Victory snatched from the jaws of defeat

A League Division 1 Round 7

Seneschalstown 1-18 St. Peter’s Dunboyne 2-13

The recent winning run for Seneschalstown continued on Saturday evening when they accounted for the challenge of St. Peter’s Dunboyne in Fr. Tully Park. Having looked like the winners for much of the game they fell behind to a sixty second minute Dunboyne goal but showing reserves of character which comes from building a winning run they fashioned three points in the remaining minutes of injury time, of which there was nearly six following Robert Ruddy picking up an injury which saw him stretchered off.

A number of downpours throughout the day had left the playing surface very greasy but it is to the credit of referee Colm McManus that the match flowed freely throughout with every opportunity given to the team in possession to play on before he whistled play back. With their side showing five alterations in personnel from the previous weekends Championship game against Skryne this was a test of the strength in depth of the panel and it is a majorly positive sign that the quality of football they played didn’t dip and they racked up a hugely impressive scoring tally of 1-18.

The match had barely begun when Jonathan Gilsenan sent over a point from play and before the second minute had elapsed Bryan Clarke had curled over a majestic free from practically on the right hand sideline thirty-five metres out, a score which started out way out to the right but curled in. the visitors hit back with a goal in the third minute, a score which rocked Seneschalstown. The sharpshooting Clarke responded with a point after he took a quick free, his sole point from play over the hour.

Dunboyne picked off their opening point in reply but after a strong Mark Fox run was illegally halted, Clarke stepped up to the plate and popped the resultant free over. Dunboyne were employing a quick kickout strategy with their goalkeeper having a couple of balls in his net to assist with this before he was instructed well into the half by the referee to keep them outside the posts. On twelve minutes the south Meath side kicked over a free but Jonathan Gilsenan soon hit back when after Joe Sheridan sent a long ball in off the ground, Bryan Clarke latched onto it and fisting the ball back infield over his shoulder he picked out the supporting Gilsenan who then worked the ball onto his left foot and struck a sweet point.

Clarke then struck over another free when the raiding Mark Fox was again fouled. Joe Sheridan was enjoying a fine display at midfield in tandem with Damien Sheridan and Robert Ruddy and when he came onto Dunboyne kickout he then exchanged a one two with Gilsenan before driving over a point. Clarke then took over the scoring charge as he picked off three frees in a row, the third when a Dunboyne defender was controversially penalised for picking the ball clean off the ground. This decision didn’t go down well in the Dunboyne camp and following their protestations Colm McManus brought the free in closer to goal.

This though seemed to galvanise Dunboyne and they responded in a most impressive manner as they kicked the last four points of the half to reduce the Seneschalstown lead to just two points, and indeed could have gone into the lead were it not for David Lyons to pull off a smart stop to prevent a great goal scoring opportunity.

Holding that two point lead, 0-10 to 1-05 left Seneschalstown in a good position but they must have felt they should have been further ahead as they had kicked seven wides and dropped two shots short in the opening thirty minutes while Dunboyne had just three wides to their name.

The teams had barely come back out of the dressing rooms for the resumption of the second half when Seneschalstown were boosted by the scoring of a brilliant goal. Centre back John Smith picked the ball up and launched a Hail Mary in the direction of the full forward line where Joe Sheridan had stolen in. Joe picked up possession and in the blink of an eye he had driven an exocet of a shot into the corner of the net to give his side the perfect start to the half.

Dunboyne replied with a point before a six minute scoreless spell followed before Stephen Finnegan sent over a brilliant individual point. On thirty-eight minutes the Dunboyne full forward appeared to be trying to charge through the Seneschalstown defence and when the whistle went most assumed it was to award a free out but instead he was somehow given a free in and his side took full advantage of this stroke of good fortune when converting the free.

Jonathan Gilsenan then kicked his third of the game when getting on the end of a Joe Sheridan crossfield pass but Dunboyne responded with two points in a row. Entering the fourth quarter Brian Sheridan took over the free taking responsibilities when he sent over after Bryan Clarke was fouled as he raced out to gather possession. St. Peter’s Dunboyne sent over a point with eleven minutes of the regulation hour remaining but Seneschalstown hit back when after Niall Groome picked out Stephen Finnegan lurking dangerously after a brilliant run down the left flank, the rangy forward plucked the ball out of the sky and fired over when he could have perhaps grabbed a goal.

Joe Sheridan followed up with a screamer of a point before they lost Robert Ruddy to injury, with Darragh Keogh coming into the fray to replace him. Play was held up for a few minutes while Ruddy received treatment and this seemed to kill the Seneschalstown momentum as Dunboyne kicked two points to leave two points between the teams approaching the end of the sixty minutes. Then in the second minute of stoppage time they hit the front when they picked off a goal which Seneschalstown will definitely chalk down as sloppy to concede.

Now looking like losing a game they had dominated from the outset this was a real test of the home sides character as they looked to retrieve the situation. And to their credit they showed reserves of calmness and intelligence to pull it out of the fire. Bryan Clark equalised in the sixty third minute when pointing a free after being fouled himself and then a minute later he sent his side into the lead after the forwards had forced a free, this one being brought in following some dissent. Then in the fifth minute of stoppage time Joe Sheridan, the team captain struck the insurance point when after Damien Sheridan had won the kickout, Bryan Clarke picked out the other midfielder and Joe deftly chipped over the crossbar.

On a night when Seneschalstown had good performers all over the field they were particularly well served by Mark Fox, James Meade and Joe Sheridan. Next up is a game away to Navan O’Mahonys on Sunday May 29th at 12:00.

Seneschalstown: David Lyons, Paul Carey, Cormac Noonan, Sean McCabe, Mark Fox, John Smith, Niall Groome, Joe Sheridan (1-03), Damien Sheridan, Jonathan Gilsenan (0-03), Brian Sheridan (0-01, 0-01 Free), James Meade, Stephen Finnegan (0-02), Robert Ruddy, Bryan Clarke (0-09, 0-08 Frees).

Seneschalstown Substitution: Darragh Keogh for R. Ruddy.

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