Hoganstand.com Meath Senior Football Championship Group B Round 5

Seneschalstown 1-10 Ballinlough 0-09

Hoganstand.com Meath Senior Football Championship Group B Round 5

Seneschalstown 1-10 Ballinlough 0-09

Páirc Tailteann was the venue for this Hoganstand.com Meath Senior Football Championship Group B Round 5 match played on Sunday afternoon in conditions which were far from ideal as the rain fell continuously before and during the game. Thanks to this incessant rain the Páirc Tailteann sod was very greasy and consequently over the course of the hours there was plenty of slipping and handling errors. Going into the match Seneschalstown knew a draw would guarantee their survival in the Senior ranks for another season while Ballinlough were in search of the victory they needed to keep alive the possibility of qualification for the knockout stages of the competition.

Both sides lined out unchanged from their last Championship outing when they were both successful, Ballinlough toppling Navan O’Mahonys and Seneschalstown edging out St. Patrick’s in what was a relegation battle. This meant that for Seneschalstown, Sean Noonan who had impressed when started against St. Patrick’s maintained his place while the fit again Paul Carey had to be content with a place on the bench.

Ballinlough had clearly identified the threat posed by Joe Sheridan as critical to close down and throughout the game he had the attention of a couple of markers, not that it seemed to matter to him when in the fourth minute of the match he opened the scoring when firing over a superb score from a narrow angle out on the right after being picked out by Brian Sheridan. Joe then extended his sides early advantage four minutes later when he sliced an effort over off the outside of his right boot. On ten minutes Ballinlough registered their opening score of the game when their right corner back advanced upfield to show his forwards the way to the posts and point. Having seen his corner back point Peadar Byrne then got in on the act when he got on the end of a patient build up to point.

Having kicked a few balls aimlessly away when attempting to hit their inside forwards Seneschalstown changed their attacking strategy for their next score when following a short kickout to Mark Fox the ball was transferred through the hands of Teean Cummins twice, Brian Sheridan and Sean Noonan before ending up with Bryan Clarke who curled over. Ballinlough then equalised when Colm Mallen pointed from play before Kevin Devine sent a free over the bar to edge one clear. Devine’s free came about when Peadar Byrne went to ground but after initially gesturing to him to get up referee David Gough then changed his mind and awarded him a thirteen metre free.

The game was developing into quite a scrappy affair but the next score was to be a thing of beauty as Adam Carey gathered possession in a deep position and after exchanging a one two with Niall Groome he soloed forward before scoring a majestic point. Ballinlough though replied with two points, one from a free as they opened up a two point advantage, 0-06 to 0-04. Following the second of these points the experienced Mark Carey was introduced to the fray by manager David Hosie and as the game wore on his coolness when in possession was to become a notable feature of the match. Mark’s younger cousin, Adam was now growing further into the match and he was to have a pivotal involvement in the games next two scores.

For the first one he picked out Bryan Clarke with an excellent foot pass before Clarke did what he does best and pointed. Then he showed off his battling qualities as his hassling and harrying forced a line ball from which the games real turning point arrived. Picking the ball up about thirty five metres out from the end line in front of the stand Joe Sheridan sent a dangerous ball in towards the Ballinlough goal and with the goalkeeper caught in two minds whether to attack the ball or remain on his line in case Brian Sheridan got a touch he ended up looking at it curl past him and end up in the top left hand corner of the net. Back in the 2009 County Final replay Joe had picked out Brian with a similar delivery which Brian fisted home but in this instance Joe was able to do all the damage himself.

This proved to be the final score of the opening half and left Seneschalstown in the driving seat as they now held a two point advantage, 1-05 to 0-06. Over the interval word filtered through to supporters in the stand that Donaghmore/Ashbourne were comfortably ahead in Duleek against St. Patrick’s while Navan O’Mahonys held a narrow advantage over Skryne in the other Group B game. This helped sooth any nerves among the Seneschalstown supporters as it now looked most unlikely that their side would end up in the relegation playoff irrespective of how the second half panned out in Páirc Tailteann.

It took just fifty one seconds of the second half for its opening score to arrive and when it did it was Bryan Clarke who pointed when after Joe Sheridan saw his effort blocked down Clarke reacted quickest and into the hospital end of the ground he kicked high and between the uprights. His side though was to receive a big blow just minutes later when full back Cormac Noonan received his marching orders from David Gough following a challenge which was deemed to be worthy of a black card. Noonan was replaced by the returning Paul Carey who was able to add his experience to the defensive effort. Peadar Byrne brought the margin between the two sides back down to two points when sending a booming effort over from outside the forty five on thirty six minutes but Brian Sheridan cancelled this out soon after when he tapped over a thirteen metre free which was awarded when Bryan Clarke was fouled as he attempted to shoot for goal.

Brian Sheridan was to extend his sides lead to four points on forty one minutes when after a quick free kick from Mark Carey, Bryan Clarke picked out the Seneschalstown captain who made no mistake as he pointed. Joe Sheridan then brought his tally for the day to a goal and three points when he sent over following good work from substitute Niall Lyons and Brian Sheridan. This was to prove to be his sides last score for eighteen minutes as they proceeded to miss a number of opportunities while Ballinlough pointed twice entering into the final quarter, firstly from a Kevin Devine free and secondly from a Peadar Byrne effort from play. Seneschalstown then lost Conor Cowley to a black card when he pulled his opponent down in front of the Ballinlough dug out and he was to be replaced by Niall Groome who re-entered the action and was to go on to give a most impressive performance when he came back on as he hoovered up a mountain of possession while also putting in some excellent tackles which forced turnovers.

As the clock ticked slowly towards the sixtieth minute referee David Gough had his attention drawn by one of his umpires to an incident in the Seneschalstown defence and after a brief consultation he strode out towards the twenty one metre line before brandishing a red card to the Ballinlough talisman Peadar Byrne for what appeared to be a strike on one of the Furze defenders. By now the game was petering out and with time running out Brian Sheridan was to have the final say when he tapped over a thirteen metre free following a foul on Niall Lyons as he attempted a shot for a point.

Referee Gough then brought the game to a close and with it the Senior seasons for both Ballinlough and Seneschalstown. For the Furze men they will look back on it as a season of missed opportunities as they will feel that earlier results in the competition when they lost in Rounds 2 and 3 could have been victories but on both occasions they were forced to regret missed opportunities and mistakes which proved costly. Over the course of today’s game the side was particularly well served by Joe Sheridan who led by example, including when fielding one ball spectacularly one handed in his own defence late on, Adam Carey and Niall Groome, particularly in the last fifteen minutes.

Seneschalstown: David Lyons, Conor Cowley, Cormac Noonan, John Smith, Mark Fox, David Matthews, Niall Groome, Teean Cummins, Damien Sheridan, Sean Noonan, Brian Sheridan (0-03, 0-02 Frees), Adam Carey (0-01), Bryan Clarke (0-03), Joe Sheridan (1-03, 1-00 line ball), James Byrne.

Seneschalstown Substitutions: Mark Carey for M. Fox, Paul Carey for C. Noonan (black card), Niall Lyons for N. Groome, Niall Groome for C. Cowley (black card).

Ballinlough: Keith McGuinness; Benji Smith, Michael Geraghty, Robbie Farrell; Emmet Smith, Lorcan Maguire, Johnnie Reilly; Kevin Devine, Tom McCullen; Colm Mallen, Ronan McGuinness, Cian Mallen; Peadar Byrne, Padraig Muldoon, Sean Geraghty.

By gordonmcguirk Mon 24th Aug