne captain Darren Fox. Skryne - Fiachra Finnegan, Colm Craigie, Robbie Clarke, Dean Reddy, Michael Doherty, James Finnerty, Darragh Campion, Eoin Smyth (1-0) Cian Twomey, Frank Carty, Darren Fox (0-1), Paddy Carpenter (0-1), David Carroll, Colm McLoughlin (01), Jason Reddy (0-9), Andrew Moore, Colm Doherty, Padraig Finnerty, Tommy Carpenter and Tom Kelly

Minor full back Donal Ryan

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John Morley

Stephen O'Brien surges forward

Tony Kennedy


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SPECIAL FEATURE

The St Colmcilles GAA club is providing a stellar service to the East Meath community of Donacarney, Mornington, Laytown, Bettystown, Beamore and Dublin Road, Drogheda. ‘Royal County’ caught up with Keith Loughman – chairman of the club’s progressive juvenile section – to explore some of the extraordinary, trailblazing work being done at Pairc Ui Rís on a daily basis.

A MODEL OF EXCELLENCE

M

onaghan native Keith Loughman who has been involved for the last 8 years as chairman of the juvenile section of St Colmcilles. “I started in 2004,” he confirms. “I have been fortunate to follow in the footsteps of men like Pat O’Neill, Paddy Brannigan, Pat Kelly and lots of other people who did phenomenal work with underage teams over the years and we are trying to build upon the foundation that they laid “The club has grown beyond recognition. We are 40km from Dublin on the M1 and we have experienced a massive increase in population over the last four years, while the baby boom of ’03 and ’04 is also coming through now. “We have incredible numbers. There were weeks this year when we might have had 40 teams out on the field. If you add juveniles, adults, ladies and hurling, we have 55 teams on the go. It’s a real challenge to harness those numbers but we also recognise that it’s a blessing to have such a vast pool of players to draw from. “Because of the groundwork that’s being done, an army of volunteers is coming on board and we’ve benefited from a massive surge of volunteers, male and female. A lot of mothers are starting to get involved and that’s exactly what we need.” St Colmcilles have developed some of the finest juvenile coaches in the county, many of whom have gone on

The St Colmcilles U12 hurling squad

to work with various county squads. “Brían O’Grady was a selector with the Meath minors and with Navan O’Mahonys this year,” Keith continues. “Michael Garland has worked with the Development Squads at u14 through to U17 level. Mickey Conlon is involved with the Monaghan U15s and U16s. Darragh O’Byrne and Jude McNabb were involved in 2011 with the county U14s. These lads and all the club mentors have all taken coaching to the next level. “We have developed a very high level of coaches and the people working behind them are just as good. We feel we are getting better every year and improving and the quality coaches are helping inspire others like Brian Kelly, Gerry White, Ronan Kelly, Denis Collins, Ronan

Murphy and Paul Nash just to name just a few of those who are coming through and taking up the mantle.” As the only GAA club serving Drogheda’s Dublin Road, Beamore, Mornington, Donacarney, Bettystown and Laytown, Naomh Colmcille

St Colmcilles hosted the inaugural Meath Coast 10k in aid of Rehab, at the launch were club mentors Brendan Kindlon and Pat Savage together with former Ireland rugby international and Meath minor, Shane Horgan

St Colmcilles undertake their annual Beach Clean at Bettystown and Laytown

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Participants in the inaugural U9 girls blitz

captaincy of the International Rules team, senior and U17 International Rules caps and multiple All-Ireland title wins are all accredited to St Colmcilles. Former players include legendary Meath defender, former Meath U21 manager and selector on the Meath senior team that won the Leinster championship in Continued Best Wishes To 2010, Robbie Keith Loughman, From O’Malley, and two times All Star, Sunday Game panellist and columnist with The Irish Sun n e w s p a p e r, Bernard Flynn. Meanwhile, Supporting Irish Aviation Transactions former club president Pat Tel: 01 899 2200 | O’Neill is former

currently boasts approximately 1,000 members - a number which is growing rapidly. The club has a proud history of achievement, with its players having represented Meath at all levels from U14 to senior. Five All Star awards, Texaco Footballer of the Year,

www.avcs.ie

chairman of the Meath senior, minor and juvenile boards, was Meath’s Central Council delegate for five years and is a former member of the Disputes Resolution Authority. He was a selector on the Meath AllIreland winning minor teams of 1990 and 1992 and is currently Honorary President of Meath GAA. Current club president Paddy Brannigan is a former chairman of the Meath minor and juvenile boards while club chairman Olivier Kavanagh was manager of the Meath junior team which reached the All-Ireland final in 2005. National honours have also been won by many club members including National Football League (Brendan Beakey, Robbie O’Malley, Bernard Flynn and Hugh Carolan), O’Byrne Cup (Oliver Kavanagh), Leinster U21 (Robbie, Bernard and Hugh), AllIreland U21 (Hugh), All-Ireland minor (Caimin Hall), All-Ireland minor runner-up (Mark Whearty, Jamie McDonnell and Ruairi O’Grady), ladies All-Ireland U16 (Dearbhla ní hOstín). In 2010, 21-year-old Graham Reilly became the latest star of St Colmcilles to burst onto the intercounty scene, scoring 1-14 from play in Meath’s run to the All-Ireland quarter-finals. He was top scorer from play in the 2012 championship and was an All Star and Young Player of the Year nominee and Meath Footballer of the Year in 2010. Graham is currently the club’s Games Development Officer, leading gaelic games promotion and development in the local schools. Graham is also manager of the Naomh Colmcille ladies team.

Best Wishes To St. Colmcilles GAA & Keith From

DUBLIN | BELFAST | CORK | GALWAY 734


St Colmcilles launched their Gaelic for Mums programme in 2012 Pat Haigney of Haigney Restoration presents a new set of

The club has been enjoying unprecedented success at juvenile level in recent years – the challenge now is to kick on: “Juvenile success is absolutely no guarantee of adult success,” Keith notes. “Translating it into adult success has proven problematic … but watch this space. Graham is a great ambassador for the club and he is doing tremendous work and is always available to help out. He travels around the schools and everybody knows who he is and that is huge for us. We hope that he can continue to put that kind of work into the club and that down the line there will be another eight or nine Graham Reillys!” Due to all the work being done, the demand on St Colmcilles facilities is massive: “We recorded a footfall of

1,400 per week at Pairc uí Rís minor jerseys to the club in October. We have sandbased adult and juvenile pitches, with floodlights and we invested heavily in that four or five years ago. It’s holding up well but going forward, if we are to continue to meet rising demand, then we will definitely need additional facilities.” Meath's third-biggest GAA club has strong club-school links in place with Le Cheile (Mornington), Gaelscoil an Aimee Smith, Aideen Behan and Hannah Casey who were selected for the VHI Cul Day out in Bhradain Feasa (Mornington), Croke Park Donacarney BNS, Donacarney GNS (both Mornington/Donacarney) , Scoil Olibhear Naofa – (Laytown), Scoil an Spiorad Naomh (Laytown) and Colaiste na hInse (Laytown), where coaching in gaelic football is provided to approximately 900 children in the autumn and 300 in the spring. Coaching is provided during school hours on a voluntary basis by club members who give up their working day to coach. Facilities Action from u9 blitz day are provided free of charge to each of the seven schools and are availed of on a daily basis. “We have six primary schools and one new secondary school in the area,” says Keith. “In ’08, with encouragement from Christine Colm Cooper put the St Colmcilles juveniles through their paces O’Brien and Dudley Farrell we were one of the five original pilot clubs to set up clubschool links and that has grown every year St Colmcilles on Leinster roadshow day since and particularly in the last 4 years with models there is nationally. The men like Jude and schools are critical to us. The new Graham leading the secondary school in Laytown – initiative. They Colaiste na hInse – has up to 1,000 deserve immense pupils and will be as big as the credit for putting in schools in Drogheda and Balbriggan. Pat McEnaney visited Piltown to present medals to the place one of the finest U14 winning teams “Meath footballer Kevin Reilly

