Classy performance secures the Fr. Tully Cup

Seamus Connolly Catering Meath Junior B Football Championship Final

Seneschalstown 0-14 St. Vincent’s 1-07

Saturday October 3rd 2015 will forever be remembered in Seneschalstown as the day Fr. Tully came home for following the final whistle of the Seamus Connolly Catering Meath JBFC Final their captain, Joe Cowley ascended the steps of the Páirc Tailteann stand to proudly accept the cup named in honour of one his clubs most famous sons in triumph. Fr. Tully of course coached Meath to win their very first All Ireland title and of course the clubs grounds are named in his memory.

Over the course of the game there could be little doubt that the Dunbia sponsored outfit were on the day the better side as they dominated the game and were it not for the concession of a late penalty in the first half which was expertly dispatched by Richie O’Sullivan from St. Vincent’s they would have held a handsome lead at the interval. Having agonisingly lost out to Wolfe Tones by a solitary point in the 2014 decider there was a steely determination amongst the panel that 2015 was going to be their year.

Roared out on to the immaculate Páirc Tailteann surface by a large group of the clubs juvenile players as they emerged from the dressing room the players knew that they could rely on excellent support from the stand, a factor that was acknowledged post the final whistle.

When referee Gerry McGivney got the game underway though it was the Ardcath men who appeared to settle the quicker as they registered the first two points. Richie O’Sullivan hit the first after five minutes and this was followed a minute later when Robbie Lynch also raised the white flag. Jonathan Gilsenan who had been off target with a first minute free then managed to open his sides account in the ninth minute when he kicked a thirty metre free over from just to the left of the goalposts at the Navan O’Mahonys end. Gilsenan had himself been found after being picked out with a pass from Shane Clarke who had himself been found by centre back Joe Cowley. Seneschalstown’s ‘Welsh Wizard’, Aled Ingman then drew the side’s level almost immediately when he saw his shot just drop over the crossbar following a flowing team move.

Shane Clarke was next to score as Seneschalstown began to get on top. From the kickout following Ingman’s point he latched onto possession and after exchanging a quick one two with James Meade he fired over an exquisite point on the run to push his team into the lead for the first time in the game. With a quarter of the game Jonathan Gilsenan who was having a ding dong battle with the full back kicked his second free when he was once more fouled as he moved onto a pass from the lively Ross Howard. With Seneschalstown now dominating the possession St. Vincent’s looked to shore up their defence as they introduced Robert Tallon into the fray.

However the momentum was now well and truly with Seneschalstown and on eighteen minutes James Meade added his name to the scoresheet when Jonathan Gilsenan laid the ball off to him after getting a pass out of defence from Niall McCabe and Meade made no mistake from all of forty three metres as the ball sailed high between the uprights. Just after this score St. Vincent’s almost snatched themselves a goal when after a Richie O’Sullivan free dropped short it wasn’t adequately dealt with by the Seneschalstown defenders and Kieron Collins was unlucky to see his shot flash to the left and wide.

Buoyed by this let off the side in blue went in search of a goal of their own only for Robert Darby to see his effort saved by the goalkeeper after he had been expertly played in by Ross Howard. Stephen Finnegan stepped up to take the resultant forty five but after having to wait for four minutes to take it as the St. Vincent’s centre back received treatment following a bone shuddering shoulder tackle by Colin Gleeson he saw his effort drift to the right and wide.

On twenty six minute Seneschalstown won a free in the centre of the field following a foul on the towering Darragh Keogh and when Stephen Finnegan took it quickly he found Niall McCabe in the shadows of the stand, McCabe looked up and fired a pass in towards Ross Howard who did excellently to hold onto possession and nonchalantly split the posts with a superbly taken left footed point. This left Seneschalstown with a four point lead but it could easily have been more as they had been guilty of missing some scoring opportunities they would generally convert.
Niall McCabe’s cousin, Sean, was having a very efficient outing at corner back and on twenty eight minutes he executed a brilliant block to prevent a point being scored. Soon after following a bit of a goalmouth scramble in front of the Seneschalstown goal referee Gerry McGivney awarded St. Vincent’s a penalty for what appeared to be illegal use of the foot by a defender. Richie O’Sullivan stepped up to take the resultant kick and with Shane Corbally dived to his right O’Sullivan sent the ball to his left and into the corner. This brought the Seneschalstown lead down to just the solitary point but Shane Clarke brought it back out to two in stoppage time at the end of the half when he clipped over a free following a tug on Ross Howard’s jersey. This left the men from Yellow Furze ahead by 0-07 to 1-02 at the interval and as the players made their way into the dressing rooms the future stars of both clubs made their way onto the field as their U-10’s played out two exhibition games.

