TWO sides that recorded opening round wins produced an interesting tussle in the Corn na Boinne at Tony Callaghan Park last Saturday evening.
t was the hosts who came out on top and deservedly so after trailing by the minimum heading into the final quarter. Joe Sheridan’s men finished far the stronger of the teams as they outscored their opponents 1-3 to 0-1. However, just a single point separated the sides in the final 10 minutes and O’Mahonys had opportunities of an equaliser before midfielder Jamie Flaherty doubled the home side’s advantage in added time.
The game was three minutes over the hour mark when John McDonnell popped up with the goal that made the game safe for the east Meath outfit.
Duleek-Bellewstown enjoyed the better of the exchanges throughout the first half and were ahead 0-5 to 0-1 in the opening quarter but their dominance waned after that and it was the town side who led 1-5 to 0-7 at half-time.
The goal that was the difference in that opening half arrived close to half-time when Brian O’Hanlon pounced on a loose ball in a crowded goalmouth and first-timed a volley to the net.
The impressive James McWeeney hit two of the opening three points for the host as they established an early 0-3 to 0-1 lead. Jamie Crosby from a mark was also on target while O’Mahonys opening score came from Clayton O’Sullivan.
A brace of John McDonnell points increased the lead before O’Mahony’s reeled off four successive scores, two each from Robbie Kellaghan and Evan Coffey, to be level 0-5 each after 20 minutes.
McDonnell and Crosby (free) restored the lead for the combined side before they were caught by that sucker punch close to half-time.
Ronan Clarke doubled O’Mahony’s advantage on the restart and the sides swapped points on a couple of occasions throughout an evenly contested third quarter.
The free taking of Crosby kept Duleek-Bellewstown in touch and they eventually got back level when inspirational midfielder Jamie Flaherty pointed on 46 minutes.
McWeeney (mark) restored the Duleek-Bellewstown lead soon after and it was that score which separated the teams until Flaherty again pointed from the left wing in added time.
McDonnell added the insurance score when he ran on to a loose ball inside the O’Mahony’s cover and lofted the ball over the head of advancing keeper Colin Honan to an unguarded net.
Substitute Jack McConnell had a consolation point for the visitors in the final action of the game.
DULEEK-BELLEWSTOWN: Ryan Lynch; Colm Regan, Chris Woods, Sam O’Leary; Kyle Callaghan, Brian Fitzpatrick, Cianan Byrne; Cian Ryan, Jamie Flaherty 0-2; John McDonnell 1-3, Eoghan Heeney, Dylan Collins; Jamie Crosby 0-4 (3f), James McWeeney 0-3 (2m), Ciarán Flynn 0-1. Subs: David Moore for Flynn (43), Cillian Kirwan for Callaghan (48), Callaghan for Byrne (57).
NAVAN O’MAHONY’S: Colin Honan; Darragh Murphy, Sam Formosa, Brian Dillon; Niall McGrane, Conor Finnegan, Paddy Dillon; Cormac Keyes, Aodhan Mallon 0-2 (1f); Evan Coffey 0-2 (1 ’45), Brian O’Hanlon 1-0, Mike O’Reilly; Clayton O’Sullivan 0-1, Robbie Kellaghan 0-2 (1f), Ronan Clarke 0-1. Subs: Jack McConnell 0-1 for O’Hanlon (41), Eoin Joyce for Finnegan, Craig Nolan for O’Reilly (both 45), Jack Flynn for Coffey (49), Thomas Cully for Clarke, Shane Maguire for Kellaghan (both 54), Jack Bellamy for O’Sullivan (55).
REFEREE: Andrew Lenehan (St Patrick’s).