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teaches there, as does Kilmessan camogie player Sarah Ross. The principal and vice-principal in the school are very passionate about the GAA and their ideals are aligned with ours. They won the North Leinster ‘C’ Division Three title this year and the ‘D’ title the year before and they will be in Division Two next year. That’s a phenomenal achievement for such a young school and is a credit to the school and its teachers. “After Christmas last year, we launched ‘Gaelic For Mums’ and that has developed into a very successful once-a-week thing. In general, the club is knitting the community together. It’s a very spread-out community without any real centre but the club is serving as a focal point and we like to see ourselves as the glue that holds things together and builds s community spirit.” The club launched its hurling section in 2010 to cater for a growing demand in the East Meath area. Approximately 130 boys and girls between the ages of eight to eleven are now coached in the skills of hurling on a weekly basis. This

number is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years. This year, in their first year of playing competitively, the club contested an U12 Division Two ‘B’ semi-final. National hurling development officer Paudie Butler also visited the club to give them some encouragement and pass on lots of tips. Donegal All-Ireland winning captain Michael Murphy answers questions from some future All Stars In 2012, St Colmcilles launched their “How are You Today?” programme in association with the Genio Trust and Health Services Executive, providing support and an outlet for people with mental health issues. This is a model used extensively by Arsenal FC in London and Colmcilles are the first GAA club to have adopted it. A director with the KPMG St Colmcilles players Derry and Christian Finlay accountancy firm in Dublin, Keith with Kerry star Colm Cooper at the Croke Park launch of Opel Kit for Clubs Loughman is originally from the Doohamlet club in Monaghan (the I went down one Sunday morning Loughman family has strong ties with and have been involved ever since. neighbouring Castleblayney Faughs “Jackser Kavanagh is the club but the family started in the midchairman and he’s a great leader and Monaghan village) but has been there are other guys there like Pat resident in East Meath for a decade O’Neill, Paddy Brannigan, Colm now. His own Hilliard and Pat Kelly who have done children Conor, Éile brilliant work at juvenile level and laid and Diarmuid are the foundations. You don’t want to let now taking their first any of them down. steps into the St “The next big challenge is to convert Colmcilles club, but the juvenile success into adult when Keith got success,” the juvenile chairman involved eight years concludes. “Player retention is a ago, he had no massive issue. We have never had children in the club any problem keeping players at ranks. underage level but it’s difficult from 15 “I got involved to 21. It’s a real challenge – not just because Drogheda for St Colmcilles – but for every club was our new home and every code – and as a county we and I wanted to give need to work together at that. something back to “There is intense competition so we the GAA. I was have to stay on top of our game. always taught that it Boyne Rugby Club, Drogheda United was the Give All and a host of Dublin soccer clubs are Association, that it all close. We’ve already lost Niall was all about giving Ronan to rugby and Shane backgiving not Monaghan, who was a county minor taking and I have in ’05, is with Gloucester. There’s also got plenty from it golf, dance, drama, snooker on the over the years – south side of Drogheda as well as a albeit more wide range of other interests. It’s a memories than real challenge but we are rising to it trophies! I wanted to by providing a quality product. put something back “However, you can’t take your eye into the local club so off the ball, not even for a minute.”

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mcd_kilmacud_programme_V3.indd 1

07/08/2012 17:38


ST. MICHAEL’S St Michael’s Intermediate Football Championship campaign ended in disappointment when a thoroughly committed performance came up short in a quarter-final against Ballinabrackey, but it was a summer which suggested that they are heading in the right direction. By Paul Clarke.

A

fter reaching the semifinals in 2010 and losing to neighbours Carnaross, the Carlanstown/Kilbeg combination were badly hit by emigration and last year turned out to be a struggle as they ended up in the relegation scrap. But they survived quite comfortably thanks to victories over St Ultan’s and Cortown. They were still without a number of key players this year and few people fancied them to mount a serious challenge in the championship, but when they defeated one of the more fancied teams for outright honours Dunderry in the opening round it gave them the early boost they needed and they went on to qualify for the knockout stages as runners-up in their section. Tom Halpin was their coach this year, assisted by selectors Christy Regan, Tommy McQuaid and Petes

Under 21s celebrate after their B championship final win over Dunderry in Martry

MICHAEL’S SHOW REAL IMPROVEMENT Cassidy, and they were drawn in group B of the intermediate championship along with Dunderry, Syddan, Na Fianna and Clann na nGael. That opener against Dunderry at Kilskyre looked extremely tricky, particularly as their opponents had won an earlier league meeting of the teams by six points, but St Michael’s

played very well in the first half and worked extremely hard as a team to deservedly win by 1-9 to 0-10. The highly talented Ciaran Lynch, who was planning to depart for Australia at that stage, was in tremendous form and scored five points in the opening period. He formed a strong midfield partnership with Felim O’Reilly and that gave St

Prior to the great win over Syddan in the IFC at Pairc Tailteann, front l/r: Daithi Regan, Ronan Lynch, Ciaran Lynch, Philip Rogers, Ronan Cassidy, Paddy Clarke, Kevin Cassidy, Ben Farrell, Martin Doran, Mark Stafford, Paddy Murray, Tommy Moriarty. Back: Michael Rogers, Michael Murphy, Felim O'Reilly, Darren O'Connell, Sam Briody, David Lynch, Paul McCormack, Peter O'Connell, J.B. O'Reilly, Sean Gaffney, John Farrell, Brendan Ryan, Ryan Carolan, Jamie Farrelly

Log onto www.dlynchpics.com to view more club photos

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Under 21 B football championship winners

Michael’s a solid platform on which to build up a useful lead. They might have scored a goal in the early stages when Ronan Cassidy blazed over the crossbar, but the goal did arrive when Kevin Cassidy found the net to leave them ahead by 1-5 to 0-2. By half-time the advantage stood at 1-7 to 0-3, but they were under pressure in the second period when Dunderry steadily wore down their lead. St Michael’s managed only two points in the second half from David Lynch and substitute John Barry O’Reilly, who had returned from Australia a week earlier, but they had done so much of the hard work in the

first period and they deserved to hold out. The danger signs were clear when substitute Darren Fay forced a brilliant save from Paul McCormack, but at the other end of the field Kevin Cassidy was twice denied by Dunderry goalkeeper David Jennings. Another victory followed when Clann na nGael were beaten by 1-13 to 1-9 at Kilmainham and St Michael’s were looking good at the top of the group. Ciaran Lynch was again an inspirational figure, as was Ben Farrell, and St Michael’s played some superb football to open up a 0-8 to 01 advantage. Clann na nGael got in for a goal and

the lead was down to 0-8 to 1-2 at the interval. The Athboy/An Ghaeltacht combination reduced the deficit to the minimum in the second half, but St Michael’s pushed on again as a goal from David Lynch sealed another victory. There was a very long gap to their third group match against Syddan at Pairc Tailteann where Daithi Regan came off the bench to score the goal in a comprehensive 1-18 to 0-12 win. St Michael’s led by 0-9 to 0-4 at the change of ends and added 1-9 in the second period, including 1-2 from Regan. They were so much on top that they could afford the luxury of 11 wides on

