Sunday Morning in Longmeadows saw the St Brendan’s Football 1st XV, Sponsored by Dynamic Safety Solutions, back in the Junior 1 Club Championship after a three year stint in the Intermediates, hoping to go one step further then in 2019 when we got to the Final, only to lose to Craobh Chairain, who incidentally are also back in Junior and are in the same group as St Brendan's. The visitors this morning to Longmeadows were Wanderers.
The Dark Force got off to the most prefect start imaginable when John Burns won the opening throw in and set off towards goal and kicked a shot over the bar after only 9 seconds.
The Wanderers equalized with 45 after The Castlebar Mitchell Colm Harte blocked a Wanderers shot for the 45. Wanderers had a shout for a goal when a shot, like Geoff Hursts in the 1966 World Cup Final, hit the underside of the crossbar, hit the goal line and cleared by Liam ‘Oisin Mullin’ Atkinson, but unlike ‘66, the referee did not consult the linesman or umpire and play continued with Atkinson clearing his line, somehow Wanderers did not protest.
On the other side of the pitch, The Curry Shoeman Brendan Brogan won a free in which Luke ‘The Miracle Worker’ McDonagh converted to make it 2 points to 1. That became 3 points following a selfless pass from John Burns to The Return of the Mack Cillian Morrison and that shot over the bar.
Burns did make the scoresheet for the second time from a free in after a foul on Darragh ‘Takenits’ Toal, Burns made it a brace when judging the wind, blowing to the Chapelizod Goal, to perfection when pointing a free in as his partner Aisling looked on with awe.
After 21 minutes the score was 6 points to 3, when The Philidelphia 76er Kevin Berry won the Wanderers kickout with a Mark and passed to Morrison for his second point of the morning. However, McDonagh picked up an injury and was replaced by Ger Bannon.
Toal went onto win a Mark off Mr. Twitter Eoghan Cloghers kickout (Yes, I know Twitter is now called X, but the name sticks!) The Birthday boy Diarmuid Cooney then got possession and whipped the ball into the square where Cillian Morrisson caught, turned and kicked the ball into the back of the Wanderers net and a 6 point lead 1-6 to 0-3.
The Referees pocket was like a toaster, every time there was a foul, up pops a yellow card and Wanderers got four in the first half despite the match being played in a good spirit. Ger Bannon was dragged when winning Cloghers kick out, which resulted in the 4th Wanderers yellow card and at the end it was Niall McManus on hand to pop the ball over the bar to give St Brendan's 1-7.
Tremendous defending ensured The Dark Force had a five-point half time lead. The Hungry Boba Pizzeria Half Time Score: St Brendan’s 1-7 Wanderers 0-5.
Four minutes gone in the second half and St Brendan’s had three wide's, the third of which was actually a wide, the first saw the ball deflect of the foot of the Wanderers full back but the referee waved wide and the second was a Hollywood Ball from Conall ‘The Golden Mullet’ Horgan for Cillian Morrisson.
Seven minutes passed and both sides traded a point, O’Boyle turned on a sixpence after a Toal pass and finally onto The Longford Leader John Burns with the citeog over the bar 1-8 to 0-6. Morrison then took a shot from 30 meters, although the ball went over the bar, he got pushed in the process after the kick, a 13-meter free was the result with O’Boyle converted 1-9 to 0-6.
Stephen Durcan came on for Kevin Berry and contributed instantly towards O’Boyle to complete his brace and a seven-point lead, which didn’t last long with a free in from Wanderers which was a Charlie Redmond style free from the ground, but without licking his fingers and rubbing his knicks!
Ger Bannon when won a turnover after the ball got caught between his legs, Burns and Toal were also involved to allow Nicky McCafferty to get his name on the scoresheet, McCafferty won an Advanced from a Cillian Morrison free in, but the shot was disallowed due to a rule of not taking the Advanced Mark from a free in.
Burns kept the scoreboard ticking over with another free in after Brendan Brogan was tripped at the end of a 65-meter solo run. Wanderers were desperate for a goal and Liam Atkinson barged against the attacker which resulted in a free which was converted, 1-12 to 0-8 with 8 Minutes to go.
Oisin O’Boyle had a chance to end the game as a contest but saw his goal shot saved and cleared, but the shot only went as far as Morrisson who took the point instead. The Return of the Mack also saw a goal chance sail inches wide.
In injury time, Frankin O Reilly was given a yellow card and a red for dragging down a Wanderers forward, however, Kepa wasn’t booked first time and Nicky McCafferty said to the referee it was him and not O’Reilly who got the first yellow and the referee rescinded Kepa’s red card. 13 St Brendan’s men were behind the ball, Stephen Durcan and Oisin O’Boyle were the exceptions, but the Wanderers player spotted a small gap to the left of Eoghan Clogher and brutally exposed the gap with a drop goal kick from the 13-meter line and into the net for a late consolation score for the away side.
The management team of Justin McCormack, Martin Ryan, John Tuffy and The Connaught Telegraph Jonathan Melvin will be disappointed with the late concession of the goal, but St Brendan's did enough throughout the morning to earn the first Championship win of the season and focus turns now to two weeks' time and a 2019 Junior County Final rematch against Croabh Chairain.
Final Score from Longmeadows St Brendan's 1-13 Wanderers 1-9.