St. Loman's (Westmeath) 0-13
Simonstown Gaels (Meath) 1-8
St. Loman's lit up a wet and dreary TEG Cusack Park by staging another magnificent comeback to edge out Simonstown Gaels and qualify for their first Leinster club SFC final.
Having come from six points down to beat Mullinalaghta a fortnight ago, the three-in-a-row Westmeath champions bettered that by coming from seven down to win by two and set up a provincial final showdown with Moorefield, who their manager Luke Dempsey is very familiar with after guiding them to back-to-back Kildare SFC titles in 2013 and '14. The novel decider will take place in O'Moore Park on Sunday, December 10.
Similar to the Mullinalaghta game, St. Loman's got off to a dreadful start and looked to be in big trouble when they trailed by 1-4 to 0-0 to their Navan opponents. But they eventually found their scoring boots to trail by just three points, 0-6 to 1-6, at the interval, and outscored Colm O'Rourke's charges by 0-7 to 0-2 in an absorbing second half to run out deserving winners.
Simonstown, who had accounted for Starlights in the quarter-final, opened with points from Padraig McKeever and Nathan O'Brien before Mark McCabe scored the game's only goal following a well-worked move. As Loman's continued to pass up on scoring chances at the other end, impressive centre back Brian Conlon and McKeever extended the back-to-back Meath champions' lead to seven points after 15 minutes.
Former Offaly star Ken Casey finally opened the Mullingar men's account before further scores from Paul Sharry (free), Shane Dempsey and John Heslin reduced the gap. Simonstown replied through Nathan O'Brien and Sean Tobin, but Loman's were by now dictating the pace and two more Heslin points left them just three down at the break.
Shane O'Rourke had an excellent first half in the middle of the field for Simonstown, but the Westmeath kingpins got to grips with him in the second half as they scored six unanswered points to take a three-point lead.
Points from O'Rourke and Conor Sheridan reduced the deficit to the minimum with six minutes remaining to set up a grandstand finish. Impressive substitute Kieran Lynam fisted a crucial point to give Loman's some breathing space and they held on for the victory, despite referee Fergal Kelly playing five minutes of injury-time.
St. Loman's - J Daly; N O'Toole, J O'Toole, G Grehan; G Glennon, P Dowdall, C Kilmurray; P Sharry (0-2, 1f), S Flanagan; K Reilly, R O'Toole, D Windsor; K Casey (0-1), J Heslin (0-6, 5f), S Dempsey (0-2). Subs: K Lynam (0-1) for C Kilmurray, C Reilly (0-1) for S Flanagan (BC), G Hickey for D Windsor, D Whelan for N O'Toole, B O'Loughlin for K Casey.
Simonstown Gaels - R Burlingham; S Gallagher, S Moran, N McMahon; B McGrath, B Conlon (0-1), N Kane; S O'Rourke (0-1), J Kilcullen; S Tobin (0-1), S Kenny, M McCabe (1-0); Nathan O'Brien (0-2), C Sheridan (0-1), P McKeever (0-2, 1f). Subs: M Gardiner for N McMahon, J Lyons for S Kenny, Nicky O'Brien for J Kilcullen, M Brennan for C Sheridan, S Barry for S Tobin.
Referee - F Kelly.