The MFL Division 5 winners, front l/r: Gary Dolan, John O'Brien, Adam O'Brien, Ronan Lynch, Daniel Murphy, Christopher Drew, Oran Meehan, Luke Kearney. Back: Lee Morris, Jamie Reilly, Peter O'Connell, Bobby Farrell, Jordan Moran, Aaron Kernan, Matthew Halpin, Luke Moran, Joseph Dunne, Dean Moran

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Felim O'Reilly

James Farrell

John Farrell

a day when David Lynch finished as their top marksman with six points, including two frees and a ‘45’. St Michael’s Sam Briody and Syddan substitute Sean Malone were sent off after 53 minutes. When St Michael’s and Na Fianna met in a top of the table clash at Kildalkey in the last round of group matches the big prize for the winner was a passage straight through to the semi-finals. This was a high scoring encounter which the Enfield/Baconstown combination won by 3-14 to 1-15. A tremendous goal by John Barry O’Reilly gave St Michael’s an early boost and they dominated much of the first half, but Shane Barrett hit back with a goal for Na Fianna who trailed by only 1-6 to 1-8 at the break. St Michael’s edged clear in the third quarter, but the south county side battled back and when Dean Barrett goaled they were in front. St Michael’s stayed in touch, but a third goal in injury time from Dalton McDonagh sealed the win for John Lyons’ team. The defeat meant St Michael’s had to be content with a quarter-final place, but they would have settled for that before they headed out on their championship journey. It proved to be a step too far, but they did demonstrate great energy and commitment against Ballinabrackey at Cortown on the last Saturday of September. Felim O’Reilly gave them the lead with an early point, but Ballinabrackey were boosted by a goal from Danny Quinn and pushed ahead by 1-3 to 0-1. A mix-up with a short kick-out from ‘keeper John Curry presented St Michael’s with an ideal opportunity to get a goal of their own and John Farrell made no mistake. Regan and Ciaran Lynch scored a brace of points each in a period of dominance and St Michael’s recovered sufficiently to hit the front at 1-5 to 1-4. Ballinabrackey finished the first half best to lead by 1-7 to 1-5 at the interval and the second period turned into a shootout between Lynch and Damien Carroll. No other players scored and Lynch

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John Barry O'Reilly makes a great catch

Ronan Lynch receives the MFL Division 5 Shield from Ultan Fitzpatrick

Peter McConnell raises the U17 Division 3 Shield at Pairc Tailteann


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The U12 squad that took on St Mary’s in the Summer Shield final at Syddan, front l/r: Frederick Elliott, Darragh Muldoon, Patrick Tobin, Des Rooney, Brian Reilly, Jack Dunne, Andrew Allen, Justin McPhillips, Conor Gaffney, Josh Goslin. Back: Cory Blake, Jack Doyle, Cian Curran, Darragh Sheridan, Brian Reilly, Jason O'Donnell, Gavin Brothers, Dan Sheridan, Ciarain Reilly, Cian Sheridan, Padraig Curran-Caines

Unlucky to lose out to St Cuthbert’s in the U16 Summer Shield decider at Grangegodden were, front l/r: Shane McDonnell, Harry Dunne, Alan Reilly, Ben Tobin, Oran Meehan, Ray Reilly, Craig McGivern, Christopher Drew. Back: Aiden McDonnell, Michael Dunne, Matthew Halpin, Adam O'Brien, Stephen Dolan, Lee Morris, Aaron Kernan, Shane McCormack, Cillian Greene, Thomas O'Brien, Bernard O'Brien

The U17 Division 3 winners, front l/r: Christopher Drew, Luke Kearney, Gary Dolan, Lee Morris, John O'Brien, Oran Meehan, Michael Dunne, Ben Tobin, Cillian Greene. Back: Adam O'Brien, Jamie Reilly, Ronan Lynch, Matthew Halpin, Peter O'Connell, Ryan Kane, Aaron Kernan, Daniel Murphy, Jordan Moran, Stephen Dolan, Luke Moran, Thomas O'Brien

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won the head to head with Carroll by 0-6 to 0-5 as he scored some brilliant points from frees, but it was Ballinabrackey who made a decisive dash towards victory when they pushed ahead by 1-12 to 1-7 early in the last quarter. However, they didn’t score again and St Michael’s rallied to such an extent that they brought the deficit down to the minimum. With almost four minutes of injury time being played they had hope, but the clock eventually ran out on them and Ballinabrackey were ahead by 1-12 to 1-11 at the end. Coach Tom Halpin was obviously disappointed with that defeat, but he had to be pleased with the campaign as a whole, especially in the absence of players. “We were missing quite a lot of players, but others came back,” he said. “Ciaran Lynch went to Australia after the first couple of championship games, but he came back for the Syddan match. He’s a fine footballer, a lovely striker of the ball. John Barry O’Reilly came back for the first championship game against Dunderry and then got injured. He’s another important player for us, a big ball winner. “We got off to a tricky start in the league and had to play some strong teams, including Seneschalstown who had Joe Sheridan playing when we met them. Our form in the league wasn’t great, but we got six or seven weeks of good training under our belts and there was great spirit in the camp going into the championship. “We played well in the first championship game against Dunderry. We made a very good start and got a goal which gave us a big lift going in at half-time. They came back at us, but we held on. “We made a very good start against Clann na nGael as well and opened up a good lead. They came back at us, but we hung on in the end. It was a great experience for the lads to get into Pairc Tailteann for the Syddan game. In fairness to Syddan they were missing a few players. They had run Na Fianna and Dunderry quite close. We won comfortably in the end. We were happy with the win. “Again, we got off to a good start

David Lynch has his eye on goal

against Na Fianna. We were doing very well around midfield. We looked like having a good sized lead at halftime, but we gave away a goal close to the interval which was a blow. Na Fianna played very well in the second half. They have a lot of quality players. When they can bring in somebody like Dean Barrett it shows how strong they are. “Ballinabrackey were very hard to break down in the quarter-final. We would like to have played it wider against them. They have some very good players and a strong half-back line. I thought Damien Carroll was very impressive. His pass for their goal was brilliant.” Losing knockout games is always

Sam Briody beats Syddan's Stephen Dillon to the ball

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disappointing, but St Michael’s can still look back on a year of progress. “You’re always happy when you’re competitive in the championship and we were competitive this year,” Tom added. “We know we’re not too far away, but it’s a work in progress. I just hope we don’t lose too many more players. I had three great men with me this year in Tommy McQuaid, Petes Cassidy and Christy Regan. There is good spirit in the club and we have good young players coming through which is important.”

