Final Spot Eked Out

Meath Junior D Football Championship Semi- Final

Seneschalstown 2-07 Ratoath 1-09

Following the disappointment of 2014 when they fell at the penultimate hurdle to Ballinlough in Simonstown, Seneschalstown gave themselves the opportunity of claiming some silverware when they overcame the stiff challenge of Ratoath in what was an absorbing semi-final. Having gotten off to a rather shaky start they had battled back to lead for the majority of the match before seeing Ratoath hit the front courtesy of a late goal. There was though still enough time left on the clock for Ryan O’Dowd to fire home a brilliant goal to secure a final date for the Seneschalstown men.

When the match got underway Ratoath got off to an excellent start when they hit the opening four points inside nine minutes as they looked very sharp and indeed could have been further ahead had they gone for a goal instead of settling for the first score of the game in the second minute. Wing back Sean Doyle settled his side down when pointing after nine minutes before young Eoin Finnegan sent over two in three minutes, one from play and the other a free. Seneschalstown were now getting going and becoming more of a force around the middle of the field and soon had their noses in front.

Eddie Meade has a great eye for goal when presented with half an opportunity and when he waltzed past the Ratoath full back he made no mistake as he rifled the ball into the top right hand corner following good play from Terry Maguire, Ryan O’Dowd and wing back Cormac Mullen who had made a surging run forward. Midfielder Francis Sheridan, back in the side after missing the quarter final, then struck over a well taken point before Ratoath steadied their ship with two points. Meade though replied with his first point of the evening to push Seneschalstown back into a two point lead and this could’ve soon become five but first Eoin Finnegan saw his goal attempt ricochet back off the crossbar before Ryan O’Dowd saw his follow up effort blocked. Buoyed by this let off Ratoath went in search of a goal themselves but goalkeeper David Gordon showed off his shot stopping prowess when deflecting the ball out for a forty five.

Like they had done in the opening half Ratoath were quickest out of the blocks in the second when they sent over a free after just forty nine seconds. Soon after though they were to suffer a major blow when losing one of their corner forwards to a red card. This didn’t appear to adversely affect them immediately though as they drew level within a minute of the sending off and now the game was well and truly in the melting pot. Ryan O’Dowd then hit Seneschalstown’s first score in twenty three minutes when he popped over a thirteen metre free after superb tackling from Eddie Meade and Tommy Duggan forced a defender into overplaying the ball.

Eoin Finnegan extended the Seneschalstown advantage to two when pointing following good work from Terry Maguire and Ryan O’Dowd before with just four minutes remaining of the hour his side received a body blow. When Conor Ruddy was beaten to the ball by the Ratoath full forward the danger alarms suddenly went off in their rear-guard and but when he got his shot away it appeared to be drifting wide before the ball clipped the toe of a Seneschalstown corner back which deflected it past the stranded David Gordon and off the butt of the upright before nestling in the back of the net. All of a sudden the match had turned on its head and Seneschalstown appeared to be in major trouble.

However, when cool heads were required the side in blue had just enough as from a kickout a few minutes later net minder David Gordon picked out Steven Dillon out on the right flank. Dillon then in turn found the wily David Hosie who then fed Ryan O’Dowd and O’Dowd, when most people would have popped the ball over the bar, went for the jugular and drove his shot low and hard across the face of the goal to score a brilliant goal. Ratoath now needed two points to equalise and try as they did they were only able to secure one and ultimately it was Seneschalstown who advance to the final where they will meet Curraha.

Seneschalstown: David Gordon, Ian Carey, Conor Ruddy, Colin Walsh, Cormac Mullen, Steven Dillon, Sean Doyle, Terry Maguire, Francis Sheridan, Ryan O’Dowd, David Hosie, Robert Mullen, Eoin Finnegan, Eddie Meade, Thomas Duggan.

Seneschalstown Substitutions: Dylan Doyle for R. Mullen, James Gillic for R. O’Dowd (blood sub).

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