Championship 2023 got off to a winning start for Walterstown on Saturday evening when they accounted for Longwood in this Group C opening round clash in Trim. In all, the Black were full value for the victory but the concession of three first half goals ensured Longwood remained in contention to the death.
Meath GAA Meade Farm Intermediate Football Championship Group C Round 1
Championship 2023 got off to a winning start for Walterstown on Saturday evening when they accounted for Longwood in this Group C opening round clash in Trim. In all, the Blacks were full value for the victory but the concession of three first half goals ensured Longwood remained in contention to the death.
With two championship debutants among their ranks in Jack Wilson at full back and Jack Doyle in the half back line, Walterstown went in to this encounter as favourites to prevail. And prevail they did but this was certainly no stroll in the park for Niall Reynolds’ men.
In saying that, they began brilliantly when top marksman Brian O’Connell took full advantage of a defensive cock up from Longwood. He gathered possession and left it in the back of Kevin Maguire’s net to give his side an early three point lead. From the kick out, the Blacks nabbed their first point of the half courtesy of Aron McLoughlin as they opened up a 1-1 to no score lead.
Longwood, under the guidance of Noel Kerrigan, opened their account with four minutes on the clock when county man Billy Hogan converted a free.
However a dominant Walterstown, playing with the advantage of a strong breeze, scored the next five points without reply to go 1-6 to 0-1 to the good.
Conor O’Sullivan rose highest to break the ball in the middle of the park before Meath U20 man Lorcan O’Connor gathered possession. He laid the possession off to Adam Quinn and his shot split the posts. Three on the trot from Brian O’Connell followed before Ruairi O’Dowd provided possession for Jack Doyle and the latter swing the ball over the bar and Walterstown led by eight.
Then, however, the shape turned pear for The Blacks. Their lead was down to five at the midway point when Longwood capitalised on some poor defending and stuck the ball in the back of Johnny Davis’ net.
Mark McCormack responded with a point down the other end but second later Davis was once again forced to pick the ball from his net and the scoreboard read 1-7 to 2-1.
An point from the boot of Adam Quinn in the 17th minute settled Walterstown and when O’Connell sent over a free soon after, followed by one from Conor Farrelly, The Blacks appeared to be back in control.
With five minutes of the first half remaining Longwood, once again, capitalised on Walterstown’s defensive frailties and put a third goal on the scoreboard to leave just two in it (1-10 to 3-2).
Before the interlude though, The Blacks rattled the Longwood net thanks in no small part to the tenacity of Ciaran Cox. The young corner back turned over possession before getting a toe to the ball to send it to Brian O’Connell. His pass picked out Ruairi O’Dowd, who stuck superbly passed Maguire and, in turn, gave Walterstown 2-11 to 3-3 interval lead.
After the break, Walterstown, despite playing against the wind, put in a much better shift despite Longwood nabbing the first two points after the turnaround.
O’Connell got Walterstown off the mark in the 34th minute when he combined well with O’Dowd before splitting the posts, while soon after Adam Quinn’s shot on goal was deflected over the bar. Mark McCormack added to his tally with seven gone and at that point Walterstown led by six (2-14 to 3-5).
Longwood, with Burke and Sean Coloe to the fore, never took the foot off the pedal and never let Walterstown out of sight, but in truth, the Blacks just had too much in the tank for them. Adam Quinn’s burst of pace down the wing caused them real problems, while the introduction of Breandan McGuinness really steadied the ship defensively.
Longwood heaped on late pressure but they scores proved elusive, while Johnny Davis pulled off a great save with just five left on the clock.
In all, this was a deserved win for Walterstown but certainly not an easy one. With Ballivor’s big victory over Nobber in the other group game on Saturday evening, the Black really are going to have to tighten up at the back for their round two meeting with Ballivor on August 13.
SCORERS: Brian O’Connell 1-8 (2f), Mark McCormack 0-3, Adam Quinn 0-3, Ruairi O’Dowd 1-0, Aron McLoughlin 0-1, Jack Doyle 0-1, Conor Farrrelly 0-1.
WALTERSTOWN: John Davis; Ciaran Cox, Jack Wilson, Ross Reynolds; Jack Doyle, Conor Farrelly, Lorcan O’Connor; Mark Foy, Conor O’Sullivan; Adam Quinn, Mark McCormack, Alan Wall; Aron McLoughlin, Ruairi O’Dowd. SUBS: Breandan McGuinness replaced C O’Sullivan 52 mins, Neil McGinley replaced M McCormack 56 mins, Paul Donnellan replaced A McLoughlin 58 mins.
LONGWOOD: Kevin Maguire; Coyle O’Brien, Bob Maguire, Ross Kerrigan; Adam O’Brien, Ross Mulvey, Ciaran Sheridan; Billy Hogan, Sean Coloe; Harry Hogan, Mickey Burke, Gavin Griffith; Sean Sheridan, Thomas Coloe, Anthony Healy.