And So it Ends! At the Hands of the Dublin Champions

November 7, 2018

The Joes intermediate team went into the quarter final of the Leinster championship on the longest championship winning run of any Joes first team since 1983/84! Not only had they become the first Joes team to win all their group stage championship games, but they had broken that record of Louth championship semi-final defeats which the club had suffered for the previous four years. To top all this off, they had become the first ever Joes team to win a championship game in Leinster. It is fair to say that this team owes us nothing! But all that this success had done was give us a hunger for more success, we had almost forgotten what it was like to lose. Like any good winning streak, they eventually come to an end, whether you are the All Blacks or the Joes, Saturday the 5th November was the date for theirs to end. Their conquerors, the Dublin Champions Fingallians, a team who themselves had suffered near misses in their native championship over the recent years, featuring among their ranks the star name of Paul Flynn, they were fancied by most outside the Joes to win out in this encounter and so it would prove in the end.

On a beautiful sunny day, the Joes had the aid of a stiff breeze that was blowing in to the road end in the first half. The Finns had brought strong travelling support and actually outnumbered what has to be admitted to being a disappointing crowd for the home club. Those who did attend were treated to great game of football in perfect conditions for playing ball.

The Joes nearly got off to the perfect start, Conal O Hanlon winning the throw in, the ball was worked in to Adam O Connor, who put Derek Mulligan through on goal. His goal shot crashed in to the side netting. It did not take the home side long to get off the mark though, O Hanlon was again at the centre of the action, with a hard won free in the right corner being expertly converted by Alan Quigley. However, the majority of the opening quarter would be a stop start affair, with the only other action of note being two missed half goal chances by Paul Flynn and David Killeen at the other end. It was not until the 14th minute that they game got its second score, which came in the form of an easy opening free for Oisin Lynch. The game would spark in to life from here on in.

The Joes hit back again, with Shane Mc Quillan and Ben Mulligan stripping a Finns possession, Craig Doherty played in O Hanlon, who was again fouled and on this occasion converted the resultant free himself. It took a good point from Shane Howard to level matters again, but from the kickout a driving run from midfielder Cillian Power set up TJ Howard for a fine point to put them in front for the first time. During this period of the game the Dublin outfit had gained a strong hold in the middle and were creating chances, but not taking them. So when Derek Mulligan set up Conall Smyth for the Joes opening point from play in the 22nd minute the sides were level again. 

The game for the remainder of the half would continue as it had begun, with tit for tat scoring exchanges. A close in Lynch free would put the Finns back in front, only for Quigley to level from a 45 metre kick. The Joes were denied a penalty for a foot block on Adam O Connor in the 28th minute and going by the photographic evidence might just have had a case! They had to settle for another O Hanlon free in the final minute of normal play. Much like it had happened the visitors earlier in the half, the Joes were benefiting from a good spell in the game, but not capitalising on it either. Therefore a David Killeen point in the 34th minute was very much against the run of play and with it being the last kick of the half would send the teams in level at the break. 

Half Time: St Josephs 0-5, Fingallians 0-5

It did not take long for the rollercoaster that was the second half to spark into life. With only a minute played, Adam O Connor was driving through on goal, when he was pulled down. Despite the long unsettling delay to the kick being taken O Hanlon was not phased and calmly despatched the penalty to the net. The Dublin champions were not unsettled by this and calmly set about eating in to the deficit. A David Killeen point with the aid of the post being their initial response. Both teams then missed a number of frees, before TJ Howard halved the Finns deficit with a point from play. The Swords outfit had sprung Ciaran Mc Loughlin from the bench and he was to prove to be a great addition for his side. He was only on minutes when he levelled the game with a fine individual point, after a driving run. When Lynch worked a 45 short to Flynn and he set up centre half back Gary Donnelly, the Fingallians had managed to put themselves back in the lead again.

At half time it was quite obvious to many Joes fans that if they were to win this game, they would probably need goals to do so. With the next score of the game they dared to believe that the upset was on, with few outside the club giving them a chance to beat the Dublin champions, who just happened to have a four time all-star in their ranks. It came in the fifteenth minute, when Doherty played a fine ball in to Derek Mulligan, he in turned played in Quigley, who in characteristic fashion danced around the defence and struck to the empty net. This game was very much on.

This only seemed to anger the Fingallians though, as they would move up a couple of gears in the final quarter, playing to a level that the Joes failed to match in the period. In fact in the remaining period of normal time they outscored the Joes by 2-6 to one point from a free! 

What got them off the mark however was to say the least a highly dubious penalty. On social media after, even Killeen himself would admit that he dived! However, a penalty was given and Lynch gave Neary in the Joes goal no chance with a strong drive to the bottom corner. Just like that, they were back in front again and now ready to drive on.

From the kickout Mc Loughlin pointed, before Shane Howard drove a goal chance over the bar. A foot trip on Conall Smyth would produce no more action than a free, which when O Hanlon converted left only two points in it with 22 minutes played. But the Finns drove on again and hit 1-4 in the space of five minutes to seal the win, the goal coming from the dabbing Shane Howard. There would be some late consolation for the Joes. O Hanlon played a great ball in to Quigley and his perfect crossfield ball found the most unlikely of recipients in Cian Mc Guinness. Goalie James Cumiskey dragged him down for a penalty and in the act earned himself a black card. Substitute Pierce Mc Kittricks first act was to take the ball out of the net as again the Joes main strikeforce, Conal O Hanlon struck to the net.

Full Time: St Josephs 3-6, Fingallians 2-15

Looking back on the Intermediate Campaign of 2016, we can say that it was a year that promised so little, but produced so much! It built steadily over the year, with players who before this year had been unheralded and many unplayed! The leaders lead and those given their chance stepped up to the mark. Nobody wanted it to end, but when all is said and done, what a run it was! Well Done Lads, we can look forward to 2017 with plenty of optimism. Up The Joes!

St Josephs: Mark Neary, Cian Mc Guinness, Shane Mc Quillan, Alan Lynch, David Mernagh, Ben Mulligan, Jack Mulligan, Tomas Smyth, Killian Staunton, Adam O Connor, Conall Smyth 0-1, Craig Doherty, Alan Quigley 1-2, Conal O Hanlon 2-3, Derek Mulligan.

Substitutions: Peter Brennan for Tomas Smyth, Stefan Potts for Shane Mc Quillan, Philip Kinahan for Jack Mulligan, Danny O Brien for Conall Smyth

Fingallians: James Cumiskey, Ray Mc Menamin, Danny Campion, David O Brien, Donal Keane, Gary Donnelly 0-1, Paul Flynn, Cillian Power, Cormac O Neill, Eoin Collins, Oisin Lynch 0-4, David Killeen 0-2, Shane Howard 1-2, Donal Farrell 0-1, TJ Howard 0-3.

Substitutions: Ciaran Mc Loughlin 0-3 for Donal Keane, Ciaran Murtagh for Donal Farrell, Jack O Connor for TJ Howard, Pierce McKittrick for James Cumiskey (Black Card)

Report: Michael Kinahan