14-10-18. St. Peter’s, Dunboyne v Summerhill – Meath SFC Final at Pairc Tailteann, Navan.
The Dunboyne dugout at the Final Whistle.
©John Quirke Photography

The Rispin Blog: Dunboyne are Kings of Meath And so, the curtain came down on yet another year of Championship football in Meath on Sunday as Dunboyne lifted the biggest prize of all on Sunday evening in Pairc Tailteann. It’s a long year from January to October or from April to October from the start of the Championship until the conclusion. Therefore, the team who in this case was Dunboyne comes out on top, can’t be begrudged. It’s my favourite day of the year in the club calendar; it’s a special day for everyone to be involved in. If you’re lucky to be directly involved as a player, manager or supporter with your club, enjoy it and savour every moment because it doesn’t happen every day or year. We are quick to criticise the GAA and our county board, rightly so at times but in fairness, they nailed it on Sunday. The pitch was looking marvellous and the ceremony before, during and after the final was first class and kept the huge crowd entertained. Also a special word for PRO Ciaran Flynn, who has continued the fine work of Martin O’Halloran and produced an absolutely brilliant 92-page programme with a whole host of new and innovative features. One would guess that the celebrations in Dunboyne and Simonstown are still in full swing but attention will soon turn towards the Leinster Championship. Meath clubs haven’t fared all that well in recent times in Leinster so it would be great to see Dunboyne go on a welcome run and boost the profile of Meath football. I will look over the various finals played over the weekend including ladies, minor and senior deciders. Once again, thanks for all the feedback, it is much appreciated.  

14-10-18. St. Peter’s, Dunboyne v Summerhill – Meath SFC Final at Pairc Tailteann, Navan.
Peter O’Halloran, Chairman, Meath GAA and Felix Brazil, Fairyhouse Steel (Sponsor) presenting the Jubilee Cup to Dunboyne Captain Cathal Finn.
Photo: John Quirke / www.quirke.ie

St Peter’s Dunboyne v Summerhill (SFC Final) Dunboyne capped off a truly remarkable year by reaching the holy grail of Meath GAA and adding a Keegan Cup to the Peter McDermott Cup from a cup of weeks previous. It all adds to what should be an eventful dinner dance later on in the year but that’s all in the future. It really is a stunning achievement to capture the Junior A and Senior Championship in the one year keeping two entirely different panels for both which ultimately speaks volumes for the work that has gone in the club. Dunboyne were superb and the best team in Championship 2018 but a word for Summerhill and their exploits this year. They’ve been outstanding and played some fantastic football en route to the final but Sunday just wasn’t their day. They could never get their quick game moving and for that Dunboyne deserve credit. They managed to curtail the influence of that lethal full forward line and kept tabs on the Dalton’s and Barry Dardis who’ve been destroying teams all year. It wasn’t a classic, I think we have to acknowledge that and call a spade a spade not that it will bother Dunboyne, not in the slightest. The ball retention was poor and there was little excuse at this level for that considering the quality of the pitch and day. Nerves always play a part on county final day and players sometimes don’t risk doing things they might do in other games. The Hill persisted with the long ball into the full forward line which didn’t work as effectively as it has in other outings this year. There were a couple of times it did but that was mainly when Barry Dardis was on the end of the delivery and not the Dalton’s who were giving up a significant height advantage. Dardis did manage to pluck one beauty but pulled his effort wide of the post on his weaker left boot which was as close as John Lyons’ men would get to a goal. Iarla Hughes who was part of the Kiltale side who completed a remarkable 5-in-a-row last weekend, did an excellent man marking job on Dunboyne dangerman Donal Lenihan, limiting him to just a point from a free. Unfortunately for the Hill, they couldn’t get as good a hold on the big man in the other corner, Robbie McCarthy. McCarthy doesn’t really look like a footballer-he looks awkward and leggy but my God never judge a book by its cover. He is like a robot and that left peg is like a revolving ticker. He barely strikes the free kicks but 99% of the time he finds his target. He contributed 7 points, 5 free’s but his two scores which came in the second half when the game was in the proverbial melting pot were crucial. And what about the old warhorse and 38 year old David Gallagher, the word legend gets thrown around in club football all the time but this man is the definition of the word. On Sunday the big bearded former All-Ireland winner completed an extraordinary hatrick, the like of which will never be seen again. ‘Gally’ lined out in Dunboyne’s 1998 Championship win between the sticks at 18 years old. 8 years later when Dunboyne captured Keegan again, Gallagher was outstanding at centre back. Fast forward another 13 years and he completed the Triple Crown lining out at midfield, playing his usual steady game. The thing I love about Gallagher is there’s never any dramas, he holds the middle and let’s his younger teammates such as the Jones brothers do their thing. He’s always an option from kick-outs, sets up attacks and provides a shield. The best way to describe is like a conductor of the orchestra and if that is to be his swansong in Meath Senior football, what a way to go out.   Captain Cathal Finn was passed fit to play and that was a huge factor. The diminutive Finn was unbelievable on the day and as well as carrying out his defensive duties, he provides a unique attacking dimension. Finn with the help of Gavin McCoy managed t curtail the influential Kevin Ryan who is a key man for the Hill. He was a deserving man of the match on the day and it would be great to see him back in a Meath jersey in 2019. David Larkin is another man who gives his everything for John Lyons men and he wasn’t found wanting even if everything else was falling down around him. Larkin kept taking the fight to the men in black and amber with his direct running style. Padraig Geraghty and Ross Ryan were two other candidates who left it all on the pitch but it just wasn’t to be for Summerhill for the second consecutive year. The stalemate feel to the game meant a goal was always going to be decisive and with just 5 minutes left on the clock Dunboyne struck a fortuitous major. The effort from Lenihan was wild and wayward but full credit to Stuart Lowdnes who gambled and collected the ball before riffling a rocket into the roof of the net and with 5 points separating the teams, it was always going to be too much for the Hill to claw back. Dunboyne have had a great year on the field but off the field it’s been a nightmare with what happened to Sean Cox on that horrible night in Anfield. Cox is currently recovering and this will provide him with a huge boost and there is no doubt that this was an incentive for both the Junior and Senior footballers over the last few months.      

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Monday, March 25th, 2019 at 8:47am
He shoots, he scores. Barry Dardis wasn’t going to miss once he got a sniff of goal. That first half goal proved vital yesterday as he came up with a crucial score again. #AnMhíAbú #MeathGAA Pics Brian Mulligan/Meath GAA https://t.co/0NNCkTnaGu MeathGAA photo
Monday, March 25th, 2019 at 5:46am
Mickey points the way to Division 1.

Scorer of 1-28 during the League to date, the return to the panel this year of Mickey Newman after taking a year out has proved to… https://t.co/UWCkRdO0W9
Monday, March 25th, 2019 at 1:32am
James McEntee has been nominated for the @officialgaa Player of the Week. Voting takes place on their @instagram page (officialgaa). #votejames #AnMhíAbú #MeathGAA https://t.co/CXVSjDDnWO MeathGAA photo
Sunday, March 24th, 2019 at 9:50pm
Congratulations to James McEntee & Cillian O'Sullivan who have been selected on this weeks @officialgaa Football Team of the Week: https://t.co/9E2zqlVQND
Photos by Brian Mulligan/Meath GAA #AnMhíAbú #MeathGAA #TeamoftheWeek https://t.co/fl5SLO4Rbj
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