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Fri 15-Oct-2004 0:25
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Press Box Lad
The Trials of Seán Boylan
As Seán Boylan begins an unprecedented series of trials to find new footballing talent in Meath, Press Box Lad offers the great Alchemist Himself more than a few names to ponder.
The week just ended saw the curtain coming down on the major club competitions for yet another year. A few years ago, I set about picking what was, in my humble opinion, the pick of what club football in the county had to offer at the time. After a lapse of a few years, I’m going to have another shot at it. However, at this point, it is important to state that only players who were NOT in the Meath panel of thirty for the championship that were considered.
Meath happen to be in the fortunate position at the moment that there is a wealth of goalkeeping talent in the county. As well as David Gallagher and Brendan Murphy, who, as stated above, weren’t considered, there are many other fine netminders ‘doing the rounds’ in Meath. Ricky Nolan of Duleek was a very steady last line of defence for the Meath U-21’s this term and carried that form into the local championships while Simonstown’s Ronan Kenny, Felim O’Rourke of Skryne and Dunsany number one Conor Brennan also made significant contributions to their respective team’s seasons.
Though for me, the most vital contribution of all was that made by
of Wolfe Tones. Some may say it might be slightly unfair that my selection based on the strength on the two wonderful saves he produced in the IFC final, and it may be a valid argument. Still, very few could argue that the Tones have been somewhat of a revelation in Meath over the past two years. They have remained unbeaten in championship games over the past two years, without Meehan this term, that wouldn’t be the case.
Right Full Back:
There are those who would have you believe that there is a shortage of talent in the county at the minute. I think the amount of possible contenders for positions on this selection puts paid to that theory and this particular position is no different.
Dunsany’s Paddy McGovern is well renowned throughout the county for his hurling ability, but this year he demonstrated his prowess as a footballer while another outstanding dual player was Paddy Hegarty from Trim. This term, the Meath Chronicle ran a feature on championship weeks called the ‘Team of the Week’ and a regular on these selections was Simonstown Gaels clubman and Cavan native
and he was also his side’s top performer on county final day, a very disappointing day for the club.
Darren Fay has been one of the best exponents of this position for nearly a decade now but if a situation should ever arise that the Trim colossus was out of action there would appear to be an ample supply of deputies around the county. Tony McGuane from Ratoath showed class that belied his years in curtailing Jimmy McGuinness in the JFC final while Ciaran McLoughlin of Wolfe Tones really has been their Captain Fantastic during their ongoing success marathon.
Fay’s Trim colleague Joe Tighe was, in the mind of this scribe, the leading contender in this spot until coming unstuck against Evan Kelly and Kelly’s fellow clubman Ronan McGrath has been one of the top performers in this position for over a decade now. Indeed, methinks Colm O’Rourke may regret not starting him on county final day. Though Kelly himself eventually fell foul of the man who gets the nod for this spot.
, like Paddy McGovern, would be more renowned within Meath as a hurler within Meath with Kilmessan, but, if there was an award for the most improved footballer in the county this year, this man would have to get it. He made some vital contributions to Skryne’s glorious campaign, none more so than seeing David Crimmins taken off the three times Skryne and Dunshaughlin clashed and also successfully shackled Kelly in the final.
Left Full Back:
Another of the Kilmessan dual brigade, Martin Horan, deserves special mention here, he was undoubtedly Dunsany’s best man on their ultimately disappointing big day and without him, the margin of their defeat could have been far worse. Barry Comer of Dunboyne also turned in some useful displays, but didn’t get to perform on the big stage his side were eliminated. Eoin Harrington was another vital cog in the Wolfe Tones success story while his former Meath minor colleague
has long been earmarked as a star of the future and did his future prospects no harm at all with an outstanding season for Dunshaughlin GFC.
Right Half Back:
Some may think I have a fascination with Wolfe Tones but, in fairness, their achievements of the recent past have been quite astounding and Barry McGinn has played as big a part in that as anybody. Trim’s Robbie Brennan also enjoyed some good form during the year while Gordon Hynes of Duleek went extremely close to getting the nod here, and is definitely a name to watch out for in the future. Though every successful side has to have their unsung heroes and
was all that and more for Skryne, claiming some notable scalps along the way and also popping up with some vital scores.
Centre Half Back:
There can be little doubt that the loss of Brendan O’Brien didn’t do the hopes of Dunsany any good while the return of Denis Kealy from injury had the opposite effect and probably sustained Dunshaughlin’s interests for another while. John Quinn enjoyed his best year yet since joining Skryne and was a leading contender for Man of the Match on final day but, taking writer’s licence, let me say that there was one man that caught my eye very early in the year and every time I saw him my opinion just grew and grew. His brother may have missed out on selection earlier on, but
was the obvious for this spot for me from a long way off and he is a player I guarantee you will here a lot more about in the future.
Left Half Back:
Yet another hotbed of competition. Ronan Brady of Simonstown would have been best known as a forward, but this year made the transition rather easily to a defender, as did Gary Watters of Dunboyne. Kevin Ward of Dunshaughlin went as close as could be to being the chosen one while Dunsany’s Donal Clynch was also considered. Though Trim’s unbeaten run to the semi final merits recognition and
played his part in that.
Without doubt, the hardest spot of all to arrive at a final decision. Nigel Nestor had an outstanding year for outgoing champions Blackhall Gaels and his loss in the quarter final proved ultimately fatal to their hopes. John Tiernan often overshadowed his partner, the equally excellent Stephen Corrigan, and their combined tussle with Duleek’s Karl McDonnell was ultimately the deciding factor in what was the game of the year, the IFC final. John Davis had an outstanding season in what was a rather disappointing one for Walterstown while Trim’s Frankie Murphy and Ronan Fitzsimons and Glen Loughran from Cortown also had their moments and may well feature in green jerseys at some point in the near future.
Nicky Horan, the county’s most recognised hurler, enjoyed an exceptional year in the big ball game with Dunsany but just found Ratoath’s Leonard Brown too hot to handle. The latter club’s achievement in ascending to Intermediate having been denied the previous year should not go un-noticed, and the big Garda made many a fine contribution, not least in the final. Though another Garda, Simonstown’s
was one of their top performers throughout the season and it was only the evergreen
that eventually got the better of him.
The legendary Big Mac had an exceptional year with the eventual champions and proved there may be quite a bit in the tank yet.
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