Adventure ends as Dunlavin meet their match
Leinster Club Intermediate Football Championship: Mattock Rangers 2-17 Dunlavin 0-9
Dunlavin's wonderful journey in the Leinster club Intermediate football championship came to an abrupt end last weekend following their comprehensive defeat by Louth's Mattock Rangers on a wet Saturday afternoon in Stabannan.
The outcome was never in doubt, but particularly when Shane Hickey slotted low to the net after 23 minutes to give the Collon men a seven-point cushion at the interval.
Evergreen marksman David Reid had given the Louth IFC champs a dream start, netting the first goal in the third minute.
Mattock's turnover count against them was in single figures in each half, which epitomises their efficient use of possession and low error margin, whereas on the other hand, they tackled in numbers and turned over Dunlavin 22 times over the 60 minutes.
It was the Wicklow champions who opened the scoring through a Cian O'Sullivan free from distance which was greeted by a vociferous cheer from their supporters who travelled in their droves in the hope of witnessing an upset.
However, those hopes were quickly dashed as Brendan Leacy, Aaron O'Brien and Niall McKeown as well as the Reid brothers came to the fore for Niall Callan's side.
Also eye-catching was the movement of key forwards between the half forward line and the inside line. Sometimes, Aaron O'Brien could be found loitering in the scoring zone, and other times he was playing in the centre half forward position.
Shane Hickey and David Reid also deserve mention in this department, as they played in the half forward line and full forward line at different stages.
Brendan Leacy, following a marauding run from deep set up Ryan Leneghan for an equalising score before David Reid seized on a loose ball to fire home emphatically for Collon's opening goal.
O'Brien and Leacy continued to dazzle, and 0-2 from O'Brien and Reid (0-1) put Collon in control, 1-4 to 0-2 after 15 minutes.
Strong pressing on the Dunlavin kick out laid the foundations for a dominant performance, as Mattock won five of the nine Dunlavin first-half restarts.
Dunlavin were honest and gallant throughout and Shane Carty's point from play left four between the sides despite the Louth champions' dominance.
However, there was time for Aaron O'Brien to produce one more moment of quality before half time, when his inch-perfect kick pass over the top, fell into the lap of Shane Hickey whose wonderful composure ensured Rangers retired at half time with a cosy cushion.
Collon's supremacy was further illustrated in the fact that both Dunlavin corner backs were withdrawn by manager Jonathan Daniels at the break. One of their replacements, Mossy Lawlor was energetic and lively, helping himself to 0-2, deputising at corner forward following several positional alterations.
Lawlor's industry along with Gary Allen and Shane O'Rourke (2), helped the Wicklow side to outscore Rangers by 0-4 to 0-2 to leave it at 2-6 to 0-7 after 40 minutes.
That sparked Niall Callan's men into life again as they registered six consecutive points between the 40th and 50th minutes to all but seal their place in the Leinster final, including four points from the superb David Reid.
Leacy was brilliantly picked out with a Mike Englishby kick out and his incisive kick pass set up Brian Corcoran to get in on the scoring act, trading a point with O'Rourke.
That was a point which Collon's Corcoran merited for his industry and selfless graft. There was even time for substitutes Cathal Fleming (0-2) and JP Watters (0-1) to add further icing on an already appetising Collon cake.
The menacing Shane Hickey almost landed a third goal for Mattock who was denied by a combination of Dunlavin keeper Tom McGuirk and the woodwork, but nothing could spoil a superb day for Mattock Rangers who can now look forward to a Leinster final appearance.
Dunlavin will take great solace from their Wicklow club championship victory and their victories over the Westmeath and Meath winners as they enjoy a short break before preparing for life at the top table.
Mattock Rangers: Mike Englishby; Alan Caraher, Shane Maguire, Daire Englishby; Brendan Leacy, Niall McKeown, Ronan Kilbane; Adrian Reid, Dan Bannon; Terry Donegan, Ryan Leneghan 0-1, Shane Hickey 1-3; Brian Corcoran 0-1, Aaron O'Brien 0-3, David Reid 1-5 (2f). Subs: Hugh Donnelly 0-1 for Bannon (40), Cathal Fleming 0-2 (1f) for Donegan (48), Sean Gilsenan for Kilbane (51), James Caraher for Leneghan (51), Cillian Hickey for Maguire (55), JP Watters 0-1 for D Reid (57).
Dunlavin: Tom McGuirk; Paraic Carmody, Sean Phelan, Daryl Huntley; William Kennedy, Mark Reid, Harry Coleborne; Gary Allen 0-1, Paul Murtagh; Daniel Dawson, Cian O'Sullivan 0-1 (1f) MJ Moran; Shane O'Rourke 0-4 (3f), Shane Carty 0-1, Eoin Murtagh. Subs: Darragh Dillon for Colebrone (30), Mossy Lawlor 0-2 for Huntley (HT), Aaron Phelan for Carmody (HT), Marty Caplis for Moran (41), Henry Healy for Carty (49).
Referee: Alan Coyne (Westmeath)