We are down to the final four in the LMFM Minor Football Championship with the 2019 Division 1 and 2 finalists all in contention to lift the Delaney Cup. Will the final be a repeat of the 2016 U-16 decider between Dunshaughlin and St. Colmcilles or can St. Peter’s Dunboyne or Summerhill make it to the big day?
Division 1 Semi-Final
Friday September 11 – 20:00
St. Colmcilles v St. Peter’s Dunboyne (Extra-Time if necessary)
Referee – Padraig Coyle (Seneschalstown)
Standby Referee – Liam O’Brien (Duleek-Bellewstown)
Linesman – Robert Purfield (St. Patrick’s)
Venue – Páirc Uí Rís, Piltown
Path to the semi-final – St. Colmcilles:
|Rd. 1||St. Colmcilles||(3-12)||(2-06)||Ratoath||Venue – Piltown|
|Rd. 2||St. Colmcilles||Walkover||Conceded||Skryne||Venue – Skryne|
|Rd. 3||St. Colmcilles||(5-12)||(0-12)||Dunshaughlin||Venue – Dunshaughlin|
Path to the semi-final – St. Peter’s Dunboyne:
|Rd. 1||St. Peter’s Dunboyne||(2-08)||(3-11)||Summerhill||Venue – Summerhill|
|Rd. 2||St. Peter’s Dunboyne||(5-14)||(0-06)||Gaeil Colmcille||Venue – Dunboyne|
|Rd. 3||St. Peter’s Dunboyne||(1-12)||(1-07)||Duleek-Bellewstown||Venue – Duleek|
|Total||St. Peter’s Dunboyne||(8-34)||(4-24)||Opposition|
At the start of the year few would have tipped St. Peter’s Dunboyne to be in the semi-finals of the Division 1 Championship but such is the level of improvement they have shown this season that there can be little doubt they are there on merit. A reversal at the hands of Summerhill in Round 1 was swiftly forgotten about as they turned the tables on Gaeil Colmcille in Round 2 after losing out to them in the Division 2 Final at U-16 level last year before a performance which marks them out as contenders away to Duleek-Bellewstown on August 26 booked their place in the final four.
With their hopes of qualifying for the hurling final in the balance and out of their own control, all focus will now be on the football for the Sean Callanan managed side and they come into this game with no pressure on their shoulders against a St. Colmcilles side who won every Division 1 competition from U-12 through to U-15 before falling at the final fence in the U-16 Final last year. Martin Byrne looks like an old school creator at centre forward as he pulls the strings of the attack and his vision against Duleek-Bellewstown was a joy to witness as he drifted left and right before picking out the right pass time and time again. Daniel Flanagan and Jack Kinlough are a highly effective midfield and their contest with Liam Stafford and Sean O’Donoghue will be well worth watching on Ideal Bathrooms Meath GAA TV as the game is livestreamed on the Meath GAA Facebook Page in association with Byrne Performance.
One area where they will need to improve significantly if St. Colmcilles are to be turned over in their own back yard is their economy in front of goals as if they are as profligate on Friday as they were in Duleek then there will be no outcome other than a victory for the ‘Cilles. Cathal Melia has been outstanding at full back to date and his understanding with team captain Aidan Flynn in goals has proved crucial in snuffing out dangerous moments throughout the Championship.
Gerry White who managed ‘Cilles to the MFC title last year is back at the helm this year and he will have had the difficult task over the past few weeks of grounding his charges after their remarkable Round 3 victory over a much vaunted Dunshaughlin side by fifteen points. In reality they come into this match in a difficult position as the vast majority of neutrals expect to see them progress to the final but that is to do a disservice to St. Peter’s Dunboyne and the progress they have made.
For all the talk of St. Colmcilles dominating the underage ranks in Meath in recent times, the Delaney Cup has only gone back to the counties ‘Gold Coast’ twice in its history with the successes in 2016 and 2019, the same level of success that Friday’s opponents have enjoyed with wins in 2002 and 2014. The home side’s half back line of Godfrey Ehichoya, Caolan Nulty and Shaun Leonard is the rock on which opposition teams often perish while their full forward line of Luke Hanan, Oisín Ó Murchú and Danny Ehichoya are all capable of racking up match winning tallies. Anybody present in Kilmainham last year for the Division 4 Final will long remember the stunning goal Danny Ehichoya scored as he burst through the Ballinlough defender before rifling the ball to the back of the net.
St. Colmcilles could be in danger of coming into this game a shade undercooked after receiving a walkover from Skryne in Round 2 and with the game against Dunshaughlin having an asterisk beside it as both sides were already through to the semi-finals in advance of the game being played and the suspicion that neither side wanted to show their full hand ahead of a potential rematch in the final but on all form to date they should have enough to get over the line.
