It was an action-packed day on Saturday in the LMFM Minor Football Championship with the final round of group action taking place in seven out of the eight groups across Divisions 1, 2, 3 and 4 while the penultimate round of action took place in Divisions 5 and 6, albeit a reduced programme of games with just a solitary game taking place in both of these Divisions.
Following on from this round of action, the knockout picture which had any number of permutations which kept the Minor Committee busy with their calculators before Saturday has become crystal clear in all Divisions with the exception of Division 3 where there are some outstanding games in 3A.
Division 1 Tables & Results
|2||Seneschalstown||(2-14)||(1-09)||St. Colmcille’s||Páirc Uí Rís, Piltown|
|3||St. Colmcille’s||(2-13)||(1-11)||St. Patrick’s||Páirc Uí Rís, Piltown|
|1||Donaghmore / Ashbourne||(3-08)||(1-10)||Gaeil Colmcille||Ashbourne|
|2||Donaghmore / Ashbourne||(3-05)||(1-10)||Oldcastle||Millbrook|
|2||Gaeil Colmcille||(0-12)||(2-02)||Ratoath||Páirc Colmcille, Kells|
|3||Donaghmore / Ashbourne||(1-16)||(2-04)||Ratoath||Ratoath|
|3||Oldcastle||(3-10)||(2-08)||Gaeil Colmcille||Páirc Colmcille, Kells|
Following the conclusion of the round robin stage in Division 1 we are left with two very appetising semi-finals to look forward to. Without a doubt the standout fixture of the two is the repeat of the recent League Final between Donaghmore/Ashbourne who topped 1B in very impressive fashion by winning all three games and St. Colmcille’s who came second in 1B having won two games and lost the other.
St. Colmcille’s knew on Saturday that they needed to defeat near neighbours St. Patrick’s and in front of a huge crowd in Piltown they produced arguably their best performance of the season to date. When their need was greatest, they produced the goods which is the hallmark of a top team.
For Donaghmore/Ashbourne, their local derby against Ratoath had all the hallmarks of a banana skin but in typical fashion of this group of players they turned on the style in the second half to blitz their hosts.
These two sides are of course no strangers to meeting in finals with Donaghmore/Ashbourne coming out on top by the minimum in that recent League Final while St. Colmcille’s defeated them in the 2021 LMFM Minor Football Championship Final.
Donaghmore/Ashbourne have been regarded as likely winners of the Championship since before a ball was kicked in the competition and have already won the aforementioned Division 1 League title as well as the Group B Tournament this season. That winning momentum will be very difficult to put to a halt, but St. Colmcille’s are certainly more than capable. They came out of the League decider on the wrong side of a one point game, and there was enough in that match for the seasiders to believe they are able to turn the tables on the side from the south of the county. Having built up Division 1 experience since they were playing at U-12, with further Division 1 Finals coming at U-14 and U-15, this is a team well accustomed to the big occasion while they also won the 7-a-side Tournament during the Summer.
In the eyes of some within the county this could be the de facto final but those in Oldcastle and Seneschalstown will have other ideas.
Seneschalstown were last in the Division 1 semi-finals in 2018 when managed by Joe Cowley who this afternoon was announced as coach of the Wicklow Senior Football panel for 2023 by Oisín McConville. Back then they were fancied to go all the way with their ranks supplemented by three players from neighbouring Rathkenny. This time around their panel is all from within their own club while it is their opponents Oldcastle who are now supplemented by players from the neighbouring Moylagh and St. Brigid’s clubs.
Winners at the Division 1 grade at U-12, U-13, U-14, U-15 and earlier this season in the Tournament at Minor, this Seneschalstown side have plenty of pedigree at the top table and it would buck the recent trend of teams from urban areas dominating the Minor ranks were a team from a rural part of the county to raise the Delany Cup in mid-October.
Their progression to the semi-finals was all but secured after two rounds when they held two wins to their name, but it was confirmed on Saturday afternoon when Skryne were accounted for in what was something of a goal fest in a sun splashed Fr. Tully Park. The team from the banks of the Boyne hit the back of the net five times over the course of the hour with Sam Kirwan netting a brace from the half forward line as Skryne were defeated.
Without a win in the Championship after two rounds, indeed without even a draw, few would have given Oldcastle much of a chance of progressing to the knockout stage but there is a spirit and determination in this group of players not to mention no little amount of skill which they have shown throughout the season. In reaching the Tournament Final on the May Bank Holiday Monday and only just losing out to Donaghmore/Ashbourne this Oldcastle side laid down a marker that they would be contenders for major honours later in the season.
Oldcastle had the relatively short journey to Kells on Saturday, and it was in the historic Páirc Colmcille where they produced a performance that could well be recorded in a future tome on the history of the club as they defeated Gaeil Colmcille by five points to secure their progression to the last four. With three teams tying on two points in this group, Regulation 20 from the Coiste Mionúir an Mhí C.L.G. (Coiste Mionúir an Mhí C.L.G. Regulations) came into effect which ultimately saw Oldcastle secure second place.
Rory Crawley will probably grab the headlines with his two goal haul but he was well supported in attack by Cian Blake who was deadly accurate from placed balls as he helped himself to six points while Pat Crawley was another to trouble the umpires as he clipped over three points in an accomplished performance.
The semi-final between these two sides may be the slightly lower profile one given the recent history in the Minor Championship of the protagonists in the other encounter, but this will be a game not to be missed. The winners will no doubt fancy their chances of going all the way.
