LMFM Minor Football Tournament Group A Final

Seneschalstown 0-12 St. Colmcille’s 2-11 (after extra-time)

The first piece of silverware of the 2023 Minor club season was on offer to the youngsters of Seneschalstown and St. Colmcille’s as they headed to Bective on the May Bank Holiday Monday for the Final of the Minor Football Tournament Group A..

Those who travelled to support both clubs certainly got value for their €5 entry fee, as the game went right down to the wire and extra-time being needed to separate the sides. Ultimately, it was the concession of two goals in the first period of the additional 20 minutes which undone Seneschalstown, as the efforts of the previous 60 minutes started to catch up with them.

Seneschalstown were looking to win this competition for the second successive year, having defeated Skryne in to 2022 decider on the same day 12 months ago.

Having lost Cian Hosie since last week’s semi-final win over Ratoath, Seneschalstown were dealt a further blow less than three minutes into today’s contest, midfielder Aran Carey forced to depart the action with a shoulder injury. Once play had resumed, St. Colmcille’s were first on the scoreboard with a point from play to which Liam Dillon answered with Seneschalstown’s opening score of the hour through a pointed free after he was fouled.

Seneschalstown hit the front for the first time in the 14th minute with a score that was down to the hard work of Colin Scanlon. Scanlon, who certainly didn’t deserve to be on the losing team went on a run along the sideline before cutting back inside. The ball finished in the hands of Seán Davis who pointed off his left foot, with the final assist from Matthew Cowley. The lead was increased two minutes later when Dillon was on target with another free after Seneschalstown’s forwards worked really hard to force a Cilles defender to overcarry. The free was a fairly simple task for Dillon after referee Kieran Olwell moved the ball forward for something that was said to him.

However, Seneschalstown would have to dig in for the remainder of the first half as the scores started to dry up for them, coupled with a period of St. Colmcille’s dominance which yielded five points on the bounce for the Seasiders and a three point lead heading for half-time.

Seneschalstown did have one last say in the half, Davis notching another score for himself after he had won a hop ball high up the pitch.

Trailing by two points at the interval, Tony McDonnell’s side would have been happy enough given how the second quarter had panned out, but whatever was said in the huddle certainly had the desired effect. Despite the first point of the second half going the way of the eventual winners, Seneschalstown came roaring back into proceedings kickstarted by a Liam Dillon free when he was halted illegally three minutes after the resumption. Two minutes later, Dillon had the gap down to the minimum when he expertly converted a 45’. Indeed Seneschalstown could have been in front had the St. Colmcille’s goalkeeper not deflected Jamie Barry’s effort wide of the post.

Seneschalstown would not have to wait long to be level, the tireless Colin Scanlon clipping over a tidy point after Jamie Norris set him up in the 39th minute. In keeping with the up and down nature of the contest, St. Colmcille’s would edge their noses in front once more in the 42nd minute, which was followed by a 10 minute scoring lull, understandable given the effort that was being put in by both sets of players.

It was the Yellow Furze side who would break the scoring duck, Dillon with another successful free from 40 metres, given one last helping hand from the top of the crossbar.

Immediately, Seneschalstown went in front. Matthew Cowley and Charles McCarthy combining to send Tadhg Lenehan through a gap towards goal. Lenehan let fly and ended up with a point for himself, on another day it could flown inches lower and into the net but Seneschalstown were not going to complain at this point. Both sides had further chances of scores but couldn’t come up trumps with anything until the second minute of injury time, a St. Colmcille’s free levelling things up and sending the game to extra-time. Seneschalstown will rue a lack of discipline, the initial free was certainly tricky but again the referee took a disliking to a comment made towards him by a Seneschalstown player and rightfully moved the ball forward. After the 63 minutes of play, the scoreboard read 0-09 apiece and everyone needed to stay a bit longer.

As extra-time began, players were cramping all over the field on a warm day and you got a feeling that a goal would be very important in deciding the outcome of the game. Just over two minutes into extra-time, that was exactly was St. Colmcille’s did. A high ball wasn’t dealt with by the Seneschalstown defence and the St. Colmcille’s wing back produced an unstoppable drive into the top right corner, a dagger through the heart of the Boynesiders. Another Cilles point followed, and with the gap at four points Seneschalstown’s task looked almost insurmountable. Seán Davis tried to kickstart a Seneschalstown revival with fine point off the outside of his right boot, but St. Colmcille’s tagged on a point of their own. Davis was successful with a free after Jamie Norris was fouled, but St. Colmcille’s were about to land the fatal blow in the 69th minute.

A swift move from a sideline ball involving a number of players created an overlap in the Seneschalstown defence, with the last pass flicked into an unmarked forward who finished to the net.

Now six points down at the interval in extra-time, Seneschalstown didn’t give up. Jamie Barry claimed a mark straight from the throw-in out on the right hand side and sent a high ball goalward which Jamie Norris challenged for with the keeper and a defender. The ball evaded everyone and headed towards the net but unfortunately from a Seneschalstown perspective the ball bounced over rather than under the bar. Try as they might, Seneschalstown could not get any closer despite an awesome effort which ended up in a five point defeat. It was a day when Seneschalstown could not have given any more and responded to each set back with the best possible attitude but it just wasn’t to be their day.

Attention now turns to the commencement of the Minor Football League which gets underway in the next few weeks.

Seneschalstown: Colm McDonnell, Phillip Smyth, Seán Reilly, Eoghan McGauran, Tadhg Lenehan (0-01), Liam Dillon (0-05, 4fs, 1 45’), Jack McDonnell, Aran Carey, Charles McCarthy, Jamie Barry (0-01), Seán Davis (0-04, 1f), Colin Scanlon (0-01), Matthew Cowley, Bradley Kirwan, Jamie Norris.

Subs: Finn Nolan, Alex Sheridan, Peter Geraghty, James Sharkey, Keith Finnegan, Lorcan Lawlor, Cian Hosie, Carlos Diaz, Cian Commons

By gordonmcguirk Mon 1st May