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18 Jan 2022

St Fechins bow out of Leinster as well drilled Trim attack proves too strong

St Fechins bow out of Leinster as well drilled Trim attack proves too strong

St Fechin's Bevan Duffy in action against Sean O'Mahonys during this year's Louth Intermediate Championship. (Photo: Arthur Kinahan)

Leinster Intermediate Club Football Championship

TRIM (Meath) 1-14 ST.FECHINS 2-7 

St Fechins limped out of the Leinster intermediate championship against an impressive Trim outfit under the midweek lights at Ashbourne. A quickly taken free that found the back of the net at the death disguised what was a very disappointing night for the Louth champions.

Trim’s use of the ball was the single greatest difference between the two champions. The Meath side's distribution was excellent and greater efficiency in front of the posts broke the Louth side's spirit at every opportunity.

The greater guile was seen in Trim’s dynamic duo. Alan Douglas on the forty controlled the game while his centre back James Toher bossed the tempo.

Fechins could do little with the pair all evening and it really cost them dearly because both experienced players were always in the most influential parts of the field.

Ryan Walsh shone once again for the Seasiders but the service to himself, Niall Devlin and Eoghan Duffy inside was appalling at times. However, Eugene Judge’s side somehow managed to create and miss at least three glorious goal chances on the rueful night also.

There was disciplinary issues for both sides too, Trim’s full back Luke Moran picked up a late black card at the end of the first half and having collected an early yellow it meant Kevin Reilly’s Trim side were down to 14 men for the entire second half.

That numerical advantage would be another missed opportunity for the Fechins as they lost Harry Haughney early in the second half to a straight red for an off the ball altercation with the aforementioned Douglas.

The game in fact began with a good dose of Louth Meath niggle, Trim’s clear objective was to annoy the two Duffy’s and it could be argued they were successful in their operation.

The Duffy brothers are huge leaders for their side and putting them off their game was key for the Meath champions. That was especially telling when the Fechins started the game without two key members of their Louth campaign, half back Jamie McDonnell and trusty forward Ronan Holcroft.

Walsh and Trim full forward Aaron Lynch traded a brace of frees each in the tense opening, but Trim were soon about to open up.

Douglas looped around for a lovely score before providing Lynch with his first from play. Toher then came up from the back to whip over a right sided free on his left foot to make it 0-5 to 0-2 at the first half water break.

With Eoghan Duffy spurning a great goal chance earlier, another massive turning point in the game arrived seconds after the stoppage. Bevan Duffy burst forward with a run off the ball and in space was eventually picked out. Duffy did everything right, but his shot smashed off the post.

The double whammy came when in the same sequence Trim worked the ricocheted ball down the field thanks to Mikey Cullen who then found an unmarked Alan Douglas.

Douglas buried the ball to the net and Daire Lynch quickly added a point and suddenly the game was looking beyond the men from Termonfeckin.

Paul Mathews did hand the Bealieu based outfit a lifeline with a mazy dribble between a couple of Trim defenders to slot home in the bottom left hand corner. Five points the gap, 1-8 to 1-3 at half time and with the extra man St Fechins were still well in the game.

Walsh quickly narrowed the gap, but Haughney would soon see red and Eoghan Duffy looked to have laid on the easiest of goals for Niall Devlin only for Ciarán Caulfield to pull off an astonishing interception. Meath minor last season, Caulfield is an exceptional talent. 

With fewer players on the field the game opened up and Lynch and Walsh added to their tallies. Substitute Eoin Hackett clipped over a point to become the only other Termonfeckin player to score a point outside Walsh, oh how they missed Holcroft’s presence up front.

The game fizzled out with James Toher whipping over a beautiful point. Trim’s control grew with confidence and the competition could well end up in Trim on the back of that showing.

Ryan Walsh lashed home a free with the last kick off the game past Peter Farrell but St Fechins were already thinking of 2022 by that stage. A tough way to end their championship season, but with their goal of senior football achieved, there will be plenty of positives for them to bring into next season.

ST. FECHINS: Niall McDonnell; Padraic O’Donohoe, Niall McCabe, Danny Burnell; Adam O’Neill, David Collier, Sean Kerrisk; Bevan Duffy, Paul Matthews (1-0); Harry Haughney, Colm O’Neill, Joseph Corrigan, Ryan Walsh (1-6, 1-4 frees, 0-1 mark), Eoghan Duffy, Niall Devlin. Subs: Eoin Hackett (0-1) for Corrigan (18), Matthew Flanagan for Colm O’Neill (HT), Dylan Rice for Kerrisk (54), Conor Haughney for Devlin (54). 

TRIM: Peter Farrell; Gerry Dwane, Luke Moran, Declan Dowling; Ciarán Caulfield (0-1), James Toher (0-2, 0-1 free), Ciaran O’Rourke; Rob Bourke (0-1), Seán Fitzgerald; Mikey Cullen (0-1), Alan Douglas (1-2), Daire Lynch (0-1); Ian Birmingham, Aaron Lynch (0-6, 0-3 frees), Eoin O’Connor. Subs: Ben Holden for Dowling (35), Paul Munnelly for Birmingham (46), Owen McGrath for Fitzgerald (50) James Murray for O’Connor (56).

REFEREE: Keith O’Brien (Westmeath)

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