Summerhill produce a strong finish to reclaim Meath football crown
Three late points see off gallant Na Fianna
Summerhill’s Richie Hatton celebrates scoring a late point during the Meath football final at Páirc Tailteann. Photo: Morgan Treacy/Inpho
Summerhill 1-13 Na fianna 1-10
Summerhill claimed a second Meath SFC title in three years and a seventh overall when getting the better of first-time finalists Na Fianna before an attendance of 5,000 at Páirc Tailteann yesterday.
Intermediate champions last year, Na Fianna were highly impressive on the way to the decider, chalking up a total of 20 goals in seven games. However, the experienced Summerhill did their homework well to curb the Enfield-Baconstown side’s attack.
Declan McCabe’s charges were celebrating after three unanswered points inside the last five minutes clinched victory.
Summerhill got off to the best possible start as right from the throw-in midfielder Michael Byrne found Sean Dalton in space. The wing-forward’s initial goal attempt was stopped by goalkeeper Shane Geraghty but he followed up to finish to the net.
Although Na Fianna hit back to be on level terms with just six minutes gone, that early goal was the difference at the end. Dalton McDonagh poked the ball over the line after a Shane Barrett attempt was blocked.
Summerhill only trailed for a brief spell midway through the first half and with man of the match Conor Gillespie showing up well around midfield they went on to lead 1-7 to 1-4 at the interval.
The lead was doubled in the opening 10 minutes after the resumption with Barry Dardis and Brian Ennis and Byrne (frees) on target. At that stage they looked to in comfortable control but Na Fianna hit the next six scores to draw level.
An inspirational point from centre-back and captain Michael Foley set the comeback in motion. Substitute Dean Barrett made an impression, firing over a point and then earning a free from which brother, Shane, levelled on 49 minutes.
The momentum was with Na Fianna then but after getting back on equal terms, they hit two successive wides which seemed to interrupt their rhythm. After soaking up an amount of pressure, Summerhill regained the initiative.
Paul Rispin took a pass from Ennis to edge them back into the lead on 56 minutes and that was followed by late efforts from substitute Richie Hatton and veteran Adrian Kenny to bring the curtain down on an exciting contest.
SUMMERHILL: T McDonnell; P Jennings, C Young, W Ryan; P Geraghty, A Lyons, S Husband (0-1); C Gillespie, M Byrne (0-1, free); D Larkin (1-0), B Ennis(0-4, 4 frees), A Kenny (0-2); P Rispin (0-1), S Dalton (0-2), B Dardis (0-1). Subs: K Ryan for Barrett (47 mins), R Hatton (0-1) for Husband (54 mins), S Kennedy for Rispin (56 mins).
NA FIANNA: S Geraghty; D Bailey, C Cosgrave, J Baldwin; M Farley, M Foley (0-1), D Henrick (0-2); O Lewis, J Queeney; B Queeney, D Queeney (0-2), C Downey (0-1); S Barrett (0-3, 3 frees), T Cosgrave, D McDonagh (1-0). Subs: D Barrett (0-1) for B Queeney (half-time), H Silke for Downey (59 mins), M Collins for Farley (60 mins).
Referee: P Nelis (Kilmainham).