Navan O’Mahonys ……. 1-14 Blackhall Gaels ……….. 1-11
Barry McEvoy’s first-half goal proved the difference as O’Mahonys claimed the JFC C title with a narrow win over Blackhall Gaels at Pairc Tailteann on Friday evening.
McEvoy finished to the net at the old swimming pool end in the eighth minute to leave it 1-1 to 0-2. Blackhall regained the lead once more before the break but the Navan-men had enough in hand to land the Royal Meath Association Cup.
Robbie Keeleghan landed eight points (five frees) while Dylan Regan also chipped in with a trio of points from play while a brace of Cormac McEntaggert white flags.
The sides were deadlocked four times in the opening third of the game before a Regan effort restored O’Mahonys’ lead and there they remained to the end.
By half-time O’Mahonys led by 1-8 to 1-6. They led by three points twice in the third quarter. A more experienced Blackhall trimmed the deficit to the minimum midway through the second-half.
Backboned by five members of the 2003 SFC-winning squad, Blackhall rallied but were undone by some poor shooting. Two Keeleghan frees put some distance between the sides as O’Mahonys held on to claim this title for the first time since 2000.
The side captained by Keith Russell fell behind twice in the opening seven minutes. Then came McEvoy’s goal. Within three minutes Blackhall Gaels netted.
Player-manager John Brennan’s (a member of the 2000 JFC C side) charges never fell more than a point in arrears in the opening 20 minutes.
Once O’Mahonys hit the front for the final time, they moved three points clear on five occasions and had enough on the board to resist Blackhall Gaels’ late charge.
O’Mahonys: Jason Smyth, Timmy Murtagh, Andrew Rogers, Darragh Greene; Kevin O’Hanlon, James O’Malley, Declan McGuinness; Vinny Moore, Paul McGrath; Conor Gleeson, Keith Russell, Dylan Regan (0-3); Robbie Keelaghan (0-8, 5fs), Cormac McEntaggert (0-2), Barry McEvoy (1-1). Subs – Sean McEntaggert for Greene (ht), James Power for Russell (40), Jack Walsh for Murtagh (47), Shane Stafford for Gleeson (58).
Blackhall Gaels – Martin Hennessy; John Joyce, Martin O’Neill, Donal Durkin; Niall Kelly, Kevin Coyle, Kevin O’Keane; Mark Ferris (0-2), John O’Brien (0-1 45); Ciaran Cummins, Paul Kelly (0-3, 2fs), Jamie Moore; Paddy Snee, Martin Whelan (1-3, 0-3 fs), Thomas Coyle (0-1). Subs – Niall Mangan (0-1) for Moore (37), David Ferris for Cummins (38), James Larkin for Coyle (53).
Referee – Joe Synnott (Donaghmore-Ashbourne)