1977 Leinster Champions
From left, back row; Brendan Fitzsimons, Michael Gaynor, Mick Lyons, Noel Young, John Gibbons, Bobby White, John Colgan, Martin Coyne, Tom Gibbons, Mattie Kerrigan, Donie Mooney. front row; Noel Byrne, Peter King, Fergus Fagan, Colm Gannon, Padraig Gray, Donal McKay, Pat Jennings, Austin Lyons, Michael Gannon, Brendan Balfe, Dennis Murtagh.
by Brian Rispin
St. Vincent's 0-6
Multiple Meath title-holders, Summerhill, celebrated their first appearance in the Leinster S.F.C. final by handing out a thirteen point thrashing to star-studded Dublin representatives, St. Vincent's, in a controversial Provincial decider at Newbridge. The giant-killing village team could not have predicted such a comprehensive victory over the 1976 All-Ireland club Champions.
The St. Vincent's team boasted no less than six All-Ireland Senior medalists, but this never intimidated the impressive Summerhill side. Some might say that St. Vincent's never raised their game to trouble their opponents but the truth was that they weren't allowed to stamp their authority on it by Summerhill.
Even aided with a stiff breeze in the first half, St. Vincent's looked very unsettled - their team-work was ragged and players looked uncertain in possession. Summerhill on the other hand displayed greater zest for work, moved faster to the ball and generally excelled in team work.
Summerhill midfielders Martin Coyne and John Gibbons held an early advantage over the Brian Mullins and Jim Lynsky partnership. Sean Doyle opened the scoring to give St. Vincent's the lead. The goals which shattered St. Vincent's morale came in a two minute spell which rocked the city men. The first goal came when Vincent's goalkeeper, Norman Bernard, attempted to clear the ball but was blocked down. Corner-back Dave Billings dived on the loose ball at the expense of a penalty. Veteran corner forward, Tom Gibbons, shot low and hard to the corner of the net to give Summerhill the lead.
Within 30 seconds Fergus Fagan dashed in from the left to hammer in the second goal past a bewildered, shaky defence. County star, Mattie Kerrigan lobbed the ball into the box where long serving attacker Austin Lyons beat the goalkeeper to fist the ball to the net. The 3 goals in 2 minutes really stunned their Dublin rivals!
St. Vincent's recovered from these hammer blows but a timely interception by Johnny Colgan foiled Jimmy Keaveney of a badly needed goal. The dominance of Gibbons and Coyne in midfield limited St. Vincent's to just four further points, playing with a strong wind. The Summerhill defence set up a virtual wall of resistance, never allowing a forward an open shot on goal. At half-time Summerhill led by 3-0 to 0-5.
After the restart, Vincent's looked like they might get back into the game but another blunder from their keeper, Bernard, gifted Summerhill their fourth goal. He saved Kerrigan's speculative effort and attempted a short clearance.Fergus Fagan charged it down and the ball went into the unguarded net.
Keaveney then pointed to cut the gap to six points and gave them slight hope of a revival. However, that was short-lived as Tom Gibbons' '45' was finished to the net by the superb Martin Coyne. 5-0 to 0-6. Eventually the Dublin side replaced their goalkeeper but it was too late.
Summerhill added four points in the last quarter to emphasise their superiority over their opponents. Tom Gibbons (2), Mattie Kerrigan and John Gibbons scored these to ensure an emphatic victory. Donie Mooney at full-back, the half-back line of Pat Jennings, Padraig Gray and Donal McKay, midfielders Martin Coyne and John Gibbons and forwards Tom Gibbons, Mattie Kerrigan and Fergus Fagan were all outstanding on the day.
The Summerhill captain, Padraig Gray lifted the trophy and it was the first time a Meath club had won the Leinster Club Championship.
Summerhill - 1.Bobby White; 2.Johnny Colgan, 3.Donie Mooney, 4.Colm Gannon; 5.Pat Jennings, 6. Padraig Gray, 7.Donal McKay; 8.Martin Coyne (1-0), 9.John Gibbons (0-1); 10.Peter King, 11.Noel Byrne, 12.Fergus Fagan (2-0); 13.Tom Gibbons (1-2), 14.Mattie Kerrigan (0-1), 15.Austin Lyons (1-0).
St. Vincent's - 1.N.Bernard; 2.D.Billings, 3.G.O'Driscoll, 4.M.Hannick; 5.B.Pocock, 6.V.Lambe, 7.T.Diamond; 8.B.Mullins, 9.J.Lynsky; 10.S.Doyle, 11.T.Hanahoe, 12.F.Ryder; 13.B.Doyle, 14.J.Keaveney, 15.M.O'Grady. subs: PJ Reid for Lynsky, T.Clancy for Bernard.