MICHAEL’S COMEBACK CLAIMED U17 DIVISION 3 TITLE Rathkenny raced into a 2-4 to 0-1 lead after 18 minutes of play and a St. Michaels recovery appeared unlikely but in a five minute spell they had popped over three unanswered points from Ronan Lynch, Jamie Reilly and Gary Dolan. Ronan Lynch had opened the scoring with a pointed free in the sixth minute and an all important Oran Meehan goal in the 29th minute painted an all together different picture of the match at the interval and reduced the deficit to just four points with Rathkenny holding on to a 2-5 to 1-4 lead. A point apiece from Ronan Lynch and Peter O'Connell in the opening three minutes of the second half had the deficit back to just two points, both sides kept trading points during


the third quarter and Rathkenny held a 2-9 to 1-9 lead on 45 minutes. The direct running of Ronan Lynch, Gary Dolan, Peter O'Connell, Luke Moran and Oran Meehan was beginning to cause havoc for the Rathkenny rear guard and with the impressive Jamie Reilly, Jordan Moran, Matthew Halpin and Michael Dunne winning lots of possession further out the St. Michaels lads established a whole new momentum and launched attack after attack on the Rathkenny goals. An excellent point from substitute Ryan Kane followed by points from Ronan Lynch and Peter O'Connell levelled the match on 54 minutes at 1-13 to 2-10. The remaining minutes was heartstopping stuff as Rathkenny edged in front again on 58 minutes but it was the ruthless way the St. Michaels lads smothered their opposition into submission and hit the turbo charge button to finish off the game in style as their defence line of Christopher Drew, Daniel Murphy Thomas O'Brien and Aaron Kernan quenched any attack their opponents threw at them and an excellent individual effort from Jamie Reilly levelled the match for the second time with just a minute of normal time remaining. Rathkenny had their chances to go back in front but their efforts were taken under pressure from the St. Michaels defence and were off target and it was the top scorer on the night Ronan Lynch who sent over the winning score in the first minute of added time to complete what was an excellent recovery in a brilliant game of football. The final score was 1-15 to 2-11. Others to impress for St. Michaels were Lee Morris, Ben Tobin and John & Adam O'Brien. St Michaels - Aaron Kernan, Daniel Murphy, Lee Morris, Christopher Drew, John O'Brien, Matthew Halpin, Michael Dunne, Jamie Reilly 0-2, Jordan Moran, Peter O'Connell 0-3, Ronan Lynch 0-8,Gary Dolan 0-1, Oran Meehan 1-0, Luke Moran, Ben Tobin. Subs - Thomas O'Brien for Lee Morris, Ryan Kane 0-1 for John O'Brien, Adam O'Brien for Ben Tobin.

U21 SUCCESS St. Michaels came into the U21FC B final knowing they faced a serious challenge, however they defied all the odds when they deservedly collected the trophy with a 0-14 to 110 win over Dunderry. St. Michaels playing into the road end goal in the first half were off the mark first with a point from David Lynch in the first minute, his brother Ronan's converted free a minute later put them two up. Dunderry's first attack on three minutes yielded a point and a well placed shot just managed to get past the advancing Dean Moran in the St. Michaels goal to put Dunderry 1-1 to 0-2 up after only eight minutes on the clock, by the thirteenth minute they had stretched that lead to 1-4 to 0-2. A pointed free from Ronan Lynch a minute later was soon cancelled out by another Dunderry point but a brilliant point on the run from Gary Dolan on twenty minutes was the tonic and inspiration the St. Michaels lads required as they took the game by the scruff of the neck as Jamie Farrelly, David Lynch and Jordan Moran's exceptional play and work rate around the middle of the field paid dividends and Dunderry seemed not to be able to cope with St. Michaels powerful running game and three further points from Jamie Farrelly, Gary Dolan and Kevin Cassidy while holding Dunderry to just a single point in the remaining ten minutes meant the winners only trailed by just two points at the interval 0-7 to 1-6. Dunderry stretched the lead on the restart but a point apiece from David and Ronan Lynch reduced the deficit to just the minimum on forty one minutes and it was that man David Lynch who popped over a beautiful point on 42 minutes to level the match for the first time. The sdies swapped scores before a David Lynch point put St. Michaels back in the lead, Dunderry however tagged on two points in as many minutes to go in but they proved to be Dunderry's last score of this final. David Lynch registered his fifth match point to level the scores for the

fourth time on 51 minutes. With four minutes still on the clock up popped Jamie Farrelly to score the winning point as St Michaels captured their second U-21 championship in four years. St Michaels - Dean Moran, Jamie Reilly, John Stafford, Gary Dolan 0-2, Patrick Clarke, Ollie Reilly, Sam Briody, David Lynch 0-5, Jordan Moran, Jamie Farrelly 0-2, Michael Murphy, Kevin Cassidy 0-1, Ronan Lynch 0-4. Subs - Brian Allen, Daniel Murphy.

Lee Morris

Ray Reilly

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SPECIAL FEATURE

A SFC medal winner with Seneschalstown in 1994, Paul Finnegan looks back on his playing days with the Seneschalstown outfit and detailed his current involvement with the club’s underage section.

B

ack in 1994, Seneschalstown bridged a 22 year gap when collecting their second Meath SFC title with a final victory over Skryne. The late Eddie Finnegan held a notable distinction as he was a selector for the club’s 1972 and ’94 victories. Although the 0-11 to 1-5 ’72 final win over Navan O’Mahonys represented the club’s first ever title, he probably gleaned more satisfaction second time around as his son Paul was a member of the winning team. Finnegan junior lined out at right corner-back for the 1-11 to 0-12 win over the Tara men. “We just about got over the line thanks to Podgie Coyle’s goal,”

SENESCHALSTOWN BORN AND BRED recalled Paul who marked Hugh Monaghan in the decider. “We went on to reach the Leinster Club SFC final but were beaten by a point by Kilmacud Crokes who went on to win the All-Ireland. “We probably had the winning of that game but there was a mix-up in attack when Mattie (McCabe) and Podgie went for the same ball and neither of them got it. When we get together that does be the slagging anyway! “They (Kilmacud) were very strong but we drew one of our games early on and we improved with every game after that. It was unfortunate that we came up short in the final.” With players of the calibre of Colm Coyle, Graham Geraghty, Mattie McCabe, Kevin Macken and Podgie Coyle, to name but a few, it is, perhaps, surprising to look back now and realise that team had just one SFC title to show for their efforts. At the same time, it is probably fair to say that the race for the Keegan Cup was a lot more competitive back

The new generation of Finnegans with brothers Joe and Paul, back l/r: Joe, Daire, Paul, Cathal Eoin. Front: Eamon,Orla and Alex

