Na Fianna 0-12
Donaghmore-Ashbourne had too much firepower for Na Fianna in the first hoganstand.com Meath SFC semi-final at Pairc Tailteann on Saturday evening.
Na Fianna hopes of reaching the SFC final for the second year running were seriously undermined by the dismissal of three of their players. Some of the decisions were questionable.
Donaghmore-Ashbourne put down a large deposit on a final place with goals either side of half-time. Apart from a brief spell in the early stages, Paul Clarke's men were never headed.
Andrew Tormey netted Donaghmore-Ashbourne's opener in the 20th minute, eight minutes before the first dismissal. Na Fianna full-back Christy Cosgrave was first to be sent-off, on receipt of his second yellow card, in the 28th minute.
Within eight minutes of the restart, Na Fianna had lost Ollie Lewis to a straight red card and leaked a second goal. Lewis' sanction seemed harsh as contact with the Donaghmore-Ashbourne player was unavoidable.
The final third of the hour was a non-event - no fault of Donaghmore-Ashbourne who were determined to avoid a repeat of their narrow semi-final defeat to Navan O'Mahonys two years ago.
Donaghmore-Ashbourne moved ten points clear by the 47th minute. With Dalton McDonagh particularly impressive Na Fianna rallied before losing their number 13 to injury near the end.
Time was almost up when sub Tommy Cosgrave picked up his second yellow card while Andrew Tormey had a 'goal' ruled out for an apparent throw.
Donaghmore-Ashbourne recovered from the concession of a point from a free and the loss of Ciaran Ellis to a black card in the opening minute, responding with three points on the spin to lead by 0-3 to 0-1 after seven minutes.
Three different Donaghmore-Ashbourne players registered from frees in the opening quarter as Paul Clarke's men moved 0-5 to 0-2 clear after 12 minutes.
Daniel Queeney who scored four points in the first-half and the best of them left Na Fianna just two points in arrears, 0-4 to 0-6, after 18 minutes.
The pendulum swung towards Donaghmore-Ashbourne with the next two scores. When Sean Curran close range shot was parried by Na Fianna 'keeper Shane Geraghty, Andrew Tormey was on hand to direct the ball to the net in the 19th minute.
That score was quickly followed by a point from play by Tormey with Ciaran Beirne providing the assist. Suddenly six points separated the sides, 1-7 to 0-4, with 20 minutes gone.
In the time remaining before the break, Na Fianna halved the deficit with three points on the spin. Daniel Queeney notched two of them (one free) while his brother and team captain Jamie got the other.
Na Fianna were awarded a chance to tie things up before the break. When Donaghmore-Ashbourne corner-back Jason Boland fouled Shane Barrett, the latter's weak effort was comfortably saved by Jack Hannigan, whose biggest obstacle appeared to be the dipping sun.
Daniel Queeney's fourth point of the opening half, a stoppage time free, left the south county side trailing their east Meath opponents by 0-7 to 1-7 at the interval.
Just before half-time Na Fianna endured a major setback with the dismissal of full-back Christy Cosgrave on receipt of his second yellow card.
Within two minutes of the restart Na Fianna woes were compounded with the harsh dismissal of Ollie Lewis on a straight red card. A foul appeared to be committed by the midfielder, but not of the magnitude to warrant such a sanction.
When Bryan Menton finished to the net at the town end at the end of a sweeping move, the board read 2-8 to 0-7 and the contest effectively flatlined.
Donaghmore-Ashbourne - Jack Hannigan; Thomas McGovern, Conor Carton, Jason Boland, Ciaran Ellis, Shane Melia, Dara McGovern; Conor Carey, Bryan Menton (C) (1-2); Eric Callaghan, Andrew Tormey (1-2, 0-1f), Shaun Byrne; Eoghan Riordan, Ciaran Beirne (0-3fs), Michael Deegan (0-5fs). Subs - Sean Curran (0-1) for Ellis (bc 5), Eoin Reilly (0-1) for Byrne (ht), Aidan Hughes for Callaghan (37), Mattie Devine for Beirne (54), Cormac McGill for Boland (54).
Na Fianna - Shane Geraghty; Michael Farley, Christy Cosgrave, John Baldwin; Anthony Neary, Diarmuid Bailey, Dean Henrick; Ollie Lewis,Jamie Queeney (C) (0-2, 1 45); Daniel Queeney (0-5, 4fs), Evan Henrick (0-1), Conor Downey (0-1); Dalton McDonagh, Dean Barrett (0-1), Shane Barrett (0-2fs). Subs - Tommy Cosgrave for Neary (24), Barry Slevin for E Henrick (43), Brian Queeney for D Barrett (48), Damien Downey for D Henrick (57), James Geagan for McDonagh (60).
Referee - David Gough (Slane)