Finnegan Hat-trick Inspires Lazarus Like Comeback

AFL Division 1B Round 4

Seneschalstown 3-09 Dunshaughlin 1-12

With 15 minutes left of this A League clash in Dunshaughlin on Tuesday evening, it looked certain that the hosts would walk away with the 2 valuable points on offer and a sufficient boost to their scoring difference column on the League table. Leading by 9 points after a strong start to the second half, Richie Kealy’s men were in a great position to make it four wins from four in Division 1B.

All was about to turn on its head……

Seneschalstown made the trip to Dunshaughlin on Tuesday evening with a mixed bag of results in the League thus far. A win, a draw and a loss albeit narrowly was what Ciaran Marks’ side had to show for their efforts from their opening sequence of games, but travelled to Dunshaughlin with their strongest available panel for any game yet this year.

Eoin Finnegan was first trouble the scoreboard operator when pointing from a mark to the left of the ‘D’, but the home side were about to take control for the vast majority of the half. Three Luke Mitchell points got them up and running, one each from a mark, a free and from play. Niall Murphy followed up with their fourth in the 10th minute, with marauding wing back Neil Byrne and Cathal McCormack (free) only adding to their lead.

With 14 minutes gone Seneschalstown were facing a five point deficit and were forced into an early change, Ryan Finnegan coming for Alan Mulvany. Shorty afterwards, Seán Commons took aim from the 45 out towards the sideline. The ball hung in the air for what seemed like an eternity before eventually landing just inside the post for Seneschalstown’s second score. To their credit the Seneschalstown defence tightened up considerably for the remainder of the half, but were still finding scores hard to come by at the other end. A thirteen minute scoring lull from both sides was broken by Cathal Finnegan after he was fouled while making inroads towards the Dunshaughlin goal. He converted the free, making it 0-6 to 0-3.

As the half entered injury time, Cathal Finnegan had a great goal chance which was well saved by the Dunshaughlin goalkeeper, and on the counter attack Niall Murphy slotted over his second of the evening for the home side. One last Finnegan free brough the scoring to a close for the half, and with Seneschalstown four down a major improvement was going to be needed in the second half.

That major improvement was beginning to look like a minor miracle as the third quarter ticked by. Just as they had done in the first half, the home side dominated the opening period of the half. Mitchell was again on target from a mark, before what looked like being the decisive score arrived in the 33rd minute, Aaron Murphy finding the net via the post. When Mitchell followed up with another brace of points, it looked like curtains for Seneschalstown as they trailed 1-10 to 0-04.

Nine points down and going nowhere fast, Seneschalstown introduced Dylan Keating and Podge Finegan from the bench and both had a massive say in the change of momentum of the game. In the 39th minute, a swift move down the pitch involving Ronan Conneely, Donie Commons and Rob Wogan ended up with Cathal Finnegan having space for himself in the large square and he did the rest, rolling the ball beyond the keeper. When Seneschalstown won the resultant kick-out, the ball found it’s way to Eoin Finnegan who curled over beautifully from 25 metres out leaving it 1-10 to 1-05. Three minutes later, a speculative shot-come-cross from Eoin Finnegan dropped short into a defender’s hands but the ball was spilled and picked up by Cathal Finnegan who was subsequently fouled inside the large square. He dusted himself down and slotted the penalty into the bottom corner, and all of a sudden it was a two point game.

Less than a minute later, rather incredibly Seneschalstown were ahead. Simon Rooney started the move in defence, who linked up well with Dylan Keating. Keating turned and ran at the defence before finding Cathal Finnegan with an excellent pass inside. Finnegan won the ball near the end line and turned to see Rooney had continued his run forward. Finnegan tried to square it but the ball was fumbled in the goalmouth, but he was on hand to pick up the pieces and finish to the net and put Seneschalstown into the lead by the narrowest of margins, and to complete a remarkable 6 minute hat-trick for himself.

Luke Mitchell drew the sides level once more, but Dylan Keating capped his introduction with a point from the middle of the ‘D’. With ten minutes to go, Niall Murphy scored a fine long range point to level the scores for what would be the last time. On 53 minutes, Cathal Finnegan tapped over a close range free after again being fouled, and Dylan Keating tidied up with a point when another sub Ross Howard had a goal shot saved to move Seneschalstown two in front.

After some good defending from the likes of Brian Maguire, Woodley Nicholson and Cillian Lalwor, the visitors were able to hold firm at the back and Cathal Finnegan added the insurance point after winning a ball towards the corner, turning his marker inside out to clip the ball between the posts.

When one last Dunshaughlin half chance was cleared, referee Derek Ryan blew the full time whistle, ending a thrilling second half where Seneschalstown completed a twelve point turnaround to win by three in the end, 3-09 to 1-12. The win moves Seneschalstown onto five points in the table, the same amount as next week’s opponents Rathkenny.

Seneschalstown: David Gordon, Simon Rooney, Brian Maguire, Cillian Lawlor, Ronan Conneely, Woodley Nicholson, Jamie Kirwan, John Smith, Sean Commons (0-01), Alan Mulvany, Donie Commons, Robert Wogan, Cathal Finnegan (3-04, 1-00 pen, 0-03fs), Johnny Gilsenan, Eoin Finnegan (0-02, 1m).

Subs Used: Ryan Finnegan, Podge Finegan, Dylan Keating (0-02), Ross Howard

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