O'Mahonys 6-15 Moylagh 1-8
Every player loves playing championship football and all were delighted when round 4 kicked off on Tuesday night. Navan O'Mahonys ventured north wards to take on Moylagh in their first meeting of the year. While O'Mahonys suffered a heavy defeat in round 2 Moylagh were coming off the back of a fine high scoring draw against Duleek/Bellewstown. Moylagh had their pitch in fine condition for this encounter. Worthy of a championship outing.
The contest got under way just before 8:20 and as the referee threw the ball up it was hotly contested which set the tone for a tough opening period. Moylagh were in no mood for messing around after winning the first battle and launched an attack within seconds. Suzy Mullally lofted over a fine effort and the north Meath side were up and running. The resulting kick out found its way into the trusty hands of Jacinta Maher. These days the ball only finishes up in one place from her boot and this was O'Mahonys first score. This was also the first time in 4 games O'Mahonys had a different first scorer. Moylagh won one of very few of their own kick outs on the night and in a sweeping movement worked it to the oppositions 21 where they worked it into a score position. What looked like a fine effort for a point suddenly took a rapid decent with the ball managing to squeeze in between the stretching keeper and the cross bar. Aoibheann Leahy is a person who doesn't like not scouring first so not to be out down she gained possession in the middle of the park and finished a mazy run with a fine point.
Her next effort was one of those did she mean it as a possible point attempt looped perfectly into the corner of the net. Points were then traded two from frees and one from play from both sides to leave it 1.4 apiece. The scores halted for nearly 10 minutes as the play slowed down with tough tackling, turn overs and bad wides the order of the day. It was turning into a scrappy dog fight till an O'Mahonys attack was broken down on the edge of the Moylagh square. With both teams fighting for possession the ball rolled to Kate McKenna who finished from close range. This sparked a change back to football with Moylagh getting two great scores from their no11 Orla Tuite. Laoise McDermott finished the half off with a sweetly directed shot from a tight angle after a great run from her own 45. Half time came in a tight hard hitting first half with O'Mahonys leading 2.7 to 1.6.
The second half got under way after a slightly longer half time break due to Moylaghs delay in returning to the field. The first 15 minute was back to the tough hitting play from mid-way through the first half. The referee was content in letting it flow at times perhaps too much for both sides. It was liable to spill over into a dangerous game once it was close on the score board. Every game has that tipping point where one team takes control. Such a chain of events occurred as the clock was coming to the 17th minute. In the space of 7 minutes O'Mahonys would get a tight grip on the 3 points on offer. With the score 2.10 to 1.7 Moylagh were having a strong few minutes of pressure on the O'Mahonys goal. Firstly, a ball over the top of the last defender Deirdre Forde lead to a one on one with the Moylagh forward and Kathy Butler in goals. As was the case in many games this year Kathy was out quickly and brave to block and smoother the ball.
The follow up was blocked again this time by Sofia Fitzherbert. With the ball loose Deirdre Forde came to clean up and dispatch it away from danger for a 45. From that 45 Moylagh piled on the pressure but a fine interception from captain Sarah Powderly set up arguable the best counter attack of the game. 6 passes up the field ended with Leahy hitting the net for a fine gaol. It was but beautiful work. She followed this up almost instantly with a point from all of 40 meters after been hit very unfairly hard. These seven minutes changed the deficit from six points to ten. Without the bravery and fighting spirt in defending Moylagh could have taken over the lead with all the great pressure they had applied in the time before.
The last ten minutes saw Jacinta Mahar score 2-3 with Leahy missing a peno by hitting the cross bar but she still managed to finish the day with 3.4. the contest was killed off in style as Moylaghs tanked emptied out. This was a tough game with Moylagh deploying a sweeper which left O'Mahonys forced to do the same. However, the tactic was worked a little better from the Navan side as it was unwise to leave a player of the calibre of Hannah Heskin without anyone to mark as majority of the attacks were started by her from her own 21. Both county minors on show put in a great display which will set them up perfectly for their All Ireland semi come the weekend.
Something about north Meath clubs that they are always very hostile tough places to play in any code and although the game at times was fierce the issues were left on the field in true championship spirit. With Moylaghs hospitality after the game a credit to their club. Best of luck in the rest of the championship to Moylagh and the two sides will meet again later in the year in the league.
Next up for Navan is a home tie to Ballivor, Wednesday the 19th of July.
Navan O'Mahonys: Kathy Butler, Deirdre Forde, Hannah Heskin, Sofia Fitzherbert, Aoife Devlin, Kate Falahee, Tara Fay, Aoibheann Leahy(3-04), Sarah Powderly(c 0-02), Laoise McDermott(0-02), Lizzie Brennan, Jacinta Maher(2-05), Kate Mckenna (1-01), Lauren Eite, Niamh Moore.
Subs: Sally Joyce (0-01) (Lauren Eite 40min)
Referee: James Weldon