'Tones trump O'Mahonys to reach summit
October 16, 2006
Wolfe Tones captain Darren McGrath raises the Keegan Cup
Wolfe Tones completed their remarkable rise through the ranks of Meath football by winning the Common Hardware sponsored SFC title and lifting the Keegan Cup for the first time at the expense of favourites Navan O'Mahonys at Pairc Tailteann.
Wolfe Tones ................. 1-9
Navan O'Mahonys ........ 1-7
After leading by 0-6 to 0-5 at half-time having played with the wind in the opening period, Wolfe Tones made a decisive burst by scoring 1-2 in the eight minutes immediately after the restart.
Cian Ward got those crucial scores including a wonderfully struck goal from an acute angle in the 33rd minute to make it 1-7 to 0-5 and then completed his haul with a pointed free five minutes later.
The talismanic 20-year-old forward finished with 1-7 to his name and his total included six pointed frees and another from a '45' and was a deserving winner of the Colum Cromwell trophy as 'Man of the Match'.
Ward also emerged as the top scorer in the championship which yielded a substantial dividend both for him and his club.
However, it was the 'Tones irrepressible team spirit that saw them resist a strong O'Mahonys rally in the latter stages and collectively their defence deserve much credit for this merited success.
Pointed frees from Paddy Smyth and Stephen Bray got O'Mahonys back into contention and the margin was down to the minimum when the latter player latched onto a long delivery from Cormac Reilly and fired home a brilliant goal.
That left it 1-7 to 1-8 in the 51st minute but despite numerous opportunities O'Mahonys couldn't get back on terms and Alan Fox gave Wolfe Tones some breathing space with a pointed free in stoppage time.
In the last action of the game David Bray goal attempt from a 20-metre free was parried to safety by the 'Tones defence
The exchanges got a bit fractious in the latter stages and there was a brief outbreak of unpleasantries with about five minutes to go after Lee Russell was adjudged to have fouled Stephen Sheppard close to the sideline.
When Ward picked up a knock in the final quarter, Tommy Dowd entered the fray to become one of the few players to have won SFC medals with different clubs, having helped Dunderry to their sole senior success 11 years ago.
Wolfe Tones were never headed and the sides were level three times in the opening half before Ward - who opened the scoring from a free inside a minute of the off - landed his fifth placed ball to leave it 0-6 to 0-5 at the break.
With Mark Ward impressing at midfield for O'Mahonys and Stephen Bray prominent in attack O'Mahonys were well in the hunt at the interval having played against the wind in the opening 30 minutes.
But apart from when Bray netted, the favourites were never able to create the space in attack to unhinge Tony Kearney's charges who now face St Joseph's (Louth) in the Leinster Club SFC at Pairc Tailteann on October 29.
Wolfe Tones - D. Nolan; R. Brady, C. McLoughlin, C. Reilly; B. McGinn, E. Harrington, S. Sheppard; S. Corrigan, G. Beggy; A. Fox (0-1, free), D. McGrath, N. McLoughlin; D. O'Neill (0-1), J. Tiernan, C. Ward (1-7, 0-6 frees, 0-1 '45'). Subs - T. Dowd for Ward (49 mins), A. McKeown for Sheppard (56 mins), P. Caffrey for Tiernan (60 mins).
Navan O'Mahonys - M. Brennan; C. Reilly, K. Reilly, N. Dunne; S. MacGabhann, N. McKeigue, L. Russell; C. McGuinness (0-1), M. Ward; D. Bray, P. Smyth (0-2, frees), H. Finnegan; S. McKeigue, T. Loughran, S. Bray (1-4, 0-1 free). Sub - D. Moran for S. McKeigue (39 mins).
Referee - J. Smith (Dunshaughlin).
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