Minor League Ambitions Ended

LMFM Minor Football League Division 3 Semi-Final

Seneschalstown 2-09 Na Fianna 4-16

The long journey east from Baconstown and Enfield proved to be a profitable one for Na Fianna’s Minors as they stormed Fr. Tully Park and earned the victory which granted them safe passage through to the Minor Division 3 Football League following a barnstorming display in the final fifteen minutes during which they racked up an impressive two goals and eight points. Up to this point the game was very keenly contested with Seneschalstown although hampered by injuries to key players performing well and indeed the sides were tied after forty five minutes when Robert Wogan pointed a free which left the game appearing to be delicately poised. From there to the close though Na Fianna put their foot on the accelerator and pulled clear from their hosts to guarantee themselves a place in the final against Oldcastle.

This defeat will be a tough defeat for Seneschalstown’s players to swallow as earlier in the year they had beaten the same Na Fianna outfit by ten points and would have been confident of progressing into the final. Having won U-16 and U-17 Leagues they were looking to complete the hat trick this year but now they will have to watch on while the sides from the west and north of the county contest the final and begin the process of preparing themselves for the upcoming Championship.

In the opening five minutes Seneschalstown struggled to get the final ball in to their inside forward line to stick and it was Na Fianna who were quickest to settle as they pointed with only ninety seconds on the clock. On ten minutes they registered for the second time after their full forward sent over when he could have gone for goal after stealing inside the Seneschalstown full back line. Indeed their start could have been all the better had goalkeeper Ruairí McDonagh not pulled off a fine stop when flinging himself high to his left to claw a goal bound shot to safety.

The home side got their opening score on eleven minutes when after Dylan Keating was given some assistance falling over as he went to pick the ball up, Eoin Finnegan sent the resultant free over from forty metres. Na Fianna were playing well and in reply to this score they pointed twice in succession from play. Dylan Keating, who was looking lively at top of the left, then popped over his side’s second point when getting on the end of a sweeping move which started when McDonagh sent a long ball out to Robert Wogan who then found Adam Carey. Carey spotted the flying corner forward and Keating made no mistake to notch his point. Carey then added a point of his own when seeing his right footed effort go over off the left hand upright.

Seneschalstown soon added a fourth point when after Cathal Finnegan got a nudge in the back as he jumped for the ball Robert Wogan sent over a fourteen metre free. Finnegan then placed Ryan O’Dowd who sent over a sumptuous point from outside the forty five and which curled just inside the post at the last second to edge his side into a one point advantage. Na Fianna though got back on level terms on twenty six minutes when pointing after taking a short free kick and catching Seneschalstown napping. They then when grabbing a goal and a point on the lead in towards half time but the side in blue did manage to reduce the margin to three points when Wogan pointed on the stroke of half time. Indeed he could have gone for goal but deciding on a safety first option Wogan tapped the ball over the bar.

The Seneschalstown management team of Michael Mullen and Paul Finnegan would have been urging their side at half time to get off to a quick start at the outset of the second period and that’s exactly what happened when they notched the most fortuitous of goals in the third minute of the half. Robert Wogan, from out on the right went for a point but with his shot dropping well short the Na Fianna goalkeeper came out to gather possession. He though misjudged the balls flight and it when it bounced it skidded under his foot and into the back of the net. Suddenly, from out of nowhere the sides were tied once more. Tigerish tackling from their defence, in particular from Ruairí Keogh and David Fox let to a turnover and following a swift counter attack young Cathal Finnegan pointed.

Similar to how Seneschalstown got their last score off a counter attack Na Fianna were soon to grab a score of their own in similar fashion. As Colin Walsh looked to start an attack up his left flank his pass was intercepted with the Na Fianna midfielder gleefully latching onto possession. He carried forward strongly before unleashing a powerful shot past Ruairí McDonagh off the underside of his crossbar.

Moments later though Seneschalstown hit back in sensational fashion. Dylan Doyle got on to a loose ball in the middle of the field before laying it off to Adam Carey. Carey spotted Doyle’s centerfield partner Ryan O’Dowd in support and O’Dowd unleashed a rasper of a shot into the corner of the goal from all of thirty metres. One of the greatest goals scored in Fr. Tully Park for many a year. The side from the west of the county steadied themselves following this setback with two points to edge back into a one point advantage before Robert Wogan pointed his second free of the game after Cathal Finnegan had done well to win his side a free.

Na Fianna though began to get on top around the middle of the field and in the space of two minutes entering the final quarter managed to tag on three points to leave a goal between the sides. Just after these scores, Seneschalstown’s influential full back David Fox, who had moved outfield in an attempt to drive his side on went down with an injury. This left the powerful player hampered for the remainder of the game. Na Fianna soon added a brace of points to push five to the good before Dylan Keating reduced the margin to four when his goal attempt just flew over the crossbar following good play from Colin Walsh, Conor Cantwell and Adam Carey. Ryan O’Dowd went within the width of the post of scoring another cracking goal seconds later but from this point to the finish Na Fianna took over.

Between the fifty eight and sixtieth minutes they really turned the screw on their hosts as they reeled off two goals and three points in just three minutes to put a gloss on the scoreboard which in truth did the Seneschalstown side a disservice as it failed to accurately reflect the overall pattern of the game.

Seneschalstown will now have to regroup and with the Leaving Certificate for some and the Junior Certificate for some others just around the corner football will take something of a back seat before they get their Championship preparations underway. It they can get the injuries which affected them both before and during this game sorted prior to the commencement of the Championship it would be a brave person who would predict against them bringing silverware back to the club for the third year in succession.

Seneschalstown Scorers: Seneschalstown Scorers: Robert Wogan 1-03 (0-02 Free), Ryan O'Dowd 1-01, Dylan Keating 0-02, Adam Carey 0-01, Eoin Finnegan 0-01 Free, Cathal Finnegan 0-01.

Seneschalstown: Ruairí McDonagh, Ruairí Keogh, David Fox, Louis Healy, Richard McKeown, Conor Cantwell, Colin Walsh, Dylan Doyle, Ryan O’Dowd, Adam Carey, Eoin Finnegan, Brian Maguire, Cathal Finnegan, Robert Wogan, Dylan Keating.

Seneschalstown Substitutions: David Gordon for Brian Maguire, Eoin O’Reilly for Richard McKeown, Shane Mulvany for Dylan Keating, Mark Kennedy for C. Finnegan, Daire Corcoran for R. Wogan.

Link to Fixture: 
Minor League Semi-Final

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