Friday 21 October 2016

Fab Fourteens earn a standing ovation

Young Meath and Dublin players produce the match of the season

MEATH came onto the pitch to a Royal Roar.

And that's the sound that greeted the final whistle.

Meath, the Leinster U14 Leinster champions. And what a game themselves and the Dubs produced.

Meath got there by three points 2-9 to 2-6.

If there's a DVD of the fixture, it will be a sure sell-out.

It was played in Clane on Saturday. Graham Geraghty was in the audience supporting his daughter, Lauren.

Alan McNally was also in the congregation. His daughter, Katie, wore the number 15 jersey.

And Niall Guiden's daughter, Caitlin, is a super Syl and a top Dub.


A good crowd gathered under the stand. A good decision. There was rain forecast. It eventually arrived.

There was a cracking atmosphere. Dublin's own slice of Royalty, the Leinster President Finbarr O'Driscoll, stood on the terraces.

The venue has an old fashioned score-board. There's not many of them left.

Those operating it didn't have time to put on the kettle.

The pace just rattled along. All the skills were on display.

All done at the speed of light.

There were some picture scores. And many near-misses. The hour saw the post and bar shaking many times.

There was such purity in the football. "It's just brilliant," declared a spectator.

It was all-out attack from both counties. The only parked buses were those coaches out on the road.

Meath defended so well, especially when the Dublin pressure was at its height coming to the last bell.

Their full-back, Orlagh Lally, was an inspiration.

Sarah Wall also excelled at centre half-back. And, particularly in the second half, Petra Reilly and Kate McCarthy flourished at midfield.

Right half-forward Emma Duggan got the Player-of-the Match award. Any time she got on the ball, George Hamilton could be heard saying: "Danger here."

Meath's centre half-forward, Leah Reilly, is also a fabulous footballer. She kicked two gorgeous points.

Dublin's movement and combination play was of the highest order. Full-forward Rosin McGovern played with much intelligence.

Dublin's right half-forward Jodi Egan was busy and inventive. And such was Dublin's diligence late on, that extra-time was a possibility.

But the Meath rearguard proved too formidable. And a packet of Dublin shots whistled inches past the target.

It was the Blues who led at the break, 2-3 to 0-5.

It was Egan who scored Dublin's opening goal in the fifth minute.

And, following a flowing move, McGovern knocked in the second from close range on 14 minutes.

A minute into the second half, Meath had a goal of their own as Orla McLoughlin's effort from the left dipped under the slates.

On 47 minutes, a foul on Leah Reilly gave Meath a penalty. Up stepped Sorcha Gough to take the perfect spot-kick.

That put Meath five points clear. And Leah Reilly came within inches of another goal.

Jessica Connolly hit two late points for the Dubs. The excitement belonged to Electric Ireland.

Dublin throwing everything except Liberty Hall at the Meath defence. But Meath standing as tall and as strong as Mick Lyons.

A famous victory. The sound of the cheers could be heard in Navan.

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