04 Oct 2009

On Sunday 4th of October 2009, the Joes minors competed in the championship final in Clan na Gael Pairc. Only the second time a Joes team had ever contested this final since the formation of the club in 1961. The prize on offer, the Fr Larry Murray cup and a place on the clubs roll of honour. It was beautiful autumnal Sunday, unlike it had been on this same big day at the same venue three years earlier, when the club last tasted a  major victory. Would this turn out to be the Joes field of dreams again? The opposition could not have been much more daunting, the Geraldines, managed by former county manager, Eamonn Mc Eneaney and reigning champions for the last two years would most certainly prove to be a tough challenge, as they had keen aspirations for three in a row!


The Joes were quickly into their stride in the game, settling well and looking more comfortable with the environs than the club who were in their third minor final in a row. The scoring was opened within two minutes, when a Mark Neary free squirted off his boot, but remained in play, Conal Smyth gathered possession and from an almost impossible angle guide the ball over the bar. Neary would assist the second point of the game also, this time intercepting a Gers pass out of defence before passing in to Lorcan Doyle, who wasted no time in taking his point. The great start was continued with a length of field move. A Robert Samsons kickout was fielded by David Mernagh on the right wing, who drove the ball fifty yards forward, from here on in was the two Alans on the inside line, as Lynch broke the ball down to Quigley, who took it forward, before giving it back to Lynch, who struck a sweet left footed shot over the bar. The three point lead was nearly doubled within a minute of that point. Good defending by Stephen Smith and David Mernagh lead to the ball getting to Alan Mc Kenna 50 yards out from his own goal, Mc Kenna drove a ball direct into the opposition 50 where Alan Lynch was spring healed and drove direct at goal, Gers full back Michael Mc Kevitt just about did enough to get a hand to the ball and make the chance slightly more difficult. Lynchs shot on goal was well saved and cleared.


The Gers did eventually get off the mark in the 12th minute, when Jonny Breens 25 yard free dropped short and was punched over the bar by Samson. The lead was restored to three within no time though. A move that was started when Andrew Cluskey was fouled in defence and involved several Joes players, was finished by Mc Kenna, when he jinked in from the right wing and struck a sweet point from play. In what was a bit of a tit for tat battle for a while, the Gers hit back next, with a Jonny Breen point from play, despite the best efforts of David Kieran, who nearly made a flying finger tip interception. The Joes hit back immediately, with what was a brilliantly simple point. The kickout was fielded in the middle by Neary, he drove the ball forward, Lynch showed great strength and determination to win the ball in and finished sweetly on the left, three players, three kicks and a great point. The Joes pushed their lead out to four points with an Alan Mc Kenna point from a dead ball, just inside the 50 yard line on the right wing, following Alan Lynch again being fouled. At this point the Gers had already made switches in their defence to try and combat the problems that Lynch was causing them inside. Again, the Gers hit back, when Paul Molloy got a point from play. There was goal mouth incident in the Joes defence in the 26th minute, when Jonny Breen dropped a ball short that landed in the square. Referee Stephen Johnston allowed Gers full forward Barry Hamilton to tackle Robert Samson in his small square, luckily Andrew Cluskey was on hand to assist in clearing the ball from the goal line, as it looked like the ref might have allowed a goal if the ball had crossed the line. The ball was cleared out to the fifty by Mernagh, where Neary was on hand to win a free and settle things down. Alan Mc Kenna took the free and again drove it long distance, where it reached Alan Lynch within the exclusion zone at the far end. Lynch was there to win another free, with his new marker Stephen Reidy finding him as much of a handful as Mc Kevitt had. Mc Kenna, moved forward and popped the ball over for his third point of the half. The resultant kickout was sent short, but Alan Quigley was alert to this and stole back possession, the ball passed through a number of Joes hands, before ending up back with Quigley, who struck with the right boot from the right corner and with the aid of both bar and post, stretched the Joes lead to five points before the break.


