A late point from Padraig McKeever gave senior champions Simonstown a narrow victory over St Colmcilles in a very entertaining Meath senior football championship clash played at Pairc Tailteann this evening.
Simonstown 1-16 St Colmcilles 2-12
St Colmcilles will feel that they should have got something out of this clash and as the game went into injury time they looked like they had earned a share of the spoils when Ruairi O'Grady finished the ball to the Simonstown net and tied up the game. But from the kick out Simonstown worked the ball up field and after a series of passes Padraig McKeever duly sent over the winner.
The Leinster IFC winners got the perfect start. Ben Brennan opened the scoring before James Conlon was on hand to finish to the net after a mix up in the Simonstown defence.
But the senior champions fought back in style. Fine points from Sean Tobin, Padraig McKeever, Shane O'Rourke and a well taken goal from Conor Sheridan opened up a 1-8 to 1-2 lead after 20 minutes. St Colmcilles finished the half the stronger though and were rewarded with a brace of points each from Ben Brennan and Graham Reilly to go in at the break 1-10 to 1-7 in arrears.
Three inspirational points from midfielder Mark McCabe kept a four point gap between the teams after 45 minutes and by the 52th minute that lead was three, 1-15 to 1-12. Time was running out for Des Lane's charges and when Ben Brennan's speculative shot was finished to the net by O'Grady a draw looked on the cards until McKeever landed that late, late winner.
Simonstown Gaels 1-16 St Colmcille's 2-12
This Round 1 fixture of the senior championship was played under benign conditions in Páirc Tailteann. This was the meeting of last year's senior champions and intermediate champions.
It was the intermediate champions who dealt the first blow in the game with a scrappy goal in the 4th minute. Ben Brennan also added to the Cilles tally with a point from a free. Simonstown endured a period of survival in the opening minutes but they responded in the 8th minute with 2 points from Séan Tobin and Shane O'Rourke. Podge McKeever was able to add 2 frees quickly after Simonstown's scores and after 14 minutes the scoreline read Simonstown 0-4 St Colmcilles 1-2. Simonstown had a 10 minute period of dominance where they tallied 1-4 without reply. Scores from Shane O'Rourke, Séan Tobin, Brian McGrath, Podge Mckeever and a well taken goal by Conor Sheridan left Simonstown 1-8 to 1-2 up. St Colmcilles finished the half strongly with scores from James Conlon, 2 Graham Reilly points and 2 placed kicks. Scoreline at the end of a topsy turvy first half read Simonstown 1-10 St Colmcilles 1-7.
The second half began with a trademark Graham Reilly point. Mark McCabe was able to put Simonstown back into a 4 point lead with 2 very well taken long range scores. Scores from Nathan O'Brien, Podge McKeever and another Mark McCabe point left Simonstown with a 3 point lead going into the dying stages of the match. Simonstown throughout the second half maintained a 3 point lead but there always remained the danger of St. Colmcilles getting back into the game. St. Colmcilles pressure was awarded in injury time when Ben Brennan's free kick dropped short and was fobbled by the Simonstown's defence. The ball was bundled over the line much to the despair of the Simonstown contigent. However Simonstown responded very well and a superb point by captain Padraig McKeever meant Simonstown were able to scrape through this first round encounter.
Best for Simonstown Séan Tobin, Shane O'Rourke, Mark McCabe, Shane Gallagher and Padraig McKeever.
Simonstown: Robert Burlingham, Shane Gallagher, Stephen Moran, Stephen Reilly, Neil Kane, Brían Conlon, Brian McGrath (0-1), Shane O'Rourke (0-2), Mark McCabe (0-3), Nicky O'Brien, Conor Sheridan (1-0), Joe Lyons, Podge McKeever(0-6 (6f)), Seán Tobin (0-3), Mark Gardiner
Subs: Chris O'Neil for Nicky O'Brien, Seamus Kenny for Conor Sheridan, Nathan O'Brien (0-1) for Joe Lyons