Joes Suffer Killer Blow at the End of Epic Trilogy

November 7, 2018

For the third time in fifteen days the Joes and the O Mahonys congregated at the Clans to yet again attempt to make it to the postponed Intermediate Championship Final. As before it was a cold, dry and floodlit evening, but on this occasion there was a wind, which was blowing with the Joes into the clubrooms end during the first half.

The free scoring of the last couple of games was missing in the opening exchanges, as the Seans led the Joes 4-3 on missed scoring chances by the ninth minute, when Alan Quigley opened the scoring in the match, with a point off his weaker foot. Tomas Smyth won the kickout, played the ball into Conal O Hanlon, who fought hard to set up the onrushing Mark Neary, who smashed the ball to the net for the Joes first goal of the triumvirate of matches. An O Hanlon free from just short of fifty yards all of a sudden had the Joes into a five point lead, the most that had been between the sides at any stage in the series of games to date. The script was being ripped up and maybe this game would follow a different pattern to the previous two?

A close in Stephen Kilcoyne free in the 13th minute got the town team on the board, but this was cancelled out by a Quigley fifty. John O Brien then raided forward to hit a good point, what would in fact turn out to be his sides only point from play in the half. But again the Joes were not long about responding, with Peter Mulligan working a ball from his own fifty, before hitting over from out on the wing. So with 20 minutes played in the half the Joes were five points clear and in command of the game. But for the remainder of the half they would have to play second fiddle to their opponents, as a 21 yard O Hanlon free, after more great work from Tomas Smyth, was the tricolours only score in this period. While the O Mahonys dominated possession in this period and drew the frees from the Joes that would see them going in only two points down at the break, with the scores being shared equally between Kilcoyne and Finnegan. However, the Joes were in some ways masters of their own downfall in this period as the first free was moved forward into a much more scoreable position after back chat and the other three were all immature personal fouls.

Half Time Score: St Josephs 1-5, Sean O Mahonys 0-6

The Joes came out at the start of the second half with all guns blazing, creating the goal chances that the O Mahonys had denied them on the previous encounters. A well worked chance saw a Quigley shot at goal well saved, with the next scoring chance also being a Joes shot for goal when Kevin Brennan had to dive full length to save Conall Smyths fly kick. He did so at the expense of a fifty, which for the second time in the match Quigley dispatched with aplomb. So with five minutes gone in the half the Joes were three point clear, but could and probably should have been further ahead. And so the momentum swung again, with the men from the Quay dominating the game for the next 15 minutes.

Straight from the kickout of the first Joes score of the half the O Mahonys worked the ball downfield and to Kilcoyne inside, he turned and struck over. Within in a minute of this point he had knocked another over, but this one from much further out the field. Another quality long distance free from Quigley doubled the Joes slim advantage, but in this tit for tat battle the O Mahonys hit a flush spell. Liam Dullaghan raided forward and hit a point, before Kilcoyne hit a rare miss, this one being a genuine goal chance. But he made no mistake in the very next play when again he hit a fine point from play. Substitute Stephen Fisher fielded this kickout and he followed suit by hitting a good point from distance himself also to put the O Mahonys into the lead for the first time in this game. When John O Brien drove over from the fifty yard line this lead was doubled. The Joes managed to wrestle back some control again. A Tomas Smyth interception and the resultant personal foul, gave O Hanlon the chance to get the Joes back on the board. A minute later a Ben Mulligan drive through the middle built the platform for Alan Quigley to palm a Joes goal to the net, they were back in front by two points.

The man who had been black carded the last day, Liam Dullaghan then got himself a yellow, as the O Mahonys employed some of their familiar tactics. Indeed Dullaghan was involved in the next major piece of action also, as he got through for a goal chance, but dragged his shot across the face of the goal. The Joes responded in kind by missing a goal chance of their own and with three minutes of normal time remaining they were still holding on to that two point lead. That was of course until a high speculative ball landed in the Joes defence, it was not cleared and fell to the dangerman, Kilcoyne. He took no time to settle himself and while the point was the percentage shot, he hit an unstoppable rasper to the top corner of the Joes net. When Conor Martin drew a foul a minute later, the 14 yard free that Kilcoyne hit was probably the easiest of all seven of his points on the evening.  Just before the game hit injury time Quigley showed unerring calm to strike over a pressure free from the right corner.

There was a point between the sides again, knowing the history of this tie, surely we were going to extra time again and at least another 20 minutes of battle between these gladiators of intermediate football. The O Mahonys were keen to do anything they could hold on to their advantage and both Conor Martin and substitute David Dowling went in quick succession for black card offences. But the Joes just could not get that levelling score on this evening and with 32 minutes played in the half Paul Kneel blew the final whistle on one of the greatest epics of Louth club football in many a year.

Full Time Score: St Josephs 2-9, Sean O Mahonys 1-13

And so, after over 200 minutes of heart stopping, often brilliant and bruising football only one point separated these sides with the O Mahonys winning on an aggregate score of 2-39 to 2-38, a total of 89 points. Three games that had more swings and roundabouts than a large playground, but ultimately there could only be one winner and in a game of inches it was the O Mahonys who dragged themselves over the line and well done to them.

St Josephs: Robert Sansom, Liam O Leary, Ben Mulligan, David Kieran, Alan Lynch, Sean Mc Quillan, David Mernagh, Peter Mulligan 0-1, Mark Neary 1-0, Tomas Smyth, Conall Smyth, Daire Smyth, Derek Mulligan, Conal O Hanlon 0-3 (3frs), Alan Quigley 1-5 (2frs, 2 fiftys).

Substitutions: Craig Doherty for Peter Mulligan, Adam O Connor for Daire Smyth, Shane Mc Quillan for Alan Lynch, Jack Mulligan for Conall Smyth

Sean O Mahonys: Kevin Brennan, Pat O Brien, Ronan Byrne, Mickey Clarke; Alan Watters, John O Brien 0-2, Keith McLaughlin; Shane Brennan, Peter Nixon; Conor Finnegan 0-2 (2frs), Liam Dullaghan 0-1, Kurt Murphy; Stephen Kilcoyne 1-7 (4frs), Conor Martin, Conor Crawley.

Substitutions: Stephen Fisher 0-1 for Conor Crawley, David Dowling for Conor Finnegan, Gary Mulligan for Alan Watters.

Black Cards: Conor Martin & David Dowling

Referee: Paul Kneel