Johnstownbridge Exit Senior Championship after Tough Contest with Reigning Champions
Senior Football Championship Quarter Final
Friday 19th Sept 2014 at Hawkfield under lights
JTB 0-10 Moorefield 1-11
On the biggest weekend in the calendar year for Gaelic Football with the Kingdom of Kerry facing the tactical prowess of Jim McGuinness set to take to Croke Park less than 48 hours later the scene was set in Hawkfield on a misty but dry evening at the county Centre of Excellence on the Milltown road out of Newbridge. The crowds arrived early in to the stand, particularly those who travelled from the northern tip of the county leaving home in abysmal wet conditions. The lights were switched on to reveal the stage in which both reigning County Champions would set out their armoury and contest this eagerly awaited duel. Moorefield had been crowned Senior County Champions and Johnstownbridge Intermediate Champions less than 12 months earlier.
The game started at pace with Moorefield stamping their authority on the game early with opening attacks but without registering on the scoreboard. In the second minute however Kelvin McNally who has become a force on the team this season made a bursting run from halfway creating an opening for the supporting Jimmy Farrell. Jimmy was in on goal somehow missed the goal opportunity but recorded a point on the scoreboard as a consolation. This unfortunately became the theme to the run of luck for the ‘Bridge on the night. Moorefield opened their account just after 3 minutes with an Adam Tyrrell free after Kevin Murnaghan was fouled 22 yards out from goal. Jimmy Farrell created an opportunity soon after for Cathal McNally, who missed the chance. Cotzy made up for it however less than a minute later linking up well with Paul Cribben. Paul cleverly hand-passed the ball over the bar to give the ‘Bridge back their one point lead. Eoin O’Donoghue followed up with a cracking effort from play from a well-engineered move by Niall Vaughan claiming possession near the corner flag to recycle the ball out to Eoin. The score read Johnstownbridge 0-03 Moorefield 0-01 after 6 minutes of play. Éanna O’Connor for Moorefield got his tally off the mark a minute later after winning possession near the corner flag and skinning Jamesie O’Connor to cut back toward the danger area, something we have hardly seen happen to the corner back this year to Jamesie’s credit. O’Connor again made a great run 4 minutes later to bring the sides level on 3 points apiece slotting home on his left boot, the Kerryman settling into the game and showing his class learned over the years in the Kingdom of Gaelic football.
Two wides were registered through brothers Cotzy and Barry McNally before Cotzy was through on goal but a great save from Thomas Corley the Moorefield netminder who denied the opportunity. A 45 resulted from the passage of play but uncharacteristically sent wide by the boot of Keith Cribben on 14 minutes. The third JTB goal chance didn’t come to fruition when Paul Cribben missed a chance just a minute later.
Moorefield capitalized on the hard run of events from a JTB perspective when O’Connor pointed from play with a brilliant effort to put the team from the flatlands of Kildare a point up on 19 minutes even though he’d had a wide just before and again after his score. Moorefield hit the net on 21 minutes coming from the boot of Éanna O’Connor after a brilliant save from Ian Farrell Moorefield 1-04 Johnstownbridge 0-03. O’Connor again kept the scoreboard turning with another free just before Seán Hurley made his way onto the pitch replacing Mickey Donnelly. Moorefield’s Niall Hurley Lynch had a goal effort which was sent over the endline resulting in a 45 which the Kerryman again slotted over the black spot to leave 6 points between the teams Moorefield 1-06 Johnstownbridge 0-03 on 24 minutes.
2 minutes later Eoin converted a free to bring his side back to a 5 point deficit. Moorefield missed a goal opportunity through Lynch moments later but the resulting attack ended in an Eoin O’Donoghue wide. Just before the halftime whistle Keith Cribbin’s goal effort after a rebound from the left upright was disallowed due to an infringement off the ball. The sides went into the break Moorefield 1-06 JTB 0-04. Moorefield had to have been the happier of the two teams at this point and the supporters from the top end of the county could see the writing on the wall. Too many opportunities missed against the county champions in the opening 30 minutes of football.
The second half began with a wide from Jimmy Farrell just moments before Paul was through on goal but sliced it wide of the target just 2 minutes after the restart. Moorefield kept their nerve and again got their total moving again on the board with a point from a Tyrell point after linking up well with the ex-Kildare stall worth Roly Sweeney. Seán Hurley beginning to make an impact in the centre of the field and reminding Daryl Flynn he was back to a reasonable level of fitness as the two Kildare midfielders and county teammates tussled as though they were enemies. Eoin missed a free minutes later before Tyrell again slotted home his chance to leave the game out of sight Moorefield 1-08 JTB 0-04 on 37 minutes. Keith scored a lovely point from a free after Cotzy was dragged down 40 yards out followed by another point from Eoin to leave 5 between the sides. You can say a lot of things about teams but giving up and Johnstownbridge are things that are never found in the same sentence. In their hearts the lads must have known this was a huge mountain to climb but the engine was still firing and the effort from all facets of the field in every position unyielding. The men from the Curragh again pointed through the man from Kerry on 41 minutes to open the gap again to 6 points. Paul Cribbin got on the board again after a super move resulting in Cotzy putting him in a great position just after Derek Donegan came on to replace Ian McKeown. 43 minutes Moorefield 1-09 JTB 0-07. Jimmy again hit another wide before the Moorefield keeper punched Niall Vaughan’s goal effort to safety (is this the first goal effort Niall has missed all year?!) A 45 resulted but Keith failed to hit the target. He cancelled it out with a free from the turf just minutes later to leave the sides Moorefield 1-09 JTB 0-08. Tyrell pointed from a free to quell the JTB resurgence on 50 minutes 50 metres out to put 5 again between the teams. Seán, Jimmy and Eoin created a great chance resulting in a point on the board again from Eoin from play with just 6 minutes left on the clock. Keith pulled back on a surging run resulting in a yellow for Murnaghan and Keith pointing from the resulting free to leave just a goal between the teams. Injury time was played for almost 4 and a half minutes with just one score for Moorefield from Tyrell’s boot.
The game ended 1-11 to 0-10. It was disappointing from a Johnstownbridge perspective but only because we were out of the competition. Everyone leaving the grounds was delighted with the spirit in which the lads fought right until the final whistle. Yes this is a cliché, there are many clichés in sport but there aren’t many teams who you can say actually did fight right up until the end. Moorefield knew they were in a game and who knows if a few of the goal chances came off this wouldn’t have been the end for this year’s campaign. Considering the injuries suffered throughout the championship and the victories firstly against Confey and then Allenwood in a replay, yes we were missing some of the household names but we learned more about our young crop coming in to take their places with tenacity and purpose. This is the beginning of Senior Championship football again for this club after too many years being away from the top flight. This year’s performance leaves us all with the secure feeling that with the strength and experience coupled with the youth and enthusiasm coming forward, the future is more than bright in this small club.
Well done to Paddy, the backroom team and most of all the squad who gave us another year of super footballing effort. We’re all very proud to say we support Johnstownbridge and can comfortably hold our heads up high!
Johnstownbridge 1 I Farrell, 2 J O’Connor, 3 L Flynn, 4 C Farrell, 5 I McKeown 6 S McNally, 7 M Donnelly, 8 K McNally, 9 B McNally, 10 E O’Donoghue 0-04, 11 K Cribbin 0-03, 12 P Cribbin 0-02 13 J Farrell 0-01, 14 N Vaughan 15 C McNally Subs 19 S Hurley for M Donnelly 18 D Donegan for I McKeown G Doran for J Farrell