Meath SFC final: O'Mahonys' resilience rewarded with 19th title

October 19, 2014

Navan O'Mahonys David Bray with Paul Gilligan Donaghmore Ashbourne during the Meath SFC Final at Pairc Tailteann.

Navan O'Mahonys recovered from the concession of two goals in the opening three minutes to win the Meath SFC title and lift the Keegan Cup for the 19th time.

Navan O'Mahonys .......... 2-11
Donaghmore-Ashbourne ...... 2-9

Things look bleak for David Nelson's men when they were two goals down after five minutes. Gradually they worked their way back into contention.

Led on the field by full-back Niall McKeigue they withstood a strong Donaghmore-Ashbourne rally in the final quarter with the Colum Cromwell Man of the Match award winner Jake Regan posting the final score.

Regan saw off plenty of contenders for the player of the match award, including the team captain as well as the industrious Alan Forde, whose ability to carry the ball and graft was important.

O'Mahonys hit the front for the first time in the 35th minute when Ruairi O Coileain netted from close range after Stephen Bray's attempt was blocked by Cormac McGill.

O'Mahonys remained in front until the end despite facing the wind and low sun. Their second goal arrived in the 47th minute with Regan firing to the net after O Coileain's attempt was blocked.

Gary O'Brien was also central to the build-up to that crucial score and he added a point to leave it 2-10 to 2-4 with 50 minutes gone.

The pendulum swung Donaghmore-Ashbourne's way in the final with five scores on the bounce trimming the deficit to the minimum. A block by Gary O'Brien on Michael Deegan's 56th minute goal attempt kept the Navan men on the front foot.

Despite playing into the strong wind blowing from the hospital end, Donaghmore-Ashbourne struck two goals within two minutes of the off with Andrew Tormey and team captain Bryan Menton netting.

Six points down, O'Mahonys set about whittling down the deficit with the elements at their back. However, the squally wind and accompanying rain that swept the venue at times was a hindrance to both sides.

Stephen Bray got the O'Mahonys' rally going when pointing at the end of a move involving Brian Dillon and Jake Regan. When Tormey pointed it was 2-1 to 0-1 after seven minutes.

O'Mahonys outscored Donaghmore-Ashbourne by 0-7 to 0-1 over the remainder of the half. Jake Regan and Stephen Bray posted a trio of points apiece in the opening 30 minutes.

A well-judged Regan free left just a goal in it, 0-4 to 2-1, after 19 minutes. Eight minutes later Thomas McGovern's goal attempt was blocked by O'Mahonys' Shane Crosby. When the ball was worked down field, David Bray pointed to leave just the minimum between the teams.

The scores were tied for the first time when Alan Forde rounded off an excellent move with a fine point and it remained 2-2 to 0-8 until the interval. A long range Deegan effort from play in the 34th minute restored Donaghmore-Ashbourne's lead but it proved to be the last time Paul Clarke's men were in front.

Navan O'Mahonys - David Quirke; Brian Dillon, Niall McKeigue (C), Daragh Smyth; James O'Reilly, Shane Crosby, Gary O'Brien (0-1); Cormac McGuinness, Damien Moran; Ruairi O Coileain (1-0), Stephen Bray (0-3, 2fs), Alan Forde (0-1); Darragh Maguire, David Bray (0-1), Jake Regan (1-4 0-4fs). Subs - Stephen O'Toole for Smyth (19), Shane Gillespie (0-1) for Maguire (ht), Henry Finnegan for Forde (59), Stephen MacGabhann for McGuinness (59), Maguire for Moran (60).

Donaghmore-Ashbourne - Jack Hannigan; Conor Carton, Cormac McGill, Jason Boland; Sean Curran, Shane Melia, Ciaran Ellis; Bryan Menton (1-0), Conor Carey; Thomas McGovern, Andrew Tormey (1-3), Dara McGovern; Michael Deegan (0-5, 3fs), Ciaran Beirne, Eoghan Riordan. Subs - Eoin Reilly for Riordan (40), Eric Callaghan (0-1) for Boland (49), Shaun Byrne for McGovern (52), Paul Gilligan for Ellis (52), Mattie Devine for Beirne (53).

Referee - Colm McManus (Gaeil Colmcille)

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