Carnaross 2-13 Dunsany 2-12
Carnaross hung on for a hard fought away victory played in idyllic conditions in Dunsany. The previous two meetings between these rivals ended all square but Carnaross ensured that trend was broken when they saved a penalty and stood firm in a tension ridden finale.
Killian Porter began proceedings by driving at the Dunsany defence and laying it off to Decky Reilly who dutifully tapped over. However Dunsany responded by blitzing Carnaross with 2 goals and a point in a mere 3 minutes opening up the defence at will. Porter stemmed the tide before Dunsany broke downfield again only to be denied a third goal in 6 minutes by Shane McNiffe in goals. With the outcome of the game looking ominous, Carnaross decided to throw caution to the wind and took the game to their Junior counterparts. They rattled off 4 points in as many minutes through Decky Reilly (2), Shane Casserly and Stephen Dawson. For a B League division 5 game, the standard of football was refreshingly high with both teams playing with a high tempo and great intensity. A Decky Reilly free was sandwiched in between two Dunsany points. Liam Day was then unlucky to see his effort rebound off the post after rounding his man. Carnaross finished the half the stronger side scoring 2-2 in the final 5 minutes. Killian Porter brought his first half tally to three 3 points, with 2 in the last 5 minutes before the break. Decky Reilly finished off a well worked move by finishing to the net with aplomb and suddenly the North Meath men's tails were up. In the dying seconds of the first half the renegade Cian Yore tore forward and was delightfully picked out on the edge of the square where he nonchalantly rounded the onrushing goalkeeper to finish to an empty net.
It was an intriguing half of football with Dunsany in danger of finishing the contest after 10 minutes when they lead by 6 points, only for the men in maroon and saffron hoops to dominate the remaining 20 minutes to lead by 4 at half time, 2-9 to 2-5.
After an energy sapping and open first period, the second half was always going to be a tighter and cagier affair. Reilly continued his fine form to bring his tally to 1-5 for the day with a lovely curled effort. However Dunsany re-established their grip on proceedings and went on to dominate the next 15 minutes with 5 out of the next 6 scores. Carnaross sole score during this barren period was an outrageous score by Liam Day who floated over a 45 with consummate ease. With a solitary point separating the sides, tensions rose and tempers flared but most importantly Carnaross scored. First of all "marathon man" Porter kicked over a free before" Centra's main man" Day stretched the lead to 3 with 5 minutes to go. With 1 minute remaining in normal time, Dunsany were awarded a penalty and it looked like another draw was on the cards. However Shane McNiffe dived low and to his right to expertly deny the Dunsany forward and pushed it out for a 45 which was converted to leave 2 in it. Dunsany added another point but couldn't get that final equalising score. Their final free dropped short for Peter Shay Farrelly to claim and Eamonn Barry brought the proceedings to a halt.
In an enthralling encounter, Dunsany will feel aggrieved to have nothing to show for their valiant effort but Carnaross dug deep when it mattered most to claim a fully warranted one point win. Carnaross played with great intensity and confidence which ultimately saw them over the line. Carnaross and Dunsany will reignite their battle in the next round of the Junior championship in an eagerly awaited top of the table encounter on Monday the 24th of July in Kildalkey.
Carnaross: Shane McNiffe; Jack Roche, Peter Shay Farrelly, Aidan Lynch; Cian Yore (1-0), Brian Comaskey, Cian Gillic; Peter Mullan, John Brogan; Killian Porter (0-4,0-3fs), Stephen Flattery, Shane Casserly (0-1); Liam Day (0-2, 1 45), Decky Reilly (1-5, 0-2fs), Stephen Dawson (0-1); Subs: Matt O'Reilly for Stephen Flattery; Stephen Flattery for Stephen Dawson;