After witnessing the Mens 1st Xv reach the knockout stages of the Intermediate Club Championship, The St Brendan's 2nd XV, in partnership with Stoneybatter Pride Of Place went into the final group game of the Junior 5 All County Championship against Lucan Sarsfields, bidding to join the 1st Xv and the Hurlers ( who got a walkover from Setanta last Sunday, enough to take them into the Quarter Finals of the Junior D Championship) into the Quarter Finals of their respective Championship. There was also the extra incentive in that, victory today will guarantee a Home Quarter Final on the Junior 5 Championship. Something the 1st XV and Hurlers don't have.
The Darkest Force started the match from the get go when John Henehan saw a shot blocked of a Lucan players head, but the ball was picked up by Marcus Brady, then onto Conor Reddington and finally onto Oisin 'The Claddagh Man' Dolan, for the opening score of the game.
5:41 gone and Lucan Sarsfields were determined to make St Brendan's fight for the Home Quarter Final and won a penalty which was promptly converted for a two point lead. Eoin O'Connor saw a shot fall short as St Brendan's tried to bounce back from that setback, which they did when Padraig Pratt went on a 70 meter solo run and pass to Brian Hobbins who then found Conor Reddington and the shot over the bar.
Lucan Sarsfields hit a second goal to add to John Tuffys woes with his side off the pace. However, St Brendan's dd respond to that latest setback, when Maurice Kelter played a diagonal ball to Niall Dwyer, just kept in play and pass to Malachi Doyle, but his Wicklow Magic eluded him when his shot was deflected by the Lucan goalkeeper and over the bar 0-3 to 2-0.
That became 0-4 when Doyle tried to repeat the trick for his previous point, but this time was arm dragged. Brian Hobbins stepped up to point the free in and St Brendans put one between the sides when Maurice Kelter won the lucan kick out and passed to Marcus Brady for his first point and his sides 5th. 2-0 to 0-5 was the score at the first half water break.
Whatever John Tuffy said at the break had the desired effect when John Henehan won a turnover from a Lucan free out and found Brian Hobbins in a carbon copy of Conor Doherty's dramatic late goal last night in Palmerstown, the same result ensued for Hobbins, it may not has been as dramatic as Doherty's goal, but a goal nonetheless 1-5 to 2-1.
Darragh Donnolly kept his side in the game with two point blank saves and a Paddy McGuinn clearance found Brady for his second point. Lucan then hit a third goal to retake the lead 3-1 to 1-6.
Like Brady, Malachi Doyle hit a point to level matters from an acute angle. Lucan retook the lead with a point. Brian Hobbins levelled matters again from a free in after being taken out mid air when winning possession. Niall Dwyer ensured a St Brendan's lead at half time when Marcus Brady turnover possession and Dwyer struck the game leading point. No injury time was played, such was the free flowing nature of the first half and a lead for the home dise 1-9 to 3-2.
Second half and despite a Maurice Kelter and Darragh Donnolly point blank save, St Brendan's increased the lead to four with a goal from Conor Reddington with John Henehan supplying the final pass.
The referee awarded a second penalty for Lucan Sarsfields after the ball was adjudged to be picked off the ground. Despite Donnolly going the wrong way, the penalty went the other side of the post and went wide. It could have been a one point lead for St Brendan's instead it was a five point lead as Brian Hobbins pointed a free in after a foul on Maurice Kelter.
There was tremendous pressure on the Lucan forwards by the St Brendan's back and especially from Tommy O'Donnell, with his father watching on the sidelines, Padraig Pratt booted a loose ball into an open field where Niall Dwyer continued move and had a shot blocked down but continued possession, Dwyer found Hobbins and another shot over the bar. Hobbins turned supplier to Oisin Dolan for his second point and a 2-12 tally for The Darkest Force.
The purple patch continued when Dolan won the Lucan kickout with a Mark, he went onto find Hobbins and finally to Marcus Brady for a third goal for The Cootehall Midfield Maestro. The Penalty miss may have affected Lucan psychologically and had a shot come off the crossbar, however the referee saw a hand on a Lucan players back and awarded a penalty, this time there was no mistake and a fourth goal for the away side, who are now on 4-2 to St Brendan's 2-13.
Eoghan McGinty came on in place of Brady in the 18th minute, when the water break took place and made an immediate impact by winning a Lucan kick out and pass to Hobbins and another point for him. 2-14 to 4-2.
Dave Ryan and Bradley Skerritt came on as substitutes, Ryan, who wished he was in Azerbaijan yesterday to watch Ireland win in International Soccer, made his presence known in Grangegorman by scoring a point three minutes after coming on as a substitute. Conor Reddington, in essence, settled the outcome with a well taken goal which hit the inside post but still counted.
Despite Lucan scoring their first point in the second half in the 25th minute, Bradley Skerritt hit a tremendous point from 25 yards in which Ryan and another substitute, Morgan Young, contributed in the build up.
Brian Hobbins saved the best to last when a Rory Walshe shot was deflected for a 45 and Hobbins 45 sailed straight into the back of the net. There was a tremendous series of hand passes and in the end, Dave Ryan made a statement to John Tuffy for inclusion in the Starting XV for the Championship Quarter Final, by scoring a second point during his 10 minute cameo.
So a tremendous victory for the St Brendan's 2nd XV who qualify for the Championship Quarter Finals, alongside the 1st XV and Hurlers, but unlike those two teams, The Darkest Force will have the luxury of Home Advantage in the last eight.
Final Score from Grangegorman, St Brendan's 4-17 Lucan Sarsfield 4-5.