The Go Ahead Football Championships have begun and on a sunny Friday evening in Longmeadows, the St Brendan’s Football 2nd XV, in partnership with Stoneybatter Pride of Place were first up in the Go Ahead Junior 6 South All County Football Championship with St Mary’s Saggart the visitors.
It took The Darkest Force 5 and a half minutes to register their opening score after Saggart opened the score with a free in. Ferdia Donohoe scored the St Brendan's point from an Advanced Mark.
St Brendan's took the lead when a turnover in the middle third from Sean Whyte, Donohoe was also involved, and it was The Milltown Four Star James McGee who was on hand to hit the point. Whyte went for placement rather than power in seeing a shot go wide a few minutes later.
15:49 gone in the first half and John Maguire won a turnover and found Diarmuid Byrne who went this way and that for options but took the shot himself and yielded point number 3. St Mary’s Saggart made thing interesting by hitting 1-1 to take the lead with 10 minutes to go.
But St Brendan's did respond, and The Cavan Triathlete John Maguire cut the deficit to one point with a score which started with a Ferdia Donohoe free in the corner of the Chapelizod Road end. The Scores were level after 23 minutes when Donohoe pointed from a free in after Alan ‘Mack Hansen’ Pierce won a Saggart kick out.
St Brendan’s retook the lead with Donohoe pointing the second of his brace of points after going one on one with the goalkeeper but was content to fist the ball over the bar. James McGee won a turnover on the 45 and found Andy Moran who didn’t find any support and so The Ballaghderreen Bypass had to take a hit and hope shot himself but nonetheless landed on the Saggart net for the most opportunist of goals 1-6 to 1-2.
Alan ‘Mack Hansen’ Pierse got himself got his name on the scoresheet with a good point thanks to good work from Sean Whyte and Andy Moran’s attempt to for a second goal ended when he won the Saggart kickout and tried to lob the goalkeeper on the spot, but the goalkeeper was alert and made the catch.
Such was the free-flowing nature of the first half that the referee blew for half time at 30 minutes on the dot. The Hungry Boba Pizzeria Half Time Score: St Brendan’s 1-7 St Mary’s Saggart 1-2.
At the start of the second half, The Away side with a brace of points, half time Substitute Brian Marley supplied ball to the Wexican Oisin Carley for St Brendan’s first score of the second half 1-8 to 1-4.
The five-point half time lead was restored when James McGee was frustrated with the small square messing when Diarmuid Byrne and Jack ‘The Relegater’ McCarron seeing shots saved or mis hit. McGee said enough is enough and his shot held up in the air and over the bar. John Maguire made a great tackle to win possession on the 65 and pass to Diarmuid Byrne and Brian Marley who played some tiki taki football amongst themselves and a soccer style pass to Ferdia Donohoe for the second goal of the evening 2-9 to 1-4.
The away side hit another brace of points, The Ballaghderreen Bypass went on a 60-yard solo run who found James McGee with Carley off his shoulder to collect the pass to hit the point and a 7-point lead again 2-10 to 1-6.
After Saggart notched up their 7th point, James McGee ordered his side to kill off the game and did so in style when The Wexican Oisin Carley won Conor Hallisey’s kick out with a Mark, who then passed onto Moran and finally to Michael Bruen to toe tap the ball into the net to open up a 9 point lead and in essence, kill off the game as a contest, 3-10 to 1-7.
St Brendan's 11th point had Made in Co Galway written all over it with Sean Whyte passing to James McGee and the ball over the bar, with the 10-point lead secured, John Tuffy bought in Sean ‘The Dream Maker’ Dardis, Diarmuid Condron and Le Garson De Montpellier Geal Bartolomew.
St Mary's Saggart cut the 10-point lead by half to 5 with a goal in 2 points to give Tuffy and Co and some anxious moments going into the final minute of normal time. Saggart had a free in with all is St Brendan's players behind the ball, the ball was dropped in, Michael Hickey and Colin Folan tried to get the ball cleared only for Saggart to gain possession and take a shot, which Micheal Bruen blocked and in the end, the referee adjudged a Saggart player to pick the ball off the ground and a free out was resulted. That free in was turned over but only as far as James Mcgee and in the end, the referee blew for full time and St Brendan's 2nd XV start the 2023 Championship with a hard-earned victory which will no doubt John Tuffy will be delighted going forward.
Next up is a fixture against Lucan Sarsfields on August 27th at 3pm.
Final score from Longmeadows, St Brendan's 3-11 St Mary’s Saggart 2-9.