Six players made their championship debut as Gaeil Colmcille turned in a gutsy performance to prevail by the minimum in this first round of the Premier Division 6.
Rain and wind were plentiful in the lead up to the game as this on-again, off-again, on-again fixture finally got underway at 8 o’clock. Playing with the wind, Dunshaughlin got off the mark within the first minute when they pointed from play. They continued to have the better of the early exchanges but failed to add to their tally. The Gaeils started to get a foothold after about ten minutes, but like their hosts found scores hard to come by in the difficult conditions.
Two wides from frees and one from play were followed by a goalmouth scramble that saw the ball saved onto the post and out over the end line. The resultant 45 fell to Shane Bennett who slotted over to equalise on 16 minutes. Dunshaughlin pointed to go back in front within two minutes and got the opening goal of the game five minutes later after missed chances from both sides. A second goal arrived for the hosts with less than five minutes of the half remaining. Andrew Butler converted a free just before the halftime whistle to reduce the deficit to six points.
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With the wind at their backs Kells dominated the first 10 minutes of the second half but were frustrated as numerous efforts went wide. To add to this frustration Dunshaughlin pointed from play with their first attempt, 13 minutes into the half. This, however, was to be their only score of the second half and appeared to spark the visitors into life. Gary McGovern got a point from play, and Eibheann Keegan ventured forward from defence to add another.
Soon afterwards some hard work in the full forward line led to a 45. Justy Carry-Lynch came up from goals to take it and as his effort was dropping just short, substitute Gary Arkins was on hand to punch the ball to the back of the net. Almost immediately McGovern got a point and within two minutes scored another, both from play, to bring the sides level with five minutes to go. Both sides pushed for a winner as the game entered injury time.
With one career drawing to a close and another just beginning it was Arkins the playwright who delivered with that ever reliable left boot. Spirited defending by the Kells men in the dying minutes ensured this slender lead was maintained until the final whistle.
Well done to the six debutants on the night – Conal McGovern, Bruno Griffin, Killian Kelly, Liam Barry, Harry Flanagan and Oisin O’Reilly.
Gaeil Colmcille: Justy Carry-Lynch, Eibheann Keegan (0-01), Bruno Griffin, Max Finlay, Conor Murray, Niall Williams, Killian Kelly, Oisin O’Reilly, Eoin Doogan, Caolan McConnell, Shane Bennett (0-01), Harry Flanagan, Andrew Butler (0-01), Gary McGovern (0-03), Jamie Jordan.
Subs: Gary Arkins (1-01), Conal Gormley, Conal McGovern, Mark Gormley, Liam Barry, Stephen Mooney.
Report: A big thanks to Cormac O’Reilly for the match report.