ST PATRICK'S 1-10
PASSION and pride rose to the surface as Syddan staged a momentous second half rebellion to snatch a dramatic win in what was a pulsating IFC final at Pairc Tailteann.
Names synonymous with the club through the decades - Duff, Dillon and Clare - were to the forefront, along with the likes of Gilsenan, Skelly and McGillick as the glory days returned to the North Meath parish.
This clash provided one of the best ever intermediate deciders as Syddan came back from the dead to inflict yet another agonising defeat on the East Meath outfit.
At half-time no one would have given Syddan a snow balls chance in hell of coming out on top. They were seven points in arrears, 0-3 to 1-7, and struggling in most sectors of the field.
St Patrick’s had gone about their task during the opening half in a workmanlike fashion, calm, confident, assured, and determined to at last lay to rest the ghost that has haunted them throughout the decade.
They were sharper, more aggressive and better balanced as they built up a healthy interval cushion when aided by the stiff breeze. However the Stamullen men could never have imagined the shock that was in store for them in the second half. Lesser teams would have thrown in the towel, but Syddan refused to accept their fate. Instead they dominated proceedings from the restart and gradually clawed their way back into the match.
Two points apiece from Trevor Gilsenan and Brian Dillon had the deficit to manageable proportions by the 40th minute and Syddan switched to overdrive by the three quarter way stage as Paddy Skelly steered the ball to the net following a fine fetch from Philip Duff.
St Patrick’s opening point of the second half came in the 48th minute from Martin Kirk, a score which levelled proceedings after Trevor Gilsenan had edged Syddan ahead a minute earlier. Gilsenan, with his fourth point of the half regained the lead only for Cormac Sullivan to equalise once more.
However by the time David O’ Flaherty scored St Patrick’s third and final point in the 57th minutes the celebrations had already started among the Syddan supporters.
Paddy Skelly with a point, and Noel McGillic, a great goal from a long range effort which dipped under the crossbar and past David Mooney following a 30-metre solo run, left the winners in an unassailable position. Gilsenan added another point for good measure to complete the revival.
It was unbelievable stuff from a side that was so much out of sorts during the opening half. Only Stephen and Brian Dillon, Sean Malone and Robbie Clare had played up to form in that opening period. Syddan’s ploy of the long ball into the full forward line backfired miserably and the brilliant Cormac Murphy, Ciaran Russell and David Collier swallowed up whatever came their way.
O’ Flaherty (free), Noel Collier and Barry Campbell were all on target with points for St Patrick’s before Brian Dillon opened the Syddan account from a free. O’ Flaherty notched a further three points in the half and by the 18th minute the East Meath outfit led 0-6 to 0-2. Sean Malone had earlier pointed for Syddan and Philip Duff registered their only other score of the half in the 23rd minute.
The St Patrick’s lead was stretched by a Barry Campbell point and it was Campbell again a minute before the break who found the Syddan net from a sideline ball, which hopped in the goalmouth before crossing the line.
Stephen Dillon at centre back was again the driving force for the winners in the second half with Robert Clare also brilliant alongside. However the contribution of the likes of Francis McKenna, Trevor Gilsenan, Paddy Skelly, Joey Dillon and Noel McGillick, all of whom were relatively quiet in the opening half, had a big bearing on the outcome.
Dillon and McGillick turned the tide at midfield while Gilsenan scorer of a magnificent five points, Skelly and captain Shay Duff also contributed handsomely.
After the match Meath Co. Board Chairman Fintan Ginnity presented the Mattie McDonnell Cup to winning captain Shay Duff.
SYDDAN - James Sheehy; Frank McKenna, Thomas Dillon, Damien McGillick; Ian Curran, Stephen Dillon, Robbie Clare; Joey Dillon, Noel McGillick 1-0; Sean Malone 0-1, Philip Duff 0-1, Brian Dillon 0-3; Paddy Skelly 1-1, Shay Duff, Trevor Gilsenan 0-5. Sub - Patrick Meade for Malone.
ST PATRICK'S - David Mooney; David Collier, Cormac Murphy, Ciaran Russell; Noel Collier 0-1, Ronan Kearns, James Hughes; Cormac Sullivan 0-1, Ciaran Duffy; Ray Russell, Martin Kirk 0-1, Martin Byrne; Ivan Curran, Barry Campbell 1-2, David O'Flaherty 0-5. Subs - Neil Lennon for D Collier, Daithi Whyte for Duffy, Sean Harris for Curran.
Referee - Seamus McCormack (Walterstown)