A bridge too far for Seneschalstown

Story by Tom Kelly

Tuesday, 20th November, 2007 9:00am

St Vincent`s  1-12 Seneschalstown  0-10

IT was a bridge too far for Meath senior football champions Seneschalstown as they bowed out of the Leinster title race as Dublin kingpins St Vincent`s finished the replay at Pairc Tailteann the stronger to advance for a semi-final clash with Portlaoise.

  There had been some controversy seven days earlier when extra-time was not played at Parnell Park and when Seneschalstown reduced a deficit of four points down to the minimum near the end, two additional periods looked on the cards.

  However, in the time added on the Dublin side tagged on 1-1 with Kevin Golden pointing and a shot from Tomas Quinn going under the bar to leave the biggest margin between the teams over the hour.

  While Seneschalstown may find the margin at the end was harsh on them, it has to be pointed out that their opponents shot a total of 13 wides compared to just four by the losers.

 While all of the six St Vincent`s starting forwards got on target from play, Joe Sheridan and Brian Clarke, with a point apiece, were the only members of the Meath side`s front ranks to do likewise.

Sheridan key player

  Seneschalstown depended a lot on frees by Brian Sheridan for scores and the corner forward slotted over six kicks. They only led briefly near the end of the first half with Clarke driving a 50 metre free between the uprights.

  The Meath champions persisted a lot on the long ball into Joe Sheridan but the tactic did not work well on this occasion with the full forward having to contend with more than one opponent on occasions.

 Another factor against Seneschalstown was the absence through injury of former Armagh All-Ireland winner Andy McCann, who had been quite influential in their previous few outings.

 St Vincent`s led by 0-5 to 0-1 after 16 minutes and could have gone into a bigger advantage for Quinn fired a shot against the bar. As in the drawn tie, Seneschalstown struggled to get the ball past midfield for a spell in the first period.

 But then with Damien Sheridan coming more into the game around the halfway line, they shot five points in a row before Tiernan Diamond left it 0-6 each at the break. With the Dublin outfit being forced into errors, Brian Sheridan slotted over three frees, brother Joe got on target from play and Clarke landed the long distance effort.

  Joe Sheridan had a good goal chance on 26 minutes following a ball in from Clarke but opposing `keeper Michael Savage advanced to block out the shot.  After three wides in as many minutes by Vincent`s on the restart, they regained the lead through Neal Billings. Clarke replied with a well-taken score from play to have the sides level for the third time but after that the Dublin side took control again.

Brief revival

  Points from Diamond and Quinn (two frees and play) left them four ahead after 55 minutes. Then came another Seneschalstown revival with Brian Sheridan slotting over two more frees before substitute Gary Conlon pulled on a loose ball for a spectacular point.

  Although extra-time looked a strong possibility, Seneschalstown`s tendency to give the ball away on a number of occasions weighed against them as St Vincent`s got back into attack for those clinching scores.

St Vincent`s - M. Savage; P. Conlon, E. Brady, H. Gill; T. Doyle, G. Brennan, P. Kelly; H. Coughlan, M. O`Shea; K. Golden (0-3), T. Diamond (0-2), N. Billings (0-1); B. Maloney (0-1), D. Connolly (0-2), T. Quinn (1-3, 0-2 frees). Subs - P. Gilroy for Billings (38 mins), C. Brady for Connolly (50 mins), R. Trainor for Golden (60 mins).

Seneschalstown - D. Lyons; S. Sheridan, A. Collins, J. Byrne; M. Carey, C. Quinn, C. Gleeson; R. Ruddy, D. Sheridan; D. Byrne, C. Macken, J. Cowley; B. Clarke (0-2, 1 free), J. Sheridan (0-1), B. Sheridan (0-6, all frees). Subs - G. Conlon (0-1) for D. Byrne (44 mins), G. Sheridan for Gleeson (52 mins), S. Clarke for Cowley (58 mins), W. Smith for J. Byrne (60 mins).

Ref.: J. Bannon (Longford).