Howard strikes late to break Kells hearts

Coolrite Refrigeration U-21 Championship Preliminary Round

Seneschalstown 1-10 Gaeil Colmcille 0-12

Progression past the opening round of the Coolrite Refrigeration U-21 Championship was secured on Sunday morning in Simonstown when despite a patchy performance Seneschalstown just about managed to eke out a one point victory over Gaeil Colmcille to earn a quarter final place where they will face off against Skryne. Boosted by an early goal the Seneschalstown youngsters forged into a five point lead but as from there on they faded out of the match and with the Kells outfit winning plenty of frees the match appeared to be slipping away before Ross Howard popped up at the end of a flowing team move to strike the winning point deep into injury time.

Seneschalstown were quickest into the blocks when team captain James Meade hoisted over a point when Ross Howard who had fielded a Niall Lyons free that had dropped short fed him on the loop and Meade made no mistake. On five minutes Daire Geraghty showed impressive attacking instincts when he ran in to fist an Eoin Finnegan shot which had also dropped short into the back of the net. This was an impressive start from the Boynesiders and it got even better when Meade sent over a free a minute later.

Gaeil Colmcille managed to get on the scoreboard for the first time just before the ten minute mark when they sent over a free after John Smith had been punished for a push in the back. Eoin Finnegan replied when after being fouled himself he curled over a free from out on the right hand side. Gaeil Colmcille though took over from this point on as Seneschalstown failed to register a further score for the remainder of the half.

On sixteen minutes Gaeil Colmcille popped over a free before landing a point from play two minutes later. Further frees in the twenty first and twenty eight minutes saw them draw level, the second of which came about when a Seneschalstown free out was turned into a hop ball after a needless indiscretion from goalkeeper David Gordon after the free had been awarded. Just before the interval Seneschalstown lost midfielder David Fox to a black card after he was punished for a slightly mistimed challenge along the sideline, with Darragh Keogh coming on in his place.

Discipline was a key word in the half time team talk but within seconds of the players taking their positions for the second half Gaeil Colmcille were to hit their fifth point of the morning from a free. The length of time Seneschalstown had gone without a score was becoming a matter of great concern amongst their supporters but corner back Niall Hickey looked to settle their nerves when on a foray up from his defensive duties he got on the end of a move involving Brendan Lynch, Sean Noonan and Adam Carey before sending over the crossbar with the aid of the left hand upright.

Gaeil Colmcille hit back with two more pointed frees before James Meade sent over a brilliant point when getting on the end of a Sean Noonan pass, Noonan becoming more influential at this stage of the game. In a bid to improve matters on the field Ronan Conneely now moved to wing back with Niall Hickey going to the centre and Niall Lyons moving upfield. These switches appeared to be working as Seneschalstown went on to kick the next three scores. Firstly James Meade sent over a free before Eoin Finnegan used all his size to nudge his marker out of his way as they contested dropping ball in front of the goal before pointing.

James Meade made it a two point advantage when tagging on his third free of the match on fifty minutes following a foul on Brendan Lynch. The Kells side were battling hard though and they came roaring back into the match with three converted frees in seven minutes, as their free taker put on an exhibition of point scoring. This left Seneschalstown looking down the barrel of defeat with just a minute of the regulation hour remaining. However Niall Hickey who was immense throughout had other ideas when he drew the sides level with time almost up and then in the third minute of injury time after great work by the defenders Ross Howard powered past his marker to drive over what turned out to be the winning point after he got on the end of a move involving Sean Noonan, Eddie Meade, Niall Lyons, Eoin Finnegan and Darragh Keogh.

While happy to have recoded the victory Seneschalstown will be all too aware that they must improve beyond recognition if they are to progress further in the competition. Over the hour they conceded ten points from frees and this in particular will need to be addressed. On the positive side they ground out the victory on a day in which their performance levels weren’t where they would like to be and this will give them confidence that if they do improve they can go far in the competition. Best for them today were Niall Hickey, James Meade and following his introduction Darragh Keogh.

Seneschalstown: David Gordon, Mark Fox, John Smith, Niall Hickey, Niall McCabe, Niall Lyons, Adam Carey, David Fox, Sean Noonan, Daire Geraghty, James Meade, Ronan Conneely, Eoin Finnegan, Brendan Lynch, Ross Howard.

Seneschalstown Substitutions: Darragh Keogh for D. Fox (Black Card), Eddie Meade for D. Geraghty (inj.), Colin Walsh for N. McCabe (inj.).

Theme by Danetsoft and Danang Probo Sayekti inspired by Maksimer