Seniors Win Play-off Battle

12 Aug 2017

Senior Championship – Play-off Match


St. Josephs 0-17, St. Marys 0-14.


For the first time in the history of the Louth championship with this Group format it was necessary to have a play-off. On Saturday evening the Joes and the Marys faced each other again in Dunleer to decide who would go forward to meet the Geraldines in the Championship or who would face Cooley in a relegation play-off.

The Marys opened brightly with Darren Clarke converting a 30m free and then striking from the same distance from open play to put them two up after just 4mins of play. A minute later the Joes were off the mark when Conal O’Hanlons cross field pass picked out Daire Smyth who made no mistake from 25m. The Joes settled and an Alan Quigley goal chance dropped tamely into the keepers hands. Then the Marys, Jamie Rooney received his marching orders following an altercation with Conall Smyth and the Marys faced the next 55mins with 14 men. Good work by Craig Doherty setup Derek Mulligan for the equalising point for the Joes. Darren Clarke was unerring when he hit a 30m free to put the Marys in front again. A long ball was collected by Conal O’Hanlon and his quick turn opened up the goal, but his effort hit the side netting. The Joes equalised again on 10mins when Killian Staunton hit a superb long range point. Derek Mulligans effort on goal dropped short to the Marys keeper before Mulligan found Conall Smyth to put the Joes ahead for the first time on 11mins.


The Marys reorganised their attack, with Ronan Carroll operating in a more forward position, hit two excellent points from play, while in between Marys centre back Eimhin Keenan found the target to put the Marys ahead by 0-6 to 0-4 on 20mins. Alan Quigley from a 13m free narrowed the margin to a single point. The Marys came forward in sweeping attacks and it appeared as if they had the extra man. Daire McConnon hit a fine point under heavy Joes defensive pressure and when the same player was fouled Darren Clarke landed the resultant 30m free. Conal O’Hanlon hit the target with a 50m free, with Darren Clarke responding with his 5th. point from a 13m free on the stroke of half time. Half time score St. Marys 0-9, St. Josephs 0-6.


The Joes started the second half with a reshuffled attack with Jack Mulligan replacing the injured Derek Mulligan. The Joes upped the pace with Daire Smyths shot deflected over the bar by Marys keeper Peter Duffy. Alan Quigley found himself in on goal and his shot flashed wide of the left post. The Marys restored their three point lead when Ronan Carroll found Dean Matthews in space and he made no mistake from 30m. The Joes battled on, with a Conal O’Hanlon 25m free on 37mins and an Alan Quigley 40m free on 42mins and the margin was down to a single point. The sides traded points with Darren Clarke on target from a 45’ before Alan Quigley responded with a fantastic strike from a free from 40m on the side line.


The Ardee men continued to build patiently to setup full forward Kian Moran for his first point of the match, only for the Joes to respond immediately with a fine point from play by Alan Quigley to leave the score at St. Marys 0-11, St. Josephs 0-10 on 44mins. Quigley drew the sides level with a 40m free, and a minute later Alan Lynch setup Daire Smyth for the lead point for the Joes. The Marys who were already in double figures continued to build on their wide tally before the sides were level for the final time when Darren Clarke pointed a 13m free on 51mins.


A well worked team play found the unerring Quigley and the Joes took the lead again. The Marys hit two further wides before Conal O’Hanlon struck a monster free to the delight of the large Joes support. It was end to end play with the Joes defence showing real character, Robert Sansom coming through a ruck of players to clear a high ball into the area. When Jack Mulligan was faced with a 50/50 situation his timely tackle and clearance to Alan Quigley put Alan McKenna clear for a superb point on 58mins. With the Marys now needing a goal to take the game to extra time Kian Moran opted for a point on 61mins. The next Marys attack was collected on the Joes 20m line by Conall Smyth who went on a jinking run for all of 80m and his pass found Alan McKenna who opted to take his point and secure the three point margin. As the Joes broke up the next Marys attack the referee sounded the final whistle to the delight of the large Joes contingent.


In a superb second half performance the Joes had secured their Senior status and a quarter final clash with neighbours the Geraldines on Sun. 20th Aug at 7 o’clock in Dowdallshill. Well done to all involved on a fine team performance.


St Josephs: Robert Sansom, Cian McGuinness, Shane McQuillan, Stefan Pots, David Kieran, Bernard Mulligan, Alan Lynch, Killian Staunton (0-1), Tomas Smyth, Craig Doherty, Conall Smyth (0-1), Daire Smyth (0-3), Alan Quigley (0-6, 4f), Conal O’Hanlon (0-3,3f), Derek Mulligan (0-1), Alan McKenna (0-2) for Stefan Pots, Jack Mulligan for Derek Mulligan, Peter Brennan for Bernard Mulligan.


St. Marys: Peter Duffy, Brendan Matthews, John Bingham, Jamie Rooney, Conor Keenan, Eimhin Keenan (0-1), Niall Eccles, Ronan Carroll (0-2), Robert Leavy, Daire McConnon (0-1), Darren Clarke (0-7, 5f, 45), Mark Fay, Alan Kirk, Kian Moran (0-2), Dean Matthews (0-1)


(Report: Pat Coyne)

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