Extra in Cille's tank as Minors triumph
GAA: Meath Minor Football League Division 1 final - Colmcille's 4-15 Simonstown 1-14
There was drama and excitement in abundance as St Colmcille's claimed the MFL Division 1 title at Seneschalstown on Sunday evening.
The sides were level on seven different occasions before the east Meath side moved up the gears in extra time to win handsomely at the finish.
However, the scoreline does scant justice to Simonstown who were on the cusp of victory until Cille's talisman David Bell struck an equalising point in the third minute of added time in normal time to leave it 2-9 to 1-12 and send the game to an additional 20 minutes.
Apart from the closeness of the exchanges, the match was laced with a plentiful supply of fine football from both teams.
One player who stood head and shoulders above the rest was Cille's full forward Bell who contributed 2-9 of the winners' tally. Bell was the go-to player for Cille's throughout and he didn't disappoint as he took on the Simonstown rearguard almost single-handedly at times.
Cille's suffered a blow before the throw-in, with Endy Ehichoya unable to start because of injury. However, they made a brilliant opening, with Bell crashing the ball to the net within two minutes. The Meath minor star then added a quick point before Simonstown settled into the game.
With Josh Carolan producing an exhibition of high fielding, Simonstown gradually worked their way into contention and were level by the 10th minute. Aaron Chinchilla pointed them ahead for the first time and Sean O'Connell doubled that advantage early in the second quarter.
Cille's switched Sean O'Donoghue to midfield before the end of the half and, boosted by two pointed frees from Bell late on, Cille's led 1-6 to 0-8 at the break.
Simonstown's hopes were dealt a blow when Carolan was unable to restart because of injury, but they hit the front when Ben Gibney netted on 37 minutes to give them a 1-8 to 1-7 lead. Bell got Cille's back level and they then went in front following a goal from Adam Daly.
Three successive points had Simonstown back level and when Dave Barry pointed a free in the first minute of added time the title seemed destined for north Navan.
The game, though, was to take yet another twist as Bell struck over a last-gasp equaliser to send the game to extra time.
Points from Ciaran White and Bell in the opening three minutes of additional time gave Cille's a lead they weren't to relinquish.
When Bell hit the net from the penalty spot it left the scoreboard reading 3-11 to 1-13 and the Cille's enjoyed a three-point lead as the sides changed ends for the final time.
Simonstown's faltering hopes disappeared as they had Tadhg Hanrahan sent off and Aaron Chinchilla black-carded.
Luke Hanan, Bell and Sean O'Donoghue added to the Cille's tally before Caolan Nulty put the seal on victory with his side's fourth goal just before the finish.
St Colmcille's: Jacob Kula; Mark Harris, Liam Stafford, Matthew Weir; Godfrey Ehichoya, Sean O'Donoghue 0-2, Conor Power; Cian Flynn, Ben Wilde 0-1; Ciaran White 0-1, Caolan Nulty 1-0, Sean Collier; Luke Hanan 0-2, David Bell 2-9 (1-0 pen, 3f), Adam Daly 1-0. Subs: Sean Horan, Cillian Quigley, Endy Ehichoya, Tadhg Bennett, Conor Farrelly, Emmet Higgins, Fiachra Mac an Aba, Brian Butler.
Simonstown: Oskar Mooney; Liam Pervis, Darragh Clarke, Corey Cullen; Sean O'Connell 0-1, Alex O'Hare, Alec Devlin 0-1; Josh Carolan 0-1, Tadhg O'Hanrahan 0-1; Dave Barry 0-5 (4f), Aaron Chinchilla 0-2 (1f), Adam Smith; Luke Caffrey 0-2, Peter Duffy, Ben Gibney 1-1. Subs: Adam Niven, Adam Donoghue, Robert Smith, Jack Melia
Ref: David Gough (Slane)