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then with other clubs such as Navan O’Mahonys and Skryne equally as strong. “The club scene was very competitive. We were beaten in the final in ’92 by Skryne and reached the semi-final stages the year after winning the championship.” Events outside of Seneschalstown’s control conspired to deny them a third Meath SFC success in 1996. As a result of the fall-out from the infamous brawl during the early stages of the All-Ireland SFC final replay against Mayo, the Seneschalstown outfit lined out to play Kilmainhamwood in the county showpiece minus the services of the suspended Geraghty and Colm Coyle. It is a futile exercise wondering what might have been but it can be stated with some degree of confidence that Seneschalstown would have provided a much more difficult proposition for a young ‘Wood outfit had the pair been available. Meanwhile, in recent years, the current crop of Seneschalstown players have done the club proud by claiming two Keegan Cup crowns in the space of three years. “Considering it took the club from 1972 to ’94 to win two championships it is some achievement to win two in such a short space of time,” Paul acknowledged. “The current team is basically the same set of players and I’d be confident that there is, at least, another championship win left in them.” Seneschalstown’s bid for a fifth Keegan Cup success came a cropper at the semi-final stage this year when they, somewhat surprisingly, fell to Wolfe Tones on a scoreline of 1-13 to 0-11. “They had a great win against Summerhill in the quarter-final. They


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The victorious Seneschalstown U14 panel, front l/r: Marc Horrigan, Richard McKeown, Cathal Finnegan, Jason Kearney, Sean Carey, Dylan Keating, Eoin Finnegan, (capt) Darly Redmond, Cormac Connell, Ben Lyon’s, Brian Maguire, Sean Brennan. Back l/r: Alan Geraghty (Team Selector). Eoin O’Reilly, Robert Wogan, Robert Littler, Dylan Doyle, Adam Mc Cabe, Adam O’Meara, Louis Healy, Jordon Oganami, Cory Mc Carthy, David Fox, Paul Finnegan (Team Manager). Missing from picture Jason Lyon’s, Alan Mulvaney, and Colin Moneravela

were very hungry that day but appeared to be a bit flat against the Tones. “The Tones were more up for it in the semi-final but the same thing happened them in the final against O’Mahonys. With the recent win in the u21 championship and the minors getting to a division final the future looks good for Seneschalstown football. Paul broke onto the Seneschalstown senior team in 1991 and his medal collection also includes two Feis Cup medals (1992/’94) and a Division 1 league medal (’92). Always a corner-back when in his prime, he moved up to the forwards with the club’s Junior B team late on his career before hanging up the boots three years ago. Nowadays, when his day’s work with the family company Eddie Finnegan & Sons Potato growers is done, the 43 year old channels all his efforts into coaching at underage level with the club. He was manager of the Under 14s that captured the Summer League title at Moynalvey’s expense this year. Paul’s sons, Eoin and Cathal, lined out a centre-forward and corner-forward respectively on the

victorious team. His other two children Eamon and Orla also play with the juveniles. Eamon lines out for the u 8 while Orla plays with the u11 girls Incidentally, his brother Joe looks after the club’s under 12s with whom his son Darragh plays. “The underage is going very well in the club at the moment I have to say. In fairness it can be hard to compete with the town teams at the younger age groups but the gap narrows as they get older.

“It’s all about the grading. Meath Juvenile secretary Anthony Monaghan did a very good job this year. The Divisions were fairly even. If I thought we could compete I’d have a go at the higher divisions.” Paul’s former team-mate Alan Geraghty acted as a selector with him this year while ex-Meath star Mattie McCabe also gave a helping hand at times. He enjoys his involvement with the juvenile teams but added that it can be time consuming. “You work hard all year with two

Seneschalstown U14’s celebrate

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The U12 squad which claimed the Division 2 title against Skryne. Front l-r: James Commons, Killian Gormley, Alan Mulvany, Christian McAuley, Eanna McLarney, Sean Carey, Dylan Keating, Jason Lyons, Cathal Hickey, Fionn Hall, Josh Ryan, Cian Bennett. Back l-r: Jaimie Kerwin, Joseph Moore, Padraig Finnegan, Dylan Bagnal, Kieran Mongey, Sean Commons, Tiernan Keogh, Luke Holohan, Brian Boyd, Dylan O’Dowd, Adam O’Meara, Darragh Finnegan, Jack Kelleher, Ross Mullen, Simon Rooney

training sessions during the week and games at the weekend. It requires a big commitment from players and mentors. You need to pick a team with who you can work with and who can take over when you’re unavailable. “Brian Sheridan was with us at the start of the year before he got called up to the Meath squad. Davy Byrne was also helping out but he got a new job down the country.

“We’d hope to recruit more senior players to get involved next year. That is the policy of the club. Youngsters look up to the senior players.” As Paul was making his way up through the underage ranks in Seneschalstown there was no shortage of role models to look up to. When I was going to Meath games you’d always look up to Coyler and Mattie. They were from the club and

The Finnegans, back, l/r: Daire, Cathal, Orla, Eoin. Front: Joe and his son Alex and Paul and his son Eamon

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they were great times following the 1987/88 team.It’s the same as everything else in that you only really appreciate them the more now what they are gone.” Gone but never forgotten. A return to the glory days of Meath football will only be possible if Paul and all the underage mentors in the county’s clubs keep up the good work at grassroots level.

Eoin Finnegan receives the u14 summer shield from Donal Forde


Aileen Donnelly Camogie star


Paddy Conneely in action for the hurlers


ST PATRICKS One performance above all others in this year’s Senior Football Championship demonstrated what St Patrick’s are capable of. It came in the fourth round of group matches when they defeated Donaghmore /Ashbourne by seven points and booked their place in the knockout stages.

Adam Mulvaney holds aloft the U17 Division 4 Shield at Donore as the celebrations begin

T

hat was the same Donaghmore/Ashbourne who went agonisingly close to reaching the final a matter of weeks later and who dashed their hopes of silverware when defeating the Stamullen men in the All-County A League Division 1 decider towards the end of October. That group win was one of four that St Patrick’s recorded en route to the quarter-finals of the championship, but the last eight hurdle proved beyond them when they were harshly reduced to 14 men after only four minutes and Wolfe Tones defeated them by five points. Mick Bohan replaced Ciaran O’Hare as coach this year and St Patrick’s were drawn in group A of the SFC along with Nobber, Duleek/Bellewstown, champions Summerhill, Donaghmore/Ashbourne and Moynalvey and they faced a tough opener against the holders at Pairc Tailteann.

