Setanta . . . great journey ends in Navan
Setanta's great journey came to an end on Saturday when they lost their All-Ireland semi-final against Munster champions, Ardmore in Pairc Tailteann, Navan.
However, the Donegal side went down fighting, putting up a great display against the red-hot favourites.
Setanta started superbly, with Colm Melaugh’s opening minute effort giving them the lead, which was cancelled out immediately by John Gartland’s effort.
Former Waterford inter-county star Seamus Prendergast gave his side the lead with a third minute free, but three points in a row gave the Ulster side genuine belief they could make a game of it.
The first score was a close range effort by full forward Declan Coulter, which was followed up by an excellent score from the same player and Bernard Lafferty’s 12th minute effort gave Setanta a 0-4 to 0-2 advantage.
This was as good as it got for the Donegal outfit, with an outstanding effort from Seamus Keating followed up with a goal from wing forward James Flavin, which was a superb solo effort from the Ardmore star.
Points from Prendergast and corner-back Niall Hennessey stretched Ardmore’s advantage, before Kevin Campbell responded for Setanta with a much needed free.
It was in the five minutes before half-time, that the Munster Champions expressed their dominance.
David Gartland, Seamus Prendergast and James Kennedy registered successive points, before Prendergast finished to the back of the net, after an excellent pass from Niall Hennessey.
Ardmore led on a score-line of 2-8 to 0-5 at the interval, which was very harsh on Setanta, who played some great hurling at times in the first half.
The Waterford outfit cruised home in the second half, with a crucial goal from David Gartland sealing the victory.
A brilliant pass from Prendergast made its way to Gartland, who finished to the back of the net.
A second goal from James Flavin furthered his side’s advantage and the game was well and truly over when Setanta goalkeeper Ciaran Bellew was sent off, for using abusive language to the match officials on duty.
Setanta got the final three points of the game courtesy of Declan Coulter, Bernard Lafferty and Danny Cullen, but they were no more than consolation efforts, as the Setanta bowed out of the Championship, at the end of a fantastic season which has seen the Donegal side bring home silverware at county and provincial level.
Ardmore now face Wexford outfit St Mogue’s Fethard in the decider.
ARDMORE: James O’Donnell; Niall Hennessey (0-1), Declan Prendergast, Daniel Power; Gavin Williams, Seamus Keating (0-1), Ritchie Hennessey; Kenny Murphy, Wayne Hennessey; James Flavin (2-0), David Gartland (1-2), John Gartland (0-1); James Kennedy (0-1), Seamus Prendergast (1-6, 5f), Sean Barron. Subs: Michael Cronin for Daniel Power (45), Stephen Keating for John Gartland (49), Cathal Hennessy for James Kennedy (57), Eoin Conway for Kenny Murphy (58), Alan Stenson for Seamus Prendergast (62).
SETANTA: Ciaran Bellew; Brendan Tourish, Simon McMenamin, Mark Callaghan; Sean Anderson, Martin Bonner, Niall Cleary (0-1); Richie Kee, Danny Cullen (0-3, 1 '65'); Bernard Lafferty (0-2), Colm Melaugh (0-1), Mark Kane; Justin McBride, Declan Coulter (0-3, 1f), Kevin Campbell (0-3, 3f). Subs: Damien Browne for Colm Melaugh (42), Josh Cronolly for Mark Kane (58), Alan McConnell for Sean Anderson (63).
REFEREE: Alfie Devine (Westmeath).