Seneschalstown 1-10 Blackhall Gaels 0-09
With four rounds of the Hoganstand.com Meath SFC gone Seneschalstown are now the last team standing with a 100% record thanks to a victory over Blackhall Gaels that might not have been pretty, not that the men from Yellow Furze will mind one jot.
On an evening when the sod was greasy thanks to the heavy rain which fell and there was a driving wind blowing directly up the field for the duration aesthetics was never going to be a major thing for either team to have in mind with winning by whatever means necessary the order of the day.
Lightning lit up the Skryne sky just after the full time whistle but there was little else to brighten up the evening as both sides missed a plethora of chances, Blackhall Gaels firing sixteen wides and Seneschalstown contriving to miss a number of excellent goal scoring opportunities as their killer instinct appeared to desert them. The Batterstown/Kilcloon outfit came into this match buoyed by two victories in successive weeks over Ballinlough and Rathkenny while Seneschalstown had two weeks previously got back to winning ways with a hard-fought win over Gaeil Colmcille in Round 3.
Trailing by a solitary point at half time having played into the elements Seneschalstown would have been relatively satisfied with their position but the old adage that the wind never won a match for any team will have been playing on their mind.
Blackhall Gaels it had been who were quickest out of the traps and with a minute on the clock they opened the scoring when the experienced Tadgh Brosnan pointed from a free. Former Westmeath player Graham Dillon extended their lead on four minutes but Seneschalstown cancelled this out soon after when Brian Sheridan did superbly to field a free from Joe Sheridan who had been fouled in the middle of the field and the ace marksman sent over. This score came just after Jonathan Gilsenan had been unlucky to see his palmed effort well saved on the line.
Brosnan kicked his second of the hour on ten minutes but the scoreboard had barely registered it when straight away corner forward Gilsenan saw his point effort clip the right hand upright on its way over after he had got on the end of a strong run from Adam Gleeson. The Seneschalstown men then received a timely fillip when after Joe Sheridan had once more picked out Brian Sheridan, the no.11 laid off to the supporting Niall Hickey who squared to Stephen Finnegan who had the simple task of flicking the ball into the net. Incredibly though this was to prove to be the last Seneschalstown score of the half as they went without a score for the last twenty minutes including stoppage time.
Incredibly despite having the backing of a strong wind Blackhall Gaels couldn't muster any further points from play before the half time break and had to rely upon three frees to push themselves into that one point lead. Firstly, Paul Kelly sent over from out on the right sideline with a very well taken left footed free after a Seneschalstown defender was penalised for what seemed to be a well-executed tackle much to the chagrin of their supporters. Then on the run in towards half time the ever accurate Sean Whelan converted two frees but they will certainly have been rueing their ten first half wides, some of which were from very scoreable positions.
The second half almost got off to a very controversial start when an umpire incorrectly signalled a Blackhall Gaels shot as a point but referee Sean Gahan who was expertly positioned overruled the man in white. Jonathan Gilsenan drew the teams level with a very well taken score before Brian Sheridan edged Seneschalstown in front when he swung a shot over off his left peg. Meath hurler Stephen Morris on thirty-seven minutes pulled the Gaels level but for what turned out to be the last occasion.
Brian Sheridan curled over a free two minutes later after Stephen Finnegan was assisted to the ground courtesy of a shove in the back and moments later Seneschalstown missed a gilt edged goal opportunity when Adam Gleeson pulled his shot to the right and wide after Sheridan's initial fisted effort had been parried out. A poor free kick on forty-two minutes was seized upon by Joe Sheridan and the team captain cut in from the right to point. Another great goal scoring opportunity was passed up at the three quarter stage when Finnegan and Gleeson saw their efforts saved.
Sean Whelan kept the Blackhall Gaels scoring ticking along with two expertly taken free kicks from distance as he drove the ball low into the breeze, and indeed the second one could have crept under the crossbar were it not for the alert David Lyons tipping it over. In between these points Brian Sheridan sent over a super point from distance after clever play from Gilsenan.
Then in the closing stages Seneschalstown managed to put a bit of breathing space between the teams when Sheridan sent over two frees before deep into stoppage time Jonathan Gilsenan kicked a point of immense quality to seal the deal.
With top spot in the group now guaranteed Seneschalstown will look to keep up their 100% record in Round 5 against Ballinlough and to do so will need further impressive performances from the likes of Brian Sheridan, Paul Carey and Sean McCabe who were all in fine form in this encounter.
Seneschalstown: David Lyons, Paul Carey, Cormac Noonan, Sean McCabe, Teean Cummins, John Smith, David Matthews, Joe Sheridan (0-01), Damien Sheridan, Niall Hickey, Brian Sheridan (0-06, 0-03 Frees, Niall Groome, Jonathan Gilsenan (0-03), Stephen Finnegan (1-00), Adam Gleeson.
Seneschalstown Substitutions: Conor Cowley for D. Matthews, James Meade for S. Finnegan and Adam Carey for S. McCabe.
Blackhall Gaels Scorers: Sean Whelan (0-04, 0-04 Frees), Tadgh Brosnan (0-02), Graham Dillon (0-01), Paul Kelly (0-01, 0-01 Free), Stephen Morris (0-01).