Michael Deegan complimented impressive workrate with eight points as Donaghmore-Ashbourne retained the Coolrite Refrigeration Under 21 FC title at Dunshaughlin on Sunday when overcoming Skryne.
Donaghmore-Ashbourne ............ 1-14
Skryne ..................................... 2-7
In what may prove to be his last game for the club?, Deegan was particularly prominent in the last 28 minutes as Donaghmore-Ashbourne outscored Skryne by 0-8 to 0-2 to maintain their grip on the Joey McKeown Cup.
Deegan's tally included three from play, a total matched by centre-half-back Thomas McGovern. He opened his tally with an inspirational 38th minute leveler (1-8 to 2-5). His next score gave his side the lead that they maintained to the end.
Kevin Fenton gets away from Jason Fox
Full-back Jack McCarney also impressive despite an error that led to Skryne's opening goal. It took a collective defensive effort to fend off a late Skryne rally. The final quarter yielded just three scores - all to the holders - with Deegan posting the final two, both from play.
Another significant feature of this Donaghmore-Ashbourne success was the manner in which they responded to the concession of both goals. Paddy Carpenter's 24th minute netting left it 1-3 to 0-5 to the Tara side.
Those scores set-up and engrossing contest, though Donaghmore-Ashbourne's superior scoring power left them the most likely winners.
Leo Reilly drives forward as Michael Doherty closes in
The second Skryne goal came from a 34th minute penalty which was expertly dispatched by Jason Fox and left it 2-5 to 1-6. It was awarded for a foul on Carpenter after Donaghmore-Ashbourne 'keeper Dean Field failed to deal with an Eoin Smyth delivery.
Skryne managed just two scores thereafter, both coming towards the end of the third quarter. Prominent midfielder and team captain John Morley got the first of them. Darragh Campion and Fox played supporting roles as Smyth's second score cut the gap to the minimum in the 45th minute (2-7 to 1-11).
Alan Murtagh is held up by Paddy Doherty and John Morley
Donaghmore-Ashbourne closed in on the title with three unanswered points while their collective defensive effort consigned Skryne to the runners-up spot for the second year running.
The thaw following the heavy overnight frost left the firm pitch very wet. The sun though dimmed somewhat by cloud did create some difficulties for players and spectators alike.
Jason Fox accounted for 1-4, all from placed balls. His opening score was countered by Deegan's first point (free). The first eight scores came from frees as the holders moved 0-5 to 0-3 clear in the 23rd minute.
Carpenter's goal arrived in the 24th minute with Niall Morley and Paddy Doherty in supporting roles. But for Field's timely intervention Carpenter might have had a second goal seconds later.
The McGovern twins Thomas and Darragh raise the Joey McKeown Cup to the delight of their team mates
Deegan's first from play leveled matters for the second time. Fox (free) and Smyth moved Skryne two clear by the 31st minute. Then in the second minute of added time Dylan Brady's point attempt from close range dropped into the Skryne net.
Donaghmore-Ashbourne led by 1-6 to 1-5 at the break and had the wherewithal to overcome the best Skryne could muster in the second-half.
Donaghmore-Ashbourne - Cian Field; Niall Kavanagh, Jack McCarney, Jack Giles; Alan Murtagh, Thomas McGovern (JC) (0-3), Shane Rea; John Wilson, Darragh McGovern (JC); Kevin Fenton, Michael Deegan (0-8, 5fs) , Dylan Brady (1-2); Leo Reilly (0-1), Shaun Byrne, Stephen Carton. Subs - James Crumlish for Fenton (37), Conor Donnelly for Carton (59), Donagh O'Donnell for Byrne (60).
Skryne - Dean Reddy; Robbie Clarke, Timmy Lennon, Barry Clarke; Michael Doherty, Eoghan Greene, Colm Craigie; Darragh Campion, John Morley (C); Jason Fox, Eoin Smyth, Paddy Carpenter; Cian Lynch, Niall Morley, Paddy Doherty. Subs - David Carroll for B Clarke (17), Jason Reddy for Lynch (52).
Referee - Barry Campbell (St Patrick's)