The St Brendan’s Football 1st XV, Sponsored by The Skylon Hotel, were back in Longmeadows on Sunday April 23rd and a Round 5 AFL5 fixture against Whitehall Colmcilles.
Before we do so, here is a brief summery with what’s been happening with other St Brendan’s teams in the past few days.
On Wednesday April 19th, The Ladies 1st maintained their 100% start to the season by grinding out a gritty 3-8 to 2-8 victory away to St Patrick’s Donabate. One of those goals was an own goal, but the stars of the show were the St Brendan’s back who blocked a lot of scoring chances and producing turnovers with great support play. However in Longmeadows at the same time, the Ladies 2nd XV went down, but only by 3 points, 4-8 to 3-8 against Kilmacud Crokes C team, with Anne Marie Casey and Marie Moloney (2) with the majors.
On Friday April 21st, The Mens 2nd XV travelled to Thomas Ashe Park in Lusk for an AFL10 North Fixture against Round Towers Lusk. Unfortunately, The Darkest Force were beaten by 4-13 to 2-13, with Eoin McCauley scoring the first goal before half time and Killian Dixon scoring the second from the penalty spot which turned out to be a late consolation goal.
Ferdia Donohoe scored 4 points from frees and John Tuffy score two points from play. There was good performances too by Sean ‘The Dream Maker’ Dardis, Michael Bruen and Alan ‘Mack Hansen’ Pierce now playing midfield. Team Manager Niall Dwyer admitted that the game would have been a different story had we had a nippy corner back.
So onto today and The Dark Force went into the game still undefeated following a 3-5 to 0-14 draw against O’Dwyers in Balbriggan last Tuesday the 18th.
But it was the away side, with Ex St Brendan’s club President Gerry Ryan now on the sidelines for Whitehall, with the opening two scores, but the second of those points was controversial because it may have been wide. St Brendan’s opening score was also adjudged to have gone wide, but it was given with Niall Mc Manus the one with boot to ball.
Whitehall had a shot hit the butt of the post and cleared by Liam ‘Oisin Mullin’ Atkinson. John Burns was fouled when in a good position and due to dissent, the referee moved the free forward 10 meters which allowed Cillian ‘Return of the Mack’ Morrison to point and level the contest, 2 points each.
St Brendan’s took the lead thanks to a free in from Oisin O’Boyle who drew the foul himself and then produced the best point of the morning when dodging one tackle and then another and with the outside of his right boot, produced a spectacular shot over the bar to the delight of Justin McCormack. However, Whitehall pegged one point back, after winning the kick out from a Mark, to make it 4 points to 3.
The two point lead was restored thanks to a free in by Morrisson after O’Boyle again tried to dodge a tackle but but dragged back instead. 22:23 gone and the sides were level after Whitehall converted a 45 and a free in.
The away side were given a penalty after a trip by Ger Bannon. Eoghan ‘Mr Twitter‘ Clogher was sent the wrong way and St brendan’s were three points down, the concession of 1-2 in such a short space of time was a massive concern for McCormack.
But St Brendan’s did respond when a Donal Clarke sideline ball found Stephen Durkan and fed the ball to Morrison and used the citeog to hit a fine score to calm McCormacks mood. Another Whitehall point followed, Burns broke Clogher’s kickout to Cian ‘The 1500-meter Man’ Ó Lionáird and it was The Longford Leader Burns who was at the end with the point to make the score 1-7 to 0-7. Whitehall ensured a four-point half time lead with a long-range point, so Half Time Score 1-8 to 0-7 to Whitehall.
Justin McCormack's head was about to implode, John Tuffy style during half time, However Oisin O’Boyle ensured McCormack kept his head at the start of the second half with the opening score of the second half after Ger Bannon won the throw in.
A bid to level matters ended when a Burns shot hit the upright, but O’Boyle was there to recycle the ball but with two defenders around him hit a weak shot and the ball was cleared. 12 minutes gone in the second half and O’Boyle made amends with pointing a free in after Morrison was recklessly taking down, however, no black card was shown. On the other side Eoghan Clogher was busy with two point blank saves and clearances from The Castlebar Mitchell Colm Harte and Nicky McCafferty.
Diarmuid Byrne came on for Donal Clarke, who described the game as a tough game. Whitehall had yet to score in the second half and Harte ensured that stayed that way thus far with a fine clearance from a free in. Ger Bannon then ploughed through the Whitehall defense and a shot that went over and a one point deficit again 1-8 to 0-10.
Whitehall woke up from their mid match slumber and hit St Brendan’s with a point and then a goal, the goal split open the defense as Whitehall palmed the ball pasted Eoghan Clogher. 2-9 to 0-10.
Or Was it?
St Brendan’s borrowed the Leinster Rugby mantra of Never Give Up and a shot by John Burns was about to go wide but Ger Bannon tried to keep the ball in play but has recklessly body checked by the Whitehall goalkeeper who got yellow carded. O’Boyle converted the free and a 4 point deficit.
After some aerial ping pong following Cloghers kick out, Donal Clarke came back into the fray to win possession and a pass from Michael ‘The DJ’ Cahill found Burns with the point and a three point deficit, Things getting interesting!
And Yes, things got very interesting when Niall McManus was an excellent position but got tripped when pulling the trigger, most crucially, in the penalty area and the referee had no option but to extend his arms and give a penalty to The Dark Force. Cillian Morrison, adrenalin pumping through his veins, but that didn’t show on the exterior as he stepped up and crash the ball into the net to give his side, the mother and father of all lifelines, 1-12 to 2-9 two minutes into injury time.
Cian Ó Lionáird won a turnover and passed to Nicky McCafferty who kicked the ball over 35 meters to Oisin O’Boyle, most crucially, won the Advanced Mark, which gave him a chance to compose himself and kick the game winning score, and he was fist pumping long before the ball sailed between the uprights.
There was still time for Whitehall to break St Brendan’s hearts but that never materialized as Liam Atkinson won a crucial turnover and the referee blew for full time. What a priceless priceless victory for St Brendan’s who never gave up yet again and are still undefeated in AFL5 and in a good position this early in the season for promotion, but there is plenty of football to play between now and then, starting with a midweek away trip to Man O War on May 2nd. That should be a cracker.
Final score from Longmeadows, St Brendan’s 1-13 Whitehall Colmcilles 2-9