This match was a titanic battle in the 3rd Round of the Senior Football Championship and despite the scoreboard showing a five point deficit this game could really have gone either way.
The game was played in Stamullen with less than 24hrs notice for all involved following a rain postponement of the game from the previous day. Cilles and Tones were level a number of times throughout the match and it was some key decisions and scores that ultimately decided this game. With just eight minutes left, with the game delicately poised at 1-12 each, Meath player Thomas O’Reilly was fouled by Cilles stalwart Robbie McCloskey, which resulted in a free but also a red card which to many, including this writer seemed very harsh.
The Wolfe Tones kicked on from this and tagged on a number of scores including two superb long range points from Ciaran Ward and a 2nd crucial goal bundled in from Fiachra Ward following a foul, whilst standing inside the small square. The Cilles did convert a late second goal from a free kick, following quick thinking from James Conlon, however this goal was crucially disallowed as the referee felt the free was taken too quickly.
The ‘Tones’ got the opening score of the game straight from the throw in and in the next period the Cilles raced into a 0-5 to 0-1 lead, four of which were converted frees from the boot of Conor O’Byrne. Fiachra Ward got the games next score, an opening goad after palming the ball to the back of the net and the ‘Tones’ had a purple patch hitting further points. The Cilles rallied before the interval to leave the half time score 0-9 to 1-6. At the restart the Cilles will rue some poor tackling which led to the concession of a number of frees which Caolan Ward duly converted. The Cilles never give in and through hard work and great determination they battled back and were rewarded with a deflected goal from cornerback Tomas O’Hoistin and two long range frees from Andrew Beakey. The Tones used all their experience to close out the game, however this was always a game that was right in the melting pot right up to the final whistle. Whilst this was a game they felt they left behind there were plenty of positives for the Cilles.
Next up for the Cilles is a game against reigning champions Dunboyne.
Cilles: Andrew Beakey 0-2 (2f), Tomas O’Hoistin (1-0), Carl Mullan, Ciaran Ward, Stephen Breen (0-1), Cathal Hilliard, Jeff Kavanagh, Conor O’Byrne (0-4, 4f), Robbie McCloskey, Shane Crilly, Ciaran Kelly (0-1), Danny McMahon, Ben Brennan, Graham Reilly (0-3), James Conlon (0-2, 1f).
Subs: Ruairi O’Grady for S Crilly, Shane Crilly for C Ward, Ferdia Quigley for C Kelly
Wolfe Tones: Trevor Browne, Robert White, Shane Glynn, Conor Sheppard, Brughach O Finnagain, Niall O’Reilly, Caolan Ward (0-4, 4f), Alan Callaghan, Cian O’Neill, Gary McFadden, Saran O Finnagain (0-1), Thomas O’Reilly (0-1), Fiachra Ward (2-1), Stephen Sheppard (0-3), Cian Ward (0-5, 2f)
PHOTOGRAPHY: Brian Mulligan