REAL CONSISTENCY FROM PAT’S Goalkeeper Eabhan Connolly made a fine save from Barry Dardis midway through the first half, but the Meath minor did get his goal which helped Summerhill to lead by 1-8 to 0-2 at the break. St Patrick’s had six wides in that period and their hopes of a comeback ended when Adrian Kenny got the ‘Hill’s second goal. Niall Whearty got a consolation goal for

Pat’s. The strong wind made conditions difficult in the second round against Duleek/Bellewstown at Ashbourne where St Patrick’s led by 0-3 to 0-2 at the interval en route to a 0-6 to 0-4 victory. A Connolly save from Padraig Howard was crucial on a day when Niall Mooney notched four points (two frees) and Donal Landy got the

On duty for the Division 1 FL Final against Donaghmore Ashbourne in Simonstown, front l/r: Ronan Kearns, Barry Campbell, Niall Whearty, J.P. Ryan, Neil O'Flaherty, David Stafford, Daithi Whyte, Donal Landy, Shane McGinty, Niall Mooney, Tommie Reilly. Back: Keith Whearty, Barry Mooney, Andrew Mooney, David McQuillan, Shane Dowling, Shane Landy, Darren Hagan, Brian Calvey, Martin McKenna, Cormac Sullivan, Ray Russell

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The U13 Division 4 winners, front l/r: Matthew Lenehan, Johnny Woods, P J Woods, Jack Connellan, Cian Mulvaney, Jamie Fennell, Adam Carroll, Tommy Flanagan, Kieran Lyons, Rory Woods, Juwon Yusuf. Back: Anto Woods (manager) Darragh Sullivan, Jayme Morrissey, Sam Reddin, Conor McCormack, Jack Brangan, Jack Mitchell, Padraig Nulty, Dylan Foster, Jamie Malone, John Oster, Cian Holland

Representing the club on JHC 2 final day, front l/r: Rebecca Harney , Luke Harney, Eathan Ryan, Brian Farrelly, J.P. Ryan, James Jinxy Kenna, Mark Scanlon & Son, Enda Murphy, Anthony Stafford, Brian Kelly, Sean Nolan. Back: Phil Harney (manager/player), Tommy Reilly, Colm Stafford, Fergus Minogue, Damian Scott, Ronan Nolan, Colm Dowling, Ciaran Calvey, Shane Clarke, David Finnegan, Robert Genockey, Gerry Donoghue, Neil O'Flaherty, Jonathan Monks, Daniel Colgan, Richie Donoghue

Under 17 Division 4 winners, front l/r: Aaron Kenna, Conor Tully, Jack McDonald, Calvin Farrell, Adam Mulvaney, Andrew Tully, Aaron Mulvaney, Daoin Burns, Conor Flynn. Back: Mary Sixsmith (physio), Anto Woods (manager), Cillian McDonald, Conor Garvey, Shane Byrne, Diarmaid Leahy, Liam Nulty, John Curtis, Andrew Kirk, Sean Mooney, Michael McNulty, Gareth Rothwell, Niall Mooney (selector/coach)

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John Curtis receives the U15 Division 5 Shield from Peter O'Halloran

Stephen Belton

Eric Kilduff

rest. The teams had 20 wides between them, the majority for the losers. Neither team scored in the final 19 minutes when St Patrick’s beat Nobber by 1-13 to 1-8 at Bohermeen. Pat’s had 12 second half wides and 15 in all, but they were looking good when they led by 1-10 to 0-6 at the break after Cormac Sullivan had scored their goal. He might have had two other goals before that and was also denied by Nobber ‘keeper Christopher O’Reilly in first half injury time. Barry Campbell pointed twice within three minutes of the restart and their last point from substitute Donal Landy came on 37 minutes which left them 10 clear. Alan Farrell replied with a goal from a penalty for Nobber. That superb win (2-10 to 0-9) over Donaghmore/Ashbourne followed at Seneschalstown and with Duleek/Bellewstown drawing with Moynalvey, St Patrick’s were through to the knockout stages. Donal Landy’s goal helped them to lead by 1-4 to 0-4 at the break and when Sullivan, Landy, Niall Mooney and Campbell got the first four points of the second period they were in the driving seat. Darren Hagan turned in another impressive performance at centreback, but this was an accomplished team effort. Donaghmore/Ashbourne cut the deficit to four points, but a goal from a Niall Mooney penalty on 55 minutes put an end to their revival. Mooney top scored with 1-4, including two great points from play. The goals flowed in the last round against Moynalvey at Dunshaughlin where Niall Mooney and Donal Landy (two each) and Daithi Whyte netted in the first half as St Patrick’s opened up a 5-4 to 0-3 interval lead. Moynalvey hit back with three goals and cut the gap to six points with four minutes remaining, but Mooney got the winners’ sixth goal from a penalty. He contributed 3-1 and Landy got 2-3 in a 6-7 to 3-8 victory. St Patrick’s advanced in third position on eight points, the same as group winners Summerhill and runners-up Donaghmore/Ashbourne who both had superior scoring

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Padraig Nulty raises the U13 Division 4 Shield at Castletown

Niall Flynn is determined

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On duty against Summerhill in the first round of the SFC at Pairc Tailteann, front l/r: Daithi Whyte, Shane McGinty, David O'Flaherty, Andrew Reilly, Keith Whearty, Niall Mooney, JP Ryan, David Stafford, Neil O'Flaherty. Back: Seamus Byrne, Cormac Everard, Finian Everard, Barry Mooney, Shane Dowling, Martin McKenna, Shane Landy, Eabhain Connolly, Ciaran Calvey, Ray Russell, Darren Hagan, David McQuillan, Niall Whearty

Unlucky against Oldcastle in the Under 14 Division 4 final at Dunganny, front l/r: Niall Flynn, Aaron Kenna, John Oster, Adam Carroll, Jayme Morrisey, Darragh Sullivan, Juwon Joseph, Jack Connellan, Johnny Woods, Sam Reddin. Back: Anto Woods (manager), Eric Kilduff, Stephen Malone, Jack Brangan, Stephen Belton, Jack Mitchell, Padraig Nulty, Freddie Tallon, Ciaran Moss, Conor McCormack, Jed Black (assistant manager)

The St Pat’s juniors for the championship clash with St Mary's at Donore, front l/r: Colin Campbell, David O'Flaherty, Mark McPhillips, Neil O'Flaherty, Colm Stafford, Ronan Kearns, Kieron Russell, Karl Heffernan, Niall Black. Back: Adam Byrne, Jamie Woods, Jack Stillman, Robert Cluskey, David Finnegan, Gavin Duffy, Seamus Byrne, James Hughes, Tommy Reilly, JP Ryan

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averages. Their reward for a consistent qualification campaign was a quarter-final meeting with Tones which brought disappointment. The dismissal so early meant Pat’s had to concentrate on defending and it wasn’t until Niall Mooney pointed a free in the 31st minute that they opened their account. Tones led by 05 to 0-1 at the interval and second half points from Mooney (three), a superb Campbell effort and substitute Shane Landy weren’t enough. Eleven wides didn’t help the Pat’s cause and they were behind by 0-6 to 0-11 at the end. One of the three divisional games St Patrick’s lost during the league came when Donaghmore/Ashbourne beat them by 3-13 to 2-6 in the fourth round, but they had already defeated Dunboyne, Blackhall Gaels and Navan O’Mahonys by that stage. They proved consistent enough subsequently to reach the final for the second successive year, finishing in second position on 16 points, two less than table-toppers Donaghmore/Ashbourne. Navan O’Mahonys spoiled the party in 2011 (as they had done in the Division 2 decider the previous year) and this time it was Donaghmore/Ashbourne who won the Division 1 final by 1-8 to 0-7 at Simonstown. Campbell and Whyte were denied goals in the early stages when winners’ goalkeeper Andrew Colgan saved and points from Whyte (two), Campbell and substitute Barry Mooney enabled them to be level (04 each) at the change of ends. When Campbell, Niall Mooney and Barry Mooney got the first three points of the second half hopes of victory grew, but Pat’s didn’t score beyond the sixth minute of the period. Their 0-7 to 0-4 advantage looked very useful in a tight contest, but Sean Kelly’s team had time on their side and added 1-4, including the title clinching goal from Paul Gilligan. The St Patrick’s team was: E Connolly; D McQuillan, R Kearns, D Stafford; S Dowling, D Hagan, A Mooney; K Whearty, C Sullivan; B Calvey, N Mooney (0-1), R Russell; N Whearty, B Campbell (0-2), D Whyte (0-2). Subs – B Mooney (0-2) for

