Preview & Match Report
The Division 1B League Final takes place this Saturday evening in Summerhill at 6:30pm between two teams who had contrasting fortunes in 2021.
Trim were crowned Meath and Leinster Intermediate Championship winners and were promoted back up to Senior after ten years in exile, while their opponents Dunshaughlin were relegated down to the Intermediate Championship after 25 years playing Senior Championship football.
Although there are signs that Dunshaughlin have improved this year with a very young side, form would suggest Trim as they went right through the league winning all nine of their games including having a convincing six- point win against Dunshaughlin in late April. Trim had already qualified for the final before the last few rounds of games, Dunshaughlin’s on the other hand suffered two defeats in the league stages and only clinched 2nd place with a win over Curraha in the last round of the league. Both teams are promoted to Division 1A for 2023 and Dunshaughlin will see that as a first important step (in a league playing senior teams) in their quest to regain Senior status. A win for either team would give them a good boost of confidence going into their respective championships as this will be the last big competitive game before championship. It has the makings of a very competitive game as both teams like to play attacking football.
Dunshaughlin would have been disappointed with their level of performance in the earlier game against Trim and will be hoping to do better at the 2nd time of asking. Trim on the other hand are on an amazing winning streak lasting all the way back to the end of 2020, including for all of 2021 (except losing an All-Ireland Final) and all of 2022 so far. Dunshaughlin are on a bit of a streak themselves having won every game since the defeat to Trim, which includes the last four league games in a row. Both teams have serious firepower up front and that was reflected in the high scores both teams put up in the league, Trim scoring 19-112 (169) and Dunshaughlin 19-110(167). Trim’s in form forwards are Aaron Lynch, Alan Douglas, Mikey Cullen and Ciaran Caufield who could be reacquainting himself with some of his Meath under 20 team mates, Ruairi Kinsella, John McDonagh, Conor Gray, Aaron Murphy, Fursey Blake & Ciaran McCarrick. Dunshaughlin will be hoping that Luke Mitchell, Conor Duke and Cathal McCormack’s good league form will carry over into the final. Dunshaughlin are captained by the very popular Niall Murphy who has been very solid in the backs, appears to be relishing the role and is well supported by Oisin Foley, Alastar Doyle & Danny Quinn. Dunshaughlin welcomed back Mathew Costello from Meath duty for their win over Curraha.
Since taking over last year, Trim manager Kevin Reilly has made a big impact, winning Meath & Leinster Intermediate titles and he is probably especially happy about how little his defence concedes in games, conceding an average of only 10 points a game in the league. The glue that keeps it all together in the back is county hurler James Toher.
Dunshaughlin’s new management team of Richie Kealy, Paul Curran, Fergus Clancy & TP Toolan will be pleased that their troops have responded so well to their appointment and are playing well for them.
Two weeks ago, Dunshaughlin’s 2nd team reached the Division 2B Final which went to extra time and if this game is anywhere near as entertaining, we are in for a classic.
For spectators going to the game, Summerhill are producing a program illustrating both team’s formations.
Division 1B Final in Summerhill
Dunshaughlin 2-11 (17) Trim 1-15 (18)
Dunshaughlin were just pipped at the post as Trim scored the winning point in the 5th minute of injury time in what was a thrilling finish to the A Football League Division 1B Final in a windy Summerhill on Saturday evening. The pitch was in very good shape and the facilities were well able to cope with the large attendance. The referee Kieran Olwell brough a very professional approach to the final with miked up umpires.
Although Dunshaughlin will be disappointed not to have won the cup, they will pleased with other aspects of their game as this was a much-improved performance from the boys in the Black and Amber stripes compared to when they played Trim in the league in April. Dunshaughlin played some wonderful football for long periods of the game and will have learned a lot from this game as they head into the Intermediate Championship. Losing out to Trim by just one point, a team with great experience of finals having played in three major finals last year, All-Ireland, Leinster & Meath Intermediate Championship finals will stand to this young Dunshaughlin team in the months ahead.
Dunshaughlin if anything were playing into a strong crosswind in the first half and playing into the club house end and took the lead in the third minute through a pointed free from Luke Mitchell. Two minutes later Ruairi Kinsella broke through on goal and his shot was well saved by Trim goalkeeper Peter Farrell. Ian Birmingham equalised for Trim in the 10th minute. Mitchell responded with another pointed free in the 11th minute in what were very tricky conditions kicking placed balls. Dunshaughlin’s top scorer Mitchell increased Dunshaughlin’s lead with his first point from play in the 14th minute and that lead was reduced to the bare minimum by Trim’s top scorer Aaron Lynch who got his first point a minute later. Meath under 20 Ciaran Caufield levelled the game for Trim with a point in the 17th minute (0-3 to 0-3).
