A point from a Mark McCormack free deep in to stoppage time gave Martin O’Connell’s Walterstown an opening round win in the Corn na Boinne in Walterstown on Saturday evening.
Corn na Boinne Round 1
Having led by nine points at the interval, the Blacks were dealt a blow when ace forward Ruairi O’Dowd was forced off through injury at the break. He had bagged himself two early goals and his services were sorely missed after the turnaround.
Duleek/Bellowstown outscored their opponents 1-8 to 0-4 in the second half and had momentum on their side. When substitute Shane Crosby kicked over a handy free on the hour mark, the draw looked like the most likely result. However, at the other end, David Reynolds was impeded and Mark McCormack delivered the goods from the resultant free to give his side the victory late in the day.
The home side were utterly dominant during the opening 30 minutes and had two goals on the board wit 18 minutes played. First up former Meath minor star Adam Treanor hit the net after he collected possession from Paul Donnellan before finishing low passed ‘keeper Finn Hartford.
O’Dowd added a second goal soon after when he got the better of defender Stephen McArdle before firing home. Before that Paul Donnellan and O’Dowd split the posts and Walterstown led 2-2 to 0-3.
Duleek/Bellewstown managed to respond with two points but before the break the Blacks tagged on 1-2 to head to the dressing room with a nine point cushion. O’Dowd once again hit the net after he got on the end of a long ball in, while both Davy Donnellan and stalwart Alban Crosbie fired over to leave O’Connell’s charges leading 3-4 to 0-5 at the interlude.
A tale of two halves, Duleek/Bellewstown took charge after the turnaround and when Steven Nolan blasted passed Walterstown ‘keeper John Davis in the 46th minute, a nine point deficit was down to just two (3-6 to 1-10).
Walterstown responded through a converted free from McCormack but Duleek weren’t finished just yet. They kept on battling and got their just reward as the game drew to a close when Shane Crosby sent over a free but McCormack rescued the Blacks late in the day to ensure a winning start to Martin O’Connell’s tenure as Walterstown boss.
The aforementioned loss of O’Dowd definitely upset the Blacks’ rhythm and considering they lined out without their two Meath U20 men Barry O’Connell and Conor Farrelly and the injured Brian O’Connell, they did very well to grind out this victory.
Scorers: Walterstown – Ruairi O’Dowd 2-1, Adam Treanor 1-0, Alban Crosbie 0-2 (1f), Mark McCormack 0-2 (2f), Paul Donnellan 0-1, Davy Donnellan 0-1, Joey Coogan 0-1.
Duleek/Bellewstown – John Flood 0-4 (3f), Steven Nolan 1-1, John McDonnell 0-3, Shane Crosby 0-2 (2f), Stephen McArdle 0-1, Jamie Crosby 0-1, James Flaherty 0-1 (1f).
Walterstown: John Davis; Eoin O’Mahony, David Maguire, Colm Reilly; Aron McLoughlin, Cathal Hennelly, Conor Lenehan; Conor O’Sullivan, Mark McCormack; Davy Donnellan, Alban Crosbie, Adam Treanor; John Geoghegan, Paul Donnellan, Ruairi O’Dowd. Subs: Joey Coogan for R O’Dowd HT, Alan Wall for D Donnellan 55 mins, David Reynolds for A Treanor 55 mins.
Duleek/Bellewstown: Finn Hartford; Jason Branigan, Kevin McCann, Stephen McArdle; Padraig Howard, David Moore, Gary Reddy; Brian Moore, James Flaherty; Shane Townley, John Flood, Cianan Byrne; John McDonnell, Steven Nolan, Ciaran Flynn. Subs: Shane Crosby for C Flynn HT, Jamie Crosby for S Townley HT, Colm Regan for D Moore 36 mins, Des Teeling for G Reddy 43 mins.
Referee: Keith Sheerin (Drumconrath).