Donie's Double Keeps Seneschalstown in Contention

Coolrite Refrigeration Under 20 Football Championship

Seneschalstown 3-07 Ratoath 1-12

Seneschalstown bounced back from their opening round defeat in the Under 20 Football Championship to Donaghmore/Ashbourne by beating Ratoath in Seán Eiffe Park on Saturday afternoon. Playing conditions were soft underfoot and the rain was intermittent with a slight breeze blowing towards the entrance end of the ground which the hosts played with in the first half.

Plying a Ratoath team containing many who had been training with their Keegan Cup winning side this year, Seneschalstown needed to start well. However, the exact opposite occurred with Luke Healy having to pick the ball out of his net inside 90 seconds after a Ratoath forward produced a brilliant finish into the top right corner of the net. Ratoath did enjoy lots of early possession but failed to add to their goal, and Seneschalstown began to settle. Séimí Byrne got his side up and running with a sweetly struck effort off the outside of his left boot after some patient build up play across the pitch. In the eighth minute Donie Commons tapped over a free after Robbie Finnegan was halted while making inroads towards the Ratoath goal and Jack Owens levelled the sides up with a fine effort from distance in the 10th minute after Liam Maguire showed good strength to break a challenge and hold onto the ball. Ratoath regained the lead instantly but just as quickly Joe Norris showed good composure to point off his left to tie it up again.

Two further Ratoath points, including a fine effort by 2021 All-Ireland winning Meath Minor captain Liam Kelly pushed the home side two to the good once again but the game was about to swing in Seneschalstown’s favour.

Ryan Finnegan, who has enjoyed an excellent debut year in adult football with the clubs Senior team, broke through a gap and took aim with a left footed shot. Donie Commons had positioned himself on the edge of the square and contested the dropping ball with the goalkeeper and full back. Commons rose highest and produced a deft flick to the back the of the net to move his side one in front, a massive boost for the Furze lads. A fine long range effort from the home side restored parity before another major score went the way of Seneschalstown. Darren O’Brien sprayed a ball across the goal from out on the sideline which was claimed by a Seneschalstown forward on the edge of the large square who laid off to Sam Kirwan. Kirwan tried to fizz the ball over the bar with the outside of his boot but totally skewed his effort. Commons was once again lurking near the Ratoath goal and stuck a hand up into the air to deflect the ball into the net, despite the protestations of the home side for a square ball. Referee Declan Browne’s mind was not for changing and the Brian Sheridan managed side headed to the dressing rooms three ahead.

Seneschalstown were first to trouble the scoreboard operator in the second period, Robbie Finnegan doing well to engineer a point for himself after briefly losing control of the ball when half a goal opportunity was on. Four to the good, breeze behind them, you would have expected Seneschalstown to kick on but the home side responded emphatically. They kicked six points on the spin to go from four down to two up in a 17 minute spell where Seneschalstown struggled to get out of their own half.

After going twenty minutes without a score, Seneschalstown reduced the deficit to the minimum when Robbie Finnegan tapped over a close range free at the second attempt when Commons was fouled. He did similar three minutes later from 30 metres out when substitute Kyle Hosie was pulled, leaving the game all square four minutes from time. Cue the umpteenth twist in the tale.

When Kyle Hosie and Robbie Finnegan teamed up out on the right, Finnegan set to shoot. He certainly didn’t catch his shot cleanly and it looked to be dropping short from early on. The flight of the ball deceived the keeper and all he could do was tip the ball onto the crossbar but it fell kindly for Aaron Clarke. Clarke, who only entered the fray minutes earlier had the simple task of slotting the ball into an empty net. Seneschalstown had further chances to put the game to bed but left the hosts in it with some poor decision making. Ratoath did pull a couple of points back, one which could have been a goal when a fisted effort went over the bar instead of under, but any subsequent danger was thwarted by a combination of goalkeeper Luke Healy and the Lawlor brothers, Cillian and Oran in the full back line. Shortly after Declan Browne blew for full time and Seneschalstown had the two points in the bag.

The victory was vital for Seneschalstown to remain in the competition, and it sets up a winner takes all clash at home to Trim next Friday night in Fr. Tully Park. Whoever emerges victorious in that game will earn themselves a semi-final spot.

Seneschalstown: Luke Healy, Oran Lawlor, Cillian Lawlor, Cormac Carolan, Darren O’Brien, Conor McDonnell, Séimí Byrne (0-01), Donie Commons (2-01, 1f), Ryan Finnegan, Tom McDonnell, Jack Owens (0-01), Liam Maguire, Robbie Finnegan (0-03, 2fs), Joe Norris (0-01), Sam Kirwan.

Subs Used: Owen Mullen, Kyle Hosie, Eamon Finnegan, Aaron Clarke (1-00)

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