They faced off against eachother in the last eight of the 2016 edition of the Louth GAA Anglo Printers Junior Football Championship – and the Westerns and Sean McDermotts both booked their places in the quarter finals again in Tallanstown tonight, with the Westerns edging an exhilarating contest 2-09 to 1-11.
Cathal O’Hanlon’s side had first half goals from Ciaran Campbell and Anthony Durnin to help set them on the way to victory. They held a six point half time advantage and did have to withstand a late Seans comeback which drew them level late on. Trevor Baylon’s late point won it – but these two were already guaranteed their spots in the knockout phase.
That was guaranteed by the John Mitchels 2-14 to 1-06 loss against Wolfe Tones in nearby Louth Village, earning the Seans the point difference qualification. The Westerns top the group with six points from six, the Seans will surely face a very tough assignment in the quarters. They’ll be happy to be there though.
The men from Reaghstown came into the game on the back of two consecutive wins against the Wolfe Tones and the Sean McDermotts. They’re big positive points difference virtually secured their place but they would have been wary about complacency against the Seans. Any loss – coupled with the potential of John Mitchels failing to win – would leave the Westerns in second place. That finish would have set up potential last eight clashes with some big hitters, notably Glyde Rangers or Glen Emmets.
The Seans bounced back well from their opening day defeat courtesy of a 13 point victory against the Mitchels in round two of the group stages. The men from Mountrush enjoyed a nine point win over the Westerns in the league back in May and their reputation as one of the most dangerous and physical sides in the junior grade proceeds them.
It all set it up for a cracking encounter in Tallanstown on Thursday evening, and so it proved. Within five minutes of the start, the Westerns had notched 1-01. Tommy Durnin put over a free and then he set up Campbell for a close range finish into the net.
Either side of Durnin’s next successful free effort, Kevin McMahon and Lorcan Myles pointed for the Seans, the latter after excellent work from Danny Commins. McMahon soon got another after a poor kick out from Peter Shiels to leave it 1-02 to 0-03.
The midfield battle was hotly contested, as expected, the Osbourne’s Peter and Patrick were enjoying their chance to get up close and personal with inter-county man Durnin. There wasn’t a whole lot of brotherly love between the brothers Osbourne and Durnin on opposite sides.
Ciaran Scriven pointed, after much debate between umpires, referee and linesman and at the other end Peter Osbourne then benefited from another debatable decision. It looked over in truth. The sun wasn’t helping the umpires.
Goal chances were arriving too. Shiels saved with his legs from McMahon but the Westerns made no mistake for their second. The younger Durnin brother played in Anthony who shot low. through McEneaney’s body and in. 2-04 to 0-04. Tommy Durnin and Emmett Duffy exchanged points before the interval.
The Westerns were missing captain Stephen Boylan and PJ Marron from their regular back line but they were keeping the Seans in check, with Tony Kelly in particular having little joy for much of the match.
It mattered little as David O’Neill and Lorcan Myles contributed early scores after the restart. The Westerns had to wait until 11 minutes into the second half for their next score. Baylon got that, his points bookending the half in the end.
Kelly did get up and running with two frees in three minutes. This was rough-and-ready stuff. Players were being left decked left, right and centre. No more so than Patrick Osbourne after a sickening collision. The ambulance arrived but he walked off. His night was over with fears of concussion rife among the Seans bench.
Kevin Carroll was booked for a high arm on Baylon but the Brian Carroll’s side were creeping back into it. Despite further points from Scriven and Durnin, they were soon level. After a strong run from Peter Osbourne, McMahon blasted an effort into the net and the Duffy notched his second point. 2-08 to 1-11.
In injury time, Baylon’s point sealed it. This meant something to the sizeable crowd in Tallanstown. Winning was important. News had filtered through of the Mitchels’ struggles in Louth, but it mattered little. Qualification was secure but local bragging rights was vital. It went to the Westerns in the end.
WESTERNS: Peter Shiels, Mick Martin, James Ward, Colin Martin, Dylan Ogle, Sean McGuinness, John Murray, Tommy Durnin (0-05), Anthony Durnin (1-0), Ciaran Scriven (0-02), Terence Sweeney, Trevor Baylon (0-02), Johnny Lynch, Conor Kerr, Ciaran Campbell (1-00).
Subs: PJ Marron for John Murray (26), Andy Murray for Dylan Ogle (29), Andrew Kerr for Ciaran Campbell (38), Patrick Kerley for Terence Sweeney (50), Shane Matthews for Andy Murray (52).
SEAN MCDERMOTTS: Mark McEneaney, Danny Reilly, Ciaran McMahon, Kevin McGahon, Danny Commins, Lee Ross, Sean McMahon, Patrick Osbourne, Peter Osbourne (0-01), Emmett Duffy (0-02), Kevin Carroll, David O’Neill (0-02), Lorcan Myles (0-02), Tony Kelly (0-02), Kevin McMahon (1-02).
Subs: Declan Carroll for Patrick Osbourne (38), Ian Corbally for Danny Reilly (47), Lorcan Ludden for Leigh Ross (51), Alan O’Neill for Lorcan Ludden (30+7).
REFEREE: Paul Burke