Sun 26th July 2020 – Yesterday The St Brendans Men’s Football 1st XV, finally got out on the field of play in a competitive game of football for the first time in 146 days. For the Junior Football team, that wait was one day longer, 147 days, 21 weeks, since the teams last game, a 1-9 to 0-9 victory over Man O’War on March 1st. Today (July 26th) The St Brendan’s junior Football team, in partnership with Stoneybatter Pride Of Place, travelled to the foothills of the Dublin Mountains for a match against Wanderers in the opening game of the Junior 5 All County Championship.
Wanderers also played with black jerseys with red trim, so as the away side, The Darkest Force agreed to wear their jerseys inside out this afternoon. Hugh Bannon gave St Brendan’s a dream start in the first minute with a goal. John Heneghan won the throw in and passes from, Bradley Skerritt, Cormac Mullen and Dave Ryan.
Indeed, St Brendans would hit a brace of points, the first from Ferdia Donohoe from a free in and the second from John Tuffy from open play. However, Wanderers did pull a goal back after 15 minutes, and Donohoe ensured a three point lead for The Darkest Force going into the first half water break, with a point after a Paddy McGuinn turnover.
Dave Ryan continued the good form with a point after a John Tuffy side-line ball following a diagonal ball from John Heneghan to Tuffy, but the Wanderers player got a hand on it and forced the ball over the side line.
That lead became 5 points with Tuffy’s second point of the afternoon after Brian Hobbins was fouled and played the short ball to Tuffy and the point, but soon Wanderers pegged a point back (1-5 to 1-1) But Tuffy restored the five point lead with winning possession after a Morgan Young side-line ball.
Both sides traded points and Tuffy notching up his hat trick of points, following great play from Cormac ‘Skins’ Mullen and John Heneghan. Brian Hobbins put too much welly on a kick pass to Young and the ball went over his head and wide.
Wanderers hit a second goal in controversial circumstances when a long ball into the square was caught by a Wanderers forward who fell to the ground and threw the ball in the net in. A goal reminiscent of Joe Sheridan for Meath in 2010 Leinster Final. Meath man Billy Kelly’s protestations to the referee in saying that the player ‘Did A Joe Sheridan’ fell on deaf ears and the goal stood.
Indeed, that score galvanised the home side and levelled matters going into first half injury time, the equalising score coming from a free in. Seamus Murphy won Brian Mahon’s kick out with a Mark, Heneghan, Ryan and Donohue were also involved in the build-up and it was Brian Hobbins, who kicked the score over the bar to ensure a one point half time lead for St Brendan’s 1-8 to 2-4.
Both teams went hammer and tongs in the second half with a trading of points, with Wanderers levelling matters in the opening minute in the second half. Lorcan Bannon replaced injured Cormac Mullan and found Ferdia Donohoe for a lead again for St Brendans and after Wanderers equalised again, Dave Ryan restored the one point lead with a point with Donohoe the final pass supplier (1-10 to 2-6)
Wanderers equalised for the third time in the second half, but John Tuffy had the one point lead again following a foul on Lorcan Bannon. Wanderers made it a level game for the fourth time and the second half only six minutes old!
The Home side went in front for the first time in the match when a St. Brendans free in fell short and was worked up field and pointed just in time for the second half water break.
Billy Kelly decided to bring a crate of Lucozade Sport into the second half water break and the decision proved fruitful, in the next play, Padraig Pratt won a turnover, played the ball to Paddy McGuinn, onto John Heneghan, and finally onto Brian Hobbins whose daisy cutter shot hit the butt of the far post and into the net and a two point lead. That lead became three (2-12 to 2-9) when Lorcan Bannon won a Aussie Rules style Mark, passed to Hobbins, then Tuffy and his 30 meter shot over the bar.
Seven minutes to go and St Brendan’s opened a four point lead and went one man up with a Wanderers player blacked carded which resulted in a red card as a result of having been yellow carded earlier in the game, Seamus Murphy was point scorer after collecting a Tuffy line ball.
However, Ferdia Donohue, who was influential throughout the game, picked up a quad muscle injury and was taken off, this zapped St Brendans, who saw their lead whittled down to three points going into injury time.
Then in injury time, a Wanderers free in was dropped short, with the small square crowded, Wanderers somehow manged to get the ball into the net for a level game, after a lengthy conversation with the umpires, the goal stood.
Wanderers hit a last gasp long distance shot, but luckily for The Darkest Force, the ball sailed wide. Just to show that the referee was getting caught up in things on the field, when he blew the final whistle, he informed of 20 minutes of extra time but realised that this was a Round Robin Championship game. The game ended in a draw but it felt like a defeat.
However, St Brendan’s junior team still have a good chance of making it out of the group stages and can now focus on the next Junior 5 Championship match on August 6th at home to Clann Mhuire.
Final Score from Frank Kelly Park, St Brendan’s 2-13 (19) to 3-10 (19) Wanderers.