Bells toll for our Championship ambitions Meath SFC Semi-Final

Donaghmore/Ashbourne 2-16 Seneschalstown 0-05

The only unbeaten record at the end of the Meath SFC group stages belonged to Seneschalstown but it came to a shuddering half in this Sunday lunchtime quarter final when Donaghmore/Ashbourne laid down a powerful marker that they are the team to beat in this year’s Championship.

The Angelus bells from St. Mary’s Church had just finished ringing out across Navan when the team in yellow appeared on to the field of play but long before the final whistle had been sounded by David Gough the bells had tolled for Seneschalstown’s Championship ambitions for 2016 as they were laid to rest by a dominant display by the side from the Dublin border.

A total of five points over the hour, one from play and one in the second half was a paltry return from Seneschalstown who had twice as many missed opportunities as they had scores and indeed they failed to register a score after the thirty third minute of the game.

Donaghmore/Ashbourne got off to a brilliant start and by the sixth minute had a goal and a point on the board, the goal coming from Dylan Brady who is fast becoming the best goalscorer in senior football in the county as he notched his fifth major in four Senior Championship starts this year. Brady was causing havoc in the Seneschalstown defence and a minute later landed a fine point following excellent work in the shadow of the dilapidated stand from Andrew Tormey. Remedial action was necessitated in the Seneschalstown defence so Niall Hickey was despatched to corner back in an attempt to put the shackles on the dynamic Brady.

The victors had made three alterations to the starting fifteen from that named in the match programme and one of those players introduced, Paul Gilligan soon had a great goalscoring opportunity but he blazed over with the goal at his mercy. Eventually in the thirteenth minute Bryan Clarke got Seneschalstown off the mark when he landed a forty-five from the left of the uprights after David Morgan had got a fist to an Adam Gleeson pass, diverting it out of play.

Dublin U-21 player Michael Deegan cancelled out Clarkes score with a well taken effort from play before Meath player Andy Tormey sent over. Brian Sheridan was now operating out around the centre of the field in an alteration with Joe Sheridan and the youngest of the Sheridan siblings kicked his opening score when converting a free following a foul on Damien Sheridan as he moved onto an Adam Gleeson pass. Seneschalstown were now gaining something of a foothold in the match and Brian a minute later sent over an excellent score from play as he carried strongly under pressure from James Colgan after being picked out by a searching delivery from Damien.

Sheridan kicked his third of the half on twenty-one minutes when he converted a free but it was Donaghmore/Ashbourne who had the final say of the period when Deegan slotted over a free to leave five points between the sides at the break of play, Donaghmore Ashbourne 1-06 Seneschalstown 0-04.

James Conlon was introduced upon the resumption as Seneschalstown sought to freshen up their forward line and it was they who drew first blood when Bryan Clarke clipped over a twenty-one metre free which had been brought forward following a bit of back chat in Gough’s direction.

This though was to prove to be Seneschalstown’s final score of the game as their challenge petered out and from here to the close Donaghmore/Ashbourne took charge. Dylan Brady started the ball rolling for them with an exquisite point from out on the right, Conor Carton then got a rapid-fire goal and a point, wing back Darragh McGovern sliced over and midfielder Conor Carey bisected the uprights.

The onslaught continued through a brace of pointed frees from Michael Deegan while in between these Paul Carey was shown a back card to the amazement of all in Páirc Tailteann including those supporting the winners to add to his earlier yellow meaning Seneschalstown would have to play the final quarter with fourteen men.

The Seneschalstown ship was sinking rather quickly and Donaghmore/Ashbourne closed out proceedings with further points from Brady (bringing his tally in this year’s Championship to 5-09 in five appearances), Ciaran Ellis and two pointed frees from Paul Gilligan.

And so another Championship voyage came to an end for Seneschalstown at the end of a year which in mid-summer promised so much with a League Final place a real possibility, a Feis Cup semi-final to look forward to and a great start to the Championship but ultimately ended in disappointment. Nonetheless this team have given their supporters some great days in 2016 and at the end of the day while this defeat will hurt, sometimes as has been proven in the parish of late, it’s not all about winning but being there for each and every member of the panel when the times are tough. One thing is for sure, this panel knows how to support its own.

Donaghmore/Ashbourne: Jack Hannigan, Paul Gilligan (0-03, 0-02f), James Colgan, JP Casserly, Daragh McGovern (0-01), Eoghan Riordan, Sean Curran, Conor Carey (0-01), David Morgan, Cathal Field, Conor Carton (1-01), Bryan Menton, Dylan Brady (1-03), Andrew Tormey (0-01), Michael Deegan (0-05, 0-04F).

Donaghmore/Ashbourne Substitutions: Ciaran Ellis (0-01) for C. Field, Aidan Hughes for M. Deegan, Cormac McGill for E. Riordan, Jack Giles for D McGovern, John Broderick for C. McGill.

Seneschalstown: David Lyons, Paul Carey, Cormac Noonan, James Byrne, Teean Cummins, John Smith, Niall Hickey, Damien Sheridan, Joe Sheridan, Niall Groome, Brian Sheridan (0-03, 0-02 F), Adam Carey, Jonathan Gilsenan, Adam Gleeson, Bryan Clarke (0-02, 0-01 F, 0-01 ‘45.

Seneschalstown Substitutions: James Conlon for J. Gilsenan, Niall McCabe for A Gleeson, Stephen Finnegan for A. Carey, Colin Gleeson for C. Noonan.

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