First win on the board

Meath GAA A league Division 1 Round 6

Seneschalstown 1-16 Navan O’Mahonys 0-10

It has taken them six games but eventually Seneschalstown picked up their first win of the 2017 A league Division 1 when they turned in a superb performance to overcome Navan O’Mahonys on Sunday morning in Fr. Tully Park. Rooted firmly to the bottom of the table prior to the throw in, the side were in urgent need of picking up that first win in order to lift themselves a rung or two up the ladder and following a stirring outing this is exactly what they did as O’Mahonys were left rocked by a powerful second half showing from the hosts.

At the half time break in play nobody in attendance would have thought that either side would emerge as comfortable winners as the game was then delicately poised with the sides level, Seneschalstown 1-03 Navan O’Mahonys 0-06 with both sides having purple spells in what was a very entertaining thirty minutes of football.

The second half was an entirely different affair as Seneschalstown played with an intensity which hadn’t yet been seen so far in 2017 and as they hassled and harried the O’Mahonys players, never giving them an inch when in possession they showed what can happen when they play with intensity and precision. Over the course of that half the home side racked up a very impressive 0-13 while restricting the Tomás Ó Flatharta managed O’Mahonys to just 0-04.

One notable factor in the Seneschalstown performance was that eight players in total managed to register a score from play including all six starting forwards as everybody chipped in in an attacking context.

The opening exchanges of the game favoured Navan O’Mahonys but not before the industrious wing forward Niall Groome had opened the scoring in the third minute when following excellent work in defence, he got on the end of a blistering counter attack before fisting over the crossbar from a narrow angle. Shortly after this score Seneschalstown lost the services of wing back Teean Cummins who was forced from the action with an injury, Ronan Conneely coming into the fray instead.

The visiting side soon began to move through the gears and before long had opened up a lead of two points as they picked off scores from Jake Regan, Shane Gillespie and Regan from a free. Robert Wogan, on free taking duties despite the return to action of Bryan Clarke, opened his account on eighteen minutes after referee Martin Griffin spotted an off the ball foul. A minute later came the only goal of the hour when James Conlon was picked out with a gem of a pass from Meath U-21 player Sean Noonan who threaded the ball through the eye of a needle to pick out Conlon and he made no mistake as he drilled his effort past Mark Brennan to raise the green flag.

Over the winter months each year the local hunts can regularly be seen around the parish but it’s highly doubtful that the hounds of the Ward Union, Meath Hunt or Tara Harriers work together in packs in the manner of the Seneschalstown defenders on Sunday morning as they, often in threes and fours bottled up the O’Mahonys forwards and forced numerous turnovers with their disciplined tackling.

Robert Wogan soon landed another point from a free but by half time the sides were level as first Jake Regan and then Cormac McGuinness landed points into the railway end of Fr. Tully Park to tie the game up at the break of play.

The ever-accurate Robert Wogan clipped over his third free of the morning just after the resumption of play when a foul on Bryan Clarke presented him with another opportunity. Mark Brennan was having difficulty picking out his men from the kickouts as Sean Noonan and Damien Sheridan were imposing themselves at midfield and proving to be very difficult to bypass.

Three rapid-fire points from Niall Groome, Jonathan Gilsenan and James Conlon came in the space of four minutes, Conlon’s coming after he was picked out once more with an excellent delivery from Sean Noonan who was really getting into his stride. Two points in a row from O’Mahony’s saw the margin between the sides come down to two points but Seneschalstown responded in an impressive manner as they lofted over four points on the bounce through a brace apiece from Bryan Clarke and Joe Sheridan, with the intensity of the tackling proving key to these scores once more. Clarke’s fortieth minute point came after Jonathan Gilsenan put his body on the line to force a turnover in the half forward line while Sheridan’s score three minutes later came directly from two block downs deep in the Seneschalstown defence with led to a swift counter attack and point from the Meath panellist.

Two more Navan O’Mahony’s points came as the clock ticked towards the fiftieth minute but in the closing ten minutes it was all Seneschalstown as they pulled clear in similar fashion to Our Duke in the Irish Grand National just a few days previously.

Sean Noonan capped his performance off with a well-deserved point as he drove through the O’Mahonys defence before Joe Sheridan fielded a long-range Bryan Clarke free before offloading out to Meath Minor Cathal Finnegan who clinically tapped over. Young Finnegan then sent over his second in what was an impressive cameo when he angled over a fabulous point from out on the left, the shouts of appreciation from the clubhouse side of the ground being heard long before the ball had gone over the blackspot.

Robert Wogan then picked off a point from play when he battled very hard to manufacture a scoring opportunity before Joe Sheridan brought the scoring to a close as he sent over off his left boot in stoppage time as the rain began to fall in the latest shower of rain began to cause the umbrellas to be put up.

They hadn’t to remain up for too long though as Martin Griffin soon brought proceedings to a close with Seneschalstown leading by nine points when the final whistle sounded.

Best for the David Hosie managed side were the very impressive Noonan, Niall McCabe who was excellent at wing back and Niall Groome who covered every blade of grass in a powerful performance.

Seneschalstown: David Gordon, Conor Cowley, David Matthews, Niall Hickey, Teean Cummins, Cormac Noonan, Niall McCabe, Sean Noonan (0-01), Damien Sheridan, Jonathan Gilsenan (0-01), Joe Sheridan (0-03), Niall Groome (0-02), Robert Wogan (0-04, 0-03 Frees), James Conlon (1-01), Bryan Clarke (0-02).

Seneschalstown Substitutions: Ronan Conneely for T. Cummins, Cathal Finnegan (0-02) for J. Conlon.

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