Following the loss against Croabh Chairian two weeks ago, The St Brendan’s Football 1st XV, Sponsored by Dynamic Safety Solutions, travelled to Balkill in Howth knowing they simply cannot slip up against a Beann Eidair side who were playing for pride having been beaten in both of their Junior 1 Club Championship fixtures. Matters were not helped by the fact that the Howth Marine Festival was on and that the players had to make a scenic way to the pitch, but everyone made it on time and did a damn good warm up.
And that damn good warm up gave The Dark Force the world of good because after 5 minutes, Brendan Brogan won a turnover and passed to John Burns who hoofed the O'Neill's Size 5 with the citeog, 50 meters to Cillian Morrison and a soccer style pass to Diarmuid Cooney to pick his spot and into the net for a dream start. The Home side responded with a point, but it was all St Brendan’s after that.
The Return of the Mack tried for goal for the second time, but his shot was foot blocked but deflected over the bar and made sure a minute later with another shot from 40 meters which went over.
Morrison made it a hat trick of points when a line ball from Kevin ‘76’ Berry, found the Antrim Adventure Man Nicky McCafferty, who gave a foot pass to Cooney and finally to Morrison, 1-3 to 0-1.
The Castlebar Mitchell Colm Harte kept the home sides tally to 0-1 with a clearance from the 13-meter line and at the end it was the Curry Shoeman Brendan Brogan after Morrison sold a dummy, and The Return of the Mack then hit a snapshot over the bar, his 4th, after a line ball from Liam ‘Oisin Mullin’ Atkinson. McCafferty got his name on the scoresheet after Cooney won a turnover.
Indeed, The Antrim Adventure Man made it a brace after Cooney skimmed the sideline to get his pass to McCafferty. Also, back for this weekend only due to high temperatures, was a water break after 16 minutes. Niall McManus made it 1-8 after Franklin ‘Kepa’ O’Reilly won a turnover and pass to Kevin Berry and onto McManus. Berry won the Beann Eidair kick out and after some involvement from Michael ‘The DJ’ Cahill, finished the move with a point, but he tried to emulate Cooney's goal earlier, but hit too high and over the bar 1-9 to 0-1.
Burns then hit a free in to make it 1-10 after the referee moved the free in an additional 10 meters. A shot from Beann Eidair fell short to Mr. Twitter Eoghan Clogher, a pass to The Golden Mullet Conall Horgan and into Stephen Durkan found Cillian Morrison and his low shot took a defection of a Beann Eidair player and a second St Brendan’s goal, it could be jotted down as an own goal, but Morrison is claiming it. Like the first goal, Beann Eidair responded with a point. Clogher’s short kick out found Diarmuid Cooney and Ger Bannon who hit the 11th point of the morning, which was the last action of the half.
The Island Brú Coffee Hut Half Time Score: St Brendan’s 2-11 Beann Eidair 0-2.
Martin Ryan, who wasn’t happy with the haze over Howth Summit and being denied a chance of catching a view of the Harbour, took off Morrison as a precautionary measure and put on the Ghost in Reverse Oisin O’Boyle and it proved a masterstroke substitution when O’Boyle hit the opening St Brendan’s point of the 2nd half after the home side hit their third point of the match from a 13 meter free in. The Home side slotted another free in to make it 2-12 to 0-4.
A short kick out by Beann Eidair went straight to Michael Cahill who on the spot, lobbed the goalkeeper and the ball flew into the back of the net to make it 3-12 to 0-6, after which Beann Eidair responded to that goal with a point from play.
McManus then hit a point from near the far end sideline, then the heavens opened for the next 10 minutes, Ger Bannon made it 3-14 with a near side shot, then the teams retreated for the second half swig of the magic bottle. Oisin O’Boyle promised this writer that if he scored a goal, he would do a Darwin Núñez celebration of putting his fingers into his ears and after collecting a Michael Cahill pass, O’Boyle delivered on his promise by scoring the goal and doing the celebration. 4-14 to 0-6.
Martin Ryan then put on Donal ‘Giuseppe’ Clarke, who made a statement for inclusion on the Starting XV for the Quarter Final but hitting a well taken point after Franklin O’Reilly won a turnover.
Kevin Berry’s shoulders saw more action than the rest of Kevin Berry and shouldered his marker for a sideline ball, which fell short into the hands of Clogher. A free in from O’Boyle was the last action of the match and a comfortable win for St Brendan’s who can now set their sights on the Junior 1 Club Quarter Finals, which were due in two weeks' time, but with two walkovers given in two other groups, play off will be decided to determine who plays who in the quarter finals.
Final Score from Balkill in Howth: St Brendan’s 4-16 Beann Eidair 0-9.