ACFL Division 2 Round 8
Duleek – Bellewstown 0:11
Dunderry were back in action for the second time in a 6 days on Saturday evening away to Duleek-Bellewstown in Round 8 of the AFL. On a perfect, if a little cold evening for Gaelic games Dunderry were shorn of 8 first team regulars due to injury and county commitments. Why there is such a rush to get through 13 rounds of league games is a mystery. It seems that May, not April is the “month of the club games”, in Meath at least.
Kevin Dowd & co were faced with some real selection headaches. While the defence had a very familiar look to it with a now seemingly settled full back line on show and a mix of youth and experience in the half backs and midfield, it was up front where most spectators were wondering what was in store. Regular goalkeeper Garreth Dooley made his adult debut outfield at centre forward at 37, while erstwhile wingback Tomás Conroy lined out at corner forward.
Duleek Bellewstown started the game positively taking the game to Dunderry who seemed to struggle early on. The defence were under pressure from the home team, but responded manfully. Conor O’Shea who took a very heavy blow early on while charging out from defence was ably assisted by his two young cornermen, Aaron Feeney & Ronan Brady who are improving greatly with each game. The experts on the sideline held their breath as Duleek Belewstown raced into a 5-1 lead with Dunderry having the wind advantage in the first half.
Further blows were dealt as young midfielder Dermot Kelly dislocated his finger quite badly after 25 minutes to be replaced by another veteran John Kelleher. Declan Mahon had just been transformed from Maor Uisce / Physio to full forward after replacing Kevin Bruton just before the injury. Dunderry had worked themselves back into the game with a series of scores from Watters, Kelly, Martin and Coogan.
Things at half time looked ominous. Dunderry were 6-5 down facing into a very stiff breeze.
The second half was a strange game of back and forth. Low on scoring chances, but it was nonetheless an entertaining half of football. Duleek registered an excellent point early with a strong breeze at their back in the half. Dunderry adopted a very patient approach. Kelleher at midfield was a notable addition to the team, and his time away from the game has not changed his level of performance in any way. Marc Kane’s ability to break forward from halfback was seen time and again in a fine showing. Up front Declan Mahon was having it all his own way at full forward, while Coogan roamed to pick up ball in scorable positions and Jordan Martin continued his impressive run of recent form.
Dunderry’s 7th point came after a period of possession that must have had 40 phases ending up with Coogan clipping over. Both teams swapped the lead as Coogan knocked over 7 points in total leading the way. Duleek replied with an excellent score, and with time almost up, a brave effort looked to have come up short. However, with an excellent attitude on show from start to finish, another long period of possession ended up with David McCormack kicking over a fine score from a very acute angle to tie the game at 8 each. Nothing left bar the final whistle from Cormac Reilly.
Great credit must go to the entire panel who performed fantastically well against the odds. A point salvaged in a game that will live long in the memory. Thankfully, Dermot Kelly’s hand injury was not as bad as first thought. Onwards to the next round which will be upon us in no time.
Dunderry: D.Jennings, A.Feeney, C.O’Shea, R.Brady, M.Kane, D.McCormack (0-1), A.Watters (0-1), D.Kelly (0-1), C.Farrell, C.Daly, G.Dooley, J.Martin (0-1), S.Coogan (0-7,5f’s), K.Bruton, T.Conroy.
Subs: D.Mahon for K.Bruton, J.Kelliher for D.Kelly.