Report (c) Meath Chronicle (https://www.meathchronicle.ie/2023/10/22/drama-in-tullamore-as-summerhill-advance/)
Drama in Tullamore as Summerhill advance
Referee assaulted as he leaves the field
Referee Barry Tiernan was shoved to the ground and then confronted by several angry Tullamore supporters after he blew the final whistle at the end of this engaging Leinster SFC clash with Summerhill at O’Connor Park Tullamore on Sunday.
The final score, 1-9 to 1-7, tells the story that Summerhill advance to the next round of the provincial competition where they will face the Kildare champions, but that’s only half the tale.
For 56 minutes of this slow-burner Summerhill failed to get their noses in front. They looked set to become the seventh Meath side in 12 years to exit the competition at the first hurdle before all the late drama.
Two points behind and panicking in front of the posts with some poor shot selection, Summerhill looked in trouble.
Not for the first time they stitched together a good move with Adam Flanagan flicking on a booming kickout to Padraig Geraghty who found Barry Dardis. Facing a forest of Tullamore defenders Dardis fired goalwards and when the ball ricocheted off goalkeeper Corey White’s shins it hit Kevin Ryan and ended up in the net to give Summerhill the lead for the first time, 1-8 to 1-7.
Tullamore were exposed in the 64th minute as they tried to find an equaliser and Eoghan Frayne converted a free after Eamonn McDonnell was fouled to put two between the teams.
With four minutes of injury-time announced and 65 minutes played Tullamore were awarded a 13-metre free after the ball was handled on the ground by Adam Flanagan. After consulting with his umpire referee Tiernan changed his decision to award Tullamore a penalty.
Summerhill looked doomed as Tullamore’s full-back Paul McConway stood face-to-face with goalkeeper Sean Muddiman. However, in a further dramatic twist before the kick was taken, the umpire from the terrace side of the ground approached the referee and after further consultation the official reverted to his original decision to award a 13-metre free.
Tullamore were up in arms. Summerhill put 13 men on the line and ensured that John Furlong’s low drive was blocked. The referee continued to allow play into the 73rd minute, but Tullamore couldn’t create another opening and Summerhill held on.
As the referee was leaving the field he was shoved in the back by a Tullamore supporter and fell to the ground. After the Dublin official got back to his feet he was accosted several more times with verbal attacks and finger jabs to his chest by irate Tullamore ‘fans’ before eventually making it to the tunnel under the stand.
Summerhill were certainly fortunate, but despite never playing to their full potential they were always in the game and proved once again that their character is never in question.
As is often the case at this time of the year the ball seemed heavier and scores were hard to come by. Summerhill found it particularly tough to find their range with only two of their six first-half points coming from play, whereas 1-4 of Tullamore’s opening half tally came from play.
Leading the way for Tullamore was their excellent corner-back Declan Hogan who opened the scoring in the third minute. Eoghan Frayne replied from a 20-metre free two minutes later, but within 30 seconds Tullamore were ahead again as All-Ireland u-20 winner Cormac Egan set up his brother Diarmuid Egan for a fine point.
Conor Frayne kicked Summerhill’s first from play in the eighth minute to restore parity and the teams remained tied after Harry Plunkett pointed for the hosts and Barry Dardis landed an outstanding free from tight to the sideline on the terrace side.
Tullamore struggled from placed balls and used five different free takers over the 70-odd minutes, Cormac Egan edged his side in front after Harry Plunkett had missed a straightforward free, but an excellent sweeping move saw Diarmuid McCabe blast over from a half decent goal chance to make it 0-4 each.
Michael Brazil was the third Tullamore man to try his hand at converting a free and he succeeded to edge Tullamore ahead again in the 28th minute and a minute later corner-backs Hogan and Daire McDaid combined with Hogan blasting a brilliant goal to make it 1-5 to 0-4.
Dardis and Eoghan Frayne converted frees in first-half injury-time to close the gap to 0-6 to 1-5.
Jamie O’Shea made it a one-point game two minutes after the restart, but Tullamore dominated possession in the third quarter and should have bagged a second goal, but Ciaran Egan’s strike was cleared off the line by Ronan Ryan.
It took Summerhill until the 45th minute to final an equaliser, Eoghan Frayne again converting a free, but when Nigel Bracken showed a better touch from placed balls he landed two frees to edged Tullamore into a 1-7 to 0-8 lead with just four minutes left on the clock.
Summerhill – Eoghan Frayne 0-4 frees; Kevin Ryan 1-0; Barry Dardis 0-2 frees; Conor Frayne 0-1; Diarmuid McCabe 0-1; Jamie O’Shea 0-1.
Tullamore – Declan Hogan 1-1; Nigel Bracken 0-2 free Diarmuid Egan 0-1; Cormac Egan 0-1; Harry Plunkett 0-1; Michael Brazil 0-1 free.
Summerhill – Sean Muddiman; Iarla Hughes, Ronan Ryan, John Lavelle; Jamie O’Shea, Ross Ryan, Padhraig Geraghty; Adam Flanagan, Micheal Byrne; David Larkin, Eoghan Frayne, Diarmuid McCabe; Conor Lyons, Conor Frayne, Barry Dardis.
Subs – Padraig Jennings for O’Shea 44 mins, Kevin Ryan for McCabe 47m, Davy Dalton for Lyons 51m, Eamonn McDonnell for C Frayne 55m,
Tullamore – Corey White; Declan Hogan, Paul McConway, Daire McDaid; Nigel Bracken, John Furlong, Oisin Keenan-Martin; Aaron Hensey, Ciaran Egan; Michael Brazil, Diarmuid Egan, Luke Egan; Harry Plunkett, Luke Plunkett, Cormac Egan.
Subs – Dan Fox for L Plunkett half-time, Mike Fox for Ciaran Egan 42 mins, Niall Furlong for H Plunkett 47m, Jay Sheeran for Hensey, L Plunkett for Keenan-Martin both 63m.
Referee – Barry Tiernan (Dublin).