1953 Junior Champions
1953 - A SECOND JUNIOR TITLE
(Reprinted from the Meath Chronicle).
Championship and Royal Meath Cup - a close struggle twixt two great teams.
Summerhill who last won the title in 1931 defeated Drumbaragh by 1-6 to 1-5 in the replay of the Meath Junior Football Championship Final at Pairc Tailteann, Navan on Sunday. The display given by both teams in the encounter was completely overshadowed by Sunday's clash which produced a thrill a minute for the spectators who numbered approx. 1500. The gate receipts were £100. A Drumbaragh player said in the dressingroom after the game the better team won. True Summerhill availed of their chances and turned them to good account, if Drumbaragh had done likewise there might have been a different tale to tell. It was the first clash of these two teams in the final and it will go down on record as the most exciting seen for many years. The game was one of fluctuating fortunes with Summerhill in front one minute and Drumbaragh the next.
The first half saw Drumbaragh at their best, they were superior in all departments for fully 25 minutes of the opening moiety, but their marks-manship from play and frees was weak and this was the cause of their downfall. Campbell who appeared to be the only forward who could take a free had not his shooting boots on and missed sitters time out of number. He registered 3 points but that was not good enough and with him unfortunately must lie some of the blame for his sides defeat. He showed an improvement in the second half but missed a comparatively easy shot at a crucial stage in the closing minutes when Summerhill were a single point in front. S. Black and E. McCabe were the best of the rest of the forwards who were off form. H. Ready in the right corner was good in spots and registered a goal. At centrefield Kevin Ginnitty and P. Kiernan were masters in the first half and kept their forwards well supplied with the ball.
Exchanges here were about even in the closing moiety. The defence on the whole was sound, Leddy in goal was safe and made some spectacular saves. M. Morris at full back was a very steady defender and ably assisted by his flankers F. Ginnity and P. McGovern he coped with many an awkward situation. The half-back line of Caffrey, Smith and Culliton put in some fine work but were unlucky to run up against John Mallick and John Fagan in their very best form.
Three players were outstanding for Summerhill, they were Larry Dwyer, at full back, John Fagan at centre half forward and John Mallick on his left. Mallick and Fagan between them shared the winners total tally. Fagan registered 5 points and Mallick a goal and a point. Fagan showed a tremendous burst of speed and in a run for possession was always there first. He notched minors from frees and played in effortless fashion. Mallick's goal was a great effort and it acted as a real tonic to his side. Jim Nangle on the right wing had very hard luck when his shot from a free on the side line struck the crossbar and was saved. He engineered some scoring movements. Paddy Donlon and Paddy Tully combined well at centrefield and although they had to play second fiddle in the first peried they came into prominence in the last moiety. Larry Dwyer at full back was the rock on which many a Drumbaragh attack perished, his high catching and long kicking were a feature and in the closing stages when the opposition were trying relentlessly for a winning score he was brilliant and an inspiration to his co-defenders. Niall Fagan made a good job of marking Campbell and Peter Young on his left was another sound defender.
Before the throw in players and spectators stood in silence for three minutes as a mark of respect to the late Mr. William Corry a founder member of the Royal Meath Association in Dublin and its first President who died suddenly on Thursday night last.
Summerhill broke away and went into attack right from the start. They were awarded a fifty which Donlon centred but the Drumbaragh defence cleared well under heavy pressure. P. Caffrey saved a dangerous situation for Drumbaragh and sent the ball down field where his forwards made some spirited attacks on the Summerhill goalmouth. Black failed by inches to raise a flag for Drumbaragh.; The South Meath boys returned to the attack once more and when John Mallick looked like going through for a major score he was grassed.
John Fagan raised the white flag with the resulting free. The same player was again on the mark minutes later for a like score, when Nangle landed on the square a grand free from just outside the end line. Another wonderful effort by Nangle taken from the same angle struck the crossbar and rebounded into play. Drumbaragh who were now becoming more settled cleared and play swung to the other end where they were awarded a 21 yards free. Centre forward Campbell sent his shot low and the full back Dwyer cleared.
