After an action-packed opening week of action in the DG Stoves & Fireplaces Minor Hurling Championships, where there were two rounds of action in Divisions 1 and 2 and one in Division 3, focus turns this week to the crucial middle round in each Division.
Results to date:
|Round 1||Ratoath||(8-26)||(3-07)||Navan O’Mahonys||Venue – Trim|
|Round 1||Donaghmore/Ashbourne||Walkover||Conceded||Loughcrew Gaels/Gaeil Colmcille||Venue – Ashbourne|
|Round 2||Navan O’Mahonys||(2-11)||(2-11)||Dunderry||Venue – Paddy O’Brien Park|
|Round 2||Trim||(3-16)||(2-11)||Dunderry||Venue – Dunderry|
|Round 2||Loughcrew Gaels/Gaeil Colmcille||BYE|
Donaghmore/Ashbourne v Dunderry
Referee – Darren Dunne (St. Peter’s Dunboyne)
Venue – Ashbourne
Donaghmore/Ashbourne are taking a similar approach to last year when they came up from playing Division 2 League before going very close to making the Division 1 Championship Final. Somewhat surprisingly they didn’t make it to the League Final earlier in August but there is no disguising the fact that there is plenty of talent amongst their playing group. Meath Minor Footballer Michael O’Sullivan is one of the most accurate free takers in the county with the small ball and those present in Páirc Tailteann in June 2021 will remember the exhibition he gave in the 2020 U-15 Division 2 Final.
Dunderry have been gradually improving as they came through the age grades, reflected by their recent appearance in the Division 1 League Final where they just came up short against Trim. On that occasion only Evan Nolan caught fire in their attack with the county player drifting between full forward and centre forward. There is no disputing they have plenty of other talented players, but more scores will be required from the likes of Mark Leavy who was well marshalled on that occasion in Páirc Colmcille.
Donaghmore/Ashbourne will be hoping to build upon last weeks draw away to Navan O’Mahonys which saw them bring their tally to three points out of a maximum four after receiving a walkover in the opening round from a depleted in numbers Loughcrew Gaels/Gaeil Colmcille while Dunderry go in search of their first points of this Championship campaign after having a BYE in Round 1 before falling once more to the seemingly unstoppable train that is this Trim Minor side.
Home advantage must be worth a few points to the Moors, but it is difficult for this pundit to look past the experience built up over the years in Division 1 by the Mark Nolan coached Dunderry side who are fancied to edge a tight encounter.
Verdict – Dunderry
Loughcrew Gaels/Gaeil Colmcille v Navan O’Mahonys
Referee – Martin Dawson (St. Michael’s)
Venue – Páirc Colmcille, Kells
These sides are meeting for the fourth time in 2022 with Loughcrew Gaels/Gaeil Colmcille having won both games in the Tournament played during the Spring including an impressive victory in the Final while their League encounter during the Summer ended in a draw in Paddy O’Brien Park. This form line would suggest that a victory for the home side in Páirc Colmcille is the more likely outcome this evening but that could be underestimating the gradual improvement shown over the course of the season by the Navan outfit.
There can be no doubt that they haven’t yet hit the heights many would have expected this season but the O’Mahonys team are a very talented group of players who one suspects have a big performance brewing in them and with time running out on their Minor season it may be a case of now or never. A defeat in Kells would leave them with a Mount Everest style mountain to climb if they are to make it to the Championship Final and it could be this stark reality which sparks off something in them.
Teak tough defender Sean Betson could well be handed the task of picking up Andrew Gormley and if he does then this duel could be one well worth keeping an eye on between two very promising young hurlers. Further upfield Sean Davis is likely to be a key operator in the O’Mahonys forward line while Jack Quinn is a potential match winner with his ability to hit points from any distance when he catches fire.
For the home side, the failure to field in Round 1 has left them facing a difficult path if they are to make it to the Final but there is little doubt that the ability is in the group to conjure up a couple of wins which would leave them right in the mix to emulate the class of 2021 who contested the final in Páirc Tailteann. John Gormley, twin brother of the aforementioned Andrew is a pivotal character around the middle of the field and if he can get on enough ball then they forward line will be sure to be receiving silver platter service. Taidgh Dardis and Tiernan Anderson are two more key players for the North Meath team, but one suspects that this evening’s game could be one where O’Mahonys finally gain the upper hand in this burgeoning rivalry.
Verdict – Navan O’Mahonys
Trim v BYE
Results to date:
|Round||Home Team||Away Team||Venue|
|1||St. Peter’s Dunboyne||(2-12)||(3-10)||Ratoath||Dunboyne|
|1||Clann na nGael||(0-19)||(4-11)||Na Fianna||Athboy|
|1||Kildalkey||(4-13)||(3-17)||Boardsmill / Rathmolyon||Kildalkey|
|2||Ratoath||(4-11)||(1-16)||Clann na nGael||Ratoath|
|2||Boardsmill / Rathmolyon||(6-13)||(4-13)||St. Peter’s Dunboyne||Boardsmill|
Clann na nGael v St. Peter’s Dunboyne
Referee – Shane Mooney (Dunderry)
Venue – Ráth Cairn
Two teams in need of a victory come face to face in Ráth Cairn this evening when the currently pointless Clann na nGael and St. Peter’s Dunboyne meet in this Round 3 encounter. Both teams can consider themselves somewhat unfortunate to have suffered two defeats from both games as all four losses were by narrow margins.
