Much improved performance nets victory

LMFM Minor League Division 3 Round 3

Longwood/Clonard 2-09 Seneschalstown 4-11

On a night when the rain fell in such torrents that a fox wouldn't be put out of a henhouse the Minor footballers of Longwood/Clonard and Seneschalstown served up an entertaining game of football in Round 3 of the Minor League with Seneschalstown coming out on top largely thanks to a blistering thirty second spell on the stroke of half time when they rocked their hosts with a two goal salvo.

With a few switches in personnel and more positional from their opening round defeat to Oldcastle this was a much improved performance from Seneschalstown with a noticeable increase in workrate throughout the hour. Ruairí McDonagh was one of the returnees and he was alert to any danger during the game and picked out his men intelligently from the kickouts.

Few would have predicted the end result after a few minutes of the match when after a lightening quick start Longwood/Clonard found themselves ahead by 1-02 to 0-00. Just thirty-six seconds had elapsed when they registered their first point from play and this was followed up with a very well taken goal before the second minute had elapsed. Their opening salvo was then completed with a further point from play.

Seneschalstown must at this stage have had thoughts of their opening round performance against Oldcastle in their mind-set but they soon settled down to the task at hand and had their first score on the board after five minutes when after being picked out by a Dylan Keating hand pass Cathal Finnegan opened his account with a fine left footed point. Finnegan then hit a second point after being picked out with a wonderfully angled pass from out the field by his elder brother Eoin. The steady comeback continued when Robert Wogan opened his account with a well taken score from play after he got on the end of fine work from Alan Mulvany and the raiding wing back Brian Maguire.

Marc Horrigan was buzzing about in his new role at full forward and he was to have a crucial role in the next score when he showed great alertness and unselfishness to lay the ball off to Cathal Finnegan after initially getting the ball from the corner forward and the lively corner forward made no mistake as he split the posts. Seneschalstown then moved into the lead after ten minutes when, running through like a steam train, Joseph Moore took possession and hit a rocket of a shot high into the roof of the net.

Ruairí McDonagh then showed off his shot stopping prowess when standing tall to tip a Longwood/Clonard goal attempt over his crossbar as the home side pulled the Seneschalstown advantage back to a solitary point. By this stage though Seneschalstown had found their mojo and Eoin Finnegan picked off his first point of the night when he clipped over a free after Cathal Finnegan was sent crashing to the greasy sod following a slightly mistimed tackle.

The elder Finnegan had a crucial hand in the next Seneschalstown score when he intercepted a stray free kick and from the resultant counter attack Alan Mulvany turned on the after burners to carry at pace before picking out Cathal Finnegan who drew a foul presenting Robert Wogan with the simple task of giving the umpire the opportunity to raise the white flag.

The strong running of the powerful Joseph Moore was causing some issues for the Longwood/Clonard rear-guard and approaching half time he spotted a gap and taking full advantage of it he headed for goal only to see his shot for goal almost break the crossbar such was the velocity of the attempt. From the resultant rebound his side managed to retain possession and after patient recycling the ball was worked out to Daire Finnegan and he after working space for the shot made no mistake as he bisected the uprights. Injury time at the end of the opening half then became the Cathal Finnegan show as he pilfered two goals in thirty seconds. For his initial major he rifled the ball past the goalkeeper and then for the second he got on the end of excellent play from Marc Horrigan and Joseph Moore to toe poke the loose ball into the back of the net.

This salvo suddenly opened a sizeable gap between the teams which was somewhat harsh on Longwood/Clonard on the overall balance of play but Seneschalstown weren't going to complain as they retreated to the dryness and warmth of the dressing room with a 3-07 to 1-03 lead at the interval.

The message in the Seneschalstown dressing room must have been to keep their momentum up when the second half got underway and to this end their management team would have been satisfied when Dylan Keating opened the scoring for the half on thirty-three minutes when after a Seneschalstown free was overturned and ended with a hop ball Keating's team won possession back and when the ball was worked back out to him he made no mistake as he pointed. Longwood/Clonard managed to cancel this score out when they kicked a magnificent point but on forty-one minutes Seneschalstown pilfered their fourth goal.

Joseph Moore picked up possession out on the right and after skinning his opponent he found Marc Horrigan with a well-placed punt pass and upon fielding the ball Horrigan surveyed his options. Spotting Cathal Finnegan creating half a yard of space for himself he fed the corner forward and when in form Cathal wasn't going to miss as he placed his shot inside the butt of the left post to complete his hat trick.

The Seneschalstown lead was extended soon after when after Moore was accidentally tripped Eoin Finnegan swung over the free on his trusty left peg. To their great credit Longwood/Clonard kept plugging away and indeed took charge of proceedings from here to the finish.

As the match entered its final quarter they knocked over a point from play before hitting a trio between the fiftieth and fifty fifth minutes, all from frees. Eoin Finnegan sought to quench their momentum when he knocked over a free after Dylan Keating fell to the turf with the aid of a stray hand on his back. The midfield duo of Daire Finnegan and Robert Wogan then combined to add a point when Finnegan placed his partner who chipped over.

A goal for Longwood/Clonard as the clock slipped past the sixtieth minute brought the gap between the sides back to nine points and they then brought the scoring to a close when with seconds remaining they added a free.

On a night when each player performed well for Seneschalstown they had superb performances from Ruairí McDonagh, Brian Maguire and Daire Finnegan while Eoin O'Reilly was another who marked his seasonal return with a very effective performance.

Seneschalstown: Ruairí McDonagh, Eoin O'Reilly, Richard McKeown, Eoin Traynor, Sean Carey, Louis Healy, Brian Maguire, Daire Finnegan (0-01), Robert Wogan (0-03, 0-01 free), Joseph Moore (1-00), Dylan Keating (0-01), Alan Mulvany, Cathal Finnegan (3-03), Marc Horrigan, Eoin Finnegan (0-03, 0-03 frees).

Seneschalstown Substitution: Naois Sweeney for J. Moore.

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