Campbell sent wide from a scorable angle, Dwyer saved well for Summerhill but in his effort to clear was penalised for holding the ball too long and once again Campbell was wide from the resulting free. Black was pulled down when going through for Drumbaragh and Campbell redeemed himself by converting the free to give his side their first score, a point, after 20 minutes of play. Drumbaragh were now superior in all sectors and had their free kicker Campbell been more accurate with more of his efforts they would have been well ahead instead of being a point in arrears. In the 25th minute Colliton passed to McCabe who sent in a rasper. Tommy Fagan in goal saved well but could not hold the ball and H. Reddy was on the spot to bundle it to the net. The North Meath men kept up the pressure and a good effort by Black was just wide ot the mark. Shortly after they were again awarded a free which Campbell sent wide. Just before the interval Drumbaragh got another chance to stretch their lead and it must have been agonising for their supporters to see Campbell send wide from a close-in free directly in front of the sticks. The halftime scores were: Drumbaragh 1-1, Summerhill 0-2.
From the throw-in after the turnover Summerhill attacked and Tully sent a long shot from midfield to the goalmouth where John Mallick gathered and crossed for a minof. John Fagan got the equaliser from a 14 yards free. A good Drumbaragh movement initiated by McCabe was finished off by Black whose rasper was punched over the bar by the custodian. Kevin Ginnity stretched the lead with a great point from an awkard angle and his side continued to press hard. Summerhill cleared and a quick movement downfield culminated in a great goal by Mallick. He shot hard from close range and the ball struck the bottom of the crossbar deflecting it to the net.
Goalkeeper Reddy had no chance of saving. Summerhill were again in the lead which they retained for the remainder of the game. John Fagan who was playing a really star role for Summerhill put them further ahead with a good point which he punched over the heads of a packed parallelogram. Undaunted Drumbaragh returned to the attack and were it not for the dominance of the opposing full back Dwyer would have recorded a few more scores. Campbell reduced his sides arrears with a minor from a close in free. At the other end the Drumbaragh goalkeeper made a spectacular save before John Fagan regained Summerhill's 2 point lead, with a great effort from a difficult angle. It looked as if Campbell had put on his shooting boot when he pointed from 30 yards out to close the gap once more. There was a hushed silence a few minutes later when with a good chance of equalising he walked up to take a 25 yards free but there was a gasp as the ball went narrowly wide. Donlon for Summerhill was wide at the other end. Drumbaragh mustered all their forces in an all out effort to pull the game out of the fire in the closing minutes. Healy made a good effort to point when under pressure but his shot passed the upright inches on the wrong side. The Drumbaragh midfield men kept sending in high balls one after the other but the opposing defenders were there everytime to repulse. A change of tactics might have brought about a change of luck. Had the forwards been fed with low balls the chances would to many minds have been much better and might have changed defeat into victory for the Drumbaragh men. With time running out another chance of equalising came to Drumbaragh but again Campbell was wide of the mark. The long whistle sounded with the Summerhill goal under pressure. The final score was Summerhill 1-6, Drumaragh 1-5.
Summerhill team: Tommy Fagan; Paddy Austin, Larry Dwyer, Joe Elliott; Paddy Reilly, Niall Fagan, Peter Young; Paddy Donlon, Paddy Tully; Jim Nangle, John Fagan, John Mallick; Eddie Fagan, Ollie Fagan, Paddy Daly.
Drumbaragh: T. Reddy; F. Ginnity, M. Morris, P. McGovern; P. Caffrey, L. Smith, S. Culliton; K. Ginnity, P. Kiernan; P. Healy, M. Campbell, J. Carroll; H. Reddy, B. McCabe, S. Black.
Mr. J. McDermott refereed.