Seaford’s Premiers overcame a difficult start to the campaign to finish strongly and secure a top-half finish.
The odds were stacked against Seaford going into the 2018/19 season. Not only had they been promoted to Saturday Premier 1 as part of a restructure despite having finished just sixth in Division 3 the previous time out, but there had been a major change of personnel with most of the regular starters from the previous year having moved on, and a new manager in place in Eoin Dunne.
And it was a baptism of fire for Dunne, as the early part of the season could scarcely have gone any worse. The opening day saw a desperately unlucky defeat against neighbours Blackrock College, with Seaford fighting back from two down to take an unlikely lead courtesy of Carl Doyle’s quickfire hat-trick, only to finish the match with ten men due to a nasty injury to Robbie Murray, which would keep him out of action for the rest of the year, and eventually concede a late winner. Heavy defeats to Tymon Bawn and Lorcan Celtic followed, and it seemed as if Seaford would have their work cut out to stay in the division.
But it transpired that their first three opponents would go on to form the top three at the end of the season, and results soon improved. The side cut loose with a comprehensive home win over Rivervalley Rangers, before showing their grittier side by eking out a dramatic late win away at Lorcan, Shane McNamara netting the winner. A heavy defeat to East Wall Rovers set the team back again, but they bounced back with consecutive wins over Pegasus St James and Parkvale in November.
Seaford were still very much in the relegation battle at the halfway point, as both East Wall and Blackrock completed the double over them in Rockfield Park, but performances were significantly improving, and indeed the team wouldn’t taste defeat in league play for the rest of the season.
A four-game winning streak either side of Christmas was just the boost the side needed. Ryan Scollard led the rout of Balbriggan with a hat-trick, a feat matched by Harry Crowe in the cup win at East Wall, before Seaford finally got a modicum of revenge over Blackrock in the Rockfield Cup, and a Chris Monk goal earned victory over Rivervalley. Cup defeat at Esker Celtic was the blot on the copybook, but consecutive draws against Castleknock Celtic ensured safety mathematically, with the team then leapfrogging Balbriggan and Pegasus in the table in the final fortnight to secure fifth spot.
Mathew Sheehan was a standout player for the team, the youngster starring in midfield or at right back – and occasionally even as an emergency centre half – in his debut season for the club. Scollard also had a superb campaign, finishing with an extraordinary tally of nine goals and six assists from just seven appearances, while veteran keeper Robbie Moran was crucial in the team’s turnaround in fortunes after Christmas
Premier Matches 2018/19
Premiers Stats 2018/19