Clann na nGael haven’t been prolific goal scorers to date with one green flag raised across both games played and this is one area where an improvement could immediately spark an upsurge in results. At the other end of the field, they have conceded four majors in each game so a tweak in their defensive structure could also be a requirement.
The Dunboyne outfit have been more prolific goal scorers with six to their name across the opening two rounds but ultimately it is possibly their concession of three more than they have scored which sees them with no points to date as their score difference is only minus seven.
Whichever team can tighten up at the back is fancied to pick up the much-needed win in Ráth Cairn and this scribe suspects that it’s the Eamon Murphy managed St. Peter’s Dunboyne who might be happiest come Shane Mooney’s full-time whistle.
Verdict – St. Peter’s Dunboyne
Ratoath v Kildalkey
Referee – Eamon Barry (Walterstown)
Venue – Ratoath
Kildalkey came into the Championship tipped by many as potential winners following their dramatic extra-time victory over Boardsmill/Rathmolyon in the League Final. However, things haven’t gone smoothly for them to date as an opening round defeat by the minimum to their vanquished League Final opponents was soon followed up with a draw away to Na Fianna.
Ratoath on the other hand have started in impressive fashion with two wins from two games and they come into this evening’s (Thursday) game knowing that a victory would leave them firmly in the driving seat for securing progression to the decider.
Cian Colhoun and Conor McNally are likely to be key operators for Kildalkey and it will be interesting to see who is tasked with picking up Meath Minor captain Ronan Conheady who is a potential match winner for Ratoath. John Fitzharris is likely to pick up a central role in the home sides defence and the teak tough operator won’t let much traffic pass down his channel.
Verdict – Draw
Na Fianna v Boardsmill/Rathmolyon
Referee – Owen Ganly (Trim)
Venue – Baconstown
A mouth-watering local derby is in store in Baconstown as two unbeaten teams go head-to-head. Boardsmill/Rathmolyon have won both their opening two games and are top the table on score difference while Na Fianna have a win and a draw to their name from their opening weeks games.
In many ways this appears to be a clash of two teams who play in contrasting styles. There is the seemingly swashbuckling free scoring style of Boardsmill/Rathmolyon which contrasts with the miserly defence of Na Fianna. To date the Na Fianna defence has proven to be less than charitable to their opponents and while their forward line isn’t the most prolific, they’ve been doing enough to get the job done more often than not as their recent League Shield Final victory suggests.
The Independent side Boardsmill/Rathmolyon have bounced back in impressive fashion from that heart breaking but potentially character-building League Final loss to Kildalkey. Goals are a vital currency for them, and they’ve raised the green flag on nine occasions across the two games to date. If they can somehow continue in that fashion and can break down the Na Fianna defence, then it’s likely they will come away from Baconstown with both points.
Verdict – Boardsmill/Rathmolyon
Results to date:
|Round||Home Team||Away Team||Venue|
|1||The Saints / Bhulf Tón||(3-02)||(1-15)||Kilmessan||Stamullen|
|1||Drumree||(8-16)||(5-14)||Killyon / Longwood||Drumree|
Kilmessan v Drumree
Referee – Derick Murphy (St. Peter’s Dunboyne)
Venue – Kilmessan
Two sides who came away from last week’s Round 1 games with victories meet this evening in Kilmessan and whoever comes away with the victory will have left themselves in the driving seat for securing a place in the final.
Drumree were in scintillating attacking form last week against Killyon/Longwood, putting in the type of performance which suggests they will have a major say in deciding the outcome of the Championship while Kilmessan had a slightly more workmanlike performance in Stamullen against The Saints/Bhulf Tón but still came away with a seven point winning margin.
If their defence can limit the Drumree attack in a similar fashion as Kilmessan managed last week in Stamullen then the home side have the potential to pick up a narrow win.
Verdict – Kilmessan
Killyon/Longwood v The Saints/Bhulf Tón
Referee – Mark Reilly – Kilmessan
Venue – Longwood
When these sides last met in the Division 2 League Shield Final it was Killyon/Longwood who came out on top in Killyon by nine points, winning out on a scoreline of 5-17 to 5-08. They then came into the Division 3 Championship fancied by many as the likely winners, but these ambitions hit a stumbling block when they lost out by eleven points to Drumree last week.
Kian Douglas and Malachy Fisher are likely to be two of their driving forces against The Saints/Bhulf Tón and if these two players can hit top form, then a repeat of their victory a few weeks ago can be achieved.
Verdict – Killyon/Longwood
Posted in: Youth / An Oige