Summerhill headed for Pairc Tailteann on Friday evening for their eagerly awaited League final in a games billed by some as at the old versus the new. Summerhill, one of the traditional heavy weights of Meath football again a St Colmcilles side in their first Division 1 league final who are hoping to build on their tremendous underage success over the past number of years. The game turned out to be a classic needing extra time to final separate the sides after a pulsating game where momentum swung one way then the other several times over the evening.
Summerhill suffered an early blow when David Dalton was injured in the warmup and was replaced by Liam Shaw. Shaw made an instant impact converting a mark in the first few minute to open Summerhill’s account. In the ninth minute Summerhill scored a goal when Eoghan Frayne palmed the ball into the back of the net following a great run forward by full back Padraig Jennings to put Summerhill in the lead by a point. A Diarmuid McCabe point extended this lead to two. A purple patch from the seasides saw them take a two point lead as half time approached but two late scores from David Larkin and Kevin Ryan saw the sided level at the break, Summerhill 1-5 St Colmcilles 0-8. Summerhill would have been slight disappointed at the break going in on level terms as they has squandered a number of decent scoring chances in the first half.
As the teams emerged for the second half Summerhill were forced into another change in their full forward line with the injured Eoghan Frayne been replaced by Jamie O’Shea. The second half was a much tighter affair with scores at a premium. St Colmcilles scored the first two point of the half to retake the lead but Summerhill hit back with the next three, one from David Larkin, Jamie O’Shea and a Diarmuid McCabe free to take the lead once again. With time running out, a due in part to some resolute defending from Summerhill saw the seasiders hit four wides in a row as they desperately sought an equalizer. In the fifth minute of added time Cilles were awarded a free just beyond the 45 meter line that was dispatched by goalkeeper Andrew Beakey to level matters and bring the game into extra time. Full time score Summerhill 1-8 St Colmcilles 0-11.
The Summerhill supporters in the crowd may have felt disappointed that they didn’t get the job done in normal time but were given a great lift by the appearance of Barry Dardis for extra time. This was Barry’s first appearance on the pitch in over a year following a serious injury. As the old saying goes “Cometh the hour, cometh the man”, and never was this more apt. Dardis dominated the extra time period scoring an impressive five points. Within minutes of his arrival he won and converted a great a mark/free and added a point from play soon after. Yet again St Colmcilles showed tremendous fighting spirit and fought back draw level yet again early in the second period of extra time. However two more frees and a mark from Dardis finally saw the game out for the Summerhill men winning on a scoreline of Summerhill 1-13 St Colmcilles 0-14. It was a delighted Padhraig Geraghty who accepted the Tommy Mooney Cup on behalf of his team from Martin O’Halloran. Both side will take a great deal from this game as they look forward to the start of the championship in two weeks time.
Summerhill – Tony McDonnell; John Lavelle, Padraig Jennings, Iarla Hughes; Padraig Geraghty (c), Ross Ryan, Adam McDonnell; Michael Byrne, Adam Flanagan; David Larkin, Diarmuid McCabe, Kevin Ryan; Eamonn McDonnell, Eoghan Frayne, Liam Shaw. Subs – Jamie O’Shea for Frayne (ht), Ronan Ryan for Byrne (36), Caolan Young for K Ryan (59). Extra-time – Barry Dardis for E McDonnell, Jack Bannon for A McDonnell (66), Eamonn Ryan for Geraghty (77).
Scorers: Summerhill – Barry Dardis 0-5, 2f, 1m); Eoghan Frayne 1-1 (0-1 mark); David Larkin 0-2; Diarmuid McCabe 0-2 (1f); Kevin Ryan 0-1; Liam Shaw 0-1 (m); Jamie O’Shea 0-1
St Colmcille’s – Andrew Beakey; Tomas O Hoistin, Hugo Collins, Shaun Leonard; Ben Brennan, Carl Mullan, Liam Stafford; Jeff Kavanagh, Ruairi O’Grady; Cathal Hilliard, Graham Reilly, Endy Ehichoya; Jack Reynolds, James Conlon, David Bell. Subs – Adam Lynch for Leonard (51), Danny Ehichoya for Reynolds (52), Christian Finlay for Conlon (54), Stephen Breen for O Hoisin (59), Oisin O Murchu for Hilliard (60). Extra-time – Hilliard for Lynch, Sean O’Donoghue for Reilly, Reilly for Bell (71), Reynolds for E Ehichoya (76), Danny McMahon for Brennan (76)
St Colmcille’s – David Bell 0-5 (1f); James Conlon 0-3 (2fs); Jack Reynolds 0-2; Andrew Beakey 0-1 (f), Graham Reilly 0-1 (f). Danny Ehichoya 0-1, Christian Finlay 0-1