Finnegan catches fire in Duleek

LMFM Minor Football Championship Division 1B Round 3

Seneschalstown 3-17 Duleek-Bellewstown 1-16

With their aspirations of reaching the Championship semi-finals on the line, Seneschalstown’s Minors took the short journey to Duleek on Tuesday evening knowing that nothing less than a win would do and even at that they would need other results to go in their favour or they would be consigned to the Shield competition with two rounds left to be played.

Coming into games like this a team would like to be at full strength but with a number of key players missing the odds were well and truly stacked against the boys in blue. What transpired over the hour and a bit which was played was then truly remarkable as a very young side turned in a magnificent performance full of discipline to take home the two points and allied with Donaghmore/Ashbourne’s defeat of Simonstown, spark hopes that the semi-final spot could yet be reached.

The very early stages of the game looked ominous as inside a minute Duleek-Bellewstown had two points on the board but as Cathal Darby looked to take his kickout after the second of these he had to wait as Cormac Reilly saw fit to deal with an incident around the middle of the field. Whatever he seen, the experienced referee saw fit to issue a yellow card to a Seneschalstown midfielder before brandishing a card of a red hue to his direct opponent, a hammer blow for the home side who were now going to play practically the entire match minus one of their key players.

As the home side were adjusting to this numerical deficit, Seneschalstown took full advantage as they reeled off four points on the trot with Will Finnegan who was to go on to give a marvellous performance notching three of these, one from play, and Aaron Clarke notching the other to leave their side two points to the good with only five minutes having elapsed.

The initial shock of the early sending off seemed to wear off the home side thereafter and they soon settled into their groove as they hit back with four points of their own. The back and forth nature of the match then continued as Finnegan picked off two further points while centre forward Liam Maguire after curling over a point from out on the right hand side then raised the first green flag of the evening when he got on the end of a flowing move involving Séimí Byrne, Robbie Finnegan and Aaron Traynor before slipping the ball past the despairing dive of the Duleek-Bellewstown netminder to leave the scores at 1-07 to 0-07 and Seneschalstown in an excellent position to drive on approaching half time.

The character of the Duleek-Bellewstown side then began to shine through once more as they refused to wilt under the floodlights and hit back with another four points on the trot to see themselves in the ascendancy by a solitary point as the half time whistle sounded, 0-11 to 1-07.

The resumption to the second half resembled the games commencement as Duleek-Bellewstown struck first to edge two clear but Seneschalstown soon had a purple spell kickstarted by another Finnegan point after Aaron Traynor had seen his volleyed goal effort saved spectacularly by the goalkeeper. Finnegan then followed up with a trio of frees as he ruthlessly punished any indiscipline from the home defence.

A couple of quick-fire points saw Duleek-Bellewstown edge closer but Seneschalstown then enjoyed a blistering spell as the match entered its final quarter as they hit two goals and three points. U-14 tyro Robbie Finnegan who was industrious throughout kicked a mighty point which was soon followed up by a second from the blisteringly quick Aaron Clarke. Will Finnegan grabbed the goal his performance richly deserved before after Liam Maguire raised another white flag, Cillian Lawlor bravely flicked the ball to the back of the net after Clarke had somehow arrived from practically the next parish to stop a loose pass from a Duleek-Bellewstown defender from crossing the end line and then playing it across where Lawlor did superbly to grab a vital goal.

Indeed such was the effort he had gone to in order to get the touch to score the goal, Lawlor was still feeling the impact of the hit he took in the process when moments later Duleek-Bellewstown had the ball in Cathal Darby’s net at the other end. Darby did superbly to save other efforts over the hour but had no chance on this occasion. This goal gave Duleek-Bellewstown hope of a comeback, but this was quickly extinguished when Aaron Traynor and Séimí Byrne (another of the U-14’s on display) sent over points at the dressing room end of the pitch.

This left Seneschalstown nine points to the good with two minutes remaining and while Duleek-Bellewstown hit the last two points of the game, there was to be no way back for them as Seneschalstown claimed a vital victory.

Best for the away side were Conor McDonnell, Will Finnegan and Woodley Nicholson while special mention must go to Oran Lawlor, Séimí Byrne and Robbie Finnegan who made light of playing up the age grades as they turned in excellent displays.

Seneschalstown: Cathal Darby; Tom McDonnell; Oran Lawlor; Séimí Byrne (0-01); Owen Mullen; Conor McDonnell; Dylan Geraghty; Seanie Dalton; Woodley Nicholson; Robbie Finnegan (0-01); Liam Maguire (1-03); Aaron Clarke (0-02); Aaron Traynor (0-01); Will Finnegan (1-09, 0-05 F); Cillian Lawlor (1-00).

Seneschalstown Substitutes: Luke Healy; Luke Florence.

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