Championship Clash with O Mahonys goes to Round III

November 7, 2018

Like Balboa and Creed, the Joes and the Sean O Mahonys had to meet a second time to battle it out for a win. Unlike the pugilists in Rocky II, both these teams, despite being battered, bruised and breathless after over 140 minutes of battle, managed to drag themselves up off the canvas at the end. And so next Thursday we will have the third clash of these teams. Will this produce a vanquished Clubber Lang, or will the saga keep going and produce an Ivan Drago! But enough about next week and back to Friday evening in Clan na Gael pairc. With the county board having moved the relegation playoff between Roche and the Malachis to the venue to create a double header, the Joes game was due to throw in at 8pm. However, late drama brought that game into extra time and a highly exciting end. This therefore pushed back the already late throw in time on a dry and windless, but still distinctly chilly autumn night.

When the game did get going it was the town side who struck first, with right half forward Peter Nixon twice getting himself into space to take a pair of good points. But the Point road side would also suffer an early blow when Liam Dullaghan went on a black card after only five minutes of play. The Joes got going themselves after seven minutes, when a ball that was worked out of defence was well finished by Derek Mulligan on the edge of the D. Conor Martin restored the two point lead, but again the Joes hit back and the trend of last weeks first half was repeated. Good hassling of John O Brien on his own 14 yard line forced him into a technical foul, which Conal O Hanlon despatched. It was O Hanlon then who levelled the game, after O Brien was again dispossessed, this time by a great block from Tomas Smyth. An Alan Quigley free put the Joes in front for the first time in the 17th minute, with Conor Martin getting on the score sheet again to level matters. Points from O Hanlon and Mulligan put the Joes back into a clear lead and looking in control coming up to the half time break. But again the O Mahonys upped their intensity and hit back. As the game entered injury time an O Mahonys counterattack was finished off with a fine point from distance for substitute Kurt Murphy. And with 32 minutes gone and the very last kick of the half Finnegan struck over a good free to level matters yet again as the teams headed in. The quality of the football was a notch down on what was on display in the first half last week, but all the same intensity, excitement and closeness on the scoreboard was still there.

Half Time Score: St Josephs 0-6, Sean O Mahonys 0-6

In a reverse to last weeks game, it was the Joes who owned the third quarter and managed to build up a handsome four point lead for themselves. But it was the O Mahonys who did score first, but only from a very questionable 14 yard free, which was popped over by Finnegan. The Joes responded with a free of their own from O Hanlon before Derek Mulligan curled a lovely score over the bar. Then came the rise of Lazarus! Jimmy Mc Guinness might have had Zacchaeus up a tree in Kerry last week, but having not being available to play any football all year with injury, the Joes Mark Neary managed the feat that even the great Gooch couldn’t and made it back for must crucial stages of the championship. Indeed he was not long about showing that he was feeling no ill effects of the injury when he stretched the Joes lead in the 12th minute. The Joes were already starting to exert themselves on the game at this stage and an O Hanlon free was followed by a very well worked and patient build up to another Quigley point.

This had the Joes four clear, in control and heading into the final quarter. But seeing the danger the O Mahonys upped their intensity again, lead in chief by the bustling Conor Crawley they broke the game up and knocked the Joes out of their stride. A couple of close in Kilcoyne frees halved their deficit before they laid siege to the Joes goal for a good five minute spell. This reaped its rewards when a second consecutive fifty was struck wide Joes goalie Robert Sansom was adjudge to have wasted time on the kick out and throw up was given on the 21 yard line. The O Mahonys ended up with the ball in a shooting position, but when the kick for the point dropped short Shane Brennan was there to opportunistically hit to the net. Somehow the Joes were behind in this game, had failed to score for ten minutes and there was only five minutes of normal time remaining. These last minutes were tension filled, with the Joes having the better chances of scoring, an O Hanlon shot was saved by Kevin Brennan. But he was not done yet and in the 32nd minute he had a long range free to bring the game into extra time. Knowing that this was on the limits of his kicking range he cleverly kicked short to Neary, who popped over the leveller and bring the game into extra time.

Full Time Score: St Josephs 0-12, Sean O Mahonys 1-9

Although there were a number of players on both sides starting to show signs of fatigue before the game even entered into extra time, Peter Nixon showed no such tiredness as he drove at the Joes defence to set up Conor Martin for the first point of the period. But the game would go another nine minutes before there was another from either side. With ten minutes played, Tomas Smyth confidently levelled matters for the Joes, but another Kilcoyne free even deeper in the injury time of extra time put the O Mahonys back in front by one.

Thankfully the scores and drama would come back into the game in the final period of extra time. A succession of personal fouls gave Quigley the chance to level from a free after two minutes. From the kickout the Seans worked the ball forward and Kilcoyne hit back with another 14 yard free of his own. When a Quigley shot dropped short it was that man O Hanlon who was there again and he flicked over the bar to level matters. With less than two minutes of normal time remaining David Reilly set up Quigley for another scoring chance. His composure under pressure was excellent, taking a touch before swinging it over from out near the right corner. The Joes were up and time running out, could they close it out. The answer on this occasion was no, as the Quay men yet again fought back and with some intense exchanges it was eventually a Joes technical foul that gave Finnegan the opportunity to level matters just as the ten minute mark of the period was reached. In the final moments of the injury time it was Finnegan again that a chance fell to, but on this occasion, at 10.20pm on a Friday night, he could not take it and the tired legs kicked wide and the saga goes on.

Score After Second Period of Extra Time: St Josephs 0-16, Sean O Mahonys 1-13

Round three of this fascinating duel is currently fixed to take place back in Clan na Gael Pairc this Thursday the 2nd October @ 8pm. In the event of their needing to be a fourth instalment, that replay would take place on Sunday the 5th and the Intermediate Final has now been pushed back to the 12th October.

St Josephs: Robert Sansom, Liam O Leary, Ben Mulligan, David Kieran, Alan Lynch, Sean Mc Quillan, David Mernagh, Peter Mulligan, Peter Brennan, Tomas Smyth 0-1, Conall Smyth, Daire Smyth, Derek Mulligan 0-3, Conal O Hanlon 0-6 (3frs), Alan Quigley 0-4 (2frs).

Substitutions: Shane Mc Quillan for Peter Brennan, Mark Neary 0-2 for Peter Mulligan, Craig Doherty for Alan Lynch, David Reilly for Daire Smyth, Adam O Connor for Conall Smyth

Sean O Mahonys: Kevin Brennan, Pat O Brien, Ronan Byrne, Michael Clarke, Alan Watters, John O Brien, Keith Mc Laughlin, Conor Martin 0-3, Shane Brennan 1-0, Peter Nixon 0-2, Conor Finnegan 0-3 (all frees), Liam Dullaghan, Stephen Kilcoyne 0-4 (all frees), Conor Crawley, Barry Mackin.

Substitutions: Kurt Murphy 0-1 for Liam Dullaghan (black card)

Referee: Gabriel Mc Kenny