IHC final replay: O'Mahonys edge Na Fianna

October 07, 2017

O'Mahonys keeper John Gleeson prevents a certain goal in the final minutes of the Meath IHC final replay as Na Fianna's Mark Slevin closes in at Pairc Tailteann.

Navan O'Mahonys outpointed Na Fianna in a closely contested IHC final replay at Pairc Tailteann on Saturday afternoon.

O'Mahonys ....... 0-17
Na Fianna ........ 0-14

As in the curtain raiser, the game turned in the second quarter. James Burke's men hit the front for the first time just before the break and took the lead to the finish.

O'Mahonys stepped up their game from the drawn encounter to win the title for the first time in 20 years and sixth in all.

Apart from the early minutes, O'Mahonys set the tone with disciplined and brave tackling.

Up front the accuracy of team captain Paddy Skehan from placed balls was crucial to the outcome while Jack Walsh chipped in with four points from play, including three in the second-half.

The latter scores helped ease the pressure as Na Fianna looked to claim the title for the second time and for the first time since 2006.

O'Mahonys were forced to line out without county man Cormac Reilly, dismissed in the drawn encounter. The experienced Richie Hogan deputised to great effect.

By the end eight different players scored for the Brews Hill side. Barry Slevin accounted for half of Na Fianna's tally and was supported in the scoring stakes by four team mates.

Na Fianna had the wind in first-half and started well. O'Mahonys settled and put in a strong defensive display to mitigate the attacking threat of the Baconstown-Enfield side.

Pat O'Halloran's charges led by 0-6 to 0-3 midway through the first-half when David Kirby pointed. Matters turned as O'Mahonys outscored Na Fianna by 0-5 to 0-1 in the second quarter.

The Navan-men hit the front for the first time 28 minutes in when Skehan landed a free and went on to lead by 0-8 to 0-7 at the interval.

O'Mahonys stretched their lead from the restart with Walsh getting them going with help from Colin O'Rourke. Sean Martin pulled a point back for Na Fianna before and excellent Diarmuid Rogers point and a Skehan 65 moved them 0-11 to 0-8 clear by the 36th minute.

A fine save by John Gleeson - at the expense of a 65 that Barry Slevin pointed - kept O'Mahonys on the front foot. Na Fianna were guilty of a quartet of wides with outcome still in the balance.

Brave defending denied Na Fianna a goal chance, that included goalkeeper Gleeson. By the 56th minute the margin was the minimum when Cian Slattery pointed, 0-14 to 0-13. Walsh responded with a brilliant point from the stand side into the town goal. The same player completed the scoring in added time after Slevin completed his haul.

Na Fianna - Na Fianna: Eoin Reilly (C);  Sean Coffey, Evan Mullally, Christy Cosgrave, Niall Reilly, Daniel Gleeson, Jonathan McCloskey; Ethan Devine; Diarmuid Bailey (0-1); Cian Slattery (0-1), Peter Slevin, Barry Slevin (0-7, 6 fs, 1 65); Mark Slevin (0-1), David Kirby (0-2), Sean Martin (0-2). Subs - Ronan Byrne for Devine (42), Shane Burke for McCloskey (53), Will Flynn for Slattery (59).

O'Mahonys - John Gleeson; Diarmuid Rogers (0-1), Richie Hogan, Mark Usher; James Murphy (0-1), Kevin O'Rourke, Shane Crosby (0-1); Jake Regan, Dylan Regan; Paddy Skehan (0-7, 4fs, 2 65s), Barry Regan, Jack Walsh (0-4); Mikey Kelly, Derek Loughran (0-1), David Quirke (0-1) . Subs - Colin O'Rourke for Barry Regan (24), Conor Fitzpatrick (0-1) for C O'Rourke.

Referee - Richard Morris (Blackhall Gaels)

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