Meath SFC final: All square at the 'Pairc'

November 01, 2009

Seneschalstown's Gerry Sheridan breaks out of defence as Wolfe Tones Alan Fox and Stephen Sheppard try to halt his progress during the Meath SFC Final at Pairc Tailteann
Seneschalstown 1-13 Wolfe Tones 1-13 after extra time A pointed free from Brian Sheridan in the last action of extra time ensured Seneschalstown finished level with Wolfe Tones in the Commons Hardware SFC final that had many talking points at Pairc Tailteann on Sunday. The replay is set for Pairc Tailteann on Thursday night with the winners' due to play Portlaoise in the Leinster Club SFC next Sunday. The scores were tied on seven occasions over the 80 minutes including three in extra time. Seneschalstown looked set for their second Keegan Cup success in three years when leading by a point in the fourth minute of stoppage time after the hour had expired. When corner-back Gerry Sheridan was penalised for over-carrying Cian Ward - who scored 1-8 - had the simple task of levelling matters at 1-9 apiece. Seneschalstown had the elements in the first period of extra time and moved two points clear with scores from Brian Sheridan and Brian Clarke (free). A Ward free left just the minimum, 1-10 to 1-11, between the sides at the break in extra wtih Wolfe Tones set to enjoy wind advantage in the final ten minutes. Players on both sides were succumbing to cramp in the additional 20 minutes but Cathal O Bric's men regained parity with Darren McGrath third point from play within two minutes of the resumption of extra time. When wing-back Stephen Sheppard pointed from an acute angle at the town end, the 'Tones were back in front and looked set for victory. A Brian Sheridan free levellled matters once more in the 78th minute. Then in the first minute of stoppage time Ward's eighth pointed free looked to sealed it for Wolfe Tones. The drama and talking points continued with a contentious free being awarded for a foul on Damien Sheridan - just as the call against Gerry Sheridan at the end of normal time was harsh - and his younger brother secured parity from about 25 metres ensuring that a replay was required for the second time in three years to decide the destination of the Keegan Cup. Five Wolfe Tones' players - Richie Brady, Barry McGinn, Darren McGrath, Mark Coleman were yellow-card while four Seneschalstown players were similarly sanctioned - Gerry Sheridan, Joe Sheridan, Ciaran Macken and Andrew Collins. The latter player was sanctioned following an off-the ball incident in the 20th minute and was fortunate not to pick up a second yellow card before the end. Wolfe Tones won the toss and opted to play with the wind in the opening-half. Within 80 seconds of the off the ball was in the Seneschalstown net courtesy of Cian Ward. Team captain Alan Fox provided the final pass for opening score with Eoghan Harrington and Mark Coleman also involved in the build-up. By the tenth minute Seneschalstown were on level terms with Gary Conlon's fisted goal leaving it 1-1 apiece after Shane Clarke's free dropped short. Scores were scarce in the next 15 minutes as the gamble of playing with the wind in the opening half looked to have backfired on the 'Tones. Seneschalstown hit the front for the first time when Brian Clarke opened his account from a free in the 16th minute. Six minutes later Darren McGrath put over the first of his three points from play. Four points on the spin - courtesy of Ward (two frees), McGrath and Fox - boosted Wolfe Tones to a 1-6 to 1-2 interval advantage. But would that lead be sufficient to see them through the second period? Within three minutes of the restart the margin was up to five points - the biggest score differential on the day - when Ward sent over after Fox was fouled by Gerry Sheridan. Seneschalstown reponded with three points from play through Brian Sheridan and Stephen Finnegan (two). Ward - who by now was operating on the wing placed McGrath for his second score and with under ten minutes on the clock Wolfe Tones were three points to the good. Within seconds of that score substitute Andew McCann placed Finnegan for this third point. Moments later Brian Clarke landed a free from about 55 metres and the margin was down to the minimum. A foul on Joe Sheridan - who by now was at full-forward - let to his younger sibling Brian sending over from close range and the sides were level for the third time. When Brian Clarke placed Finnegan for his fourth point, the Keegan Cup looked bound for Seneschalstown. As the game entered the fourth minute of stoppage time Stephen Sheppard looked to have over-carried the ball as the 'Tones made one last attempt to save the day. The wing-back spilled possession and it was the unfortunate Gerry Sheridan who was penalised serving Ward with the gilt-edged opportunity to bring the game to extra time and the competition's top scorer duly obliged. Seneschalstown - D. Lyons; P. Carey, A. Collins, G. Sheridan; M. Carey, J. Cowley, S. Sheridan; J. Sheridan, D. Sheridan; G. Conlon (1-0), C. Macken, S. Finnegan (0-4); B. Clarke (0-4, 2 fs), B. Sheridan (0-5, 4 fs), S. Clarke. Subs - A. McCann for Conlon (36), R. Ruddy for S. Clarke (44), Conlon for B. Clarke (ht in extra time), C. Duffy for Macken (73). Wolfe Tones - D. Nolan; R. Brady, C. McLoughlin, C. Martin; B. McGinn, E. Harrington, S. Sheppard (0-1); S. Corrigan, G. Beggy; D. McGrath (0-3), N. McLoughlin, M. Coleman; A. Fox (0-1), C. Ward (1-8, 0-8 fs), P. Byrne. Subs - A. Callaghan for Coleman (49), R. McDonnell for McGrath (80). Referee - J. Farrelly (Syddan).

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