Men’s Intermediate Final 2022
Dunshaughlin …………… 0-17
Duleek-Bellewstown …… 0-7
Dunshaughlin became the first team in 21 years to win the Intermediate Championship the year after been relegated from the Senior championship. Dunshuaghlin will return to play Senior Championship football in 2023 and will now go on to represent Meath in the Leinster Intermediate club championship Quarter Final against Kildare champions Ballyteague in Pairc Tailtean on Saturday November 5th.
Dunshaughlin opted to play with the strong wind behind them into the town end goals and apart from when both teams swapped points in the first four minutes, Dunshaughlin led the game from there till the finish. Dunshaughlin led by 10 points to three at half time and Dunshaughlin supporters were wondering would it be enough of a cushion? They need not have worried as their heroes outscored Duleek/Bellewstown seven points to four playing against the wind in the 2nd half. Dunshaughlin & Royal Gaels wish to thank all their supporters who came out in very large numbers to get behind the lads including so many former players from years gone by.
Dunshaughlin went into the game as hot favourites at 1/5 and justified their favouritism with an emphatic win. The foundations of the Dunshaughlin success were built on hard work, winning a high number of turnovers especially in the first half and limiting the opposition (who were the highest scoring Intermediate team coming into the game) to scoring only seven points. With Ballyteague having won the Kildare final two weeks earlier it meant they could send a contingent to Pairc Tailteann to study form and they would surely have noted the many the fine performances throughout the field from the boys wearing the Black & Amber hoops.
Because Dunshaughlin were so dominant, the game never really sprung to life at any stage and the only scare Dunshaughlin really got was in the 15th minute when the Duleek/Bellewstown full forward Alan Bowden broke through and was bearing down on goal with only Adam McDermott to beat but fortunately for Dunshaughlin he shot wide of the goal after McDermott came out to narrow his angle.
Richie Kealy who scored two points the last time Dunshaughlin contested an Intermediate Final in 1997 (when Duleek were also the beaten finalists) has now won the Mattie McDonnell cup as a player and as a manager.
Dunshaughlin opened the scoring with a Mathew Costello point from a free in the 2nd minute which was levelled by an Alan Bowden point. A fourteen-minute spell between the 8th and the 22nd minute when Dunshaughlin scored 8 points without reply was probably the winning of the game and left them leading 0-9 to 0-1. The Dunshaughlin scores coming from a man who is in the running for man of the match, Luke Mitchell 6 points (3f), John McDonagh & Ruairi Kinsella with the point of the match. During that period of dominance Ben Duggan was inspirational and was to fore a lot of the time in stripping the ball away from the east Meath boys. Duleek/Bellewstown’s second point did not arrive until the 24th minute through Ciaran Flynn. Aaron Murphy increased the gap to eight points a minute later with a well taken point. Duleek/Bellewstown’s Jamie Crosbie scored the final point of the half (0-10 to 0-3). Duleek-Bellewstown had a chance to narrow the gap further but Jamie Crosby’s 29th minute free rebounded off an upright and the same player saw his follow-up go wide.
The expected wind driven Duleek/Bellewstown revival didn’t materialise and it was Kinsella who put Dunshaughlin further ahead in the first minute of the 2nd half. Duggan and Conor Gray dealt with everything in the middle sector and the backs ensured Duleek/Bellewstown would have their lowest tally by far in this year’s championship.
The Kinsella point was quickly followed by the always dangerous looking Mathew Costello scoring a point he worked very hard for. Duleek-Bellewstown pulled one back with a Jamie Crosby free which left them 0-12 to 0-5 in arrears with 42 minutes gone but after that Joe Sheridan’s charges made no further inroads into the deficit and were outscored 0-2 to 0-6 in the latter stages. The scores from Mitchell 0-3 (1f),Matthew Moyles (f), a fisted point from half back Ciaran McCarrick, McDonagh & Fergus Toolan, a stoppage time sub.
