Waters' penalty save proves crucial in victory

LMFM Meath Minor Championship Division 3 Round 2

Seneschalstown 2-16 Drumconrath/Meath Hill 1-13

Following a match which was at all times engaging and ensured the crowd in attendance were royally entertained it was a stoppage time flourish from Seneschalstown which eventually secured their passage through to the next round of the Division 3 Championship. In a game which had everything from an exhibition of high fielding, two missed penalties, one of which was excellently saved, expert free taking to some superb scores from play it was a brilliantly entertaining match which showcased much of what is good in underage football in Meath today.

Ebbing and flowing throughout the match had many twists and turns, with both sides enjoying spells on top and while they eventually won out by six points the margin of victory slightly flattered Seneschalstown who survived the concession of two penalties in the second half. However, boosted by stellar performances all over the field they certainly did enough to merit their victory and can look forward with confidence to their next match.

Joey Curley had barely thrown the ball in when Drumconrath/Meath Hill had landed the first score of the match as with just twenty seconds on the clock they had the ball over the bar. Seneschalstown responded when after Alan Mulvany picked up a flick down from Dylan Doyle in the middle of the field he turned on the afterburners and going from 1-60 as fast as your average sports car he raced through the centre before picking out Cathal Finnegan who pointed. Drumconrath/Meath Hill pulled back in front in the second minute before Dylan Keating pointed following good play from Brian Maguire, Jamie Kirwan, Mulvany and Marc Horrigan.

The visiting Drumconrath/Meath Hill then gained a firm foothold in proceedings as they reeled off three points in a row between the fifth and eleventh minutes, two of which came from frees. Centerfielder Dylan Doyle, back in the side after missing the Longwood/Clonard match, stopped the rot when he, after initially winning Keith Waters’ kickout he continued on his run forward, latched onto a return pass and split the posts. Two more Drumconrath/Meath Hill points saw the visitors stretch their lead back out to four points after eighteen minutes but Seneschalstown then rocked them with a goal.

Wing back Sean Carey did excellently out on the left flank as he reacted quickest to gather possession and looking up he picked out Cathal Finnegan inside. Finnegan when he gathered the ball had only one thing on his mind and he arrowed his shot across the face of goal and into the bottom right corner. Alan Mulvany followed up with a point from play immediately afterwards as Seneschalstown drew level.

A pointed free from Drumconrath/Meath Hill edged them back in front but midfield dynamo Brian Maguire hit back straight away when he cut in from the right before clipping over a fine left footed point. The tit for tat nature of the match continued when after a free had broken out the visitors managed to snatch a point but by half time Seneschalstown were back level when the always dangerous Alan Mulvany pointed at the end of a move involving Shane McGeer, Richie McKeown, Daire Finnegan and Jamie Kirwan.

With the words of their management team ringing in their ears Seneschalstown looked to make a bright start to the second half and this they managed as they picked off the first two points through Cathal Finnegan. His first effort came when Brian Maguire expertly judged the flight of a Keith Waters kickout before he split the defence with a piercing run. Finnegan came out from his full forward berth looking for the offload which duly arrived and the ace marksman made no mistake as he split the uprights. Finnegan then followed up with a tap over free after Alan Mulvany was hit late as he attempted to point.

Drumconrath/Meath Hill responded with a pointed free but Seneschalstown then looked like they had finally opened up a bit of a gap between the sides when centre forward Joseph Moore did well to get to the ball before the goalkeeper and flick it into the back of the net following another driving run from Maguire. The daylight between the sides in the rapidly darkening evening sky suddenly became much less when Moore’s goal was immediately cancelled out as Drumconrath/Meath Hill grabbed a goal of their own as they made the most of a mistake in the Seneschalstown rear-guard.

Cathal Finnegan hit back a few moments later with a well taken point from play as he got on the end of a well-engineered move involving the impressive Dylan Doyle, Joseph Moore and Brian Maguire. Another twist in this enthralling storyline arrived on forty-one minutes when Shane McGeer, trying to retrieve the situation after another error in the Seneschalstown defence, was penalised for fouling his opponent as he shot for goal. Referee Joey Curley was left with little alternative but to award a penalty but when his team needed a hero Keith Waters stood tall and showed brilliant reactions as he dived to his left and pulled off a stunning stop to save the penalty.

Drumconrath/Meath Hill did manage a pointed free just after but buoyed by Waters’ superb stop Seneschalstown reeled off four points between the forty ninth and fifty fourth minutes. Firstly, Alan Mulvany hoisted over a free before the raiding corner back Simon Rooney broke through the cover and saw his shot bounce over the bar. Brian Maguire followed up with his second before Cathal Finnegan tagged on a free after Dylan Keating had been grabbed around the waist by an overzealous opponent.

Having already seen one penalty saved Drumconrath/Meath Hill were granted another on fifty-four minutes but incredibly they once more saw the chance go abegging as perhaps unnerved by Waters’ big frame between the posts and his earlier save this time the penalty was driven right and wide. Just as they had done when missing the earlier penalty, they picked off the next score when this time pointing from play and on sixty minutes they had the deficit back to three when they landed a free.

Seneschalstown though weren’t to be denied and in stoppage time they illuminated the rapidly darkening Fr. Tully Park with three points from play. Joseph Moore knocked the first one over when after Cathal Finnegan had ‘Joe Sheridan style’ dropkicked in towards the full forward line, Marc Horrigan latched onto it in the corner before picking out Moore who pointed. Finnegan then landed his sixth point of the hour before in the dying seconds Joseph Moore fisted over to the delight of the Seneschalstown support.

On a night when Seneschalstown had impressive performances all over the pitch they were particularly well served by Dylan Doyle at centerfield, Daire Finnegan who grew stronger as the match progressed, Keith Waters and Alan Mulvany whose pace caused untold problems.

Seneschalstown: Keith Waters, Simon Rooney (0-01), Shane McGeer, Richie McKeown, Sean Carey, Daire Finnegan, Jamie Kirwan, Brian Maguire (0-02), Dylan Doyle (0-01), Cillian Gormley, Joseph Moore (1-02), Dylan Keating (0-01), Cathal Finnegan (1-06, 0-02 Frees), Alan Mulvany (0-03, 0-01 Free)

Seneschalstown Substitutions: Cathal Hickey for C. Gormley, Eoin Traynor for S. Carey.

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