Review of 2009 Senior Season

19 Oct 2009

The league draw against the Blues at home on the 18th October brought to a close the season for the senior team. It is fair to be said that it was a mixed season, having promised much at the start, delivering little in the middle and finishing up with reaching the knockout stages of the championship and securing another season in division one of the league.


The ACC Sheelan cup started up in February, but this was quite understandably used by the new management team to experiment. The season only started in earnest on the 5th April, when we travelled to the Ramparts for the first league game of the year, this saw the team stay on well at the finish to record a good win. This was followed up by the most impressive win of the year. The eventual senior champions, Mattock Rangers would lose out in a highly entertaining and high scoring game in Cluskey Park, the final scoreline of 2-16 to 2-10, with all of the Joes scores coming from play. It was a joy to watch and raised expectations within the club.


Tallanstown is never an easy place to travel to and this was no different in the Joes next league match, where a rather fortunate free at the end of the match saw the spoils being shared. Nevertheless, at this point we sat at the top of division one. The undefeated streak continued in a rather dull first championship outing, when beating the Plunketts in the Gaelic grounds in Drogheda.


All was to change dramatically in the next game, the Clans handed out an 11 point thrashing on a dark day in Darver. This would be the first of seven consecutive defeats that would span nearly three months. It would also be the starting of a long running suspension saga that would take on a life of its own!


The next match would be a home defeat to the Malachis in the league, by a narrow margin, but a game that was there for the winning. Following on from this there was an away league loss to Kilkerley. This match was highly entertaining and high scoring, with the Emmets managing to bag all of their goal chances and see out a close win. We were no match for an in form Pats at home in the next league match. But the next defeat was gut wrenching, on a Saturday evening on the point road the O Mahonys grabbed victory with a late, late goal.


It was back to the championship after this and a second meeting of the season with the Malachis. This time there was no doubting who the better side on the day was, as the Sheelagh men romped home. This was followed up a league defeat in the Cooley mountains.


The season was eventually restarted with a convincing championship victory over the Raghallaighs in Dowdalshill. This saw a number of strong performances and a blitz at the start of the second half that saw an unanswered 1-5 scored in the space of the first seven minutes. Going into the game there were genuine fears of ending up in a relegation play off, but this victory ensured safety and even gave a chance of reaching the knock out stages if other results were to go our way.


Next up was a home league fixture with fellow strugglers the Brides, a victory in this four pointer would have ensured league safety, but alas this was not to be and the run of league defeats continued.


Next up was the Young Irelanders in Haggardstown in the last group game in the championship. With other results going our way, we clung on to a one point victory to squeak through into the quarter finals. Before this match there was the matter of an away league game to the Martins. In another highly entertaining game the team recorded their first league victory in over four months. Minor captain Alan Mc Kenna lead the attack on this night producing a fantastic 2-7.


The championship quarter final against eventual finalists Na Piarsaigh was played in that familiar championship venue of Haggardstown. It marked the first ever competitive meeting of the two clubs. With the Joes leading by four points with 20 minutes to go the wheels came off the wagon and would only score a 21 yard free in this final period, losing out by two points in the end.


Final game of the season was the recent league match with the Blues, where controversial decisions reigned supreme, but did no harm in the end, as the deserved point earned was sufficient to secure top division status for 2010.


There were a total of 29 players who made league and or championship appearance for this tem in 2009.


Top Scorer for the year was Alan Mc Kenna, scoring at total of 5-43 from 7 league and championship starts. Second on the list is Derek Mulligan with 1-23 (all from play) from 17 league and championship starts, he also probably set a record for most fisted points in a season. Derek was one of only two players who started every single league and championship game, the other being Philip Kinahan. In fact the two lads were only substituted in the Pats game and played every other minute of league and championship football.


On the injury front the club lost the services of 2006 winning captain David O Donoghue early in the season to the reoccurrence of a long term injury. We also lost his brother Brendan in the later stages of the season to serious injury also. While talking about brothers, with better news, it was great to the see the return of both Cian and Tomas Smyth, with the later establishing himself on the team as the season progressed. Misfortune did strike the Smyth clan though, as Daire missed part of the season after dislocating his shoulder against the O Mahonys, however, his recovery was speedy and he made it back before the end of the season. Eldest of the brothers Aaron also played in several games throughout the year. Conor Murtagh also worked hard to get back from a troublesome injury and got back towards the form he is capable of.


David Skid Reilly was captain for the year after being resoundly chosen for the position by his fellow players. Skid owes this club nothing at this stage, but it is definitely hoped by many in the club that we have not seen the last of him yet!


It needs to be remembered that this is still a young team (with a few old fellas dragging up the average age) they will hopefully mature and strengthen further in 2010 and achieve the heights that they showed in 2009 that they are capable of.


Full list of players to feature in league or championship: Paul Dromgoole, Kevin Woods, Anthony Keenan, Philip Kinahan, David O Donoghue, Bernard Mulligan, Conor Lynch, Peter Brennan, Peter Mulligan, Aaron Smyth, Brendan O Donoghue, David Reilly, Daire Smyth, Conal O Hanlon, Derek Mulligan, Mark Dromgoole, Alan Mc Kenna, Gary Kinahan, Ollie Mc Donnell, Cian Smyth, Declan O Sullivan, Robert Samson, Andrew Cluskey, John Mc Guinness, Conor Murtagh, Tomas Smyth, Enda Mc Keown, Gerry Hoey, Conor Mc Geough.

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