A bit of personal business to get out of the way first, if I may. The GAA’s own advertising uses the tagline that ‘Nothing Beats Being There’ and they are of course correct. Thanks to modern technology though, one can be there in every other way bar in body. To that end, credit where it is due, to both Meath GAA and Beo Sport for their streaming of this evening’s game at Pairc Tailteann.
From a personal perspective, it was a day of very mixed emotions. Obviously, immense joy and pride at our club qualifying for a fourth SFC Final. And the achievement of our second string in winning their competition, the newly styled Premier Football Championship Div. 1 – more of that anon.
Yet the day was tinged with deep sadness and regret for the occupant of this seat. For only the second occasion in 31 years, I missed out on a Dunboyne team partaking in an adult final. The previous occasion being the JFC Final when our lads found out that Cortown would indeed be hard beat. After two epic encounters back in 2010.
Aside from the obvious upset at missing out on a tremendous day for our club, I cannot help feeling the lads were let down. Their deeds do so much to keep me afloat, missing out today almost felt like letting them down not being there to help them along. Attempts were made at replicating Colm O’Rourke’s resurrection in 1991 but it wasn’t to be.
When it comes to semi finals and finals, style and panache needn’t come out of the gearbag. It’s all about getting over the line. Knowing how to do exactly that. With prevailing climatic conditions, it was always likely to boil down to which team handled same the better. It was perhaps on that scale the pre-match favourites put themselves in the driving seat here.
Their strength with and retention of possession have been pinpointed repeatedly throughout the campaign and never were those qualities more pivotal than today. Two early Donal Lenihan frees, what is becoming a trademark driving score from Gavin McCoy and a fine effort from the returning Conor Bradley left those who had attacked the O’Mahonys end clear by 0-04 to 0-02 as the Jaffa Cakes were being dispensed.
Finn, who lifted the Keegan Cup for the black and ambers three seasons ago, has been afflicted with a horrendous run of injuries ever since. But this evening the pacey utllity player proved his weight in spades.
His grafting, selfless running style and ability to kick some fine scores proved pivotal today. Those in attendance got hard to figure what way the wind was travelling around the old field, so this viewer certainly isn’t going to offer an analysis, but gut instinct is to think it was aiding those aiming towards the home of The Hoops.
If that was the case, it must be said that Mick Deegan’s side didn’t use the elements to their best advantage, with a decent looking goal opportunity being sent astray by Bryan Menton. In contrast, a Lenihan ’45’ and the second of Finn’s triumvirate extended the winner’s cushion to 0-06 to 0-02 at that stage.
The ‘Moores duly halved the deficit again – one from an Andy Colgan ’45’ before a David McEntee effort maintained the gap of three between the sides. Those in green and white did clip another score back but the introduction of team captain Ronan Jones – hampered by an ankle injury – steadied Dunboyne. The duly put the finishing touches on an efficient if unspectacular effort. With the industrious No. 11 fittingly having the final say.
Dunboyne: C. Flynn; S. Lavin, G. McCoy (0-1), J. McLoughlin; S. Ryan, C. Lowndes, S. McEntee; N. Jones, L. Byrne; S. Lowndes (0-1), C. Finn (0-3), C. Doran; D. McEntee (0-1), C. Bradley (0-1), D. Lenihan (0-2). Subs; J. Scannell for Ryan, C. Lacey for D. McEntee, R. Jones for N. Jones, M. Murphy for C. Lowndes.
Referee: D. Coldrick (Blackhall Gaels)