Not for the first time, Emma Duggan will be the toast of the Royal County after the Dunboyne lady steered the ship home for those in green and gold qualified for a meeting with Dublin at a tilt at the Brendan Martin Cup for the first time.
It was the full forward’s goal, seconds after a Stacey Grimes penalty, which tied the sides at 2-08 aside ad sent the tie to twenty extra minutes. Like Mayo last night, Eamonn Murray’s charges appeared to be headed for the exit door when trailing by the same margin – seven points – but with even less time on the countdown clock.
Again, as with the game which went to overtime last night, the team who’d got the reprieve took full advantage thereof and how fitting it was that it was she who instigated the additional time that had the final say when lofting over into an empty Hill 16 as the hooter sounded.
After a cagey opening, last year’s IFC winners had eked out a lead of 0-04 to 0-02 but the multiply decorated women from down by the posted the closing pair of scores of the opening stanza to ensure parity at the change of ends.
When Ephie Fitzgerald’s used all their guile and experience to craft a lead of 2-08 to 0-07 for themselves with the aid of ‘majors’ from Doireann O’Sullivan and the fulcrum of their team, Emer Scally, it appeared Meath’s remarkable journey of the year or so was finally at an end. It wouldn’t be the first time a team Kepak jerseys had other ideas though!
Meath: M. McGuirk; E. Troy, M.K. Lynch, K. Newe; A Cleary, A. Leahy, S. Ennis; O.Lally, M. O’Shaughnessy; O. Byrne, S. Grimes, N.O’Sullivan; V. Wall, E. Duggan, B. Lynch. Subs; M. Thynne for Lally, N. Gallogly for Lynch, S. Melia for Lynch, E. White for Byrne, K. Byrne for O’Sullivan