Meath SFC final finishes all square

October 21, 2007

Richie Hogan gives chase to Seneschalstown's Davy Byrne during the Meath SFC Final at Pairc Tailteann
Seneschalstown came close to upsetting favourites Navan O'Mahonys in the Commons Hardware SFC final at Pairc Tailteann on Sunday but a 58th minute point from Stephen MacGabhann earned the Brews Hill side a second chance. Navan O'Mahonys 0-11 Seneschalstown 1-8 Then in stoppage time at the end of a disapointing hour's football, Seneschalstown substitute Shane Clarke was wide with a free from the right that if converted would have given the Yellow Furze side their first SFC title since 1994 and third in all. Fancied O'Mahonys never played with the same fluidity they showed in the semi-final win over Dunboyne or in overturning a seven points deficit in their quarter-final success over Dunshaughlin. Yet all bar three of their eleven scores came from open play while six of Seneschalstown nine scores came from placed balls. Both sides were equally wasteful, hitting nine wides apiece. After an exciting IFC final curtain raiser, this game never took off until Seneschalstown wing-back Mark Carey pushed forward and fired the ball to the net following good work by Andrew McCann and David Byrne. That left it 1-6 to 0-6 with 28 minutes gone but Seneschalstown managed only two scores thereafter, both from Brian Clarke frees. Stephen Bray, who became Meath's 49th football All-Star on Friday night pulled a point back for the town side who trailed by 0-7 to 1-6 at the break. The sides were level four times before Carey's goal while the lead changed hands on three occasions after Barry Regan fired O'Mahonys in front within a minute of the off following good work by Paddy Smyth. Mark Ward was very conspicuous around midfield in the early exchanges but Damien Sheridan (who was picked up by MacGabhann) came into the picture as the half wore on and also got off the mark when his 50-metre free bounced over the O'Mahonys' crossbar at the hospital end to leave it 0-2 each after 10 minutes. Two points each from Smyth (frees), David and Stephen Bray completed O'Mahonys tally in the opening period. Stephen Bray's third point of the day, following a Ward free had the margin down to the minimum within four minutes of the restart. Two pointed frees from Clarke gave Seneschalstown a three points cushion heading into the final quarter. There was a feeling that if they could have managed another score then the outsiders, who were forced to field without Brian Sheridan (broken metatarsal in his foot) might hold out for a merited success. As it was they wasted some good openings with the big prize in sight. O'Mahonys lost Henry Finnegan with a recurrance of a hamstring injury after only eight minutes, but his replacement Gary O'Brien did well and had a hand in a couple of first-half scores. A pointed free from Smyth in the 50th minute ended a 16-minute scoring blank for the side that lost narrowly to Wolfe Tones in last year's decider. When Ward turned provider for the younger Bray the margin was down to the minimum with just over five minutes to go. The county midfielder underlined his value to the O'Mahonys by providing the assist for the third time in the second-half as Stephen MacGabhann pointed from the right to level matters. Navan O'Mahonys - K. Lane; L. Russell, K. Reilly, I. Matthews; P. Quinn, R. Hogan, C. McGuinness; S. MacGabhann (0-1), M. Ward; D. Bray (0-3), P. Smyth (0-3, frees), H. Finnegan; T. Loughran, B. Regan (0-1), S. Bray (0-3). Subs - G. O'Brien for Finnegan (8 mins), N. McKeigue for Quinn (36 mins), D. Murtagh for Loughran (51 mins). Seneschalstown - D. Lyons; S. Sheridan, A. Collins, C. Clarke; M. Carey (1-0), C. Quinn, C. Gleeson; R. Ruddy, D. Sheridan (0-1, free); D. Byrne, A. McCann, J. Cowley; B. Clarke (0-7, five frees), J. Sheridan, S. Finnegan. Subs - S. Clarke for Cowley (53 mins), T. Ledwidge for Finnegan (62 mins). Referee - J. Curley (Moynalty).

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