Division 2 Tables & Results
|1||St. Peter’s Dunboyne||3||2||0||1||62||34||4|
|4||North Meath Gaels||3||0||0||3||27||55||0|
|1||Walterstown||(3-08)||(1-12)||St. Peter’s Dunboyne||Dunboyne|
|1||Killary Emmets||W/O||Conceded||North Meath Gaels||Drumconrath|
|2||St. Peter’s Dunboyne||(0-12)||(0-07)||Killary Emmets||Castletown|
|2||Walterstown||(3-11)||(2-11)||North Meath Gaels||Walterstown|
|3||St. Peter’s Dunboyne||(6-17)||(1-07)||North Meath Gaels||Dunboyne|
|1||Navan O’Mahonys||(4-17)||(2-07)||Moynalty / Carnaross||Paddy O’Brien Park|
|2||Slane||(2-16)||(2-11)||Moynalty / Carnaross||Moynalty|
|3||Trim||(2-08)||(0-08)||Moynalty / Carnaross||Carnaross|
Similar to Division 1B where the calculators were out figuring out the different permutations which the now infamous Regulation 20 would throw up, Division 2A saw St. Peter’s Dunboyne, Killary Emmets and Walterstown tie on four points apiece. Results between the teams had to be used to separate them and after going through each of these it was Killary Emmets who topped the table with St. Peter’s Dunboyne coming second and Walterstown ultimately losing out despite topping the table with two wins from two after the opening couple of rounds.
Killary Emmets went goal crazy in Syddan on Saturday as they blitzed Walterstown to secure top spot while St. Peter’s Dunboyne cruised to victory over a North Meath Gaels who travelled the length of the county for the game knowing they were already out of contention.
Matters were somewhat simpler in Division 2B where Trim maintained their 100% record with a six point victory over Moynalty/Carnaross and Navan O’Mahonys ended the dream season enjoyed by Slane when defeating the Division 3 League winners to secure their place in the last four.
Division 3 Tables & Results
|1||Round Towers||(3-14)||(2-14)||Duleek -Bellewstown||Duleek|
|2||Na Fianna||(4-10)||(2-16)||Duleek -Bellewstown||Enfield|
|3||Round Towers||(4-13)||(1-11)||Na Fianna||Drumbaragh|
With games outstanding in Division 3A, it was only Division 3B which drew to a conclusion over the weekend with Rathkenny’s eleven point win over Duleek-Bellewstown seeing them progress to the semi-finals with three wins from three. Last year they won Division 3 when fielding with Slane. Can they do it on their own in 2022?
Round Towers knew anything better than a defeat to Na Fianna in Drumbaragh on Saturday would see them make it through in second place and this was exactly what they managed as the Independent Team came away with an eleven point win.
Division 4 Tables & Results
|3||Clann na nGael||3||2||0||1||54||53||4|
|1||Bective / Dunsany||(2-17)||(1-06)||Ballivor||Bective|
|1||Clann na nGael||(3-10)||(2-09)||Blackhall Gaels||Athboy|
|2||Clann na nGael||(3-16)||(2-12)||Ballivor||Ballivor|
|2||Blackhall Gaels||(1-13)||(0-08)||Bective / Dunsany||Kilcloon|
|3||Bective / Dunsany||(3-11)||(0-10)||Clann na nGael||Dunsany|
Another group where Regulation 20 came into play was Division 4B with Clann na nGael being the somewhat unlucky losers when all the permutations were played out.
The Pundit who has been previewing the games this year for our website did not give Bective/Dunsany much chance of progressing to the semi-finals when previewing last Saturday’s games, but the Independent Team turned in a devastating performance to knock Clann na nGael out.
Blackhall Gaels who received a walkover from Ballivor on Saturday topped the group with Bective/Dunsany coming second.
|1||St. Ultan’s/Cortown Gaels||3||3||0||0||65||46||6|
|1||St. Colmcille’s||(3-07)||(0-14)||Summerhill||Páirc Uí Rís, Piltown|
|1||St. Ultan’s / Cortown Gaels||(4-08)||(0-13)||Simonstown Gaels||Cortown|
|2||Simonstown Gaels||(3-16)||(2-06)||St. Colmcille’s||Simonstown|
|2||St. Ultan’s / Cortown Gaels||(3-11)||(1-14)||Summerhill||Summerhill|
|3||St. Ultan’s / Cortown Gaels||(5-10)||(2-10)||St. Colmcille’s||Cortown|
Things were far more straightforward in Division 4B where St. Ultan’s/Cortown Gaels late scoring burst saw them defeat St. Colmcilles to secure a third win from three games and top the table as a result. Simonstown Gaels, bounced back from losing out to St. Ultan’s/Cortown Gaels in the opening round to impressively defeat St. Colmcille’s and Summerhill to secure second place.
We will recap on Divisions 5 and 6 following their conclusion in a couple of weeks.
The semi-final pairings are as follows:
Donaghmore/Ashbourne v St. Colmcille’s
Seneschalstown v Oldcastle
Killary Emmets v Navan O’Mahonys
Trim v St. Peter’s Dunboyne
Group A Winners v Round Towers
Rathkenny v Group B Winners
Blackhall Gaels v Simonstown Gaels
St. Ultan’s/Cortown Gaels v Bective/Dunsany
Article written by Coiste Mionúir an Mhí Secretary, Brian Kelly.
Posted in: Youth / An Oige