ST JUDE’S SIGN OFF ON A HIGH WITH WIN
Victory not enough to earn a berth in last eight as Naomh Mearnog advance on score difference
DUBLIN MFC ‘B’
ST JUDE’S 1-11
NAOMH MEARNOG 1-8
ST JUDE’S ended their Dublin Minor ‘B’ Football Championship Group One campaign with a bittersweet win last Sunday morning at Tymon Park.
Michael Foley, Michael Lawlor and Jack Crennan were all instrumental on the day for the hosts, who had defeated St Catherine’s in Westmanstown last Wednesday week. However, this latest victory wasn’t enough to secure Jude’s a spot in the knockout rounds of the competition.
Due to an inferior score difference, the Templeogue men finished behind both Erin’s Isle and Mearnog in the final standings. Mearnog’s triumph at the expense of Isles on July 29 had put them in the driving seat for a last-eight place.
While they lost out on the day, the Portmarnock outfit had strong performers in centre-forward Max Corcoran and defender David Hughes.
Having lost out to Isles in their previous home encounter, Jude’s were hoping for better fortune on this occasion. At the end of a patient move inside the opening 60 seconds of the contest, half-forward Foley superbly split the uprights with the outside of his right boot to get his side up and running.
This was quickly followed by a routine Lawlor free and the dynamic marksman also posted a nice effort from play to increase the gap to three points. Jude’s subsequently breathed a sigh of relief as Mearnog full-forward Josh Boylan’s dangerous strike drifted past the target.
The southsiders had greater joy at the opposite end – Conor Danagher slipping a low shot beyond the reach of Kian Morgan in the ninth minute. The visitors eventually came to terms with the task at hand.
The influential Corcoran converted a brace of frees before adding another single at the end of an intricate team attack. As a result, Mearnog had cut their deficit in half by the time the first water break arrived and they maintained this momentum after it.
Nominal corner-back David Hughes sauntered up the field to kick a fine point and Boylan made amends for his earlier miss with a smooth three-point finish on 23 minutes. This was a wake-up call for Jude’s, who needed a point from Crennan to get them back in the groove.
The introduction of Matty Rafferty also provided them with an additional spark. He superbly dissected the posts from a distance of 45 metres to give Jude’s a slender 1-5 to 1-4 lead at the interval.
Mearnog sought to halt the Jude’s march by propelling the imposing Cian Madden into the fray on the resumption. He was later joined by Shane Archer and they helped the Blackwood Lane side to generate a number of scoring opportunities.
Unfortunately, from their point of view, a number of shots dropped into the grateful arms of Jude’s netminder Cathal Howard. Jude’s, on the other hand, bolstered their tally through another Lawlor free and Rafferty’s second of the game.
When Padraig McNally was fouled inside the square with 42 minutes on the clock, they had an ideal opportunity to create substantial daylight between the teams. Much to the relief of Mearnog, Lawlor dragged his penalty past the right-hand post.
However, with McNally and Foley on target in swift succession, Jude’s were five points to the good (1-9 to 1-4) moving into the final quarter. Mearnog added to their account on the stroke of 50 minutes.
Jack Quinn was brought into their full-forward line as a direct option and he fired over to keep them within reach. Opposite numbers Crennan and Conor Archer proceeded to trade points, before Lawlor registered his third of the tie.
Whilst Jude’s were looking good for the win, the emphatic nature of Erin’s Isle’s success against St Catherine’s ensured they were destined to come up short in their quest for a quarter-final berth
Mearnog came close to maintaining their unbeaten run in the dying moments. After Archer and Corcoran points brought the gap back down to three, centre-back Ronan Patterson forced a fine stop out of Howard. Mearnog look more than capable of making a big splash in the latter phase of this ‘B’ Championship.
Scorers – St Jude’s: M Lawlor (2f), M Foley (1f) 0-3 each, C Danagher 1-0, J Crennan, M Rafferty 0-2 each, P McNally 0-1. Naomh Mearnog: M Corcoran 0-4 (2f), J Boylan 1-0, C Archer 0-2 (1f), D Hughes, J Quinn 0-1 each.
ST JUDE’S: C Howard; L McCarthy, F O Goibine, N Begley; D O’Connor, J Crennan, C Hyland; C French, M Lawlor; P McNally, M Foley, L Byrne; C Danagher, F Kilbane, C Huggins. Sub: M Rafferty for Byrne (25).
NAOMH MEARNOG: K Morgan; D Hughes, D Maddock, J Irwin; E Kelly, R Patterson, F Radford McGovern; C Archer, J Cottell; J O’Connell, M Corcoran, R Gibson; E Healy, J Boylan, H Collier. Subs: C Madden for Healy (h-t), S Archer for Gibson (38), J Quinn for Boylan (49).
MENTORS – St Jude’s: Brendan Bagnall, Niall Lawlor, Paul Crennan. Naomh Mearnog: Dave Storey, Adrian Kavanagh, Tony Phillips, Barry Mulligan.
Referee: Philip Fitzsimons (Liffey Gaels).
WIDES – St Jude’s: 5 (4+1). Naomh Mearnog: 6 (5+1).
CONDITIONS: Dry throughout with only a gentle breeze.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH: Michael Foley (St Jude’s).