Meath Yearbook 2009

Keegan returns as Seneschalstown pace themselves to perfection

Seneschalstown made the most of scraping through to the last eight of the 2009 Commons Hardware Meath Senior Football Championship by improving considerably in the home straight to claim the title for the second time in three years and their fourth overall. By Noel Coogan.

As in 2007, the Yellow Furze side suffered two defeats in the group stages as well as being held to a draw. But a slip-up by Simonstown Gaels allowed Seneschalstown to sneak past the Navan side on score difference and Damien Sheridan's charges took full advantage of such a twist of fate.
After turning in a highly impressive display to demolish previously unbeaten Skryne at the quarter-final stage, the Ciaran Macken-captained team got the better of Summerhill by the minimum margin before taking 140 minutes to see off the brave bid by Wolfe Tones in the final.
Remarkably three of Seneschalstown's Keegan Cup triumphs were gained in replayed finals with Navan O'Mahonys being beaten in 1972 and 2007. They lost to Summerhill in a final replay in 1977.
The Yellow Furze side had the incentive to do better in the SFC than in 2008 when they won just one of their four group games but gained some compensation by taking possession of the Feis Cup for the second successive year, The 2009 championship campaign got off to the best possible start for Seneschalstown with a 0-11 to 0-9 victory over holders Navan O'Mahonys in a Sunday evening clash at Pairc Tailteann. The winners began that game with 14 of their starting team in the drawn county final.
The sides were level at 0-6 each at the halfway stage in that opening clash and it 0-9 each with six minutes to go before points from Ciaran Macken and Damien Sheridan gave Seneschalstown the victory. That game was marred by a melee involving a number of players from each side after the final whistle, The Yellow Furze side came back down to earth in the second round when St Patrick's inflicted a 1-10 to 1-8 defeat in Ashbourne Seneschalstown did not manage to get into the lead at any stage in that encounter and were behind by 1-3 to 1-7 at the break.
Damien Sheridan had a suspension imposed following the incidents after the first round win nullified and he played at centrefield alongside younger brother Brian. The third of the brothers, Joe, netted the losers' goal, from a penalty at the start of the second quarter.
Seneschalstown were involved in an exciting third round tussle at Pairc Tailteann but they must have felt annoyed with themselves for letting a lead of nine points melt away in the second period as Simonstown Gaels battled back to snatch a 1-15 each draw, It was 1-9 to 0-3 at the break with Damien Sheridan netting following a Brian Clarke cross for the last score of the first half. Although three points from Joe Sheridan left seven between the sides in the second half, Seneschalstown were unable to hold on to their advantage.
When Donaghmore/Ashbourne scored a surprise 1-7 to 1-6 win over them in Ratoath when the SFC resumed after the long break, the odds against Seneschalstown qualifying for the closing stages had increased considerably. A total of 13 wides proved costly for the Yellow Furze side in that outing.
They had got off to a good start with Joe Sheridan driving a penalty to the net in the second minute, Brian Clarke having been fouled for the kick. However, they could only add a pointed free from Clarke in the first half and they trailed by 1-1 to 1-6 at the break.
Although the arrears were pared down to the minimum in the second half, a few good chances of scores were wasted. Seneschalstown looked unlikely to advance following this defeat with Navan O'Mahonys, Simonstown Gaels and St Patrick's above them in Group A.
However, Donaghmore/Ashbourne did Seneschalstown a big favour by defeating Simonstown by six points in the last round while Damien Sheridan's side had eight points (2-15 to 0-13) to spare over Duleek/Bellewstown at Pairc Tailteann. They scraped through to the last eight by two points on score difference.
Seneschalstown performed better in round five and led by 0-10 to 0-5 at the break with Gary Conlon sending over three points. Two goals early in the second half put them comfortably on the way to the win. Joe Sheridan scored the first from a penalty and Brian Clarke netted the second.
The Yellow Furze side also registered 2-15 in their quarter-final outing against fancied Skryne who totalled 1-10. The display that afternoon was enough to convince most of those in the Pairc Tailteann attendance that the 2007 winners were again very serious Keegan Cup contenders.
After Shane Clarke gave Seneschalstown an early lead from a free, they were not headed. Brian Sheridan, Brian Clarke and Stephen Finnegan put over points before Brian Clarke took a pass from Gary Conlon to net the first goal on 16 minutes to leave the board reading 1-6 to 0-1.
The board would make even better reading for Seneschalstown supporters two minutes later when wing back Mark Carey moved upfield and latch on to a delivery from Joe Sheridan and fire the second goal. It was 2-7 to 0-1 and 2-10 to 0-3 at the break.
The leaders could afford to take their feet off the pedals in the second half as their lead was reduced from 13 points to eight. The bookmakers had cut their price to lift the Keegan Cup to 5/2 from an earlier 7/1.
Seneschalstown's semi-final against Summerhill was a close contest before a late Brian Clarke pointed 45 left his side slender winners by 0-14 to 1-10. Extra-time looked likely before Joe Sheridan had a shot blocked out over the end line and the resultant kick was sent sailing between the uprights.
There wasn't much between the sides in an intriguing contest and they were on level terms three times before a goal from substitute Conor Gillespie after 24 minutes boosted Summerhill into a 1-5 to 0-6 interval advantage.
Seneschalstown wasted little time about getting back on equal terms on the restart and points from Brian Clarke and Stephen Finnegan in the opening minute raised their hopes. Two points from Shane Clarke early in the last quarter left as much between the sides before Summerhill drew level in added time.
