Simonstown Gaels staged a miraculous comeback to overcome Dunboyne in a thrilling SFC quarter-final at Pairc Tailteann on Sunday afternoon.
Simonstown ...... 4-12
Dunboyne .......... 2-16
After Pauric McKeever and Donal Lenihan exchange points within two minutes of resumption the board read 2-11 to 0-6 in favour of Dunboyne.
Colm O'Rourke's men outscored the challengers by 4-6 to 0-5 in the time remaining. It was patiently done and achieved with significant contributions from two subs, Conor Nash and the experienced Seamus Kenny.
Team captain Pauric McKeever led the way with 2-5 and was spotted on his own 65 in stoppage time breaking up a last gasp Dunboyne attack.
Dunboyne contributed much to this thriller with their full-forward line chipping in with 2-13, that included 2-3 from Donal Lenihan.
Simonstown made the first significant inroad into Dunboyne's lead in the 36th minute when Mark McCabe netted with assistance from Nathan O'Brien.
McCabe made another significant contribution in the 43rd minute when goaling from a penalty at the hospital end awarded for a foul on Eanna Donoghue. The kick hit a post before entering the goal off the back of unfortunate Dunboyne 'keeper Padraig Curran.
The deficit had been trimmed to three points before the mid-point of the half. Early in the final quarter Kenny pointed with help from Sean Tobin.
Then in the 49th minute, Simonstown hit the front for only the second time when McKeever goaled with backing from Tobin and Nash.
Dunboyne rallied but Simonstown got in for their fourth goal, in the 54th minute, when McKeever netted his second and Kenny proved his worth with the final pass.
McCarthy tied the scores from a close range free in the 56th minute. Simonstown moved two clear thans to McKeever (free) and McCabe - who reacted quickest when Michael Brennan's long range free broke close to goal.
Dunboyne pulled one back, but Simonstown saw out the time remaining (including four minutes added time) with wing-back Brian McGrath posting the final score.
It took 58 seconds for Nathan O'Brien to point Simonstown in front. About a minute later Dunboyne took the lead when David Gallagher's long delivery found Donal Lenihan who netted from close range.
To their credit Simonstown responded well to that hammer blow and were back on terms, 0-4 to 1-1, by the 11th minute. Dunboyne could have had another goal seconds earlier but Cian O'Dwyer was deemed to have hopped the ball twice when approaching the scoring zone.
The leveller came courtesy of McKeever, who went on to post three of Simonstown's first-half scores. Then Dunboyne clicked into gear outscoring the north Navan men by 1-9 to 0-1 from the 12th minute to the break.
Dunboyne's second goal arose from a Stephen Moran mistake and Lenihan netted. McKeever got Simonstown's only score in this phase of proceedings.
Dunboyne closed out the opening 30 minutes with seven unanswered scores with Seamus Lavin registering twice while Lenihan brought his tally to 2-2. Robbie McCarthy pitched in three points (one free).
Simonstown sprung Conor Nash in the 26th minute. Still, with Dunboyne leading by 2-11 to 0-5 (11 points) at the break only one outcome seemed certain.
Simonstown's response was a credit to all involved, something to be savoured. However, the focus turns to the semi-final and a joust with near neighbours Wolfe Tones.
Simonstown - Robbie Burlingham; Shane Gallagher, Stephen Moran, Niall McMahon; Brian McGrath (0-1), Brian Conlon, Mark Gardiner; Shane O'Rourke (0-1), James Kilcullen; Joe Lyons, Sean Tobin (0-2 fs), Mark McCabe (2-1, 1-0 pen); Nathan O'Brien (0-1), Pauric McKeever (C) (2-5, 0-1f), Eanna Donoghue. Subs - Conor Nash for Lyons (26), Seamus Kenny (0-1) for Gardiner (ht), Conor Sheridan for Kilcullen (44), Michael Brennan for Tobin (55), Stephen O'Reilly for Donoghue (bc 56)
Dunboyne - Padraig Curran; Jordan McLoughlin, Seamus Lavin (0-2), Jack Scannell; Shane McEntee, Gavin McCoy, Conor Doran; David Gallagher, Cathal Finn; Cian O'Dwyer, Ronan Jones, Stuart Lowndes (0-1); Robbie McCarthy (0-6, 1fs), Donal Lenihan (2-3), David McEntee (0-4). Subs - Niall Jones for Doran (38), Johnny Meehan for Jones (bc 41), Jason Daly for D McEntee (56), Stephen Moran for O'Dwyer (59)
Referee - Cormac Reilly (St Mary's)