After the “Beast from the East” played havoc with league fixtures, Dunderry were back in action on a beautiful sunny evening hosting Senchelstown in round six of the League.
Kevin Dowd & his management team were hit with a number of setbacks with Oisin Martin, Jamie Leavy, Conor Farrell & Conor O’Shea on the injury list while Paddy Kennelly & Conor Dempsey were unavailable due to Meath’s win or bust showdown against Down today in Navan.
Six of the team are under 21 in a blend of ages that showed strength in depth which was heartening ahead of the championship return to Pairc Tailteann on April 8th. Senchelstown came into the game one point ahead of Dunderry in the table in 4th place, though Dunderry do have a game in hand. Promotion is still very much the target for 2018.
The game started with a reshuffle in the Dunderry pack. Liam Dempsey was dispatched to full back to match up to Brian Sheridan. The game opened with a quick exchange of frees by Sheridan & Stephen Coogan inside the first two minutes. Senchelstown added two more in the opening 10 minutes as the game began to settle into a pattern of play. Dunderry then presented a goal to Sheridan in the 9th minute after some sloppy play lead to an easy palming of the ball to the net. So far, not great and 1:03 to 0:01 behind. Two more pointed frees for the Furze were added before 2017 player of the year Alan Watters popped up from wing back to make it 1:05 to 0:02.
Dunderry were then carved open on 17 minutes when a lovely move ended in an excellently taken goal. Stephen Coogan replied with a beauty on 19 minutes but it looked like being a long day. On 24 minutes Davey McCormack rose to catch the ball, and was felled by the Senchelstown left half forward in an innocuous, but high challenge. A shemozzle ensued in the best of GAA traditions resulting in a second yellow for the #12, and a yellow for Liam Dempsey. No further trouble for the scorekeeper in the last 5 minutes left the scoreline Dunderry 0:03 Senchelstown 2:07.
The verdict at half time varied from Dunderry being in for a long day, an early exit from the championship and a return of the snow to more light hearted stuff around the newly installed manual scoreboard apprentice. Coffee was needed as the second half approached.
Dunderry reshuffled the pack again at half time with Kevin Bruton & Conor Daly replacing Jack Brady & Davey McCormack. Dermot Kelly was moved to midfield and was to have a telling effect on the game. Kelly opened the scoring from a free on 32nd and again on 35th minute either side of another Senchelstown free. Alan Watters from a placed ball then made it 0:06 to 2:08 and thoughts of a revival were on the minds of the home support. These were ignited when Stephen Coogan finished off an excellent move with a goal on the 43rd minute. 1:06 to 2:08 and the game was definitely on with 15 minutes to go. Conor Daly popped over a lovely score to further narrow the gap. Luke Martyn was crudely pushed inside the square while attempting to pull the trigger - penalty to Dunderry, which was dispatched in fine style by Coogan. The score was now 2:08 to 2:07 to Senchelstown, but the comeback had been spectacular.
Senchelstown then had their own purple patch and rattled off three points in quick succession to increase their lead. Dermot Kelly replied before the thorn in Senchelstown’s side, Liam Dempsey wandered up from full back and found himself one on one with the keeper.....who didn’t stand a chance! 3:08 to 2:11 now and the €5 entrance fee has been fantastic value so far.
Captain Coogan added another free to push ahead with 2 minutes remaining, edging Dunderry ahead for the first time in the match. Some frantic last ditch defending denied a certain goal in the 59th minute which would have been a cruel outcome after such a comeback.
The resulting ’45 was converted and the sides were level for the final time. Both sides had half chances to snatch the win, but referee Eoin Ganly blew the final whistle on 62 minutes and the points were shared with a final score of Dunderry 3:09 Senchelstown 2:12.
Much to be pleased with after the game. The young guns of Ronan Brady and especially Dermot Kelly had excellent outings alongside Coogan, Dempsey and Watters in a display that showed that there is a lot of character in this squad.
Roll on April 8th in Pairc Tailteann.
David Jennings, Aaron Newman, David McCormack, Aaron Feeney, Ronan Brady, Eoin Dempsey, Alan Watters (0:02), Liam Dempsey (1:0), Luke Martyn, Marc Kane, Dermot Kelly (0:03), Jordan Martin, Stephen Coogan (2:03), Jack Brady, Martin Garry.
Subs: Kevin Bruton for McCormack, Conor Daly (0:01) for J Brady, Gary Clarke for M Garry.