When I was setting out on my (first) journey doing PR work for St Peter’s Dunboyne – more than a quarter of a century ago – my eyesight was still at a stage where I could cover hurling as well as football.
It was an exciting time for the small ball code in Meath too. We’d just won the All Ireland SHC B and claimed some notable scalps in the National League. None more so than an Offaly side who had just been crowned All Ireland Champions in the month previous.
That they were able to achieve such results at the time was down to the selfless dedication of a group of people who had invested large chunks of their lives into sustaining and developing hurling in the county.
One is always fearful of mentioning names in these situations, because people always notice who is left out rather than those who are included. However, for the purposes of this piece, it must be said that the late Peadar Lehane of the Boardsmill club was foremost among them.
Though at this point it must bt conceded that this writer is in no position to comment properly thereon, it’s surely statement enough that there is an inter county competition named in his honour.
How fitting it is, then, that his adopted county of Meath have captured the last two stagings of the Peadar Lehane Cup. Last year, defeating Carlow in the most dramatic of circumstances with the last puc of the ball. Their retention of same may have been much more straightforward but should be regarded as no less noteworthy. Simply as it proves that there is still an abundance of young talent coming through in the county. Mind you, where the hurling situation differs from that in the football is the underage successes in hurling have already played a part in progress further up the food chain whereas the county still awaits the same impact to dawn from the improvement in fortunes in underage football in more recent years.
Though it might seem unlikely if you were to go by the full time score line, Meath certainly didn’t have things all their own way early on and actually trailed by 0-06 to 0-07 at the break but the red carding of Carlow’s Ruairi Murphy late in the first half eventually told as Ger O’Neill’s charges – through the excellence of the Ennis duo, Kyle of Trim and Clann Na nGael’s Luke – Meath turned on the style and ran out comfortable winners. With a display of hurling which no doubt would have pleased the man in whose honour the trophy is named.
Scorers – Meath: Kyle Ennis 0-10, Luke Ennis 1-5, Mark Leavy and Conor Murphy 0-2 each, Eoin Kelleher, Davin Jones and Daniel Murray 0-1 each.
MEATH – Darren O’Higgins, Odhran Daly, Fionn McHale, Conor McNally, Conor Dixon, Anthony Healy, Adam O’Neill, Fergal Flynn, Mark Leavy, Conor Murphy, Tom Condon, Eoin Kelleher, Malachy Fisher, Kyle Ennis, Patrick Jordan
Subs: Tiernan Anderson, Luke Ennis, Rian Fay, Finn Conroy, Conor Godkin, Daniel Murray, Davin Jones, Christopher Greene