Result – Meath Senior Hurling Championship – Trim 1-19, Longwood 1-14.
Both sides came into this second round championship game with first round wins under their belts amid some controversy. They had to play without their intercounty footballers James Toher and Mickey Burke in the previous game which was unprecedented for championship games in Meath and indeed throughout the country. But all was back to normal on Monday night last with Toher, Douglas and Burke togging out. So all were happier. Weather conditions were perfect with no breeze and the cool evening temperature coupled with the carpet like Kildalkey pitch made for a good game of hurling. The teams did not disappoint. It was real championship fare. Fast, physical, great individual skills, excellent team play, thirty five scores with only thirteen wides in total. The fast and furious play of course resulted in many pressurised errors on both sides but such is allowed as defending from both sided was valiant.
Trim fired up the scoring with a Dimi Higgins point in the first minute. Longwood responded in the third but Peter Farrrell put the Reds two up immediately afterwards with a fine point from the side line, 50 meters out. The Longwood lads went ahead by one with two points in the fourth minute. Damien McGee drew the sides level with a Trim free in the sixth minute but Longwood nosed in from with two points in succession in the seventh and eighth minute. Trim regained parity with two points in the thirteenth with a pointed free from Damien McGee and an excellent point from Alan Douglas from the middle of the field. The end of the first quarter was reached with Longwood leading by one when they struck a point in the fourteenth. This tit for tat trend continued throughout the first half with little between the sides but with the Longwood lads having their noses slightly if front. Both sides swapped points in the sixteenth with Arnie McGee doing the honours for Trim who sweetly found the mark firing over his left shoulder while running away from goal. The Black and Whites kept up the ante with a reply one minute later to leave them two points in front. Trim then got their first real grip on the game with three successive points around the twentieth courtesy of a Damien McGee free, a long range effort from Alan Douglas and the third from Sean McGee. But Longwood responded and went one ahead with two points in the twenty fifth minute. Points were traded in the final minutes of the half to leave the half time score at Trim 0-10, Longwood 0-11.
Both sides were quickly into it after the break. Peter Farrell clocked a point from the throw in but Longwood hit a significant goal from the resulting puck out. James Toher reduced the gap to two with an on target free but the Longwood lads opened up the first real gap of the game when they fired over two points in the fifth minute. Over the following ten minutes the Trim lads reduced the gap to two with pointed frees from Arnie McGee. It remained stalemate for the following ten minutes when in the twenty second minute the Trim lads cranked up to another gear and with meditative efficiency scored 1-4 to Longwood’s one point to turn the game on its head and end up four in front on a score line of 1-19 to 1-15. Arnie McGee sparked off the resurgence with a pointed free, Neil Heffernan rattled the net after great donkey work from Michael Cullen in the left corner. Substitute David Murtagh, fresh on the field signified his intention with a point. Arnie was on the mark with a free and Neil Heffernan cleaned up proceeding with the final point.
The introduction of minor star Brian Dowling made a large contribution to Trim’s resurgence. His speed and incisive runs created a constant thorn in the Longwood side. The other Trim youngsters, David Murtagh, Arnie McGee, Michael Cullen and Peter Farrell stepped up to the mark in this tough encounter. The Trim defence was well bolstered by Ryan Andrews at full back and James Toher at centre half back and were well supported by Ciaran O’Rourke, Gerard Dwayne, Dimi Higgins and Colm McGrath.
The Trim team was – Charlie Ennis, Ciaran O’Rourke, Ryan Andrews, Colm McGrath, Dimmi Higgins, James Toher, Gerard Dwayne, Sean McGee, Alan Douglas, Damien McGee, Peter Farrell, Ciaran Joyce, Michael Cullen, Neil Heffernan, Arnie McGee.
The Trim subs are – Brian Dowling, David Murtagh, Karl Flreming, Darragh Kennedy, Rory McGrath, Garreth White, Partick Lennon,
The Trim scorers were – Arnie McGee 0-5 (4 frees), Neil Heffernan 1-1, Damien McGee 0-4 (4 frees), Alan Douglas 0-2, Dimi Higgins 0-1, Peter Farrell 0-2, Sean McGee 0-1, Michael Cullen 0-1, James Toher 0-1, David Murtagh 0-1