Meath Yearbook 1989

FURZE FINISH SEASON IN A BLAZE

Seneschalstown break O'Mahonys monopoly on First Division Title

For long spells during the year it looked like Seneschalstown were going to finish the season with nowt to show for their troubles. The minors beaten with a late Ballinabrackey rally and then the seniors, as in '88, twice beaten by Navan O'Mahonys by a mere point in vital championship confrontations. The Furze premier XV also had a good run in the first division of the League and qualified for an October final meeti9ng with arch rivals O'Mahonys at Kilberry. The previous Sunday, Navan had beaten Skryne in the Keegan Cup decider and were the obvious hot favourites.

And would you believe it with less than two minutes remaining, that famous one point still separated matters in the town side's favour, 0-9 to 1-5. Again the headlines looked likely to portray Seneschalstown as unlucky losers. They had stayed in firm contention throughout and a tight marking defence with Kevin Macken, Mal Hickey, Jim Farrell and Paul Donoghue all outstsnding, never gave their elusive opponents the same latitude they enjoyed seven days previously. Navan had first use of the wind but only led 0-4 to 0-3 at the break Within a minute of the resumption matters were level and then 17 year old super sub Conor Macken started to make a name for himself.

First he was hauled down inside the square for Padraig Coyle to blast the resulting penalty kick to the net and then after a Joe Cassells inspired O'Mahonys dominated the middle slot of that second period and Frankie McEvoy had given the champions that 0-9 to 1-5 lead, young Macken struck again. It was his presence that set up Mattie McCabe for a punched goal. A score that broke Navan's monopoly of this particular competition and gave Seneschalstown a thoroughly deserved 2-5 to 0-9 victory. McCabe started on the edge of the opposing square but never came to life until moving to the forty with Jimmy Mullen going to full forward and the Furze's other county man Colm Coyle occupying Mullen's midfield spot.

Coyle was, with his great ability to carry the ball, a constant source of worry to the Navan defence. Younger brother Padraig had a reasonable hour with Gerry Healy and Phonsie Gilsenan also catching the eye at times. McCabe and Padraig Coyle hit 1-1, Healy 0-2 and Gilsenan with 0-1 completed the scoring.

The Seneschalstown team was. F. McCabe. K. Macken. M. Hickey. J. Farrell. P. Finnegan. B. Carey. P. Donoghue. J. Mullen. F. Brannigan. P. Coyle. C. Coyle. G. Healy. P. Carey. M. McCabe. P. Gilsenan. Subs: C. Macken and P. McCabe.

Close encounters of an O'Mahony's kind - But Seneschalstown come out losers each time.

Most of the Seneschalstown players drop into Navan or Smyths of Market Square to be more precise for their favourite pint. But just do not mention Navan and that other type of point to these same people. You could be touching on tender nerves. For three times, within a recent 14 month time span, the Yellow Furze XV went under to the Navan O'Mahony's machine and each occasion and heartbreakingly so, by the most slender of margins - a mere point. A point it was at Skryne in June '88 and then this summer by that similar annoying margin 0-11 to 0-10 and at the same venue.

In this May's encounter or for that matter in '88 the Furze could so very well have emerged victorious. Again the close in frees were missed. Again shots on goal agonisingly missed the target and over the course of the hour never more that a couple of points separated two well matched sides. Still, in this year's championship it did not seem to matter. Seneschalstown came back to later get the better of Moynalvey and St Colmcilles and to wallop a seemingly aging Walterstown side. Thereby providing a situation where it only required an O'Mahonys/Walterstown draw for the Furze to advance. This was the expected result but we should have known never to under estimate the challenge of the All Blacks who proceeded to tear the form book and any type of logic apart, when demolishing the Navan effort in Kells.

Poor old Seneschalstown had to do it all over again and short the suspended Colm Coyle fell heavily to a rejuvenated Waterstown in the play offs. The blacks advanced leaving the other spot between the Furze and the defending champions. Waterstown was now the venue but it brought no change of luck to Mattie McCabe's lot. Even with Coyle back. The only difference was the scoreline. Only just at 0-13 to 2-6. One could sympathise; understand the Furze frustrations. They led for good parts of the proceedings. A last spurt yielded a Conor Macken goal and despite a couple of near things, neither the equaliser or winning score materialised. No third time lucky but as that well known local singer would say, "Whats another year".

FRANK McCABE Returns after 50 years.

The surviving members of the Seneschalstown 1936 Junior Championship team gave a rousing welcome to a "missing" member, Frank McCabe, when he came back on a visit to the Furze parish during the summer of '89. Frank was a prominent and popular player on the 1936 team but emigrated shortly afterwards. Efforts to trace him failed until Gay Byrne read a letter from Conor Brennan seeking the whereabouts of Frank. Immediately there was a reply and the happy ending was when he met his 1936 comrades at a function in Markets Hotel in Slane during the summer.

Mr Billy Dillon, Chairman of the Seneschalstown Club welcomed Frank, his wife Josephine and son Martin prior to making a presentation to him to mark the golden jubilee of the winning of the Meath Junior Championship. Fr Patrick Tully, a team mate of that time, paid tribute to Frank for his interest and love of Gaelic football and said how glad the surviving members were to see him fit and well and back amongst them. Frank, replying, thanked the past and present members of the club and said all had paid him a great honour. Despite the distance from Seneschalstown, he told how he kept in touch with the club's teams through the press and radio. He said he would always cherish happy memories of his playing days with the club and prayed he would be back to visit his great team mates and friends.

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