Then the younger of the Clarke brothers proved a hero to coolly slot over the winning score. After that victory, Seneschalstown had a long wait before knowing their final opponents and eventually they got to meet Wolfe Tones in a novel decider three weeks later.
There had been no shortage of controversy over the playing of extra-time for a few weeks before the 2009 Keegan Cup decider and the winners due to play in the Leinster club championship seven days later, the two competing teams had agreed to play an additional 20 minutes if they were level after the hour.
It was suggested in some quarters before the game that there would be little between the sides and so it proved with the board reading 1-9 each at the end of regulation time and then the two additional periods failed to separate them as they eventually the county ground locked together on 1-13 apiece.
Seneschalstown went into the final as second favourites and they were in arrears for most of the 80 minutes, a goal netted by Cian Ward in the second minute forcing them to play catch-up. But they displayed admirable battling qualities to retrieve a deficit of five points in the second half.
After falling four points in arrears, Seneschalstown recovered to be back on level terms after 10 minutes. Stephen Finnegan got them on the board with a point and then Gary Conlon punched to the net when a miss-hit free by Shane Clarke dropped around the goal area.
A converted free by Brian Clarke left it 1-2 to 1-1 before Tones ended a 16-minute barren spell and went on to lead by 1-6 to 1-2 at the break before Ward increased the advantage from a difficult free early in the second period. Seneschalstown had the backing of the breeze in the second half but, despite constant pressure, they found scores difficult to come by.
Brian Sheridan fired a terrific score under pressure and Brian Clarke also sent a high shot sailing between the uprights. A Stephen Finnegan point on 49 minutes could have been a goal. Finnegan had an impressive outing with a contribution of four points.
The fourth of them, following a pass from Joe Sheridan, edged his side into a 1-9 to 1-8 lead and came immediately after Brian Sheridan levelled from a free on the hour after brother Joe was fouled.
Seneschalstown appeared to have done enough but then another Sheridan, Gerry, a cousin of the aforementioned, was harshly penalised for over-holding and Ward completed the simple task of slotting over the close-in free from in front of the posts.
Seneschalstown had wind advantage again in the first period of extra-time and regained the lead with points from Brian Sheridan (free) and Brian Clarke Then it was another 15 minutes before registering their next score, a Brian Sheridan free from the left.
That left the scores 1-12 each and when Ward kicked over his seventh free from a hotly-disputed award, it looked as if Seneschalstown might be disappointed. However, neither side deserved to lose and justice was done when Brian Sheridan steered a difficult kick between the uprights.
Remarkably there was a slightly bigger attendance at the Thursday night replay when the weather was milder than four days earlier. The quality of football was also higher than in the initial encounter with the attendance of around just short of 5,000 getting good value for the reduced admission price of 10 euro.
Seneschalstown won by 2-8 to 1-8 with two goals in rapid succession at the start of the second quarter proving decisive. Overall it was a case of the winners taking their scoring chances better with some misses by Tones in the early stages meaning that they never led.
After Cian Ward only managed a point from a penalty, Shane Clarke, whose brother Brian did not start because of injury, made it 0-2 to 0-1 from a long-range free on the quarter hour mark.
Then the three Sheridan brothers took centre stage. First Joe fired a sideline kick towards the posts at the town end and Brian got a hand to the ball to fist to the net. The cheering for that score had hardly died down when Joe fired an unstoppable shot past David Nolan following a delivery from Damien.
It was 2-3 to 0-1 and the margin became nine points when Gary Conlon hit the target. The new champions scored 2-3 of their 2-8 in a seven-minute spell. After putting a few point chances outside the uprights in the second period, Seneschalstown had to withstand an amount of pressure in the closing stages and were grateful that 'keeper David Lyons brought off a number of important saves, including a brilliant stop from Gordon Beggy near the final whistle.
After looking unlikely champions during the group stages, Seneschalstown found their best form at the right time and their performances in the latter rounds showed that they were worthy of being crowned again. It was another string to Damien Sheridan's bow and the selectors were Mickey Dillon, Tommy Dillon and Shane Finnegan.
The Seneschalstown team and scorers in the replayed 2009 Meath SFC final : David Lyons; Paul Carey, Andrew Collins, Gerry Sheridan; Mark Carey (0-1), Joe Cowley, Stephen Sheridan; Joe Sheridan (1-2), Damien Sheridan; Gary Conlon (0-1), Ciaran Macken (captain), Stephen Finnegan; Robert Ruddy (0-1), Brian Sheridan (1-2), Shane Clarke (0-1), Subs - Tommy Ledwidge for Clarke, Cormac Duffy for s Sheridan, Brian Clarke for Ruddy.
Just three days after their county triumph, Seneschalstown were back in action, playing against Portlaoise in the Leinster club championship at O'Moore Park. Playing for the third time in eight days, the odds were stacked against the Meath representatives and the Laois side won by 12 points, 3-12 to 1-6.
They held their own in the first half but failing to convert a couple of good goal chances as well as missing point opportunities proved detrimental to prospects of upsetting the favourites. Portlaoise led by 2-6 to 0-5 at the break and Stephen Sheridan grabbed a late consolation goal for the losers.

