Joes Juniors Prove that they are the Best in Louth

04 Nov 2012

Given the structures of Junior 2 football, there can be little doubt that the division 4A league competition is the best test of who is the top team in the county at the grade. Since winning the 4B League in 2008 the Joes have been improving year on year. After winning the 4A shield competition in 2011, going that step further and realising the potential to win the 4A League had to be a realistic target for this team in 2012. However, since coming up to 4A in 2009, no team had caused them greater trouble in the grade than the Pats. Before today the Joes had only beaten them once, with two defeats in 2010 and 2011. This year saw things being extremely tight, with a draw in the group stages of the league and the Pats prevailing in the championship encounter of the two teams, but only after extra time. Yet, having finished top of the table in the league with only one defeat, the Joes could go into this game with the confidence that they had the ability to prevail.


The match was played in Dowdalshill this afternoon, on a surface that was in great nick for the time of year. Despite the heavy showers earlier in the day, the entire match took place without a spell of rain. The Joes played with the aid of the breeze that was blowing from the road end in the first half. This was not a high scoring affair and the quality of football was not always of the highest standard, but this was a highly competitive game with plenty of incident, intensity and passion.


It was the Joes that nearly got off to a dream start, Jack Mulligan did a great bit of fielding on the edge of the square and shot for goal, only for Robbie Arthur to pull off an equally great save at the expense of a fifty. The resultant kick was driven well clear of the crossbar by a pumped up Damien Connor, who would have been more used to playing finals for the Pats than against them. The Joes went on to completely dominate the opening ten minutes, but would get only one further point in the period, when Connor set up Alan Quigley for the opening point from play. The game took on a slightly different complexion a few minutes later as a fight broke out in front of the stands, between several players from both sides. Although, surprisingly referee Gerry Corrigan decided not to brandish any cards once peace had been restored. The first yellow card was not long about coming though and was picked up by Pats forty yards man Evan Whyte after he struck out at Alan Lynch.


This break up in the play and the harder edge to the game seemed to suit the Lordship side and as the game moved into the second quarter they started creating scoring chance. The first of note fell to Conor Grogan would challenged a high ball with Eamonn Neary, when the ball spilled he had an open goal in front of him but fly kicked wide. It took centre half back Thomas Mc Cann to get them on the scoresheet, as his long range effort would be his sides first of the day. When Colin Mc Cann kicked over a free a minute later the game was level, despite all the Joes early dominance. The Joes tried to hit back as a great ball in from Alan Quigley gave David Reilly a chance on goal, Arthurs stood firm between the Pats sticks again though and saved well. The ball was kept in play and worked the length of the field for Conor Loughran to put the Pats in front for the first time with twenty minutes gone on the clock. Simon O Shaugnessy doubled their lead with a close in point after he had grafted hard along the endline.


The game ebbed back in the Joes favour though as the scores started to tick over a bit more freely. A close in free from Connor was followed by a good leveller from Alan Quigley, after good work from Gary Kinahan and Alan Lynch in the build up play. Conall Smyths work rate saw some reward when he was awarded a free in the closing minutes of the half, which Gary Kinahan struck over from about fifty yards out. But this was followed shortly after by a fine point from Conor Loughran at the far end, to leave nothing between the sides at the break.
Half Time Score: St Josephs 0-5, St Patricks 0-5


Colin Mc Cann put the Pats back in front a few minutes after the restart. The ever accurate Gary Kinahan put Joes level again though after David Reilly had been fouled at the end of a length of the field move started by Tommy Yore. A Conor Grogan point from the narrowest of angles edged the Pats back in front once again. The Joes response came with thanks to two of the veterans in the side. The recently introduced Mark Gorham had an immediate impact, as he started a move in his own defence that was finished brilliantly on the left wing by David Reilly. This left the game level as it entered the final quarter.


For the next twelve minutes the game continued on without a score. The tension built all the time and it became clear that a point or two would most likely be the decider in this low scoring affair and that goal would definitely win the game. No goal would come, despite a few further shots on it, but the Joes kicked on when it counted and hit the points that were needed to seal the win. With 27 minutes gone on the clock it was the captain Ben Mulligan who lead by example, took on the responsibility and hit over, after a sideline ball had been worked into him. Next to step up to the mark was David Reilly who belied his age and took on a blistering run down the left wing, having to be taken down by a collective of three Pats players. The resultant free was no gimme, but Mark Gorham showed his experience and made it look easy as he stroked over the bar. The Pats were not done yet though and as the game entered injury time they worked a move forward, Thomas Mc Cann was at the end of it, but saw his shot at goal stopped by Tommy Yore. With the Pats throwing it into attack as they needed to, holes were starting appear in their backline. David Mernagh raided forward into one of these and when his high kick dropped on the square, John Mc Guinness was there to knock it down to Lorcan Doyle, who did not need to be asked twice, as he hit over. The space was exploited one last time when another Pats attack broke down, this time Alan Quigley was at the end of it and drove over the clincher.
Full Time Score: St Josephs 0-11, St Patricks 0-7


There were too many good performers on the Joes 19 that played on the field today to go singling players out and indeed in some ways it would be unfair. As a competition like this is never won by the 15 or 20 that play on the day of the big final, it involves the whole squad of players who answered the call throughout the year and played important roles in important wins when others were not there. For this reason, not only are the teams and substitutes listed below, but also, all the players who lined out throughout the year.


St Josephs: Eamonn Neary, Mark Dromgoole, Tommy Yore, Conor Lynch, David Mernagh, Alan Lynch, Aaron Smyth, Tomas Smyth, Ben Mulligan (0-1), Gary Kinahan (0-2), Conall Smyth, Jack Mulligan, David Reilly (0-1), Damien Connor (0-2), Alan Quigley (0-3).
Substitutions: Lorcan Doyle (0-1) for Jack Mulligan, Mark Gorham (0-1) for Gary Kinahan, John Mc Guinness for Damien Connor, Rory Campbell for David Reilly.
Squad 2012: Ciaran O Hare, Stephen Murphy, Paul Dromgoole, Mickey Mc Ardle, Aidan Shaw, Daire Smyth, Cian Smyth, Jack Mac Namee, Sean Mc Quillan, Cian Mc Guinness, Conor Mc Geough, John Murtagh, Daire Mc Kiernan, Jonny Mc Gailey, Shane Mc Quillan, Chris Brennan, Bob Fagan, David Kierans, Darragh Smith.


St Patricks: Robbie Arthur, Kevin Toner, Alan O Connor, Aidan Ryan, Kevin White, Thomas Mc Cann (0-1), Johnny Ryan, Martin Breen, Dean Mc Cartan, Aidan Mc Cann, Evan Whyte, Simon O Shaugnessy (0-1), Conor Grogan (0-1), Colin Mc Cann (0-2), Conor Loughran (0-2). Substitution: Shane Toner for Simon O Shaugnessy.


Referee: Gerry Corrigan (Mattock Rangers)


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