North Meath Gaels……………..1-16 Ballinlough………….……………..2-9
This was an outstanding game of football, as the combined force of Meath Hill/Kilmainhamwood/Drumconrath edged out Ballinlough in the Division 6 final.
Ballinlough started well and pointed early on, at the other end Shane McCabe pointed from play to level the game but playing into the strong breeze Ballinlough really played well and a Brian Brady goal pushed them into a five point lead, 1-3 to o-1, as the enthusiastic crowd sang their praises.
North Meath eventually got to grips at midfield as Tómas Conlon and Ryan Owens began to win primary ball. Two McCabe frees one from almost 50 meters settled the team playing in yellow. Tómas Conlon won a kickout and pointed and McCabe was proving very accurate with two more frees. Conlon again and McCabe from play pushed North Meath ahead but Ricky McDermot stemmed the tide as he pointed a free for Ballinlough. Colm McEvoy after a sweeping move gave North Meath the lead and McCabe again made it 0-10 to 1-5 at the break mainly due to the displays of McCabe, Ryan Owens, Conlon and Edward Cassidy doing really well.
North Meath came out with determination and points from Ian Malone, Luke Doran and Jonathon Byrne pushed them five ahead, but a spectacular goal by Ricky McDermot was followed by a pointed free to close the gap to a single point; 0-13 to 2-6. Stephan Shields was excelling as this stage as he had a great tussle with Ballinlogh's danger man Ricky McDermott.
Again North Meath delivered when they needed to with Conor O'Halloran winning kickouts and that platform led to two more attacks which ended in fouls and again McCabe proved deadly accurate. Colm McEvoy was also getting through a lot of good work and when he put McCabe through, keeper Lorcan Gibney was eventually beaten.
Ballinlough did not lie down and managed the next three points to cut the deficit but Malone who had a good 2nd half pointed an insurance point after Padraig Carolan tested the woodwork. A late attack was launched into the North Meath goal mouth but again O' Halloran fielded well and with that the final whistle sounded.
The atmosphere generated by the top class football and the singing and chanting from the stands made this one of the most enjoyable occasions in Pairc Tailteann in recent times and Ballinlough can be proud of their efforts while North Meath won the day; underage football in Meath was the real winner.
North Meath had a fine team display as all players had some great moments but Shane McCabe proved their ace with 1-9 to his credit.
Ballinlough had star performers in goalkeeper Lorcan Gibney, who produced a string a fine saves to keep North Meath at bay, Matthew Farrell and Jonnie Reilly in defence and Rickey McDermott.
North Meath Gaels - Dominic Yorke; Edward Cassidy, Stephan Shields; Martin Shields, Padraig Carolan, Conor OHalloran; Ryan Owens, Tómas Conlon (0-2); Jonathon Byrne (0-1), Luke Doran (0-1), Colm McEvoy (0-1), Ian Malone (0-2), Shane McCabe (1-9). Subs Martin Meegan for Carolan, Brendan Crosbie for M Shields, Conor Kieran, Shane Carolan, Conor Marry, Noel Russell
Ballinlough: Lorcan Gibney, Matthew Farrell, Kevin Beirne, Killian MCCaffrey, Jonnie Reilly, Brian Mallen, Oliver Brady (0-1), Brian Brady (1-1), Joe Farrelly, Ferdia McCormack, Dylan Montgomery Francis, Matthew McInerney(0-1), Ricky McDermott (1-6).