Calvey, D Landy for N Whearty, S Landy for A Mooney, M McKenna for K Whearty. That loss was a big disappointment, but there was joy when St Patrick’s won their first piece of adult silverware since 2001 when they shocked Donaghmore/Ashbourne in the B League Division 3 final at Skryne. Donaghmore/Ashbourne had beaten them with ease in the divisional stages, but in the game that mattered most a late point from a Barry Campbell free gave Pat’s a 0-17 to 1-13 victory after extra time. The winners led by 08 to 0-4 at the interval in normal time and Campbell stretched their advantage to five points, but Donaghmore/Ashbourne battled back to force extra time (0-11 each) Points from Barry Mooney, Campbell and JP Ryan gave Pat’s a 0-14 to 0-12 cushion midway through the additional 20 minutes and they pushed four clear before Declan Mulvey goaled from a penalty and Leon Tormey converted a free for the losers to leave the sides level with four minutes remaining. A replay looked a distinct possibility, but Campbell snatched a dramatic win when he slotted over a tricky free. He made a great personal contribution of 11 points. The St Patrick’s team was: J Hughes; D McQuillan, N Black, A Byrne; K Heffernan, R Kearns, J Stillman; B Mooney (0-1), B Calvey; B Mallon, N O’Flaherty (0-1), JP Ryan (0-2); B Campbell (0-11), C Sullivan, M McKenna (0-1). Subs – J Woods for Byrne, D O’Flaherty for Mallon, S McLoughlin for McKenna, B Baxter for Heffernan. “We lost the A League Division 1 final to Donaghmore /Ashbourne,” said the club’s acting PRO Tom Kirwan as he looked back on the year in football. “It was our third successive year to lose a league final. Navan O’Mahonys beat us

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Stephen Malone against Oldcastle

James Hughes

Ronan Kearns


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in the Division 1 final last year and in the Division 2 final the year before. “But we won the B League Division 3 title which was pleasing. We beat Donaghmore/Ashbourne in the final in Skryne. It was our first adult title since 2001 when we won the Feis Cup. “Mick Bohan coached us this year. He was a topper. He trained the Dublin ladies for years and is DCU coach. He is a former Dublin under-21 coach as well. I don’t know if we’ll be able to hold onto him. “We had a very good win in the championship against Donaghmore/Ashbourne. They had beaten us well in the league, but we played very well in that championship game and got to the quarter-finals. “We had a player sent off after only four minutes of the quarter-final against Wolfe Tones which was a big blow so early on. We were confident that we could beat Tones and felt we could reach the final. But the quarter-final is a bogey for us. “Unfortunately, the age profile of our team is against us, but I think we have enough there to stay at senior level for a few years at least.”

HURLERS JUST MISS OUT ON TITLE It was very pleasing to see St Patrick’s fielding a team in the Junior 2 Hurling Championship this year and while they suffered disappointment when losing the final to Killyon there is every likelihood that the title will come their way in the next couple of years. St Patrick’s topped group A when winning their three matches against Drumree, Na Fianna and Ratoath and then got the better of Clann na nGael in a semi-final to secure a big day out at Pairc Tailteann. Killyon won by 0-18 to 2-7, but St Patrick’s put in a huge effort. The Hill of Down team led all the way, including by 011 to 1-3 at the interval, but they had to see off a spirited rally by the Stamullen men in the second period when they refused to lie down and accept defeat. Richie Donoghue got the first St Patrick’s goal on 31 minutes and a five point deficit with the wind to come in the second period didn’t look overly intimidating. Substitute Phil Harney goaled early in the second half and they reduced the

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deficit to two points, but Killyon responded well and pushed clear again. Brian Farrelly was a star performer for St Patrick’s and scored six points, five of them from frees. Ciaran Calvey (St Patrick’s) and Ambrose Connolly (Killyon) were sent off near the end. “We started the hurling up again this year and reached the Junior 2 final,” said Tom Kirwan. “Killyon beat us by five points, but we were happy to get there. I trained the team for three or four years. We won the Junior 2 Championship in 2004 and Junior A titles in 2005 and 2007. “Phil Harney and Joe Finnegan got it going again this year. We have 24 or 25 players. We are primarily a football club, but there is a good interest in the hurling. We have a good few who just play hurling, but a lot play football too. We had a lot of injuries with lads being away from the game for so long.” The St Patrick’s team was: F Minogue; A Stafford, B Calvey, D Finnegan; N O’Flaherty, JP Ryan, G McGuinness; M Scanlon, C Calvey; C O’Brien, J McKenna, R Donoghue (1-1); C Stafford, C Dowling, B Farrelly (0-6). Subs – D Scott for McKenna, P Harney (1-0) for Stafford, R Genockey for O’Brien, G Donoghue for Genockey.

UNDER-17 SIDE SHINES UNDER LIGHTS There was a lot to like about the performance of the St Patrick’s under-17s when they defeated Moynalty by 3-10 to 2-5 in the Division 4 FL final which was played under lights at Donore. St Patrick’s started well when Michael McNulty and Conor Garvey scored early goals, but Moynalty recovered to lead by 2-4 to 2-3 at the interval. It was all to play for at that stage, but the Stamullen lads gained the upper hand in the second half when they added 1-7 to their tally and held Moynalty to a solitary point. Garvey got the other goal as St Patrick’s, who were managed by Anto Woods and Niall Mooney, made up for previous disappointments.

The victorious panel was: J Curtis, J McDonald, D Leahy, C Farrell, A Tully, M McNulty (1-0), D Burns, L Nulty, G Rothwell, C Tully (01), Adam Mulvaney (0-1), C Garvey (2-3), Aaron Mulvaney (0-3), S Mooney (0-2), A Kirk, S Belton, S Byrne, A Kenna, C McDonald, C Flynn.

U15’S LOOK GOOD St Patrick’s also started well in the Under-15 FL Division 5 final against Clann na nGael at Syddan as two early goals from Stephen Malone helped them to push into a 2-2 to 0-0 lead. With John Curtis proving a big influence they were playing very well, but goalkeeper Ciaran Sullivan had to come to the rescue with two fine saves late in the first half. A third goal from Ciaran Moss boosted Pat’s to a 3-4 to 1-2 interval advantage and when Moss pointed and Aaron Mulvaney added 1-3 they were well clear. But Clann na nGael stormed back and had cut the deficit to just three points by the threequarter stage. St Patrick’s regained their composure and two points from Conor Harkin and another fine save by O’Sullivan helped them to stay in front. Padraig Nulty concluded the scoring with their fifth goal as it finished 5-12 to 3-10. The victorious team was: C Sullivan; S Belton, N Flynn, A Kenna; D Burns, J Branigan, J Curtis; C McDonald, C Harkin (0-4); C Moss (1-1), S Malone (2-0); P Nulty (1-1); A Mulvaney (1-6), J Reddin, F Tallon. Subs – R Broderick, A Carroll, S Reddin.

