MFC final: Conlon clinches it for the 'Cilles

October 30, 2016

Na Fianna's Oran Smullen with James Conlon St Colmcilles during the Meath MFC Final at Pairc Tailteann.

Team captain James Conlon led by example as St Colmcille's clinched the LMFM MFC Division 1 final with a thrilling win over Na Fianna in the Pairc Tailteann curtain-raiser on Sunday.

St Colmcille's .......... 1-14

Na Fianna ............... 0-13

The full-forward finished with 0-10 as the east county side proved stronger. St Colmcille's hopes of lifting the Delany Cup looked to have gone west when they trailed by 0-9 to 0-13 after 54 minutes.

The Seasiders outscored Na Fianna by 1-5 to 0-0 in the time remaining. Points from Daniel McElearney and Daniel Campbell halved the deficit.

The turning score arrived in the 58th minute with Conlon and Darragh Brodigan set up sub Jake Hannon for the only goal..

Ahead by the minimum, 1-11 to 0-13, St Colmcille's closed in on their first MFC title since 1983 with a trio of Conlon points (one free).

For the manner in which they responded to falling behind in the final quarter, St Colmcille's are deservng winners. Their rally made this success sweeter.

Backed by a slight breeze blowing towards the town end, St Colmcille's cancelled out Shane Walsh's opening point (free) with a James Conlon effort from play.

It was the first of three times in the opening half that the scores were tied. Two Conlon scores (one free) left it 0-3 to 0-1 by the midpoint of the half.

Both goalkeepers were pressed into service in the opening half. Andrew Beakey made two saves in quick succession from Shane Walsh early in the second quarter.

Matters upped in intensity in the second quarter even if it yielded just three scores. Shane Walsh's third score of the half left Na Fianna leading 0-4 to 0-3 after 18 minutes.

St Colmcille's felt a bit aggrieved that a few that line ball calls when against them, but it didn't distract them from the task in hand

Conor O'Byrne tied the scores in the 24th minute. Connor Heffernan denied St Colmcille's Darragh Brodigan a goal at the expense of a 45

Conlon posted what proved to be the final score of the half with assistance from Shane Towey.

St Colmcille's led by 0-5 to 0-4 at half-time. They kicked-on from the restart with a trio of scores with Darragh Brodigan getting on the scoresheet to leave it 0-8 to 0-4 after 37 minutes.

Na Fianna turned the tables with seven scores on the spin with the impressive Shane Walsh leading the charge. The title looked bound for south Meath before the dramatic finale deemed otherwise.

St Colmcille's - Andrew Beakey; Lee Browne, Jeff Kavanagh, Stephen Emmet; Nathan Noone Garland, Eoin Sweeney, Eanna Walsh; Conor O'Byrne (0-1), Shane Towey; Con Gordan, James McElearney (0-1) , Daniel Campbell (0-1); Jack Phelan, James Conlon (C) (0-10, 3fs), Darragh Brodigan (0-1). Subs - Jake Hannon (1-0) for Phelan (49), Jack Bohan for Campbell (56), Aaron Brady for Gordan (60).

Na Fianna - Connor Heffernan; Sean Coffey, Daniel Devine, Sean Rafferty; Owen McDonnell, Oran Smullen, Luke Kelly (0-1); Ethan Devine (C), Sean Martin (0-1); Will Flynn (0-2), Micheal Keogh, Vincent Ward; Jack McNally, Shane Walsh (0-7, 5fs), Kean Flynn (0-1). Subs - Cian Slattery (0-1) for Keogh (ht), Oisin McCloskey for Rafferty (39), Kevin Coffey for Ward (42)

Referee - Padraig Coyle (Seneschalstown)

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