The Joes lads were not prepared to give the Gers anything easy and this was optimised in some great defending on the next Gers attack, which included a good block from Daire Mc Kiernan, the Gers were eventually forced to kick wide. Before the half time break, the Joes would have their second goal chance of the game though. Patient build up work in the attack was sparked to life when Quigers played a ball in to Sean Mc Quillan, whos quick hands released Lynch, he in turn played the ball in to Lorcan Doyle in the danger zone, but by the time he had taken the ball down he was swallowed up by the Gers defence, the ball was played back to Alan Lynch who shot wide while off balance. The Gers managed one more attack before the break, but more resolute defending kept them out. The Joes went into the break with their five point lead in tact.
Half Time: St Josephs 0-8, Geraldines 0-3


After a good first half, the Joes were full value for their five point lead, but all would change during the second half. As in most games, teams will have their periods of dominance and the Gers certainly had their period during the third quarter. They started brightest and did create a couple of scoring chances which they spurned, before Jonny Breen hauled them right back into the game with just two minutes gone. An attack that came down Gers right wing, saw the ball finish up with Breen, who had raided forward, he made no mistake and gave Samson no chance with a finish to the top right hand corner. The best bit of play in the entire third quarter, from a Joes perspective, came shortly after this, when Chris Brennan put in a fair, but bone crunching shoulder challenge on Paul Molloy that knocked the wind clear out of his sails. However, this quarter was all the Gers, with them scoring an unanswered 2-3 to bring them from a five point deficit to a four point lead. Following on from Breens goal, their next score would also be a goal. This time a Joes kickout was won by the Gers in the middle, the ball was played through to Shane O Hanlon, who was charging through the middle, reminiscent to his father and finished to the net. This was followed by a much deserved Conal Hoey point from play, a close in free from Jonny Breen and point from play for Padraig O Gallchor with fifteen minutes gone in the half.


At this point it must be said that some element of doubt had crept into the heads of the Joes support as to whether these young men would have the bottle to get back on track. But they showed awesome character in the closing stages. The first score back would come when Andrew Cluskey (now playing at centre half back) had moved into the attack and was fouled on the 21 yard line out to the right. Alan Mc Kenna had showed unerring confidence with his free taking in the first half, but at this point in the second half he had missed two frees, one from distance and one that you would expect a man of his talent to have kicked. Undeterred by this, he stepped up to this free and kicked it crisply between the posts. The deficit was reduced, but there was still a lot to be done.


His next point would again be a challenging free, this time from the 50 yard range. A Mark Neary block on an attempted Gers clearance, say him flick the ball up to Quigley, who jinked along the fifty yard line, before eventually earning his free for his strong play. Mc Kenna showed his class and made the fifty three yard distance and cross wind look like no obstacle, as he cleared the black spot with something to spare. With five minutes of normal time remaining the Gers lead was down to two points, but it was the next score that was the truly inspirational one and made all in the ground believe that this Joes team could dethrone the champs.


A short Joes kickout following a Gers wide, saw Samson play the ball to Mc Kenna who had come deep to collect. He shrugged off three Gers players, before playing the ball to his midfield partner, who had drawn to the left wing,  Daire collected along the sideline and carried forward, before fisting in to Lorcan Doyle. Doyle drove inside, before turning the right boot to guide the ball over the bar. The volume and intensity in Clan na Gael Pairc immediately rose, but much more was to follow! With less than two minutes to play Sean Mc Eneaney dropped a long lobbing ball into the heart of the Joes defence, Samson collected and played it out to Mernagh, who turned left and drove it out the field. Mc Kiernan broke the ball down to Mc Kenna, who was fouled. He drove a massive ball right up the wing, Lorcan Doyle still had his work cut out at this point, but he collected and turned inside, before playing the sweetest pass of the game to Quigley. Now 14 yards out from goal, Quigley rose to collect the ball, checked inside to left and in process lost both Gers defenders that were in front of him. With nearly the entire crowd, both Joes and neutral willing him to kick the ball over the bar, Quigley backed himself with huge self confidence and calmly picked his spot in the bottom left hand corner of the net. The field erupted with what must have been the most tumultuous roar of the entire day. A goal that will surely go down as one of the greatest in the clubs history.