Luke Mitchell’s fine form continued and he was once again Dunshauhlin’s top scorer with nine points (including three from play plus two from marks).
There were many worthy nominees for the man of the match award with Mitchell, Duggan, Kinsella & McDonagh definite inclusions in that list but it was the performance of every player on the team and panel that was vital in the crowning of Dunshaughlin as Intermediate champions of 2022. In captain Niall Murphy’s acceptance speech he stressed the importance and the vital part of all 60 lads involved in both the 1st and 2nd teams made in getting the Mattie MCDonnell cup making its journey down the M3. Dunshaughlin & Royal Gaels would like to congratulate all the players on the panel, the management team led by Richie and which also includes Paul Curran (coach), Fergus Clancy, TP Toolan and Ciaran Clusker & Aidrain Toolan who were responsible for fitness & conditioning, Tommy Brennan and his physio team for injury recovery & prevention, Our stats men Adam Summerville & Jack Hetherington. Thanks also to David Gallagher who helped out earlier in the year till Paul Curran was available to take on his role and finally Jim Gilligan who is a great help on match days.
As well as the joy in winning the Intermediate Championship, there is also the relief of getting out of it in year one as so many teams that have gone down get so hard to get back out of it. The previous time we were relegated from senior we spent 15 years at Intermediate level before making that breakthrough in 1997. Dunshaughlin this year went through the Intermediate Championship with a 100% record winning all seven games, not too unlike the 1997 team who also went 7 games unbeaten (1 draw). Not only have Dunshaughlin been impressive in this year’s final but also have been very impressive throughout the championship and this years A league where they also beat all their Intermediate opponents and only lost the league final narrowly to this year’s Senior Quarter Finalist’s Trim. A new journey begins for this present team now as they embark upon a Leinster campaign and we wish them well.
There are a lot of similarities between the Dunshaughlin and Duleek/Bellewstown teams as we both have young and upcoming players and although things didn’t go right yesterday in the final for Duleek/Bellewstown, no doubt we will be playing Duleek/Bellewstown at senior level very soon.
Scorers: Dunshaughlin – Luke Mitchell 0-9 (4fs, 2 marks); Ruairi Kinsella 0-2; John McDonagh 0-2; Mathew Costello 0-1; Ciaran McCarrick 0-1; Aaron Murphy 0-1; Fergus Toolan 0-1.
Duleek-Bellewstown – Jamie Crosby 0-2 (fs); Sam O’Leary 0-1; John Flood 0-1f; Ciaran Flynn 0-1; Alan Bowden 0-1; John McDonnell 0-1.
Dunshaughlin – Adam McDermott; Oisin Foley, Alastair Doyle, Niall Byrne; Ciaran McCarrick, Niall Murphy, Adam Kealy; Ben Duggan, Conor Gray; John McDonagh, Mathew Costello, Matthew Moyles; Aaron Murphy, Ruairi Kinsella, Luke Mitchell. Subs – Conor Duke for Aaron Murphy (42), David Fildes for Kealy (43), Daniel Quinn for Doyle (53), Fursey Blake for Duggan (60), Fergus Toolan for Mitchell (60). Mark Galvin, Jared Rushe, Conor Jennings, Charlie O’ Connor, Cathal McCormack, Eoin O’ Connor, Tommy Kinsella, James Traynor, Conor Mooney & Odhran O’ Riordan,
Duleek-Bellewstown – Ryan Lynch; Sam O’Leary, Kevin McCann, Oisin Miland; Cian Ryan, Robin Clarke, Cianan Byrne; Elliott Lenehan, Shane Crosby (c); Jamie Flaherty, John Flood, Jamie Crosby; Ciaran Flynn, Alan Bowden, Tom Bowden. Subs- John McDonnell for E Lenehan (ht), James McWeeney for Flynn (38), Padraig Howard for J Crosby (47), Darren Heaney for Howard (54), Mark Collins for Flood (62).
Referee – Kieran Olwell .(Moynalty)