Dunshaughlin’s dominance of the game was eventually reflected on the scoreboard when they scored 2-1 without reply between the 20th and 23rd minute. The first goal coming from Mathew Costello who ran through the middle and rifled the ball to the net after receiving a handpass which looked initially like it was going to be intercepted. In between the two goals Kinsella broke through and scored a beautiful point from play. Dunshaughlin’s second goal came courtesy of young Conor Duke who did well to get his shot on goal and past Farrell to give Dunshaughlin a seven-point lead of 2-4 (10) to 0-3.
Trim reduced the Dunshaughlin lead to five points with points from Aaron Lynch and Birmingham by the 26th minute. Dunshaughlin stretched their lead back out to six with a John McDonagh point just before the half time whistle to leave it 2-5 to 0-5 in favour of Dunshaughlin.
Trim started of the 2nd half well and scored two points in the first three minutes, a free from Aaron Lynch and Birmingham from play. Mitchell replied with a beautiful point from play for Dunshaughlin in the 34th minute.
Trim won the resultant kickout through Daire Lynch who went on to score a point to bring it back to a four-point match.
However, in what was another purple patch for Dunshaughlin, they were to score the next three points to go back into a seven-point lead again with fifteen minutes to go in regulation (2-9 to 0-8). Dunshauglin’s points coming from a Mathew Costello free (37th), Ronan Geraghty (38th) & Mitchell (44th). During this period Geraghty was particularly effective not only winning Dunshaughlin kickouts but also Trim kickouts. In between Geraghty’s and Mitchell’s point Dunshaughlin hit three wides, chances they were to rue missing later on.
Trim never gave up and started to eat into the Dunshaughlin lead with points from Daire Lynch (46th) and Aaron Lynch (48th) before Mitchell put six between them again in the 49th minute with a well taken point (2-10 to 0-10). Aaron Lynch reduced it to four points with two pointed frees in the 50th & 52nd minutes. Geraghty who looked like he had steadied the ship in the 57th minute to give Dunshaughlin a five-point lead, but little did we know there was going to be another nine minutes of play. The Trim goal came in the last minute of regulation time where Aaron Lynch on the 21- metre line in front of goal somehow managed, even surrounded with three Dunshaughlin players to offload the ball to full back Luke Moran who was positioned just outside the square and shot past Adam McDermott which sent the Trim fans into wild celebrations to leave the score 2-11 to 1-12. McDermott only a few minutes earlier had denied Trim a goal with a great save. Nobody had any idea how much additional time the referee was going to add on. In the 2nd minute of injury time Daire Lynch got in to score and make it a one- point game. The momentum had swung in favour of Trim and a minute later Dunshaughlin conceded a free close in which was converted by Aaron Lynch to level the game. Corner forward Tom Carmody may not have scored the whole game but he got the vital score in the 5th minute of injury time. The referee did allow time for another Dunshaughlin attack but it broke down and when he did blow the final whistle it was heart-breaking for Dunshaughlin after such a wonderful effort.
There were some excellent performances throughout the field for Dunshaughlin including all six forwards getting their names on the scoresheet and the fielding of Ronan Geraghty. Regardless of the result of the final, both teams were already promoted and the first half of the season from a Dunshaughlin supporter’s perspective can be seen as a positive especially as Dunshaughlin still have players that could be recovered from injury and be available for selection for the opening round of the championship against Kilmainham on July 23rd.
Among the large attendance looking on were former Meath players Darren Fay and David Beggy (Jinxy) who both had more than a passing interest as Navan O’ Mahony’s play Trim in the first round of the Senior Championship. The spectators who decided to watch this game over watching Cork V Dublin live on TV got to witness a much more entertaining game.
Dunshaughlin: Adam McDermott, Oisin Foley, Niall Byrne, Danny Quinn, Ciaran McCarrick, Niall Murphy, Charlie O’ Connor, Ben Duggan, Conor Gray, Ronan Geraghty (0-2), Ruairi Kinsella (0-1), John McDonagh (0-1), Conor Duke (1-0), Mathew Costello (1-1), Luke Mitchell (0-6, 3f).
Subs: David Fildes for Quinn (37th), Aaron Murphy for Duke (40th), Fergus Toolan for Duggan (50th).
Trim: Peter Farrell, Gerry Dwayne, Luke Moran 1-0, Conor Quigley, Daire Lynch 0-2, James Toher, Ciran O’ Rourke, Rob Bourke, Ian Birmingham 0-3, Ciaran Caufield 0-1, Alan Douglas, James Murray, Brian Dowling, Aaron Lynch 0-7(4f), Tom Carmody 0-1.