Upon the resumption just as they had done in the first half St. Vincents were quicker into their stride as they hit the first two points of the half inside two minutes. Firstly Robbie Lynch sent over with just seventeen seconds on the clock before a free which was dropping short was fisted over. A couple of minutes later Shane Clarke edged Seneschalstown back in front by the minimum when he sent over another free following a foul on Jonathan Gilsenan. Brendan Lynch had already been introduced by the Seneschalstown management at half time and now they decided to bring on the experienced Kevin Casey who replaced Darragh Keogh. This resulted in a reshuffle which saw Stephen Finnegan move to the centre of the park, and Lynch going to full forward where he had operated so effectively in the quarter final and semi-final.

The game was tied up for the third time when in the fortieth minute Richie O’Sullivan popped over a free. Ciaran Macken, the Keegan Cup winning captain from 2009 was now introduced to the fray as he came on for James Meade. Just after his introduction Shane Clarke launched a forty metre free which sailed over the crossbar at the hospital end of the ground following a foul on Brendan Lynch. Clarke soon added another when after yet another foul on Jonathan Gilsenan, this time a push in the back, he had the simple task of converting a thirteen metre free.

Scores from play were proving hard to come by but Seneschalstown were earning plenty of frees and they got another as the game entered its final quarter when just after the marauding Colin Gleeson had received a pass from Aled Ingman he had the ball ripped out of his grasp. Jonathan Gilsenan took responsibility for the resultant free and he saw his effort just squeeze inside the right hand post. By now the Seneschalstown defence was well on top once more with key players such as Gleeson, Andrew Collins and Sean McCabe winning their personal duels and receiving excellent assistance from Adam Gargan, Joe Cowley and Niall McCabe.

In the forty ninth minute the eagle eyed Gerry McGivney spotted Jonathan Gilsenan having his hand held by the full back and from the subsequent free he made no mistake to bring his personal tally to four for the afternoon. Richie O’Sullivan soon added another free to leave just three between the teams, Seneschalstown 0-12 St. Vincent’s 1-06 before what looked like a dangerous moment in the Seneschalstown rear-guard ended up in a point for them instead. Shane Corbally gambled that by advancing well off his line he’d get to the ball first and when his gamble paid off he sent the ball downfield where it ended up with Brendan Lynch who took off like a whippet as he left the St. Vincent’s defenders trailing in his wake before pointing off his left foot.

The more defensively minded Niall Hickey was now introduced in place of Aled Ingman as Seneschalstown looked to ensure their four point lead wasn’t whittled down. Jonathan Gilsenan then fired over an inspirational point as he made the most of engineering himself a half yard of space. Just after his point St. Vincent’s nearly found themselves in on goal only for their corner forward to fail to control a pass when after he managed to sneak in behind the Seneschalstown full back line. Ross Howard then left the fray to a large round of applause as his side’s supporters acknowledged his hard working display with Paul McDonnell coming on for the last few minutes. There was still time for one more score as St. Vincent’s reduced the Seneschalstown lead to four but with both sets of defenders holding firm in the three minutes of stoppage time there were no additions to the scoreboard and thus when Gerry McGivney blew up for full time Seneschalstown could finally rejoice that the Fr. Tully Cup was coming home.

And thus Joe Cowley ascended the steps to the presentation area where he followed in his father’s footsteps from 1973 as the Junior B Championship winning captain where he accepted the cup from Meath Co. Board secretary and fellow Seneschalstown clubman Francis Flynn. Truly a special occasion, a Seneschalstown man presenting a Seneschalstown donated cup to a Seneschalstown winning captain.

On a day when each member of the panel who took to the field executed the game plan to perfection it would be remiss to single out any individual players. Instead each and every one of them can reflect on a job well done throughout the year. There was a mixture of the more experienced and younger players on the panel and with a sizable number of them already possessing Senior Championship medals it would be no surprise to see their younger teammates go on to emulate their achievements in future seasons.

Seneschalstown: Shane Corbally, Sean McCabe, Andrew Collins, Adam Gargan, Colin Gleeson, Joe Cowley, Niall McCabe, Aled Ingman (0-01), Darragh Keogh, Robert Darby, Shane Clarke (0-05, 0-04 Frees), Stephen Finnegan, Ross Howard (0-01), James Meade (0-01), Jonathan Gilsenan (0-05, 0-04 Frees).

Seneschalstown Substitutions: Brendan Lynch (0-01) for R. Darby, Kevin Casey for D. Keogh, Ciaran Macken for J. Meade, Niall Hickey for A. Ingman, Paul McDonnell for R. Howard.

St Vincent's: Paddy Muldowney, Ryan Hand, Davy Tallon, Shane O'Brien, Ciaran Brangan, Stephen Creed, Mark Crawley, Martin Fox, Maurice Carberry, Paddy Arnold, Robbie Lynch (0-03), John Corry, Richie O'Sullivan (1-03, 1-00 penalty, 0-02frees), Kieron Collins, Niall Tallon.

St. Vincent’s Substitutions: Robert Tallon for C. Brangan, Tommy Field for J. Corry, Kieran Sheridan for S. Creed, Eoin Hand (0-01) for K. Collins, Sean Moore for N. Tallon.

Referee - Gerry McGivney (Simonstown)

Theme by Danetsoft and Danang Probo Sayekti inspired by Maksimer