Sands of time run out on comeback

U-15 Division 2 League Final

Navan O'Mahonys 2-13 Seneschalstown 2-09

A chilly Skryne was the venue for this U-15 Division 2 League Final between Seneschalstown and Navan O'Mahonys. Postponed a week previously due to the inclement conditions, the pitch was very heavy for this match but great credit must go to both sides who still managed to serve up a most entertaining encounter. With the temperature gauge hovering around the three degree mark it says a lot about the players who kept driving forward throughout and expended every last ounce of energy they had as they went in search of the scores required to get the win.

Bar the opening exchanges where they briefly held the upper hand Seneschalstown found themselves trying to peg back Navan O'Mahonys for the majority of the hour and despite going eight points in arrears at the end of the second third of the game they kept plugging away and were it not for a marvellous performance from the O'Mahonys goalkeeper may have found a way to get their noses back in front.

The boys in yellow were the first to register when following a sweeping move out of defence where the ball was worked upfield at great pace Adam O'Mara got on the end of a pass from Jason Lyons to point after ninety five seconds. On three minutes the town side got on level terms on three minutes only for Alan Mulvany to edge the Seneschalstown youngsters back in front seconds later when he kicked a free over the bar from thirty five metres following a foul on the lively Dylan Keating as he latched onto a pass out of defence from Sean Carey.

On seven minutes Navan O'Mahonys got back on an equal footing when pointing s free before edging in front for the first time three minutes later after notching their second from play. The first goal opportunity of the match arrived soon after when after an intelligent ball in from Alan Mulvany, Dylan Keating turned inside the corner back. The unselfish Keating fed Adam O'Mara but he saw his shot, excellently saved by the O'Mahonys goalkeeper. Mulvany drew the sides back level on fourteen minutes when he kicked his second free of the match, this one from the left of the uprights.

However, following the let off after the save from O’Mara’s shot Navan O'Mahonys suddenly hit Seneschalstown with a blitz of a goal and two points in ninety seconds. Firstly they grabbed the opening goal of the match when netting from play and then they tagged on two points from play to march into a 1-05 to 0-03 lead, a significant advantage in the prevailing conditions.

Joe Finnegans side needed a score at this stage to settle themselves and when Brian Boyd picked out Sean Carey who in turn picked out wing forward Cillian Gormley. Gormley looked up and spotted Adam O'Mara who then turned on the afterburners to leave his marker trailing in his wake and from a narrow angle fist over to pick off Seneschalstown's fourth point. On twenty one minutes Navan O'Mahonys restored their five point lead when after a forty five dropped short one of their forwards reacted quickest and split the uprights. This was soon followed with another point before their goalkeeper pulled off his second outstanding save of the game. When the ball fell to Adam O'Mara thirty metres out from goal he looked up and seeing the O'Mahonys goal-line vacant he went for the jugular. However the goalkeeper seemingly came from the next parish to somehow pull off a flying save which were it not seen would be hard to believe possible.

Now trailing by six points Seneschalstown were in bad need of getting a few points to whittle the deficit down before the half time interval. They managed to grab one when after Sean Carey had his arm pulled back as he moved into possession Alan Mulvany popped over a free. Then on the stroke of half time Jamie Kirwan who was having an industrious outing at half back played a central role in working the ball upfield to Dylan Keating who then picked out Alan Mulvany who made no mistake from out on the right.

This left the half time score reading Navan O'Mahonys 1-07 Seneschalstown 0-06 and they side in yellow with work to do if they were to get their hands on the trophy. On the plus side for the Yellow Furze outfit players like Joseph Moore, Ciaran Lynch and Cathal Hickey were settling into the match as the half wore on while up front Ross Mullen and Sean Commons were working hard even though they were thus far getting little reward.

They would have been looking for a quick start to the second half when they came back onto the field of play and to this end the returning from injury Simon Rooney was sprung from the bench in an effort to boost his side. To this end the concession of a thirty fifth minute penalty would not have been part of the script but Brian Boyd showcased his shot stopping skills when he pulled off an excellent save from the spot kick. Boyd’s save was though to prove to be a brief let off as O'Mahonys picked off a goal and a point inside the next sixty seconds.

Ciaran Mongey, another who had missed the previous five weeks through injury now got the call to come in to help drag his side back up what was now resembling more of a mountain than a hill when Cathal Hickey who had been battling a chest infection was unable to continue any longer. The Keating/Mulvany combination was likely to be key for any comeback and on thirty nine minutes Mulvany saw his shot eke inside the right hand upright following excellent work along the sideline from Keating to keep the ball in play.

Navan O'Mahonys replied with a point from play after a brilliant Brian Boyd Save from a close range goal attempt and the significance of this stop appeared to grow when soon after Seneschalstown struck for their first goal of the game. When Daire Finnegan, another to have been ill during the week, was fed by Alan Mulvany he surged through the heart of the O'Mahonys defence and knowing his team required a goal went for the jugular with a low, powerful strike which left the goalkeeper with no chance as it nestled in the bottom corner of the net.

Suddenly with a quarter of the match remaining Seneschalstown now had a valuable lifeline. The riposte though from Navan O'Mahonys was very impressive as in the next five minutes they added three points to their account to cancel out Finnegans strike. Alan Mulvany picked off an invaluable point from a free following a foul on Ross Mullen and then a minute later saw a shot from point blank range somehow tipped onto the crossbar by the superb O'Mahonys goalkeeper.

Seneschalstown were still plugging away and with Christian McAuley erecting roadblocks in defence his side sought to spend the last ten minutes of the game on the attack as they looked to get the scores required to get back on terms. Fionn Hall, hero of the hour when these sides met in the 2014 U-14 semi-final was now introduced to add his nous to the challenge. Dylan Keating then punted over but straight away this point was cancelled out by an O'Mahonys equivalent. Seven points were still between the teams now but once more Daire Finnegan summoned up a lung bursting surge through the defence to bury a goal as he got on the end of s move involving Ciaran Mongey, Sean Commons and Dylan Keating.

Now with four minutes remaining there were just four points between the teams and the momentum now at the backs of the Seneschalstown youngsters. Try as they did in the remaining time they just couldn't come up with the scores required to equalise and ultimately despite coming with a late surge just saw the sands of time run out before their comeback had been completed.

This was a heart-breaking defeat for a team which has also lost out in Division 2 Finals against Na Fianna at U-13 Level and St. Colmcilles at U-14. Doubtless though that their day will come in the future and this very talented and gutsy outfit will bring back trophies to Fr. Tully Park in years to come.

Seneschalstown: Brian Boyd, Ciaran Lynch, Christian McAuley, Cathal Hickey, Jamie Kirwan, Sean Carey, Joseph Moore, Daire Finnegan (2-00), Alan Mulvany (0-06, 0-04 Frees), Ross Mullen, Sean Commons, Cillian Gormley, Dylan Keating (0-01), Adam O'Mara 0-02), Jason Lyons.

Substitutions: Simon Rooney for C. Lynch, Ciaran Mongey for C. Hickey, Fionn Hall for J. Lyons, J. Commons, P. Finnegan, L. Maguire

Link to Fixture: 
U-15 League Final

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