Karl Heffernan

Mark McPhillips

PAT’S JUNIORS GET THEIR DUE REWARD The St. Pats Junior team had a very positive year despite the enormous challenge that emigration brings to any parish in the county. In fact, St. Pats could easily field a team in Australia at this stage such is the mass exodus of players to the far side of the world. Back in Meath, the team missed out in the championship to make the knockout stages but they

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Neil O'Flaherty


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did make their second successive B FL final, this time in Division 3 after gaining promotion from Division 4 last year. The year kicked off with a hugely promising start and an unbeaten run that extended well into July in both championship and league and hopes were high for silverware for the first time in a generation for a Pats junior team. The championship started very well indeed with a hard fought one point win over Donaghmore/Ashbourne at home in Stamullen on a bitterly cold day in April. St. Pats trailed for the entire game until the last minute when JP Ryan slotted over an injury time free to win it on a scoreline of 0-13 to 26. An exciting draw against Moynalvey followed and St. Pats were well positioned to push on and compete in the championship from there. However, a heart breaking defeat to local rivals and eventual finalists St. Marys, Donore in July ended their unbeaten run and the rails effectively came off after that. The junior panel lost players and they found it difficult to compete as their team was depleted by emigration, injury and promotion for key players to the senior side. Heavy defeats to Dunshaughlin and Kells ended their interest in the junior championship for another year but there is certainly the nucleus of a fine side for 2013 as the first half of 2012 proved. The team were promoted to Division 3 in the league this year and despite the step up in quality, valuable wins were registered against Ballinabrackey, Castletown and Simonstown before a tight game against St. Ultans which ended in a one point victory for the Pats men. A hugely satisfying win over rivals Rathkenny, 1-11 to 0-10, was the highlight in July which effectively ended Rathkenny’s interest in the league and ensured payback for St. Pats as they lost the league final to them the previous year. As usual with any league, a good start is half the job done and so it was the case for St. Pats as they remained unbeaten in the league until their final game against Donaghmore/Ashbourne in August where they suffered a big

defeat in Ashbourne. There was a quiet confidence though that the team had not done themselves justice on the day and the boys were relishing another crack at Donaghmore/Ashbourne as both teams qualified for the Division 3 league final in October. St. Patricks juniors landed the first piece of silverware for any adult football team from Stamullen since 2001 with a dramatic 0-17 to 1-13 win in the final. The team had lost the Divisions 5 and 4 deciders in recent years but were determined this year to make amends and also avenge a heavy defeat against Donaghmore/Ashbourne earlier on in the league. The final was played in Skryne in a fine night for football and the players served up a thrilling game full of incident and drama which is a credit to them and both their respective management teams. The game started at a ferocious pace with both teams going at each other and it was Don/Ash who opened the scoring with a point, Neil O’Flaherty replied with the next attack for Pats and shortly after, slotted over another point. Don/Ash played a two man full forward line in an effort to try and expose the Pats rearguard and they almost had two goals midway through the second half but a combination of last ditch tackling from David McQuillan and Niall Black thwarted their efforts. James Hughes was making his debut in goal after spending much of the season outfield and had an excellent game between the sticks. Jack Stillman and Karl Heffernan were sweeping up a lot of ball in the half-back line and distributing it well up the field. St. Pats got on top in the first half and Barry Campbell was on fire, scoring points at will despite being double-marked for much of the game. He was well assisted by Cormac Sullivan, JP Ryan and Neil O’Flaherty up front. Campbell ensured that the Pats team led by four points at the break, 0-8 to 0-4. All of the Don/Ash scores came from placed balls. It was very much all to play for in the second half. St. Pats started brightly in the

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Tommy Reilly

JP Ryan

David O'Flaherty


Shane McGinty

Andrew Reilly

Ace marksman Niall Mooney

second half with Ronan Kearns quarter-backing the game from his free role in defence and Barry Mooney and Brian Calvey dominating the midfield. Campbell scored another point to leave five points between the sides. However, Don/Ash were not giving up and brought the game to the Pats for the remainder of the second half. Despite the introduction of Cormac Sullivan to midfield, Don/Ash took over in all sectors of the park and ran at the Pats team which resulted in needless frees being conceded and the closing of the gap on the scoreboard. The Pats attack was being well marshalled be the Don/Ash defence who kept the Pats to only three second half points. Martin McKenna scored a crucial point to keep the Pats boys in the game. With two mins left on the clock, Don/Ash had levelled the game at 0-11 a piece and it looked like their momentum was going to win out. However, for the final action of the half, it was the Pats team that squandered chances to win when the ball went everywhere except over the bar and the ref blew the full-time whistle. Both teams had 5 mins to catch their breath after a very exciting game and prepare for extra-time. This was like a carbon copy of normal time with St. Pats racing into a lead thanks to a cracking point form Barry Mooney on the run and more scores from Barry Campbell and JP Ryan followed. Don/Ash’s response was a solitary point from a free. Into the final 10 mins and Pats had a two point lead to hold onto to make history and win their first piece of junior football silverware in a generation. The second half of extratime was about as dramatic as football gets, with both teams throwing caution to the wind and tired legs making mistakes all over the field. Pats extended their lead to four points and it looked all over with five minutes to go but then they hit the self destruct button. James Hughes brought down their corner forward in the square and was unable to save the resultant spot kick. From the next kick-out, Don/Ash levelled the game

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0-16 to 1-13 with a fine point from the wing and one minute remaining. Again, Don/Ash looked like the momentum would bring them over the line but it was Pats who tore up the field and won a free right on the stroke of full-time and Campbell slotted it over, under extreme pressure, as the final action of the game to ensure victory by a point. It was very harsh on a Don/Ash team who played their part in a cracking game and were very unfortunate to lose out in the end. For St. Pats, it was a fitting reward for the players and mentors who have laboured for years in the junior grade without winning anything, and they finally had their day in the sun. The defence played its part in this great victory and kept it very tight at the back and the entire team got stuck in when it mattered most and ground out the win. The future is bright with players like David McQuillan, Barry Mooney, Adam Byrne, Jack Stillman, Bryan Mallon, Neil O’Flaherty, Martin McKenna and Ben Baxter leading the way for the next generation. Declan Russell, Malachy Stafford, Mickey McQuillan and Tom Kirwan organised the team very well all year and played a massive part in this victory. After three successive promotions in the reserve league, Division 2 is calling and who would bet against another final next year Many thanks to the hard work and commitment of the team management, selectors and players throughout the year and here’s hoping 2013 will be just as enjoyable and successful as 2012. St. Patrick’s Team in the Final: James Hughes, David Mc Quillan, Niall Black, Adam Byrne, Karl Heffernan, Ronan Kearns (capt) Jack Stillman, Barry Mooney (0-01), Brian Calvey, Bryan Mallon, Neil O' Flaherty (0-1), J.P. Ryan (0-02), Barry Campbell (0-11), Cormac Sullivan, Martin Mc Kenna (0-01) Subs : Jamie Woods for Adam Byrne, David O' Flaherty for Bryan Mallon, Stephen Mc Loughlin for Martin Mc Kenna, Ben Baxter for Karl Heffernan


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