SFC semi-final: Clarke hands Furze final place
October 12, 2009
Seneschalstown's Brian Clarke and Brian Sheridan celebrate after beating Summerhill in the Meath SFC semi final at Pairc Tailteann.
There was no shortage of late drama in the games at Pairc Tailteann at the weekend and Brian Clarke proved a Seneschalstown hero when driving a 45 high between the uprights at the end of the four minutes of added time to clinch victory in the first of the Commons Hardware Meath SFC semi-finals on Sunday.
This was a game which gave a big boost to club football in the Royal County and what a pity there had to be losers. But the spoils went to the 2007 champions as last year's beaten finalists were left to regret a few missed point chances in the second half.
Summerhill suffered a blow in the second quarter when their usually accurate free-taker Stephen Kennedy was forced to retire with a hand injury. However, his replacement, Conor Gillespie, quickly made his mark.
He had just joined the action when taking a pass from Davy Dalton and firing in the game's only goal after 23 minutes to leave the board reading 1-5 to 0-5. Summerhill led by 1-5 to 0-6 at the break.
The tie gave great value for money with the teams on level terms eight times. The goal left the biggest margin between them. Two points from midfielder Maurice Kennedy in the first half boosted the 'Hill for whom former Clare county player Rory Donnelly was in lively form.
Joe Sheridan, who was the star in the impressive quarter-final win over Skryne, had a quiet enough outing. The Yellow Furze side depended a lot on the full forward trio of Brian Sheridan and Shane and Brian Clarke for scores.
They accounted for 11 points of the winning total with eight of them coming from placed balls. Seneschalstown resumed strongly with points from play by Brian Clarke and Stephen Finnegan inside a minute.
Summerhill regained the lead through Dalton following a short free by Brian Ennis, who took over the kicking duties after Stephen Kennedy went off. Although the centre forward converted three times, he was off target with two difficult attempts into the breeze.
Summerhill were overdoing the short passing and it was frustrating to see Davy Dalton lose the ball and Shane Clarke take advantage to level matters again. In the second half one side and then the other looked like claiming the spoils and the Sheridans were prominent in their side's 10th and 11th points.
First Joe put over his only score after a pass from Brian who then converted after a foul on Damien. White flags from Shane Clarke (free and play) left it 0-13 to 1-8 with 49 minutes gone.
There were four minutes added time and when Donnelly levelled up matters again, extra-time looked likely. But a couple of minutes later Brian Clarke stepped up to send his send into a second final in three years.
Seneschalstown - D Lyons; P Carey, A Collins, G Sheridan; M Carey, J Cowley, S Sheridan; J Sheridan (0-1), D Sheridan; G Conlon, C Macken, S Sheridan (0-1); B Clarke (0-2, 1 45), B Sheridan (0-4, 4 frees), S Clarke (0-6, 3 frees). Sub- T Ledwidge for S Clarke (60).
Summerhill - T McDonnell; C Young, A Kenny, R Hatton; P Rispin, W Milner, S Husband; M Kennedy (0-2), D Byrne; D Dalton (0-1), B Ennis (0-3, 3 frees), R Donnelly (0-2); S Dalton, P Larkin (0-1), S Kennedy (0-1, free). Subs - C Malone for Husband, C Gillespie (1-0) for S Kennedy (both 23), M O'Reilly for Larkin for Larkin (49).
Referee - J Curley (Moynalty).
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