Vagaries of unfair playoff system see 13's end up in Shield Final

Meath Ladies U-13 Division 1 Playoff

Walterstown 8-04 (28) Seneschalstown 6-08 (26)

A cold but sunny Sunday afternoon in Walterstown saw Seneschalstown’s U-13 girls take to the field in a playoff to reach the Division 1 Cup Final. Walterstown having been given a second chance to reach the final having already lost to Dunboyne the previous week. The Seneschalstown girls were unlucky to have been drawn third from the hat and hence were only given 1 chance to reach the Cup Final despite all 3 teams finishing on level points.

The girls started well and after good play from Ella Kilfeather, Anna Wogan pointed after just 1 minute. Walterstown were quick to respond however and Seneschalstown found themselves on the wrong side, letting Walterstown score 3 goals in the first 10 minutes. The Seneschalstown girls didn’t let their heads drop and after being awarded a free, Tara Traynor set off on a super run and finished in style, finding the back of the net with her shot. Great team work from Zoe Kirwan, Nicola Mongey, Anna Wogan and Robyn Murray saw Robyn’s kick sail between the uprights. Zoe Kirwan then added to the tally taking a lovely score from open play.

Walterstown responded with 2 points of their own before Zoe Kirwan set off on a run through the midfield finding full forward Abby Hewitt who managed to find the back of the net. Anna Wogan then scored a lovely point from open play but the home side responded immediately with another goal. Again, great team play from Megan Clarke, Zoe Kirwan, Sadhbh McLarney, Tara Traynor and Anna Wogan through the midfield saw Anna point. Walterstown came back to see out the first half with a further 2 points leaving the Seneschalstown girls trailing at half time by 2–05 to 4–04.

The second half started with Zoe Kirwan launching an attack after winning the throw in and finding Nicola Mongey with the pass who was duly fouled. Anna Wogan made no mistake slotting the ball over the bar. Some good defensive work from Zoe Ryan, substitute Molly Keating and Caoimhe Dunne thwarted the next Walterstown attack. The Seneschalstown girls were starting to dominate possession with great work and tenacity from Sadhbh McLarney, Ella Kilfeather and Tara Traynor but time after time saw their efforts fall short or just drift wide of the uprights. After another foul this time in the box on Nicola Mongey, Robyn Murray stepped up to take the penalty but saw her effort fly over the crossbar. Again, the Seneschalstown girls just couldn’t convert their scores as a number of attempts again sailed just wide of the posts.

Walterstown on the counter attack found the back of the net with 27 minutes of the half gone, totally against the run of play but again this group of Seneschalstown girls were not going to give up without a fight and substitute Ally Clarke found the back of the net bringing the girls back to just 3 points behind with only 2 minutes left to play. Ally Clarke was then to be denied a second goal only seconds later even though the umpires raised the green flag changing their minds a split second later, a terrible blow to Seneschalstown. Once more the team rallied and this time it was Anna Wogan who hit the back of the net to huge Seneschalstown cheers. The final whistle blew – a draw the result, 4–07 to 5–04.

Ten minutes a side of extra time now had to be played. Walterstown came out all guns blazing and found the back of the net in the first minute of play, followed by a second goal only seconds later. But again, Seneschalstown did not let their heads drop and after a great run through the midfield with super teamwork from Anna Wogan and Zoe Kirwan, Nicola Mongey launched a cracking shot which found the top right corner of the net. Anna Wogan then took her free well after another foul on Nicola bringing the girls right back into the game before the half time whistle blew.

This time it was Seneschalstown who came out fighting and after a lovely pass by Megan Clarke into Zoe Kirwan who was standing unmarked around the 20 metre line saw Zoe strike a sublime goal which left the goalie with no chance. Seneschalstown now had the lead but it wasn’t to stay that way for very long. A lucky long range kick from Walterstown saw the ball bounce high on the hard area in front of the goal and over Aoibhe’s head into the net. This was to be the final score of the game, dashing Seneschalstown’s hopes of a cup final place. Seneschalstown 6–08 Walterstown 8–04.

The Seneschalstown girls should be proud of their performance, it was an excellent display of football at such a young age and a very exciting game to watch. They now move on to the Shield Final next week on Saturday 12th November because of the vagaries of the playoff system which gave them 1 shot at qualifying for the final but Dunboyne and Walterstown 2 opportunities. Fairness and equality for young players obviously isn’t a priority in Meath Ladies Football.

Seneschalstown: Aoibhe Fitzsimons, Amy Kennedy, Caoimhe Dunne, Zoe Ryan, Ella Kilfeather, Katie McDonnell, Sadhbh McLarney, Zoe Kirwan (1-01), Megan Clarke, Tara Traynor (1-00), Anna Wogan (1-05, 0-02 frees), Robyn Murray (0-02, 0-01 Penalty), Charlie Murray, Nicola Mongey (1-00), Abbey Hewitt (1-00)

Seneschalstown Substitutes: Claire Finnegan, Meadhbh Hickey, Ally Clarke (1-00), Molly Keating, Lauren McGuirk.

Report - B. Kelly

Theme by Danetsoft and Danang Probo Sayekti inspired by Maksimer