In an exciting finale Simonstown Gaels and holders Navan O'Mahonys played out an exciting hoganstand.com SFC Group C draw at Pairc Tailteann on Sunday afternoon.
Simonstown …… 1-12
O'Mahonys …….. 1-12
O'Mahonys salvaged a draw with Ruairi O Coileain's stoppage time free into the old swimming pool goal as dampness descended on the county ground.
The champions lost Cormac McGuinness to a straight red card in the 58th minute after referee Patrick Coyle consulted one of his umpires. The North Navan side were two points clear at that stage.
When play resumed O Coileain (free) posted the game's penultimate score. Both sides had a chance apiece to clinch the spoils in the time remaining.
Simonstown 'keeper Robbie Burlingham fielded Jake Regan's point attempt from out on the right. Padraig McKeever's late attempt from the right hand side drifted wide at the O'Mahonys' end.
It is the first draw in seven SFC meetings between the sides with the teams having posted three wins each in previous encounters.
From the off, O'Mahonys had the benefit of the wind blowing towards the town end, but Simonstown opened better. Padraig McKeever opened the scoring for the north Navan side.
That score was countered by one from Rory Maguire while the sides were level twice in the opening five minutes until Sean Tobin threaded the ball to the O'Mahonys net with assistance from Mark McCabe's delivery.
A quick Shane Barry free allowed Briain Conlon to fist over and leave it 1-3 to 0-2 with 13 minutes gone.
The pendulum swung south of the river with O'Mahonys posting 1-4 in an eight-minute spell with O Coileain's 16th minute point and Jake Regan's second quarter goal being the pick of those scores.
O Coileain's 17th minute free leveled matters, 0-6 to 1-3, Four minutes later the champions were back in front when Jake Regan fisted Daragh Smyth's delivery to the Simonstown net.
O'Mahonys remained in front until the break moving three points clear for a second time when O'Coilean (free) pointed in the 28th minute.
Simonstown wing-back Niall Kane pulled a point back for his side just before the break when O'Mahonys led by 1-8 to 1-6.
Colm O'Rourke's charges added four further scores within 13 minutes of resumption to move 1-10 to 1-8 ahead.
David Bray created the opening for Jake Regan to post O'Mahonys first score since resumption, in the 44th minute. An Eanna Donoghue effort gave the wind-assisted Gaels a 1-11 to 1-9 lead heading into the final quarter.
The blustery conditions and the occasional dampness made it difficult for both sides in the latter stages. Having lost the lead shortly after the resumption, O'Mahonys never led again. However, they deserve credit for digging out a draw from an unpromising situation.
O'Mahonys - Marcus Brennan James O'Reilly, Niall McKeigue, Darragh Maguire; Brian Dillon, Daragh Smyth (0-1), Gary O'Brien; Cormac McGuinness, Damien Moran; Rory Maguire (0-2), Stephen Bray, Ruairi O Coileain (0-6, 5fs); Jake Regan (1-3, 0-2fs), David Bray, Cathal Smyth. Subs - Conor Finnegan for O'Brien (42).
Simonstown - Robbie Burlingham; Colin Wickham, Michael O'Rourke, Stephen Moran; Brian McGrath, Briain Conlon (0-1), Niall Kane (0-1); Shane O'Rourke, Shane Barry; Mark Gardiner, Mickey Brennan (0-4 3fs), Mark McCabe (0-1); Padraig McKeever (0-2), Sean Tobin (1-2, 0-1f), Eanna Donoghue (0-1). Subs - Niall McMahon for Wickham (20), Cathal Sheridan for Gardiner (46), Ian O'Rourke for S O'Rourke (bc 59).
Referee - Patrick Coyle (Curraha).