Gaels Blow Quarter Final Hopes Off Course Meath Senior Football Championship Group B Round 4

Simonstown Gaels 3-13 Seneschalstown 1-10

Following a mid-season break of ninety one days Seneschalstown resumed their Meath Senior Football Championship campaign in a blustery Páirc Tailteann on Sunday afternoon. With three points out of a possible six so far and their opponents Simonstown with the maximum victory was required to keep their hopes of coming in the top two in the group and thus secure direct passage into the quarter finals. However, while they led by double scores, eight points to four at half time these ambitions were blown off course as Simonstown hit them with a whirlwind display in the second half to eventually emerge victorious by nine points, 3-13 to 1-10.

The men from the Proudstown Road were the first to register a score when after Shane O’Rourke carried the ball forward from the throw in Padraig McKeever got on the end of a pass from the county player and pointed. Seneschalstown hit back three minutes later when Brian Sheridan equalised after a good move involving his brother Damien, Ciaran Macken and James Byrne. In response to this early equaliser Simonstown picked off two points in a row courtesy of McKeever again and a converted free from Sean Tobin.

Joe Sheridan looked to steady the ship for his side when getting a fist to a Bryan Clarke free to divert the ball over the bar following a foul on James Meade. Simonstown though responded with a second free of the match from the accurate Tobin. Clarke then kicked two frees in a row from the thirteen metre line as the long ball into Sheridan began to reap dividends, the full forward being fouled for both. Sheridan then picked off his second point of the game when after Mark Carey had intercepted a stray ball in defence it was worked upfield and in spite of the presence of two markers Joe fired over the bar from thirty metres to push his side into the lead for the first time in the match.

Robert Ruddy, operating today at wing forward then kicked a booming effort between the posts from way out on the left as he took full advantage of the wind. Seneschalstown sensed that a goal would be a fantastic boost and in the seventeenth minute Sheridan rattled the bar with a bullet of an effort before Clarke had his follow up effort blocked and Simonstown managed to eventually clear the danger. James Byrne, often good for a point, stretched the Seneschalstown advantage to three in the twenty third minute when after a patient build up started when Bryan Clarke forced a turnover in the Simonstown defence. A fallow period of another seven minutes followed before a pointed free from Brian Sheridan brought the first half scoring to a close with Seneschalstown in the ascendancy on the scoreboard by four points but question marks as to whether that advantage would be enough as they would have to play against the elements in the second period.

In their recent league match against Skryne Seneschalstown were hit with the body blow of conceding a goal and two points in the opening minutes of the second half and today Simonstown repeated the dose. After twenty two seconds the lively corner forward Nathan O’Brien scored his sides first score in twenty three minutes and less than a minute later his point was added to by another from McKeever after his team had won the kickout. This blitzkrieg continued apace when straightaway a long ball into the Seneschalstown square caused much confusion and Andrew Kearney capitalised on this confusion to flick the ball past David Lyons and immediately wipe out the Seneschalstown half time advantage and send the Gaels a point ahead.

Kearney kicked a free after thirty nine minutes, the free awarded for a pull on a forwards jersey before Stephen Moran goaled after getting on the end of a sweeping move through the heart of the Seneschalstown defence. Another free from Kearney stretched the Simonstown lead out to six before Ciaran Macken handed the now struggling Seneschalstown a lifeline when flashing a shot past Ronan Duffy to narrow the margin between the teams to three. Mackens' goal coming after a brilliant team move started by a short kick out from Lyons to Mark Carey, Carey worked the ball to James Meade who then found Joe Sheridan, now playing out the field, who passed to Macken to score.

The response from the team clad in sky blue though was impressive and three points in four minutes, including Tobin’s third free of the match following the goal took their advantage back out to six.

Seneschalstown tried their best to launch a comeback and they did give themselves some hope when kicking two points in the fifty third minute. Brian Sheridan notched another free before Joe kicked a superb left footed effort under pressure. However, Simonstown were in no humour to be denied and kicked a goal and two points from play to end the second half in the same manner as they had started it in. The goal was the first of these scores to arrive as once more the ball was carried through the centre of the Seneschalstown defence before Moran flicked in his second major of the match after getting on the end of a pass from McKeever. The centre forward then turned from provider to finisher when pointing before Kearney finished off the scoring with his sides thirteenth point of the match.

Seneschalstown will be very disappointed with how the game ran away from them in the second half and must now regroup in advance of their Round 5 game against Gaeil Colmcille which they need to win to guarantee avoiding being dragged into a relegation dogfight.

Seneschalstown Scorers: Ciaran Macken 1-00, Joe Sheridan 0-03, Brian Sheridan 0-03 (0-02 Frees), Bryan Clarke 0-02 (0-02 Frees), Robert Ruddy 0-01, James Byrne 0-01.

Seneschalstown: David Lyons, Niall Groome, Paul Carey, Sean McCabe, Mark Carey, James Byrne, Niall McCabe, Brian Sheridan, Damien Sheridan, Robert Ruddy, Ciaran Macken, Gary Conlon, James Meade, Joe Sheridan, Bryan Clarke.

Seneschalstown Substitutions: Sean Noonan for Niall McCabe, Joe Cowley for J. Byrne, Niall Myons for C. Macken.

Simonstown Gaels Scorers: Andrew Kearney 1-05 (0-02 Frees), Stephen Moran 2-00, Padraig McKeever 0-04, Sean Tobin 0-03 (0-03 Frees), Nathan O’Brien 0-01.

Simonstown Gaels- Ronan Duffy, Niall McMahon, Eanna Donoghue, Niall Kane, Mark Gardiner, Joe Lyons, Colin Wickham, Shane O'Rourke, Shane Barry, Sean Tobin, Padraig McKeever, Stephen Moran, Nathan O'Brien, Mark McCabe, Andrew Kearney.

Simonstown Substitutions - Declan Gaffney for N. O'Brien, Wayne McCarthy for M. McCabe.

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