A lengthy stoppage followed the goal as attention was needed for Mark Neary and Alan Lynch. By the time the ball was kicked out, the game was entering injury time. Joes hearts were still very much in their mouths. The kickout brought about a Gers free in the middle, which Shane O Hanlon launched in, the ball finished up with Tiernan Hand on the left side of the goal and thankfully from a Joes perspective, his shot, from a tight angle, hit the outside of the side netting. This would prove to be the Gers last shot at goal. With two minutes of injury time played, Sean Mc Quillan, the man who seems to instinctively know where to be at all times, was there in his own half back line to gather vital possession. His relieving clearance to the right wing gave Alan Lynch a chance to gather possession. Lynch at this stage had run his socks of and looked like a chap who was literally out on his feet, but with the crowd roaring him on, he managed to keep the ball in play and was unceremoniously fouled while playing the ball inside, earning the Joes one last free, 21 yards out in the right corner, Mc Kenna territory! As the game reached the three minutes of injury time allotted, Alan Mc Kenna stepped up and kicked his sixth point of the match. But he didnt even see the ball go over the bar, as he was already at full steam back out to the middle to cover off any potential quick kickout by the Gers. But all that was left was for the Ross Quigley to kick the ball out, as Joes supporters invaded the field in great numbers and colour to celebrate with their young heroes at the final whistle.
Full Time: St Josephs 1-12, Geraldines 2-6


This was a truly wonderful success that has lifted the spirits of our club. This is, most probably, the greatest underage achievement that the club has ever had, as although fifteen years earlier, when Fr Larry Murray visited along with the Div 1 league trophy, that team was amalgamated. Also, this was a Geraldines team who seemed to have the Indian sign on our lads down through the years, having beaten them twice in the league just this year. But, as all involved knew, this was their chance, this was the first time that they had a full squad to pick from and they had gradually improved their performances over the previous rounds, to produce, what was without doubt their best performance of the year. They belittled the 4/1 odds that bookies had offered against them winning, earlier in the week. Alan Mc Kenna not only had the privilege of captaining this team, but was also the Joes top scorer on the day and winner of the man of the match award. A great success for the club, great work by the management team and most importantly, something that no one can take away from this great bunch of players. Well done lads – The Buck Stops Here!


Joes Team: Robert Samson, Stephen Smith, Andrew Cluskey, Chris Brennan, Kieran O Hare, David Kieran, David Mernagh, Alan Mc Kenna (0-6), Daire Mc Kiernan, Conal Smyth (0-1), Mark Neary, Sean Mc Quillan, Alan Quigley (1-1), Alan Lynch (0-2), Lorcan Doyle (0-2).
Subs Used: Niall Lennon for Stephen Smith (38 mins), Daire Smith for Conal Smyth (46 mins)


Geraldines Team: Ross Quigley, Ryan Murphy, Michael Mc Kevitt, Glen Traynor, Tiernan Hand, Stephen Reidy, Kevin Pepper, Shane O Hanlon (1-0), Jonny Breen (1-3), Owen Brayden, Padraig O Gallchoir (0-1), Conal Hoey (0-1), Paul Molloy (0-1), Barry Hamilton, Sean Mc Eneaney


There are a number of photo galleries from the victory, so please check out this section of the site to have a look.

The document attached at the bottom of this article has excerpts from the match day programme & Newspaper Articles. 

Also check out the winning goal in our video gallery, by clicking on the link below:

And a photo slide video of some of the best images from the win



Downloads: Match Day Programme & Newspaper Articles (doc_article_76_1.pdf)

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