Meath SFC final: Late surge sees Summerhill scale summit

October 20, 2013

Na Fianna's Conor Downey and Summerhill's Paul Rispin go to ground as John Baldwin and Jamie Queeney await developments during the Meath SFC final at Pairc Tailteann. TO VIEW A SELECTION OF PHOTOGRAPHS FOR THIS GAME CLICK HERE
Summerhill are champions of Meath for the seventh time following this fully deserved win over south county rivals Na Fianna in the SFC final at Pairc Tailteann on Sunday

Summerhill ...... 1-13
Na Fianna ........ 1-10

Declan McCabe's charges responded positively everytime Na Fianna threatened to take control of this game, notably after the Enfield-Baconstown-Rathmolyon outfit reeled off six points in a row to level matters at 1-10 each heading into the final ten minutes.

Na Fianna, even with the wind and momentum behind them, were unable to regain a lead they held briefly midway through the opening half. Just as when they dethroned Navan O'Mahonys at the quarter-final stage, Summerhill found another gear when their opponents levelled matters.

It speak volumes for Summerhill's resolve for the manner which they responded to losing their opening two games by the narrowest margin with six consecutive wins to scale the summit of Meath football again.

A well-worked score finished by Paul Rispin, another from sub Richie Hatton before the experienced Adrian Kenny closed the scoring copper fastened a first Keegan Cup success since 2011.

In their first ever campaign at this level, Na Fianna - with former Summerhill player and manager John Lyons at the helm - could have folded having conceding a goal and a point within two minutes of the off. Instead they responded positively in two separate phases of the game when their more experienced opponents threatened to leave them in the rear view mirror.

Crucially, Na Fianna passed up a couple of opportunities to hit the front in the final quarter before Summerhill made their decisive break with those aforementioned scores.

Complacency against first time finalists was never an issue as Summerhill posted a goal and a point within two minutes of the off. When they fell into arrears they responded positively to lead by three points at the break.

Such an interval advantage didn't seem sufficient against a side that had netted 19 times en route to the decider. Instead, Summerhill doubled their half-time lead within nine minutes of the resumption without conceding.

Na Fianna's six second-half scores were shoe-horned into eight minutes when sub Dean Barrett had an immediate impact after team captain Michael Foley got the sequence going with a rousing 41st minute effort from about 45 metres. Shane Barrett closed the sequence with a pointed free in the 49th minute that left it 1-10 each.

Backed by the wind Summerhill sprinted from the blocks and David Larkin forced the ball over the line within 35 seconds of the off after Michael Byrne threaded the ball through to him.

Before the second minute elapsed Sean Dalton pointed and Summerhill looked set to extend their advantage. Before the seventh minute passed, Na Fianna were back on terms. First Dalton McDonagh netted at the hospital end after Shane Barrett's initial effort was blocked.

No more than the minimum separated the sides over the next 12 minutes with both sides having brief spells in the lead. Wing back Dean Henrick scored two points in the opening quarter, the second giving Na Fianna the lead for the first time. Daniel Queeney and McDonagh played supporting roles in the score that made it 1-3 to 1-2 in the 14th minute.

A scoring lull of five minutes was followed by five Summerhill scores on the spin that left it 1-7 to 1-3 after 28 minutes. That sequence could have included a second goal for the 'Hill but Shane Geraghty denied Paul Rispin a goal at the expense of a 45 that yielded nothing.

It didn't derail Summerhill who brought their first-half tally to a close with a Kenny point with Larkin providing the final pass. There was still time for Shane Barrett to pull one back for Na Fianna from a free and his side trailed by 1-4 to 1-7 at the break.

Summerhill - Tony McDonnell; Padraig Jennings, Caolan Young, Willie Ryan; Padraig Geraghty, Alan Lyons, Stephen Husband (0-1); Conor Gillespie, Micheal Byrne (0-1f);David Larkin (1-0), Brian Ennis (C) (0-4 fs), Adrian Kenny (0-2); Paul Rispin (0-1), Sean Dalton (0-2), Barry Dardis (0-1). Subs - Kevin Ryan for Dardis (48), Richie Hatton (0-1) for Husband (54).

Na Fianna - Shane Geraghty; Diarmuid Bailey, Christy Cosgrave, John Baldwin; Michael Farley, Michael Foley (0-1), Dean Henrick (0-2); Ollie Lewis, Jamie Queeney; Brian Queeney; Daniel Queeney (0-2), Conor Downey (0-1); Shane Barrett (0-3 fs), Tommy Cosgrove, Dalton McDonagh (1-0). Subs - Dean Barrett (0-1) for B Queeney (ht), Harrison Silke for Downey (59), Michael Collins for Farley (60).

Referee - Patrick Neilis (Kilmainham)

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