In a low-scoring clash of attrition, Dunboyne dug out a narrow win over Donaghmore-Ashbourne in the first SFC semi-final at Pairc Tailteann
Dunboyne ............................ 0-9
The squally, sometimes wet, conditions probably dampened the scoreline. Dunboyne strength prevailed and they led from the 22nd minute to the end.
However, there was only one occasion when there was more than a score between the sides until a late brace of points secured the final spot for Dunboyne.
What the game lacked in scores it also lacked in excitement. However, Dunboyne achieved their goal in a fixture that bore hallmarks of chess.
Only two of the game's 11 scorers managed more than a single flag. Cathal Finn's trio of points from play were a significant contribution to Dunboyne's tally.
Shane Melia's 58th minute point for Donaghmore-Ashbourne left them just two points off the pace. The elements couldn't prevent Dunboyne picking off late points from Cathal Finn and Conor Bradley.
Ahead by 0-4 to 0-2 at the break, Dunboyne doubled their lead within seven minutes of resumption through Donal Lenihan (free) and Stuart Lowndes.
Four points down in a low-scoring game, it could have been worse for Donaghmore-Ashbourne but for Andy Colgan's goal-stopping save from Niall Jones in the 39th minute.
Mick Deegan's side were let down by some bad wides, including Bryan Menton's 41st minute effort when a goal seemed on.
Points from Thomas and Darragh McGovern trimmed the deficit to just two, 0-6 to 0-4, with 43 minutes gone. Before the second water break, Finn pointed to leave his side 0-7 to 0-4 to ahead..
The aforementioned Shane Melia point kept Donaghmore-Ashbourne in touch, 0-5 to 0-7. That was as good as it got for the team in green.
In less than ideal conditions the opening quarter yielded just four scores and as many wides. Both sides enjoyed spell in pole postion. First, Donal Lenihan pointed a 45 in the third minute.
Points from Michael Deegan (free) and Dylan Brady edged Donaghmore-Ashbourne in front despite playing into the wind. The opening 10 minutes produced just three scores.
Donaghmore-Ashbourne failed to register for the remainder of a poor opening half. It was 0-2-each at the first water break while the sides shared four wides in the opening quarter.
Despite the backing of the elements Dunboyne managed just two more scores before half-time. Cathal Finn's efort was the pick of the pair while Gavin McCoy - pushing forward - got the other.
Dunboyne led by 0-4 to 0-2 at half-time. Despite playing with the wind Donaghmore-Ashbourne managed just three more points.
Scorers: Dunboyne - Cathal Finn 0-3; Donal Lenihan 0-2 (1 45, 1f); Gavin McCoy, Stuart Lowndes, Conor Bradley, David McEntee 0-1 each.
Donaghmore-Ashbourne - Michael Deegan (f), Dylan Brady, Darragh McGovern, Shane Melia, Thomas McGovern 0-1 each.
Dunboyne - Cian Flynn; Seamus Lavin, Gavin McCoy, Jordan McLoughlin; Sean Ryan, Craig Lowndes, Shane McEntee; Niall Jones, Liam Byrne; Stuart Lowndes, Cathal Finn, Conor Doran; David McEntee, Conor Bradley, Donal Lenihan. Subs - Jack Scannell for Ryan (ht), Cathal Lacey for McEntee (50), Ronan Jones for Niall Jones (50), Michael Murphy for Craig Lowndes (56)
Donaghmore-Ashbourne - Andy Colgan; Jason Boland, Iarlaith O'Donnell, Conor Carton; Evan Quinn, Thomas McGovern, Sean Curran (C); Shane Melia, Bryan Menton; Darragh McGovern, Dylan Brady, Shaun Byrne; Michael Deegan, Andrew Tormey, Jamie Browne. Subs - Stephen Carton for Browne (50), Leo Reilly for Darragh McGovern (60 + 2), James Redmond for C Carton (60 + 4).
Referee - David Coldrick (Blackhall Gaels)