Tale of woe continues for Meath champions
The sorry tale of Meath champions failing to perform in the Leinster Club SFC continued at Hawkfield today as Summerhill made a tame exit, 0-8 to 2-12, in the quarter-final to a more seasoned, slicker and efficient Naas side.
Summerhill can feel hard done by with the margin of their loss as Naas hit 1-5 without reply in the closing 13 minutes to add significant gloss to their tally.
The 10-point margin of defeat is harsh on Summerhill who did manage to get the deficit down to just two points, 0-8 to 1-7, when Barry Dardis pointed in the 49th minute, but that was the Meath champions last score as Eoghan Prizeman’s goal two minutes later broke Summerhill’s resolve and ended the game as a contest.
The Meath champions never got going and failed to find any sparkle. They kicked nine wides in the opening half and added three more after the interval, but they had to be thankful to their goalkeeper Sean Muddiman for keeping them in the game as he made three outstanding interventions to prevent Naas from adding to their goal tally.
Adam Flanagan did manage to disrupt Naas’s fluidity with some excellent high fielding, while David Larkin’s work rate and Eoghan Frayne’s accuracy from frees kept Summerhill in contention for more than three-quarters of the contest, but the damage was done early and late in the game.
The three-in-a-row Kildare champions were like men possessed in the opening stages on the tight confines of Hawkfield. Jack McKevitt pointed them in front inside 30 seconds and they never looked back as they kept their noses ahead throughout.
Without the injured Ronan Ryan to anchor their defence Summerhill looked jittery at the back early on and after squandering a couple of scoring opportunities they found themselves two points behind in the fifth minute when the excellent Darragh Kirwan landed a 30-metre free against the breeze.
Naas almost grabbed the opening goal a minute later as a swift move ended with the ball in the hands of Alex Beirne, but Muddiman was quick off his line to smother the initial effort before one of his defenders got back to clear the ball off the line.
The goal threat continued from Naas and two minutes later they had the ball in the net when a route one long ball from Beirne was broken by Dermot Hanafin into the path of Sean Hanafin who finished brilliantly to make it 1-2 to 0-0 after just seven minutes.
Eoghan Frayne landed a 45-metre free a minute later to open Summerhill’s account, but Naas replied through Kirwan to restore their five point cushion.
wides from Diarmuid McCabe, Barry Dardis, Eoghan Frayne and Adam McDonnell compounded Summerhill’s miserable start and even through Eoghan Frayne did land a second free to double Summerhill’s tally it was cancelled out four minutes later when James Burke pointed.
Kirwan almost grabbed a second goal for the hosts in the 21st minute, but Muddiman again came to Summerhill’s rescue.
After Eoghan Frayne dropped a free short of the target Kirwan was presented with another goal chance in the 28th minute, but dragged his shot wide.
Summerhill finally registered their opening point from play in the 29th minute when Conor Frayne finished off a good move, but Naas ensured a 1-5 to 0-3 interval lead when Beirne cut in from the right all too easily and fisted over the bar.
It took both sides some time to find their range when play resumed. Six second-half minutes elapsed before Eoghan Frayne landed another free after McCabe had been fouled, but just as they did in the opening half Naas responded swiftly with Beirne left in acres of space to restore his side’s five point lead.
Eoghan Frayne again replied with his fourth free and for the first time in the game Summerhill managed two points in succession when Eoghan Frayne landed his only score from play, and just Summerhill’s second, to make it 0-6 to 1-6.
Veteran Eamonn Callaghan marked his appearance with a converted free at the three-quarters stage, but Summerhill threatened a recovery when Eoghan Frayne (free) and Dardis pointed to make it 0-8 to 1-7 in the 49th minute.
Summerhill looked to be in the ascendancy, but Kirwan settled Naas with a fisted point and in the 51st minute Paddy McDermott cut the Summerhill defence apart to set up Prizeman for the game-killing goal to make it 2-8 to 0-8.
Beirne tapped over a clearcut goal chance to stretch Naas’s lead and after Kirwan was denied brilliantly by Muddiman Callaghan landed his second free to make it 2-10 to 0-8.
Summerhill gave up the ghost. They struggled to create the goal chance they badly needed and as they pressed, Naas hit them on the counter-attack with Kevin Cummins and goalkeeper Luke Mullins both landing late frees to add gloss to Naas’s tally.
The Kildare men march on to face St Loman’s in the Croke Park semi-final while Summerhill’s loss was the 20th for a Meath side in 33 outings since Dunshaughlin were the last Meath team to win the Leinster Club SFC title way back in 2002.
Naas – Alex Beirne 0-3; Darragh Kirwan 0-3 one free; Eoghan Prizeman 1-0; Sean Hanafin 1-0; Eamonn Callaghan 0-2 frees; Kevin Cummins 0-1 free; Luke Mullins 0-1 free; James Burke 0-1; Jack McKevitt 0-1.
Summerhill – Eoghan Frayne 0-6 five frees; Conor Frayne 0-1; Barry Dardis 0-1.
Naas – Luke Mullins; Cathal Daly, Conor McCarthy, Mark Maguire; Brian Byrne; Eoghan Prizeman, Eoin Doyle, Paddy McDermott; Paul McDermott, James Burke; Alex Beirne, Darragh Kirwan, Jack McKevitt; Dermot Hanafin, Sean Hanafin. Subs – Eamonn Callaghan for Dermot Hanafin, Tom Browne for McKevitt both 42m, Neil Aherne for Paul McDermott 55m, Kevin Cummins for Kirwan 59m.
Summerhill – Sean Muddiman; Iarla Hughes, Padraig Jennings, John Lavelle; Adam McDonnell, Ross Ryan, Padhraig Geraghty; Adam Flanagan, Micheal Byrne; David Larkin, Diarmuid McCabe, Conor Lyons; Eoghan Frayne, Conor Frayne, Barry Dardis. Subs – Kevin Ryan for Lyons 41m, David Dalton for C Frayne 55m, Jamie O’Shea for McDonnell 58m, Ben Moran for Jennings 61m.
Referee – Alan Coyne (Westmeath).