Sheridan Stars as C's Seal Championship Success

Meath Premier Football Champions Division 4 Final

Seneschalstown 1-13 Blackhall Gaels 0-09

Seneschalstown claimed their first title in the rejigged Premier Football Championships by claiming the Division 4 title at the expense of a previously unbeaten Blackhall Gaels in Páirc Táilteann at lunchtime on Sunday. By claiming victory, the club’s third adult men’s team have won their third ever piece of championship silverware following on from success in the former Junior ‘D’ Championship in 2003 and 2015.

Having lost last year’s decider to Carnaross, Ian Maguire’s team probably came in as outsiders to this game after defeat to Blackhall Gaels in the group stage who went through the campaign by claiming 7 wins from 7 outings, and then a comfortable win in their semi-final.

Seneschalstown could not have got off to a better start when inside 40 seconds wing-back Cormac Duffy was dragged back while trying to get on the end of a pass in the large square and referee Robert Purfield had no hesitation in awarding the penalty. James Conlon stepped at the hospital end of the ground and had his initial shot low to the right saved by the Blackhall Gaels goalkeeper, but he was on hand to slot away the rebound after the ball broke favourably back to him. Seneschalstown’s strong start continued when joint captain Ross Mullen received a pass from Neil Darby to put his name on the scoreboard for the first time in the afternoon. Blackhall managed to get their first score of the hour with a point from play, before Damien Sheridan found space just inside the 45’ to slice the ball over the bar with the outside of his right foot.

Blackhall responded again with a point but James Conlon was causing trouble for their defence and he managed to shrug of a number of tackles to get inside the 14 yard and put the ball over the bar despite being fouled in the process. The Batterstown men were successful with two frees on the trot to bring themselves within two points of the winners, but this was as close as they were to get for the remainder of the afternoon as Seneschalstown were really getting a grip on proceedings.

From Brian Boyd’s kickout after the most recent Gaels score, Damien Sheridan claimed the mark and transferred the ball to Brendan Lynch. Lynch ran straight at the defence before drawing a defender and popping the ball to Joe Cowley. Cowley set himself to shoot and despite a deflection whilst kicking the ball, it had enough carry over the bar. Seneschalstown increased their lead to four by the water break when Ross Mullen added a free.

Blackhall were the first to score on the resumption before the game went seven minutes without a score which was broken by Oisín McEvoy, set up by Damien Sheridan who won a hop ball deep in Blackhall Gaels territory. Seneschalstown’s last score of the half arrived when Ross Mullen converted a tricky free from in front of the terrace after James Conlon was fouled, and the South county men left four points between the teams at half time at 1-07 to 0-06 with the last point of the opening half.

With the wind at their backs in the second half, Seneschalstown were extremely solid at the back with the full-back line of Colin Gleeson, Louie Healy and Conor Cowley repellent to any danger caused by the Blackhall forward line and provided the impetus for Seneschalstown to build on their lead.

James Conlon and Ross Mullen continued to torment Blackhall Gaels, and it was Conlon who converted a free to open the scoring for the half after a foul on Mullen. The Gaels responded with a point from play but they wouldn’t score again for 20 minutes as Seneschalstown pushed for home.

When Seánie Dalton overturned a ball in defence, he found Will Finnegan in space. Finnegan then sprayed a superb cross field pass to Mullen. Mullen soloed along under the stand before cutting back inside to beautifully curl the ball between the sticks. Seneschalstown added two further frees from Conlon prior to the water break. Firstly, Cormac Duffy intercepted a loose ball high up the pitch before being fouled, and then substitute Owen Mullen was upended as he was bearing down on goal with a three pointer very much on. Conlon kept his composure to score both frees and by this stage the eventual winners led by seven points.

The final quarter saw the scoring rate drop, with the four points shared equally. When Ross Mullen won a ball from a sideline pass, he managed to get inside his marker to kick a point very similar to his previous one, with the ball arcing inside the left hand post. Blackhall Gaels were trying to work goals by this stage but had to be content with a point, this preceding Seneschalstown’s last score of the day when another substitute Robert Ruddy slotted a 45’ to a huge ovation from the Seneschalstown crowd present in the stand. Like in the first half, the last score went the way of Blackhall but Seneschalstown weren’t to be denied as Ross Mullen and Will Finnegan lifted the cup after the game.

On a day where Seneschalstown dominated from start to finish, they were aided by the platform supplied by Damien Sheridan and Neil Darby at midfield, the smart play of centre back Kevin Casey in helping thwart any second phase attacks in Blackhall’s forward line, while Ross Mullen and James Conlon were in fine form in front of goal. In truth, this has been a huge squad effort throughout the year helping the team overturn group defeats by Clann na nGael and Blackhall Gaels to defeat both in the knockout stages. The end of the game certainly saw much delight on the faces of players, management and the inspirational group of the supporters from the clubs underage teams who kept singing and chanting throughout the game.

Scorers: Seneschalstown - James Conlon 1-4 (3fs); Ross Mullen 0-5 (0-2fs); Damien Sheridan, Oisin McEvoy, Joe Cowley, Robert Ruddy (45) 0-1 each.

Blackhall Gaels - Tommy Coyle (2fs) 0-3; Conor Duffy 0-2; Andrew Brady, Charlie Staunton, Tom Murphy, Vincent O'Brien 0-1 each.

Seneschalstown - Brian Boyd; Colin Gleeson, Louis Healy, Conor Cowley; Kevin Casey, Sean Dalton; Neil Darby, Damien Sheridan; Oisin McEvoy, William Finnegan, Brendan Lynch; Ross Mullen, Joe Cowley, James Conlon. Subs – Owen Mullen for McEvoy (39), Richard McKeown for C Gleeson (53), Robert Ruddy for Sheridan (53), Cormac Mullen for Lynch (62).

Blackhall Gaels - Robbie Butler; John Morris, Fearghal Kiernan, Adam McHugh; Michael McIver, Conor Delany (C), Liam Rattigan; Jarlaith O'Loughlin, Thomas Delany; Tom Murphy, Conor Duffy, Dylan Cranley; Tommy Coyle, Eoghan Kiernan, Andrew Brady. Subs - Charlie Staunton for Murphy (37), Paddy O'Brien for Kiernan (42). Vincent O'Brien (46), Peter Coakley for Cranley (46), Johnny Meyler for T Delany (50),

Referee - Robert Purfield (St Patrick's)

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