After Five Years of Trying!!!

10 Sep 2016

Back on a Saturday evening in September 2012 the Joes took to the field in Haggardstown for their first intermediate championship semi-final in 22 years. A Wayne Mc Keever manged side made short work our boys that night, but four years on, we were back in that fixture for the fifth time in a row. One of the things that had changed over those years was that Mc Keever was now on our side, working hard to break the run of losing semi-finals. Facing the Joes this evening were a Hunterstown side, who, with the exception of the 2014 championship quarter final, had developed a bit of an Indian sign over the Joes. For this talented sided had won the last three league encounters between the sides and a championship clash in 2015. The Joes cause was not helped by the fact that they had lost both their captain Daire Smyth and their most experienced player Philip Kinahan since their quarter final win.


Defending the road end, the Joes got a great early start, with a Conall Smyth point opening the account, after a blistering run down the wing from Craig Doherty. Better was to follow as Alan Quigley chipped in an early goal minutes later. Hunterstown on the other hand were finding it harder to settle and after a number of spurned chances, it was a Ryan Burns dead ball that got them off the mark in the eight minute. His next dead ball shot was not as accurate, but when it came off the post Paul Carrie was on hand to hit over. Hunterstown continued to pile on the pressure and a goal mouth scramble only resulted in a 45 for them, however, Burns proved himself to be deadly accurate in this department and this turned out to be the first of three such kicks that he scored.


A Quigley point got the Joes back on the scoreboard and doubled their now narrow lead as the game entered its second quarter. This proved brief respite however, as the rovers side continued to dominate position and territory if not the scoreboard. But they missed another few chances before Glen Matthews drove over their fourth point. Alan Lynch had to clear off the Joes goal line in the 23rd minute and then Burns hit another 45 a minute later and the sides were level for the first time since the opening two minutes of the game. Richard Taaffe followed this up with a point from close range in the next attack and eventually the men in red were in front for the first time.


This would prove to be very brief though, as in the next move the Joes swept downfield and when Adam O Connor was fouled close in the resultant Conal O Hanlon free was the first score in a run of 2-5 without reply for the Joes! This scoring burst either side of half time would be the decisive period in the game. Another near identical free for O Hanlon a minute later would put the Joes back in front and as the game hit the thirty minute mark, they got a crucial boost. Patiently holding possession, before working the ball into Doherty, who struck to the net. A punched O Hanlon point would give the Joes a barely believable five point lead at the break, in a game that had been much tighter than this scoreline would suggest.
Half Time Score: St Josephs 2-5, Hunterstown Rovers 0-6


As at the start of the first half, a blistering Craig Doherty run was the platform for the first score of the half, this one converted by O Hanlon. The big man followed this with another free and from the next play bagged a major for himself. There was 37 minutes played in the game and the Joes were a commanding ten points in front. A third Burns 45 would get Hunterstown off the mark in this half, but already they were facing a big uphill challenge by this stage. They would add a Ryan Ward point a minute after this and another Burns free, but the fight was starting to get too much for them and by the time Quigley pointed for the Joes in the 45th minute, the Hunterstown side had lost David Finn to a black card. They did hit two more points, to get within six with nine minutes left, but that was as good as it got for them. Points from Conall Smyth, Derek Mulligan and Jack Mulligan rounded off the scoring and a comfortable Joes win in the end.
Full Time Score: St Josephs 3-11, Hunterstown Rovers 0-11


The Joes will now face Mattock Rangers in the final in Dowdalshill on Sunday the 25th September. Last years division one league winners will be very tough opponents and clear favourites for the match, having been surprisingly relegated from the senior championship in 2015. Mattock have not been four times senior champions in the noughties for nothing. When our boys were winning minor championships, they were winning senior ones and they still retain a lot of that class, skill and experience in their side. This could have been a senior championship final ten years ago, such was the level of both clubs. As it happens the clubs never met in a senior final, but did have a very keen rivalry in the early eighties, including the 1982 intermediate championship final!


So it is time for all the Joes supporters to get out the flags, the bunting and car flags and decorate the parish, as we build up to the big day #UpTheJoes


St Josephs: Mark Neary, Cian Mc Guinness, David Mernagh, Stefan Potts, Alan Lynch, Ben Mulligan, Adam O Connor, Tomas Smyth, Killian Staunton, Jack Mulligan (0-1), Conall Smyth (0-2), Craig Doherty (1-0), Derek Mulligan (0-1), Conal O Hanlon (1-5), Alan Quigley (1-2)
Substitution: Shane Mc Quillan for Tomas Smyth


Hunterstown Rovers: Alan Fedigan, Brian Matthews, David Finn, Paul Taaffe, Alan Landy, Murius O Sullivan, Brendan Lennon, Tony Mc Kenna, Ryan Ward (0-1), Richard Taaffe (0-2), Padraig Matthews, Paul Carrie (0-1), Glen Matthews (0-1), Keith Brennan, Ryan Burns (0-6)


Referee: Paul Kneel

(Report: Michael Kinahan)

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