Minor success

Seneschalstown showed that have some promising young footballers on the way up with a Minor League Division 3A success, gained with a 2-9 to 1-9 final victory over Wolfe Tones at Pairc Tailteann.
Two goals from James Conlon helped the Yellow Furze side lead by 2-3 to 0-5 at the break Goalie Ciaran Flynn, Aidan Finnegan, Adam Gleeson and Mark and Jonathon Gilsenan were others to impress for the winners.
Seneschalstown team and scorers in the MFL Division 3A final : Ciaran Flynn; Niall Groome, Cormac Noonan; Tim Kiernan, Sean McCabe, Damien McDonnell; Aidan Finnegan, Adam Gleeson (0-2); Gerard McKendry (0-1), Mark Gilsenan (captain), Thomas Duggan; Jonathon Gilsenan (0-4), James Conlon (2-2). Sub - Mark McFarland for Kiernan.

Double Ladies delight

Seneschalstown's women footballers consolidated their position as queenpins of the game in Meath when taking a ninth Senior Championship in 10 years with a final victory over St Ultan's. They also won the Division 1 League title when defeating Donaghmore/Ashbourne in a replayed final.
The Furze ladies had to depend on a late pointed free by Orla Sheridan to give them a 2-11 to 3-8 draw in the first clash with Donaghmore/Ashbourne at Walterstown.
Goals from Orla Sheridan and Grainne Nulty boosted the Yellow Furze side to a 2-6 to 1-6 interval lead and they were four points to the good at the end of the third quarter. They had inflicted a heavy defeat on Donaghmore/Ashbourne earlier in the competition but it was so different this time.
Seneschalstown made no mistake in the replay when winning by 4-12 to 2-7 at Dunganny. Two goals from Orla Sheridan helped them lead by 2-7 to 1-7 at the break and Eimear O'Carroll, who finished up with 1-7, and Emma Harris also netted for the winners.
The Yellow Furze women, now managed by Brian Carroll, qualified for another championship final with a 2-15 to 2-8 success over Boardsmill and renewed rivalry with St Ultan's, who trounced Donaghmore/Ashbourne by 6-14 to 0-3.
Seneschalstown enjoyed a double scores victory in the final at Ratoath, winning by 0-18 to 0-9. They were well on the way to another title when leading by 0-12 to 0-1 at the break.
Seneschalstown team and scorers in the 2009 Meath SFC final : Louise Byrne; Edel McGrane, Philomena Sheridan (captain), Aonaid McAdam; Aoife Sheridan, Louise McKeever (0-1), Amy Carolan; Siobhan Sheridan (0-1), Mary Sheridan; Roisin Nulty, Eimear O'Carroll (0-2), Orla Sheridan (0-3); Grainne Nulty (0-5), Fiona Mahon (0-6), Debbie Dillon. Sub - Elaine Byrne for R Nulty.
Seneschalstown went on to reach the Leinster club championship final but they failed to repeat the 2003 provincial success when Timahoe of Laois won by 2-8 to 0-12 in Athy. Timahoe got off to a dream start when finding the net in the first minute.
It was 2-4 to 0-6 at the break before Seneschalstown edged into a 0-11 to 2-4 lead at the end of third quarter. However, the Laois side finished the stronger to claim the honours.

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