Junior B Final

Seneschalstown ………………. 3-13
Clonard ……………………………. 0-12

The final scoreline wouldn’t suggest so, but for 55 minutes this was a close and exciting Junior B FC final at Pairc Tailteann last Sunday and in the end it was Seneschalstown’s superior fitness which proved decisive, writes Carlo Divito.

Up until that late stage there was only two points between the teams (0-12 to 2-8) and if Clonard’s Tony Roche had converted a 53rd minute penalty it could have been a completely different story.

But full credit to Seneschalstown, they battled bravely throughout and that power packed finish made them deserving winners.

The Yellow Furze outfit set their stall from the third minute when the outstanding Alan Geraghty netted after a scrappy goalmouth scramble. And from that moment onwards, they never trailed.

But the final scoreline doesn’t do justice to Clonard. They gave as good as they got for the majority of the contest and the 10-point winning margin is by no means a fair reflection when you consider that 1-3 of the winners total came during the six minutes of injury time which referee, Robbie Woods, added on.

Referee Robbie Woods could have called time after 64 minutes when Seneschalstown held a six point lead but he allowed the action to continue.

And in the final two minutes, a third goal compounded Clonard’s misery while the winners were dealt a blow when Gareth McGuirk was sent-off for a second bookable offence.

Woods was also guilty of stopping play prematurely. On three occasions during the first half he called play back when Clonard were in possession and on two of the three circumstances, goal chances were available.

But the questionable decisions didn’t take away from the excitement which was generated by two enthusiastic groups of supporters.

The Seneschalstown gathering had plenty to cheer about after the first quarter when Geraghty’s early tally of 1-3 gave them a two point advantage (1-3 to 0-4).

And the Clonard faithful were in full voice during the second quarter after a brace of points from the impressive Roche and one each from Francis Hoey and Mark Gannon levelled the game (0-8 to 1-5) at the break.

Meath hurling star Gannon was in fine form throughout for Clonard as was midfielder Hoey and full-back Enda Darby. And Seneschalstown boasted outstanding performances from Kevin Clarke and their midfield duo McGuirk and Alan Oakes.

But it was the two number 13’s who stole the scoring honours. Roche registered 0-7 (all frees) for Clonard and Alan Geraghty was in exceptional form scoring 2-6 (4 frees) of the winner’s total.

It was Geraghty’s third successful free which restored Seneschalstown’s lead after five minutes of the second half and that produced a tit for tat exchange which left the teams level again (0-11 to 1-8) at the end of the third quarter.

But then came the Seneschalstown breakthrough. A long ball towards the square from McGuirk had the Clonard backs at sixes and sevens and their attempted clearance fell straight to David Geraghty who made space before shooting past Clonard net-minder David Campbell.

But Clonard were unperturbed. They narrowed the gap after Roche’s seventh free and were given a golden opportunity to lead for the first time when Niall Walsh was brought down in the 53rd minute but Roche’s poorly struck spot-kick presented no problems to Ollie Mulvany.

That signalled the end for the south Meath team and Seneschalstown’s late scoring spree which culminated in a second goal for Alan Geraghty sealed the outcome and earned captain Ollie Mulvany the honour of accepting the cup from County Board vice-chairman Tommy Collins.

Seneschalstown – O. Mulvaney, R. Lynch, B. Collier, G. McDonnell, Gordon McGuirk, G. Dixon, J. Raleigh, Gareth McGuirk (0-1), A. Oakes (0-1), D. McGovern (0-1), W. Smith (0-1), K. Clarke, A. Geraghty (2-6), D. Geraghty (1-0), C. Carter. Subs: C. Monaghan (0-2) for McGovern, B. Carey (0-1) for Clarke, G. McGovern for Carter.

Clonard – D. Campbell, J. Holtan, E. Darby, K. O’Rafferty, B. Leech, M. Mulvin, A. Lynam, F. Hoey (0-1), P. Donnellan, M. Gannon (0-1), N. Walsh (0-1), T. Duignan (0-1), T. Roche (0-7), E. Campbell (0-1), I. Campbell. Subs: P. Boland for Donnellan, D. Murray for Leech.

Referee – R. Woods (Athboy).

This report was first published in the Meath Chronicle in 1996

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