A the midway point of the second half only the minimum separated Walterstown and St Michael’s, however a strong finish from the Blacks ensured they recorded a seven point victory; their second of their 2023 Corn na Boinne campaign.
Corn na Boinne Group B Round 3
St Michael’s: 1-7
An outrageous goal from Ruairi O’Dowd as the game drew to a conclusion put a gloss on the final scoreline but nonetheless Walterstown were the better team throughout and were full value for the two points.
Playing without the services of the injured Alan Wall, ‘keeper John Davis, Paul Donnellan and Ryan Conway, Neil Reynolds’ charges started with Mark McCormack playing between the posts, while Conor O’Sullivan lined out in the middle of the park alongside Barry O’Connell.
In attack young Neil McGinley started in the half forward line but was, unfortunately, forced off through injury in the first half.
The Blacks enjoyed the better of the exchanges during the first 30 minutes but were only two points to the good at the interlude after they conceded a goal in the last minute of the half.
It was the home side that drew first blood in the first minute when centre back Matthew Halpin split the posts. However, Walterstown had the perfect response. It came in the third minute when former Meath minor star Neil McGinley picked out O’Dowd with a super pass and the latter offloaded to Brian O’Connell, who rounded the ‘keeper before slotting the ball to the net to leave the score at 1-0 to 0-1.
On the scoreboard front, Walterstown were on top thereafter. By the midway point of the first half they led 1-3 to 0-2 thanks to further points from Brian O’Connell (free), Jack Doyle and Adam Quinn.
Further points from Brian O’Connell (two) and Adam Treanor extended the Blacks’ lead to six by the 27th minute but before the break that lead was halved by the home side. Walterstown were guilty of coughing up possession when in attack and Michael’s took full advantage on the counter when Jakub Bidzinski fired passed Mark McCormack and left the score at 1-6 to 1-4 at the break.
After the turnaround Walterstown went four clear thanks to a superb point from out on the left wing from O’Dowd and they should have hit the net for a second time soon after.
By the 45th minute Michael’s had the deficit down to just a solitary point thanks to points from Bidzinski (free), Halpin and Cian McFadden.
Michael’s actually failed to score during the last quarter but the Blacks certainly didn’t have the same issues. Eoin Roche scored a peach of a point from out left after getting on the end of a pass from Barry O’Connell. The older of the O’Connell brothers followed that by splitting the posts before Roche nabbed his second point of the evening from close range.
The game ended with a bang, or should we say an absolutely audacious goal from Ronaldo O’Dowd; apologies, Ruairi O’Dowd, one that wouldn’t be out of place in any soccer stadium anywhere!
When Aron McLoughlin found himself under pressure he provided a pass along the ground for O’Dowd, who pulled off a pin perfect ‘Ronaldo Chop’, got away from his marker Daniel Murphy before cutting inside from the end line and slotted the ball into the corner of the net at his near post. What a finish to ensure win number two of the campaign for the Blacks!
SCORERS: Walterstown – Brian O’Connell 1-4 (2f), Ruairi O’Dowd 1-1, Eoin Roche 0-2, Jack Doyle 0-1, Adam Quinn 0-1, Adam Treanor 0-1, Barry O’Connell 0-1.
St Michael’s – Jakub Bidzinski 1-1 (1f), Cian McFadden 0-3 (2f), Matthew Halpin 0-2, Patrick Fitzsimons 0-1.
WALTERSTOWN: Mark McCormack; Breandan McGuinness, Jack Wilson, Ciaran Cox; Jack Doyle, Mark Foy, Conor Farrelly; Barry O’Connell, Conor O’Sullivan; Adam Quinn, Aron McLoughlin, Neil McGinley; Adam Treanor, Ruairi O’Dowd, Brian O’Connell. SUBS: Eoin Roche replaced N McGinley (inj) 21 mins, David Donnellan replaced C O’Sullivan 46 mins.
ST MICHAEL’S: Darren O’Connell; Jack Griffin, Ben Reilly, Harry Dunne; Daniel Murphy, Matthew Halpin, Scott Doyle; John Barry, Cian Sheridan; Declan Reilly, David Lynch, Cian McFadden; Patrick Fitzsimons, Shane McCormack, Jakub Bidzinski.
REFEREE: Peter O’Halloran.