Late, Late Na Piarsaigh show denys Intermediate side in Championship Opener

21 Jul 2013

The first game in group one of the intermediate championship saw the Joes take on Na Piarsaigh in Dowdalshill this evening. With the town sides recent poor form in the league and the Joes having beaten them on the rock road earlier in the league the Joes went to the game as favourites. On a warm and sunny evening the breeze was coming from the road end that Na Piarsaigh were playing out of in the first half.


It was the black and amber who struck the first blow on the scoreboard, with a Mark Larkin free after a minute. The Joes nearly had a goal minutes later though, as a ball over the top found Derek Mulligan, who rounded the keeper, but uncharacteristically put his shot into the side netting. The Joes did get off the mark a minute later though, when David Reilly set up Shane Mc Quillan for their opener. Derek Mulligan made amends for his earlier miss with a great individual point, on an evening when he would prove to be the most consistent forward on the pitch. The Joes had to make an early substitution in the eight minute, as Daire Smyth had to come off with a head injury that would see him going to hospital for stitches. This failed to unsettle the country team, as Alan Mc Kenna hit a 14 yard free before setting up Alan Quigley for the next from play to put them into a three point lead after ten minutes.


However, the Joes failed to score for the next 15 minutes, as Na Piarsaigh drew the game level with a brace of David Boyle points either side of one from Mark Larkin. The Joes restored their slender advantage with another good point from Mulligan, this one from out on the right, before Larkin responded with an equally fine effort, as he hit a dead ball over from the left hand sideline. From the resultant kick out the black and amber won possession and Sean Mc Auley drove through to strike over and put his side back in front. Seeing the danger he was presenting, Na Piarsaigh at this stage had switched county man Gary O Hare back onto Mulligan, but even was finding it a tough task, as in this tit for tat battle Mulligan and Larkin again traded points to leave the town side up by one at the break.
Half Time Score: St Josephs 0-6, Na Piarsaigh 0-7


Na Piarsaigh were on the attack from the second half throw in, but David Reilly broke down this attack and played a long ball into Alan Mc Kenna, who turned and pointed. Mark Larkin showed good opportunism a minute later, as he snapped on a dropped ball in the Joes defence and pointed from out on the right. However, this would be as good as it would get for his side over the next twenty minutes of the game. The Joes went on to dominate the midfield for the second half, fielding kickouts, only for their opponents to foul them. A perfect example of this came in the sixth minute when Peter Mulligan fielded from a kickout and was fouled. However, they were punished when Conor Murtagh played the free direct into Alan Mc Kenna, who caught and pointed to level the game. This was followed by the lead point from Derek Mulligan, before Murtagh played another good ball in, this time to Quigley, who pointed from a tight angle. From the kickout Shane Mc Quillan fielded and fed Conal O Hanlon, who drove up the left wing, before laying off to Quigley, for his second point within a minute. Na Piarsaigh tried to change it at this stage with a dual substitution, but the Joes still kept driving on, as some tireless chasing from Derek Mulligan for a ball that many would have given up on, set up Peter Mulligan for a nice score. Conall Smyth put the green, white and gold five clear, before a good team move was finished by Conor Murtagh from long range.


Na Piarsaigh got back on the score board with a point from David Boyle in the twentieth minute, but this was quickly cancelled out with an immediate response from Derek Mulligan to restore the Joes six point lead. A Larkin free from 14 yards followed after twice being moved up from out on the right. The Joes at this stage would have been further in front if it was not been for some normally highly reliable free takers misqueueing. However, it should be said, if it had not been for a couple of great blocks from David Reilly indeed the margin could have been narrower. A nice point from Boyle narrowed the margin to five points, before David Mernagh set Pete Mulligan to hit a racker from out on the right and so the difference remained at six points with 31 minutes gone in the second half.


This is where the game was turned on its head! A strong drive from Michael Woods up the left unopposed, gave him the chance to set up David Boyle, who from a tight angle hit a low shot under Robbie Arthur in the Joes goal. Philip Kinahans despairing effort was not enough to keep the ball from crossing the line and beyond all hope the town team had turned this into a one score game deep in injury time. And low and behold, with 32 minutes gone on the clock, the Joes coughed up another, as Boyle returned the favour by setting up Woods, who hit a cracking shot that Arthurs could do nothing about to the Joes net and level the game with the last kick of the ball.
Full Time Score: St Josephs 0-17, Na Piarsaigh 2-11


This is one that will have felt more like a defeat than a draw to the Joes, as they completely dominated the game in the second half, only to see it unravel in a minute of madness. They were well served by Peter Mulligan and particularly Conor Murtagh in the  middle, while David Reilly gave a timeless display in defence and Derek Mulligan put in a man of the match performance up front. Na Piarsaigh have David Boyle, Mark Larkin and in the later stages Michael Woods to thank for pulling this one out of the fire.


St Josephs: Robbie Arthur, Philip Kinahan, Ben Mulligan, Chris Brennan, David Mernagh, David Reilly, Conal O Hanlon, Conor Murtagh 0-1, Peter Mulligan 0-2, Daire Smyth, Conall Smyth 0-1, Shane Mc Quillan 0-1, Alan Quigley 0-3, Derek Mulligan 0-5, Alan Mc Kenna 0-4.
Substitutions: John Mc Guinness for Daire Smyth (inj), Jack Mulligan for John Mc Guinness, Aaron Smyth for Shane Mc Quillan, Robert Sansom for Alan Quigley.


Na Piarsaigh: Paul O Hare, Conal Shields, Chris Cotter, Stephen Mc Guinness, Joseph Woods, Alan Mc Cartney, Gary O Hare, John Garvey, Michael Woods 1-0, Eamonn Mc Auley, Ronan Mc Cartney, Sean Mc Auley 0-1, Mark Larkin 0-6, David Boyle 1-4, Niall Franklin.
Substitutions: Cormac Malone for Conal Shields (HT), Aidan Marks for Eamonn Mc Auley, Paul Mallon for Ronan Mc Cartney, Daniel Berry for Sean Mc Auley.


Referee: Kevin Carroll

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