Fox stars as final spot secured

LMFM Meath Minor Championship Division 3 Semi-Final

Seneschalstown 3-11 North Meath Gaels 0-07

Under the Simonstown floodlights Seneschalstown’s Minors qualified for their fourth final in three seasons when accounting for the challenge of North Meath Gaels. While the winning margin may look comfortable the true story of the game would tell a different tale. Over the hour the amalgamation kicked twelve wides while also seeing a good number of goal attempts thwarted.

Boosted by the return to action of David Fox who recently was a member of the Leinster U-18 Interprovincial winning side the Seneschalstown outfit played with a unity of purpose throughout, constantly supporting their teammates with intelligent runs and were showing out in front throughout the game. With twenty one players used in the game this was also a panel effort and it’s this strength in depth that has proven vital in the Championship thus far as never once have the management had a full panel to choose from.

The match go off to a fast paced beginning with three scores kicked inside the opening two minutes. Firstly North Meath Gaels converted a forty five metre free with forty seven seconds on the clock after Seneschalstown had committed two fouls in quick succession. From the resultant kickout David Fox rose highest to claim David Gordon’s kick and when he laid the ball off to Adam Carey the centre back picked out Robert Wogan who then carried the ball at pace before hoisting the ball high over the crossbar. Cathal Finnegan soon edged his side in front when tagging on a point. The powerful Fox kicked his opening score of the game five minutes later when sending the ball sailing between the uprights from forty five minutes after a foul on diminutive corner forward Dylan Keating. Within seconds of his free going over North Meath Gaels clipped over a point following an excellent move to leave just the one point between the sides after eight minutes.

On ten minutes Robert Wogan sent over another free following a foul on Dylan Keating before North Meath Gaels sent over one of their own from the right of the posts. A few minutes later saw Seneschalstown miss a succession of goal attempts as they couldn’t get through some last ditch North Meath Gaels defence while the right hand post was also rattled in this time. North Meath Gaels then created a goal chance but under pressure from Richard McKeown and goalkeeper David Gordon who had advanced off his line the corner forward saw his fisted effort drop to the right and wide. Cathal Finnegan was beginning to cause some difficulties with his intelligent off the ball running and on eighteen minutes he drew a foul with the resultant free popped over by Robert Wogan.

Then came the decisive spell for Seneschalstown as they rattled off three goals and a point in a twelve minute spell while holding North Meath Gaels scoreless at the other end of the field. Firstly some brilliantly powerful tacking from David Fox engineered a turnover in front of his team’s bench and from the resultant passage of play Cathal Finnegan saw his powerful shot beat the goalkeeper and nestle in the back of the net. He followed this up with a point from play before after being fouled himself as he lined up a shot Ryan O’Dowd picked himself up off the floor before rolling the ball into the bottom left corner of the goal. Seneschalstown were now flying and with twenty nine minutes on the clock Finnegan appeared to be pulled down in the square but referee Dessie Smith who was well placed waved play on. The third goal then arrived in stoppage time when after great play from Adam Carey, Niall Hickey fed O’Dowd who made no mistake as he grabbed his second goal in six minutes.

This proved to be the final score of the half as Cathal Finnegan saw his late opportunity well saved and left Seneschalstown firmly in the driving seat at the break in play as they led by 3-06 to 0-04.

North Meath Gaels made the better start to the second half as they dominated possession while holding Seneschalstown scoreless for the opening fourteen minutes. However disappointingly for them they only managed to reduce the deficit by two points in this spell. In the midst of this period of dominance they managed to create one excellent goal chance but David Gordon proved up to the task as he managed to save the shot with his foot despite appearing to be caught off balance.

Seneschalstown managed to bring their mini drought to an end when Dylan Keating took full advantage of a poor kickout to send the ball straight back over the crossbar. David Fox soon followed up with a forty five before on forty six minutes his side saw an opportunity to close the game out missed when Ryan O’Dowd sent his goal attempt wide when he had two teammates inside him. Not to mind though as his side managed to kick the next score. Wing back Colin Walsh raced out in front of his opponent and when he scooped up possession Walsh picked out Robert Wogan who made no mistake as he pointed. North Meath Gaels replied with a point before with forty nine minutes elapsed Niall Hickey saw a goal effort fly wide.

As the game drifted into the final ten minutes Eoin Finnegan sent over a brilliant free from a narrow angle just before David Fox showed great defensive awareness to claw out a goal bound shot. From this point on there was to be just the one further score when a Shane Mulvany effort which to many appeared to have drifted the wrong side of the post was adjudged to have just gone inside according to the referee. North Meath Gaels kept plugging away as they looked for the goals they needed but thanks to brilliant defensive play and one outstanding save from substitute goalie Ruairí McDonagh Seneschalstown’s goal remained intact as they held out for an impressive twelve point victory.

On an evening when they had impressive performances all over the field the platform provided by the excellent midfield duo of David Fox and Niall Hickey proved crucial as did the energy and tight marking offered by the half back triumvirate of Colin Walsh, Adam Carey and Conor Cantwell while up front Ryan O’Dowd’s two goals were crucial in opening up the half time lead. Now all focus turns to Sunday’s U-21 Championship game against Gaeil Colmcille in which many of the panel are involved and then after that the threat posed by Duleek/Bellewstown will prove a very challenging hurdle to cross in the final.

Seneschalstown: David Gordon, Ruairí Keogh, Brian Maguire, Richard McKeown, Colin Walsh, Adam Carey, Conor Cantwell, Niall Hickey, David Fox (0-02, 0-01 Free, 0-01 ’45), Alan Mulvany, Ryan O’Dowd (2-01, 1-00 Penalty, 0-01 Free), Robert Wogan (0-03, 0-01 Free), Cathal Finnegan (1-02), Eoin Finnegan (0-01, 0-01 Free), Dylan Keating(0-01).

Seneschalstown Substitutions: Daire Finnegan for R. McKeown (black card), Shane Mulvany (0-01) for D. Keating, Daniel O’Reilly for A. Mulvany, Adam McCabe for C. Cantwell, Eoin O’Reilly for R. Keogh, Ruairí McDonagh for D. Gordon.

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