St. Oliver’s put in an impressive team display to convincingly defeat Seneschalstown in the Division 3 final of the minor football championship on Friday evening. A large crowd gathered at the St. Michael’s grounds in Carlanstown for the second week in a row after the original fixture was abandoned because of floodlight failure.
St. Oliver’s………………………3-11 Seneschalstown……………....1-4
The North Meath outfit is a combination of Inny Gaels and Ballinlough and after both teams struggled during their respective league campaigns a decision was made to amalgamate and form St. Oliver’s. After a heavy defeat by Seneschalstown in an earlier round expectations were quite low, however slowly but surely a team spirit started to develop which culminated in their strongest performance of the campaign.
A lot of credit must also go to the St. Oliver’s management team of George Plunkett, Gary Mc Donnell and Gerry Gibney for having their team well prepared for battle. They also pulled somewhat of a masterstroke by deploying regular midfielder Kevin Beirne at full-forward where his height and strength proved to be a real handful; he contributed 2-1 in an impressive display.
St. Oliver’s made the brighter start with the pace of Rory Gibney causing havoc; he was involved in all the early action as they went 1-2 ahead after seven minutes, the goal come from Beirne after Gibney’s shot had come back off the crossbar. Niall Mc Cabe kicked over an excellent point from out on the wing to get Seneschalstown off the mark and they got their second point in the 13th minute when Niall Lyons stroked over a brilliant free from out on the left to bring his team within four points; 1-3 to 0-2.
St. Oliver’s looked the better balanced team throughout and they were firmly in control when Rory Gibney calmly side footed to the net in the 19th minute, the goal left them ahead; 2-4 to 0-2. The Seneschalstown attack was struggling to make any real inroads against a tight marking St. Oliver’s defence but they got a major boost when Sean Noonan’s powerful shot looped in and under the crossbar. The teams traded points before the break as St. Oliver’s went in ahead; 2-6 to 1-4, at the switch of ends.
Although five points separated the teams at half-time the game looked delicately poised, the Seneschalstown forwards had shown enough threat with limited possession to indicate they could cause major problems if their supply increased, however therein lay their biggest problem. St. Oliver’s increased their work rate considerably in the second half as midfielder Gary Reilly dominated the airways while half-backs Michael Flood and Micheal Geraghty along with the roving Jonnie Reilly mopped up much of the breaking ball.
Ricky Mc Dermott was a central figure during the second half and when he sent a ’45 towards the Seneschalstown posts in the 32nd minute, Beirne flicked the ball into the net as St. Oliver’s were coasting; 3-6 to 1-4. Jack Tunney, Mc Dermott (2), Gibney and Andrew Geraghty all sent over points in the last quarter as Seneschalstown failed to score in the second half.
After the match Ultan Fitzpatrick presented the Daire Maxwell cup to St. Oliver’s captain Michael Flood.
St. Oliver’s: L. Gibney, C. Foley, J. Baugh, M. Farrell, P. Farrelly, M. Geraghty, M. Flood, G. Reilly, K. Kiernan, J. Reilly, R. Mc Dermott (0-4, 1f), S. Browne, J. Tunney (0-2), K. Beirne (2-1), R. Gibney (1-3). Subs: A. Geraghty (0-1) for Farrelly, D. Farrelly for Tunney, P. Plunkett for Geraghty, B. Gibney for Farrell and O. Brady for Browne.