The day after the 1st XV exited the Intermediate Championship, The St Brendan's 2nd XV, In partnership with Stoneybatter Pride Of Place (but this afternoon wearing the 1st's Michael Cox Furniture backed kit) were still hopeful for an extended run in the Junior 5 All County Championship when St Patricks Donabate took the field in Longmeadows for this crucial round 3 match.
However, 3pm came and went and for an hour or so, it looked like we will have no game at all because the scheduled match referee did not turn up, so after frantic calls made by the management on both sides, a referee was found and made his way to Longmeadows and fully kitted out too. So at 4pm, both teams completed their rather extended warm up, took their positions on the field and the referee blew the ball and threw in the whistle.
After a wide from David Ryan, The Darkest Force took the lead when the Man with the Golden Citeog, Graham Henry won the Donabate kickout with the Mark, and used his citeog to pass to Cormac 'Skins' Mullen for the opening score. The lead was doubled when Ferdia 'The Charity Worker' O'Donoghue was pushed in the back and took the free himself and over the bar, but soon, St Patricks Donabate had the one point deficit back with their opening score.
Indeed, that point was the first of three on the spin for the away side to lead by one, but Henry once again unleashed his Golden Citeog to point a free in after a foul on Malachi Doyle as both teams retreated for the first half water break.
The Away side emerged from the break with a brace of points to take a two point lead, but Ferdia O'Donoghue made it one again with a point from play. Indeed The Charity Worker would level the game (0-5 each) from another free in after Cian Glennon made a turnover inside the 20 meter line and worked up by Cormac Mullen and Pearse Ryan. Glennon won another turnover this time inside the 45, and passed to The Wicklow Wizard Malachi Doyle and finally onto Morgan Young who used his fists to good use to fist the ball over the bar and the lead once again for St Brendan's.
Donabate levelled matters again when Paddy McGuinn deflected the ball for a 45, the 45 was about to sail wide but kept on play and kicked over the bar. The Away side could have taken the lead before half time when a shot was blocked down by Brian Mahon and cleared by Padraig Pratt, the attack ended up with Dave Ryan who kicked the ball over the bar and the lead once again 0-7 to 0-6.
Donabate would level matters once again as the referee whistled up for half time and 7 points each.
Donabate would hit three unanswered points in an opening eight and a half minute blitz in the second half but for the intervention of Paddy McGuinn and Lorcan Walshe, that deficit would have been much higher. That three point lead would remain come the second half water break.
St Brendan's went on the attack and made a substitution putting Mark Redican outfield, who dropped a 45 into the square, with backs Cian Glennon and Padraig Pratt in attack, but in the end the ball was picked up off the ground and cleared.
Five minutes to go and the deficit was cut to two with a free in from Ferdia O'Donoghue after Dave Ryan went on a solo run and got his jersey tugged on the way. The two combined once again two minutes later to put one between the sides with O'Donoghue again pointing, as the game went into injury time.
The away side managed to notch up another point for a two point lead and St Brendan's threw everything in the hope of a late goal. However, St Patrick's Donabate won a hopball and that was that. The referee blew the final whistle to signal St Brendan's 2nd XV exit from the Junior 5 Championship in what was a thrilling match what went right down to the wire and well worth the one hours delay. The Darkest Force must now must settle for a place in the consolation Junior 5 Shield Competition in two weeks time.
Final Score from Longmeadows St Patricks Donabate 0-11 St Brendan's 0-9.