Verdict – St. Colmcilles
** The St. Colmcilles v St. Peter’s Dunboyne game will be livestreamed on the Meath GAA Facebook Page on Friday evening in association with Byrne Performance. Sean Perry and Ger Robinson will be providing commentary. **
Division 1 Semi-Final
Saturday September 12 – 13:00
Summerhill v Dunshaughlin (Extra-Time if necessary)
Referee – David Gough (Slane)
Standby Referee – Frank Scully (Longwood)
Linesman – Henri Clifford (Boyle)
Venue – Summerhill
Path to the semi-final – Summerhill:
|Rd. 1||Summerhill||(3-11)||(2-08)||St. Peter’s Dunboyne||Venue – Summerhill|
|Rd. 2||Summerhill||(2-10)||(2-10)||Duleek-Bellewstown||Venue – Duleek|
|Rd. 3||Summerhill||(6-13)||(0-08)||Gaeil Colmcille||Venue – Summerhill|
Path to the semi-final – Dunshaughlin:
|Rd. 1||Dunshaughlin||(6-16)||(0-07)||Skryne||Venue – Dunshaughlin|
|Rd. 2||Dunshaughlin||(1-18)||(1-05)||Ratoath||Venue – Ratoath|
|Rd. 3||Dunshaughlin||(0-12)||(5-12)||St. Colmcilles||Venue – Dunshaughlin|
Beaten finalists in 2019 Summerhill come up against 2019 Division 2 winners Dunshaughlin in an intriguing semi-final clash at lunchtime on Saturday. Summerhill came through the group stages of the Championship in impressive form as they won two games and came back from the dead to claim a draw away to Duleek-Bellewstown, results which saw them top the group and claim the comforts of a home semi-final.
Ben Moran lined out at corner back on last years side but he has moved outfield this year to the half forward line which illustrates the flexibility many of this group of players have and their comfort at playing anywhere on the pitch. The two Eoghans’s, Frayne and Grehan form a formidable centerfield partnership with Grehan the younger of the two providing the solidity and defensive nous to sit while Frayne surges forward to great effect. 2019 custodian Luke Byrne is now at the opposite end of the field at full forward and if the ‘Hill can get enough ball into him, then along with Darragh McVann and Evan Gaffney there is plenty of scoring potential in their full forward line.
Dunshaughlin were well beaten the last day by St. Colmcilles but the suspicion lingers that they were not showing their full hand and will hope to be waiting in the long grass to catch the East Meath side in the final. A visit to Summerhill always comes with the health warning that victories there by the away sides tend to be rather rare and Dunshaughlin will know anything less than a performance to 100% of their ability will see them sitting at home watching the livestream on the day of the final rather than attempting to win the Delaney Cup for only the second time in the clubs history.
They will be confident of getting the upper hand around midfield with the twin towers of Colm Keane and Conor Gray while Fursey Blake and Kyle O’Connor have been proving adept at winning the breaking ball when Messrs Keane and Gray cannot field cleanly. Ruairí Kinsella has been in exceptional form to date in the forwards and John McDonagh is capable of lighting the game up, but it is arguably their half back line of Blake, Donagh McCarrick and Jared Rushe which is their most important. All three are exceptional defenders and when at their best they are practically impenetrable. Dunshaughlin will need to produce their best performance of the Championship to date if they are to progress to the final for the first time since their 2009 success but the suspicion lingers that they are capable of that.
Verdict – Dunshaughlin
Division 1 Shield Semi-Final
Friday September 11 – 20:00
Duleek-Bellewstown v Skryne (Extra-Time if necessary)
Referee – Kieran Olwell (Moynalty)
Venue – Duleek
Duleek-Bellewstown will be rueing that late fade out against Summerhill which probably cost them a shot at the Delaney Cup but will know that they are capable of regrouping and claiming the Shield trophy which would be a welcome boost to their juvenile ranks and a fitting way for a talented group of players to sign off on their time as juvenile footballers. Killian McGrane is an old school full back who plays from the front and uses his positional sense to be half a yard ahead of the full forward at every opportunity while Ryan Lynch has the looks of potentially being a top class keeper.
Skryne, after showing impressive form in the Spring League, have struggled in the Championship but will view the Shield as an opportunity to regroup and know a win here would leave them only an hour away from picking up a trophy. Their midfield axis of Oisín Keogh and Sean O’Regan are capable of winning a plentiful supply of ball and if John Finnerty and Kian Reddy can show their best form then racking up a match winning tally is far from beyond their capabilities.
Verdict – Duleek-Bellewstown
Saturday September 12 – 13:00
Ratoath v Gaeil Colmcille (Extra-Time if necessary)
Referee – Barry Campbell (St. Patrick’s)
Venue – Ratoath
Looking at the results both of these sides have recorded to date and the suspicion is that Gaeil Colmcille are much better than their form shown so far and Ratoath are rueing the fates the gods dealt them when the draw was completed as they got off to the toughest possible start with games against St. Colmcilles and Dunshaughlin before getting off the mark against Skryne.
That win earned them home advantage and the confidence it will have given them is likely to prove key against a Gaeil Colmcille side who are struggling to put up enough scores to win games. Cormac O’Reilly and Andrew Butler are two talented forwards but the supply of ball into them has not been plentiful enough but if that can be rectified then Gaeil Colmcille will have every chance of getting a win under their belt.
Posted in: Youth / An Oige