Double scores defeat for depleted champions

June 07, 2008

O'Mahony's Mark Ward
Navan O'Mahonys maintained their unbeaten start in Group A of the Commons Hardware SFC with a double scores win over holders Seneschalstown at Pairc Tailteann on Friday evening. Navan O'Mahonys 1-17 Seneschalstown 0-10 The outcome is some measure of consolation for the Brews Hill side's loss to Seneschalstown in last year's SFC final replay but more importantly it keeps them on course for the business end of this year's championship with five points from three games to date. After winning the toss O'Mahonys' captain Paddy Smyth opted to take advantage of strong wind blowing towards the town goal in the opening half. However the champions stayed in touch in the first period and a 0-5 to 1-7 interval deficit didn't seem insurmounable. The gap was down to three points within four minutes of the restart when Joe Sheridan and Mark Carey pointed for the Yellow Furze side. Three points in as many minutes saw the town side go six points clear. The first of that trio of scores came from Henry Finnegan who cut in from the stand side before popping the ball over the bar at the hospital end. Seneschalstown lost midfielder Robert Ruddy - who was making his first start of the campaign - with a knee injury. When the action resumed Finnegan made it 1-11 to 0-7 with 43 minutes gone and there was only going to be one outcome. Even before Ruddy's injury Mark Ward was the most influential player at midfield but their number eight's injury left the holders short handed at a crucial juncture. At the back Niall McKeigue kept Brian Clarke - man-of-the-match in last year's SFC decider - scoreless. Finnegan shared scoring honours with David Bray. The former posting six points (five in the second-half) with three of his scores coming from placed balls. The younger Bray put 1-3 to his name while his All Star brother Stephen finished with five points from play. Lee Russell completed the winners' haul with three scores from play. Against that the Seneschalstown forwards only managed three points from play Joe (two) and Brian Sheridan while their other flags from play came courtesy of wing-back Mark Carey (two) and Ruddy. Seneschalstown got off to a calamitous start when goalkeeper David Lyons failed to deal with a Finnegan centre and the ball broke to David Bray who slotted to the net within two minutes of the off. Russell opened his account two minutes later but in between those early scores O'Mahonys should have had a second-goal but Smyth fired straight at the Seneschalstown 'keeper. Midway through the half the margin was down to the minimum, 0-3 to 1-1, when Brian Sheridan pointed a close range free. Seneschalstown were still in touch, 0-5 to 1-5, with their wind assisted opponents coming up to half-time when Joe Sheridan blazed over the bar after latching onto a crossfield ball from his older brother Damien. Points from David (free) and Stephen Bray - following a poor kick out by Lyons - gave O'Mahonys additional leeway at the break. Seneschalstown resumed with Brian Sheridan at midfield, substitute Andrew McCann on the '40' and Damien Sheridan giving added height to the front line. However, Ruddy's injury scuppered any hopes of a recovery by the champions who fell to their second defeat from three outings to date. Navan O'Mahonys - M. Brennan; N. McKeigue, K. Reilly, D. Moran; S. MacGabhann, C. McGuinness, S. O'Toole; B. Regan, M. Ward; L. Russell (0-3), S. Bray (0-5), H. Finnegan (0-6, 3 frees); D. Bray (1-3, 0-2 frees), P. Smyth, S. Keating. Subs - G. O'Brien for Russell (54 mins), S. Reilly for MacGabhann (56 mins), I. Matthews for Moran (60 mins). Seneschalstown - D. Lyons; W. Smith, A. Collins, G. Sheridan; M. Carey (0-2), J. Cowley, J. Byrne; R. Ruddy (0-1), D. Sheridan; S. Clarke (0-1, free), B. Sheridan (0-4, 3 frees), C. Macken; S. Sheridan, J. Sheridan (0-2), B. Clarke. Subs - G. Conlon for S. Clarke, A. McCann for Macken (both half-time), T. McDonnell for Ruddy (43 mins), S. Finnegan for S. Sheridan (60 mins). Referee - D. Coldrick (Blackhall Gaels).

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