Brave effort just falls short

Coolrite Refrigeration Meath U-21 Championship Quarter Final Replay

Skryne 3-10 Seneschalstown 1-08

A week on from their epic drawn encounter the U-21 footballers from Seneschalstown and Skryne renewed acquaintances on Sunday afternoon in a sodden Walterstown. Despite fears throughout the morning that the game may not go ahead thanks to the biblical like rain when fell the pitch got the go ahead and its surface was in good condition in spite of all the rain which had fallen.

Having been forced out of the action late on in the drawn game with injury Seneschalstown were dealt a blow when influential midfielder Darragh Keogh was ruled out and in his absence were forced into a reshuffle which saw Niall Hickey move to centerfield, Adam Carey to centre back and Dylan Doyle drafted in at wing back.

Ground conditions were very greasy following the rain which fell pre game and this was to have an effect within seconds of referee Patrick Nelis throwing the ball in when full back John Smith slipped as he attempted to tackle his opponent and taking full advantage of this the full forward had time to steady himself before popping his shot over the bar. The opening stages were all Skryne and they could have had a goal on ten minutes when their right half forward was in on goal only for David Gordon to pull off a fine save diving to his left and push the ball out to safety.

It took six minutes for the side in yellow to trouble the scoreboard operator and when their opening score it came courtesy of the left boot of seventeen year old Eoin Finnegan. With his side in possession around the middle third of the field he attempted to make a run into space only for his opponent to pull him back. The eagle eyed Nelis spotted the infringement and after awarding the close range free Finnegan made no mistake to open his sides account for the afternoon.

The Tara outfit soon got a huge boost when following a high ball into the square one of their forwards managed to get enough of a touch on the ball to divert it past David Gordon to raise the first green flag of the afternoon. Seneschalstown however almost hit back instantaneously when after Eddie Meade fielded a Garryowen in front of the Skryne posts he managed to draw a foul and earn his side a penalty. James Meade took on the responsibility of the kick but will have been disappointed to see his effort go straight at the relieved Skryne goalkeeper.

Boosted by this let off Skryne went hunting for more scores to extend their lead and on eleven minutes they could have had a second goal only for David Gordon to tip an effort over the crossbar. A nine minute spell without a score followed although during this spell the game was held up for a few minutes as Niall Hickey went down with a shoulder injury which was soon to force him from the fray with U-17 star David Fox introduced in his place. On twenty minutes Skryne added a further point when their full forward displayed admirable composure in possession to work enough space to get his shot away and curl over from out on the right.

By this stage Seneschalstown badly needed a score of any description and it soon arrived when after a foul on Brendan Lynch, James Meade split the uprights at the clubhouse end of the field. Skryne soon cancelled this score out with another effort from play but this was to be their last score of the half as Seneschalstown managed to get into their stride thereafter.

Firstly they were awarded their second penalty of the day when after reacting quickest to a forty five which had dropped short Eddie Meade was pulled down again and referee Nelis had no hesitation about awarding another penalty. This time there was no debate about who was taking the kick as the whistle had barely touched the referee’s lips before Ross Howard had laid claim to the ball. And cool as a cucumber he eyed up the goalkeeper before rolling the ball into the bottom right hand corner. Suddenly it was game on!

James Meade then added his sides first point of the day from open play when sending over a monstrous point before Niall McCabe got on the end of a move which started off with a cleverly taken short kickout from David Gordon to David Fox (who had taken up anchor at centre back), Fox then picked out James Meade who then offloaded to McCabe who let fly from distance and from the moment it left his boot it was going straight over the blackspot. Then came the score of the match from a Seneschalstown perspective at least. With Skryne tearing through the Seneschalstown defence as they went in search of a score to send them back into the lead on the stroke of half time Brendan Lynch showed immense workrate to get back and force a turnover and once his side gained possession they worked it upfield before Eoin Finnegan was picked out on the left hand side and like every good marksman he needed no invitation to shoot as he squeezed a shot between the uprights to leave Seneschalstown 1-05 to 1-04 ahead at the interval.

Momentum now appeared to be with the Seneschalstown side after finishing the first half like a train. To keep this going they would have been looking for a quick start to the second half but it was Skryne who were quickest out of the blocks again when they tagged on the opening score after thirty six minutes. The lively Eoin Finnegan who was finding space hard to comeby managed to get on the end of a pass from Niall Lyons a minute later and although he had little room to manoeuvre in he was able to turn on the proverbial sixpence before pointing off his right boot.

Skryne replied to this score with two points in a row to edge back into a one point lead before James Meade sent over a free to level the affairs once more at 1-07 apiece after Brendan Lynch was hauled to the ground as he attempted to latch onto a fisted pass from Eddie Meade. On forty nine minutes Skryne managed to edge back into the lead when their centre forward sent over a magnificent free.

Then with four minutes of the hour remaining came the games decisive score. A high ball in looked destined to drop inside the right hand upright before at the very last moment tailing off and clipping the post. When the ball fell it landed into the grateful arms of a Skryne forward and from point blank range he made no mistake as he rifled the ball into the net. Following this score Seneschalstown needed to push forward in search of scores and Skryne managed to pick off two more points, the second of which came from a free before James Meade kicked over a free with a minute of injury time played. Daire Geraghty had by now been introduced but with only a few minutes remaining had little time to make his presence felt. And then to pour a greater sense of injustice onto the scoreboard Skryne managed to work the ball downfield to notch their third goal of the game and put a rather false appearance on the scoreboard.

Despite losing this encounter Seneschalstown’s youngsters have shown in their appearances in the U-21 competition that there is plenty of talent coming through on the banks of The Boyne and as these players continue to progress they will no doubt bring home more silverware to Fr. Tully Park in the coming years. And indeed with thirteen of the starting fifteen from this game plus the two substitutes used as well as the injury stricken Darragh Keogh all eligible for the U-21 grade next year then they will fancy their chances of returning in 2016 to land the crown. And in 2016 players of the calibre of Mark Fox, Colin Walsh and Sean Noonan will doubtless be leading the charge.

Seneschalstown: David Gordon, Mark Fox, John Smith, Colin Walsh, Dylan Doyle, Adam Carey, Niall McCabe (0-01), Sean Noonan, Niall Hickey, Ross Howard (1-00, 1-00 Penalty), James Meade (0-04, 0-03 Frees), Niall Lyons, Eoin Finnegan (0-03, 0-01 Free), Eddie Meade, Brendan Lynch.

Seneschalstown Substitutions: David Fox for N. Hickey (inj.), Daire Geraghty for E. Meade.

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