Second quarter surge proves crucial

Meath U-16 Division 1 League Round 3

Navan O’Mahonys 2-08 Seneschalstown 4-07

Having finished up a long day in the classroom just a few hours previously it was back to school for the U-16 footballers of Navan O’Mahonys and Seneschalstown on Wednesday evening as due to Paddy O’Brien Park being unplayable due to the recent poor weather this match was switched to the pitch at Beaufort College, having previously being postponed by twenty-four hours.

Having met last November when the O’Mahonys youngsters won the Division 2 Final by points both sides have adapted well to life in the top tier with Seneschalstown having won their opening two games and the Navan side having done likewise meaning this was always going to be a keenly contested affair with the victors going to the top of the table.

The condition of the playing surface wasn’t marvellous with the grass quite long in places as well as the pitch being rather bumpy. The home side were quickest to adapt to the prevailing conditions and inside the opening four minutes they had registered two points with the Seneschalstown defence finding themselves under great early pressure. This early O’Mahonys lead soon became three points when in the tenth minute they popped over their third point of the fledgling encounter from play.

Seneschalstown were struggling to get going with the opening quarter of the match pockmarked by uncharacteristic errors as numerous attacking movements broke down due to passes not going to hand while they kicked more ball out over the sideline than in their previous two games combined. In this opening quarter they also recorded three wides.

It took them until the twentieth minute to register their opening score when after reacting quickest to a partially blocked down Adam O’Mara point effort, Cillian Gormley flicked the ball out into space before turning quickly and tapping over to get his side off the mark. From the resultant kickout O’Mara was alert to win the ball in the air and after soloing through he hand passed off to Gormley who was then hauled to the turf by the O’Mahonys goalkeeper leaving the referee no option but to award Seneschalstown a penalty while the ‘keeper also earned a yellow card for his troubles. Dylan Keating took on the responsibility of the penalty and cool as a cucumber he stepped up to the plate and rolled his shot into the corner. Suddenly Seneschalstown found themselves with an unlikely lead.

Their advantage soon became two points when after Joseph Moore plucked a kickout from the evening sky the ball was worked to Alan Mulvany who carried at pace before laying off to Cillian Gormley who had worked a yard of space for himself and Gormley saw his shot clip the crossbar on its way over. The away side were now on top and after a Mulvany point from play he grabbed his sides second goal of the game when after good link up play with the influential Gormley he found the net at the second time of asking despite being felled by the goalkeeper.

O’Mahonys however had the final say of the opening half when they sent over a free to leave five points between the sides, Navan O’Mahonys 0-04 Seneschalstown 2-03. Having struggled for the opening quarter Seneschalstown would have been delighted to have finished the half in front but would have been expecting a renewed, greater effort from the Brews Hill outfit in the second half.

This expectation was soon proven to be justified when with just twenty-eight seconds of the second half on the clock they found their lead whittled down to just two points as Navan O’Mahonys received the boon of a fisted goal from the edge of the square. The Seneschalstown riposte to this goal was however simply scintillating. A length of the field move started off by good defensive work from Christian McCauley and Jamie Kirwan ended up with midfield dynamo Daire Finnegan flicking the ball to the net. From the full back line to the ball ending up in the net took all of twelve seconds – breath-taking play from the Yellow Furze side.

O’Mahonys hit back with three of the next four scores, with an excellent Sean Commons effort after good tracking back and tackling from Cillian Gormley coming in the midst of this run of scores. The third of the O’Mahonys scores being a very well taken goal which left Brian Boyd with no chance of saving. This goal left just the one point between the sides and the pendulum of momentum now seemingly swinging in favour of the Navan side.

Seneschalstown were though in no humour to see their hard earned lead wiped out and just as they had done in response to the concession of the goal at the start of the half they replied with a major of their own, Ross Mullen finishing smartly past the goalkeepers despairing dive. Alan Mulvany popped over a free from just to the right of the posts after Daire Finnegan had heels clipped but O’Mahonys were always dangerous and by the fifty fourth minute they had narrowed the gap between the two sides back down to just three points after adding two points to their tally, one from a free.

This though was to be as close as they could get for the remainder of the game as the tide turned in Seneschalstown’s favour once more. The side in blue and yellow closed out proceedings with two further points, both coming from the boot of Alan Mulvany. Firstly, the centre forward got on the end of great work from the midfield pairing of Joseph Moore and Daire Finnegan to send over from play before deep into stoppage time he arced over a free from way out on the left.

Both sides deserve immense credit for serving up a very competitive and enjoyable game of football on a tricky playing surface. Best for Seneschalstown were Simon Rooney, Jamie Kirwan, Cillian Gormley and Alan Mulvany. Next up for them is game against Dunshaughlin in Fr. Tully Park on Tuesday April 19th at 19:15.

Seneschalstown: Brian Boyd, Cathal Hickey, Simon Rooney, Jamie Kirwan, Christian McAuley, Ciaran Mongey, Sean Carey, Daire Finnegan (1-00), Joseph Moore, Cillian Gormley (0-02), Alan Mulvany (1-04, 0-02 Frees), Sean Commons (0-01), Ross Mullen (1-00), Dylan Keating (1-00. 1-00 Penalty), Adam O'Mara.

Seneschalstown Substitutions: Fionn Hall for D. Finnegan and Jason Lyons for D. Keating

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