On a cool evening for football Seneschalstown and Skryne served up a Championship clash which had plenty of endeavour but was sorely lacking in the quality which tends to set the top teams apart.
In the end it was the Skryne side who prevailed against a Seneschalstown team who ended up playing for the last twenty minutes after losing Robert Ruddy to a red card. Ultimately though the men in Yellow Furze men will regret a profligate performance in front of goal as they missed seventeen shots on goal over the hour including six in the opening ten minutes before they eventually opened the scoring.
When they did register the opening score it came from the boot of Joe Sheridan following good play from James Byrne, Peter Waters and Gary Conlon in the build-up. Skryne equalised courtesy of a pointed free from Mark Battersby before Meath custodian Paddy O'Rourke edged them in front with a long distance effort off his left peg. On twenty minutes Seneschalstown engineered a goal scoring opportunity but Niall Lyons saw his effort blocked out when perhaps a point would have been a safer option. Brian Sheridan then kicked two left footed efforts, the second of which after Robert Ruddy had cut out a through ball to O'Rourke.
Skryne then took charge and thanks to points from O'Rourke with a fifty metre free, Paddy Fox and a Battersby effort from a tight angle moved into a two point lead at the interval, 0-05 to 0-03. Seneschalstown though should probably have been in a better position but were counting the cost of some poor wides and bad shot selection.
The dangerous Battersby extended the Skryne advantage in the second minute of the second period before Niall Lyons kicked a very good effort from play after a strong run forward from right half back James Byrne. Battersby replied with two in two minutes, the second of which came from a free before Seneschalstown suffered a blow when Ruddy was given his marching orders by referee Richard Morris. Skryne soon moved further in front courtesy of another O'Rourke point just after his former deputy on the Meath panel, David Lyons, was forced off the field with an injury with Wesley McDonagh coming on in his place.
The men in yellow were almost thrown a dramatic lifeline approaching the end of the third quarter when after good link up play with the by now introduces Tean Cummins, Damien Sheridan delivered a low ball across into the square where Joe was lurking. Gathering possession and holding off Ciaran Lenehan he managed to squeeze a shot away but saw it flash over the crossbar instead of seeing the net bulge. A Skryne wing back replied with a point of his own before the boost Seneschalstown so desperately craved eventually arrived.
After a fine fetch from full forward Peter Waters, Joe Sheridan and the raiding wing back Adam Carey linked up before finding Brian Sheridan who managed to toe poke his effort past Ian Gillet in the Skryne goal. Paddy Fox, who was having an impressive performance pushed his side back into a three point lead before ten minutes after being introduced to the fray Bryan Clarke sent a fifty three metre free sailing between the uprights and then another one two minutes later from forty seven metres to leave the game firmly in the melting pot.
Skryne settled themselves with three points on the spin including efforts from Brian Davis and Fox but Seneschalstown while Seneschalstown were by now rocked back on the ropes they valiantly tried to fight back with points from Clarke from a forty five and Joe Sheridan whose effort just dropped over the crossbar to set up the prospect of a grandstand finish. This however failed to materialise as it was the Skryne side who finished on the front foot and should have put a gloss on the scoreboard but for a fine stop from McDonagh in the Seneschalstown goal.
On a side note there was a fitting tribute paid prior to the throw in when a minutes silence was impeccably observed in memory of former Skryne player Fergus O'Rourke. Fergus was on the Skryne team which contested the 1969 and 1971 Meath SFC Finals and his nephews Felim and Paddy were involved with Skryne this evening. Ar Dheis De go raibh a anam.
Seneschalstown Scorers: Brian Sheridan 1-02, Bryan Clarke 0-03 (0-02 Frees, 0-01 '45), Joe Sheridan 0-03, Niall Lyons 0-01.
Seneschalstown: David Lyons, Conor Cowley, Cormac Noonan, Niall Groome, James Byrne, David Matthews, Adam Carey, Robert Ruddy, Damien Sheridan, Gary Conlon, Brian Sheridan, Niall Lyons, Mark Carey, Peter Waters, Joe Sheridan.
Seneschalstown Substitutions: Bryan Clarke for N. Lyons, Wesley McDonagh for D. Lyons (inj.), Tean Cummins for N. Groome, Sean Noonan for G. Conlon.
SFC: Second SFC win for Skryne
Skryne made the short journey to Ratoath a successful one as they overcame Seneschalstown in the second round of the Meath SFC. In cold but dry and sunny conditions the first fifteen minutes of this game were of the poor football standard. Neither side could get on top and it was not until the 13th minute that Seneschalstown posted the first score of the match - a point from Joe Sheridan. The match overall was a tame affair and the first half was noted for the Furze men kicking nine wides to Skryne's two thus helping the Blues to a five points to three interval lead.
This second half was a lot more physical resulting in Seneschalstown being reduced to 14 men after about 15 minutes when Robert Reddy received a second yellow card. This seemed to spur on Seneschalstown more so than Skryne and when Brian Sheridan slotted home the only goal of the game to add to three superb long range pointed frees by the substitute the game seemed to be heading for a very exciting finish. While it was close Skryne weathered the storm and ran out uneasy winners by 2 points.
Skryne had excellent displays from the Lenehan brothers, Ronan McCabe and Adam O'Sullivan, in defence, Donie Ryan at midfield while upfront Paddy Fox stood out along with the usual chief scorers. Harry Rooney made a very welcome return after injury to steady the ship in the last ten minutes.
Skryne - Ian Gillette. Neil Lenehan, Ciaran Lenehan, Vinny O'Reilly. Ronan McCabe, Mark Jordan, Adam O'Sullivan (0-1). Aidan Tuite, Donie Ryan. Thomas McKeown, Stephen O'Brien, Paddy Fox (0-3). Brian Davis (0-2), Patrick O'Rourke (0-3), Mark Battersby (0-5). Subs used - Conor O'Brien and Harry Rooney.