SFC quarter-final: Na Fianna's surprise advance to last four

September 05, 2015

Na Fianna's James Greagan puts pressure of Shaun Byrne Donaghmore Ashbourne during the hoganstand.com Meath SFC quarter final at Pairc Tailteann.

Na Fianna  1-15
Donaghmore Ashbourne  0-11

Na Fianna deservedly advanced to a third hoganstand.com SFC semi-final with a surprisingly easy quarter-final win over Donaghmore Ashbourne at Pairc Tailteann on Saturday evening.

Eamon Barry's men laid the foundations in a wind-assisted first-half to fashion a seven-point, 1-8 to 0-4, interval lead.

Na Fianna matched last year's runners-up thereafter to gain a measure of attonement for their semi-final defeat to Donaghmore-Ashbourne.

Apart from a brief spell in the early stages, Na Fianna led all the way. A scoring burst that yielded 1-4 in four first quarter minutes laid the foundation for this win.

Johnny Baldwin beats Aidan Hughes 

Eight different players registered for Na Fianna with busy wing-back Conor Downey making a telling contribution with 1-2. His solo run yielded a fine point at the old swimming pool end in the 50th minute to leave the board reading 1-12 to 0-9.

Full-forward Dalton McDonagh weighed in with six points (five from play). All bar two points of Na Fianna's tally came from play.

In addition, Shane Geraghty was the busier of the two goalkeepers, making a crucial save from David Morgan in the run-in to half-time. He made another such save from Andrew Tormey shortly after the restart.

Five points was as close last year's runners-up got to Na Fianna when playing wind-assisted into the town end. Two points from 40th minute sub Ciaran Ellis was the highlight of Donaghmore-Ashbourne's rally.

David Morgan has a shot

Points in the latter stages from Brian Queeney and an excellent Ethan Devine effort completed the Na Fianna tally. In between them Michael Deegan's fifth pointed free wrapped up Donaghmore-Ashbourne's campaign.

With the sun and the breeze at their backs, Na Fianna broke first with Barry Clancy pointing within 15 seconds of the off after James Queeney's delivery broke to him.

Within five minutes Donaghmore-Ashbourne had moved two clear with Bryan Menton's excellent effort from play complmenting two Michael Deegan frees.

Na Fianna regrouped and outscored last year's SFC runners-up by 1-4 to 0-0 in a three-minute spell to lead by 1-5 to 0-3 after 12 minutes.

Dalton McDonagh beats Cormac McGill

Wing-back Conor Downey bagged the goal in the 11th minute. Donaghmore-Ashbourne managed just one more point over the remainder of the opening half.

That came courtesy of Deegan's third pointed free, in the 16th minute. Another quarter would elapse before Donaghmore-Ashbourne's next score.  That aforementioned scoring burst proved to be the foundation for a memorable success for Na Fianna who face Wolfe Tones or Gaeil Colmcille in the semi-final.

Na Fianna - Shane Geraghty; John Baldwin, Christy Cosgrave, James Geogan; Dean Henrick (0-1), Anthony Neary, Conor Downey (1-2, 0-1f); Ollie Lewis, Brian Queeney (0-1); Ethan Devine (0-1), Jamie Queeney (0-1), Daniel Queeney (0-1); Barry Clancy (0-1), Dalton McDonagh (0-6, 1f), Tommy Cosgrave. Subs - Shane Barrett (0-1) for Lewis (42), Michael Collins for T Cosgrave (47).

Donaghamore-Ashbourne - Andy Colgan; JP Casserly, Cormac McGill, Conor Carton; Paul Gilligan, Shane Melia, Thomas McGovern; Bryan Menton (0-1), Conor Carey; Shaun Byrne (0-2), Michael Deegan (0-5 fs), Sean Curran; Andrew Tormey (0-1), David Morgan, Aidan Hughes. Subs - Rory O'Connor for Carey (40), Ciaran Ellis (0-2) for McGill (40), Ciaran Beirne for Morgan (49)

Referee - Cormac Reilly (St Mary's)

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