Joes Win in Leinster for 1st Time & Do it At Cluskey Park

November 7, 2018

The 22nd October 2016 was an historic day for our wee club. Not only was it the first time that we had played a Leinster Championship Match in Louth, but we got to play it at Cluskey Park and most important of all, it was the first time the club won a game in Leinster! It was not amongst our better performances this year, but in a very tight affair our lads showed the grit and determination to hang in and eek out the win.

On a bright sunny day the wind was blowing into the railway end and was at St Andrews backs in the first half and it did not take the Carlow champs to capitalise on it. With only 38 seconds played, Liam Galway swung over the opening score of the game after some good build up play. A sweet strike from Conal O Hanlon levelled matters up shortly after, but when Tomas Smyth won the resultant kick out and got on the end of the move he started it could have been so much better. However, his shot for a goal was narrowly wide. Instead it was the visitors who stretched out to a small lead, a Jamie Clarke free was followed by an Alan Beaton curler from the outside of the boot on the left wing. 

The Joes replied immediately through Derek Mulligan and when Alan Quigley hit a free from nearly 50 yards, into the wind, straight over the black spot the teams were level again. So when O Hanlon finished in his natural style after being set up by Mulligan the Joes went in front for the first time on the 15 minute mark.

But the visitors rallied again and hit three points in as many minutes. Another Jamie Clarke free, followed by point from play for Alan Corcoran and Shane Clarke. However, these were all cancelled out with one of the crucial scores of the game. A great move was started when Killian Staunton won the ball in the middle, Derek Mulligan played it inside to Conall Smyth, who set up O Hanlon to finish his shot to the bottom corner of the net. Despite playing second fiddle for most of the half, the Joes were back in front again. Although, again the Carlow men came back at us, Jamie Clarke converting his third free within a minute of the goal to bring the sides level for a fourth time in the game. A great block from David Mernagh in the Joes defence unfortunately landed with Alan Beaton who put Andrews back in front and with only a minute of normal time left in the half, midfielder Alan Corcoran fisted over his second point of the game to give the visitors a not undeserved lead at the break.

Half Time Score: St Josephs 1-4, St Andrews 0-9

The Joes support were hoping for a reaction at the start of the second half and they got it, but only briefly, as although Craig Doherty pointed within the opening minute of the half, the first ten minutes were dominated by the Bagnelstown outfit. But they spurned two gilt edged goal chances and the only return that they got for their efforts was a John Doyle free that meant they were still only two points ahead. 

The Joes did edge their way back in to the game, the first shoots of hope were when a well worked move ended up with Ben Mulligan and his goal shot was saved. But with points from Conall Smyth and a difficult Quigley free, the Joes were level again heading in to the final quarter. The next four scores were tit for tat, a good ball in from Doherty giving the opportunity for Conal Smyth to point. John Doyle cancelled this out with another good point from near the same spot as his first. Doherty was again involved in the set up for the next, where O Hanlon somehow wriggled free to hit a sublime point, probably the best of the day. Darren Crooks pointed for Andrews next to level it again, after the referee had missed a throw ball. But when centre half back Shane Clarke raided forward in the 28th minute the visiting support could be heard in full voice, as they were back in front at a crucial stage.

But the Joes were not done yet, when Derek Mulligan was pulled down inside, O Hanlon hit his fourth point of the day with ultimate composure to bring the sides level for an eighth and final time in this tight, tense affair. So it remained for four minutes, when with 32 minutes gone in the half David Mernagh put in a crunching challenge in the middle of the field to turn over the ball and ultimately set Shane Mc Quillan loose down the right wing. The substitute showed no nerves as he swung his shot over to give the Joes the most crucial leads in the game. It was not over yet and the Carlow men came back for another bite, with the Joes losing Derek Mulligan to a black card. But ultimately the clock was against them and they could not raise that white flag they needed to stop the Joes from eking out an historic win for the club.

Full Time Score: St Josephs 1-11, St Andrews 0-13

Next up for the Joes will be the Dublin representatives on the 5th November. Time and venue to be confirmed, but it will be in Louth and hopefully back at Cluskey Park. So keep those flags and bunting flying and get back out there and give the lads all your support.

St Josephs: Mark Neary, Philip Kinahan, Ben Mulligan, Stefan Potts, Cian Mc Guinness, David Mernagh, Alan Lynch, Tomas Smyth, Killian Staunton, Jack Mulligan, Conall Smyth (0-2), Craig Doherty (0-1), Alan Quigley (0-2), Conal O Hanlon (1-4), Derek Mulligan(0-1).

Substitutions: Peter Brennan for Tomas Smyth (Blood Sub), Shane Mc Quillan (0-1) for Tomas Smyth (Permanent Sub), Aidan Kieran for Derek Mulligan (Black Card)

St Andrews: Rory Doyle, Martin Cummins, David Miley, Thomas Maher, Andrew Casey, Shane Clarke (0-2), Morgan Drea, John Doyle (0-2), Alan Corcoran (0-2), Alan Beaton (0-2), Jamie Clarke 0-3, David Kennedy, Barry Lambe, Darren Crooks (0-1), Liam Galway (0-1).

Substitutions: Leon Power for Morgan Drea, Declan Salter for Barry Lambe

Referee: Fergal Smyth (Offaly)

(Report: Michael Kinahan)