Donabate hang on by the bare minimum as Clondalkin comeback falls short
Goals in either half proved decisive as St Patrick’s Donabate withstood a brave Round Tower Clondalkin comeback to eventually prevail by 2-13 to 1-15 in their thrilling Go Ahead Dublin Intermediate Club Football Championship final in Garristown last Saturday evening.
The North County side appeared destined for a relatively comfortable victory as they led by six points in the early stages of the third quarter but an Ian Ward goal in the 43rd minute prompted a frantic conclusion, with St Pat’s doing just enough to hang on by the bare minimum by the final whistle.
“It’s a great achievement by the lads as we have been trying to win this championship for a long time,” said St Pat’s manager Ciaran Roche.
“To finally get over the line is a wonderful feeling and we’re just so happy not just to win the championship but also that we can represent the county in the provincial championship.
“Hopefully, winning on Saturday will set the team up well for the future but we can just enjoy it for what it is now.
“There are lads there like Niall Collins and Joey Collins who have been with this team for such a long time and suffered a lot of disappointments down the years so I’m sure it feels extra special for them.
“It was a great game and Towers deserve a lot of credit for the way that they came back at us and we wouldn’t expect anything less from them as they are a strong team with plenty of decent footballers.
“Every time that I thought we had done enough to win, they came back at us and while we weren’t at our best, it’s all about winning when you’re in finals and we did just enough,” added Roche.
It was Donabate that made the brighter start and they edged 1-4 to 0-3 ahead as Adam Dunne pounced for the game’s opening goal in the 18th minute.
St Patrick’s added to their tally through scores from Dylan Knight Sands and Stephen Dempsey but scores at the opposite end from Ian Ward and Jason Joyce left Clondalkin trailing by 1-8 to 0-7 by the interval.
The second half resumed with St Pat’s looking to extend their advantage and they managed to do that in the 38th minute as Dempsey netted to push his team 2-8 to 0-8 clear.
Two further points were added to leave Donabate leading by double scores but Ward’s goal in the 43rd minute handed Round Towers a lifeline and they maintained that momentum through a brace of Jack Halpin points to trail by just 2-11 to 1-11 by the second water break.
Given the manner in which Round Towers won both their quarter-final and semi-final ties, it was of scant surprise to see them continue to pressure their opponents, Joyce leading the way with a superb performance at centrefield.
Lee Moran was also impressing from wing-back for Clondalkin but they ultimately fell short as St Patrick’s held on by the tightest of margins with points from Ollie Brooks, Shane McGrath, Sean Walsh, Kieran Conroy and Matt Molloy proving pivotal by the final whistle.
“It took us a while to settle and I think that’s what cost us in the end,” said Round Tower Clondalkin manager Kevin Leahy.
“We were always chasing the game a little bit and they (St Pat’s) scored goals at crucial times that made it tough for us to keep in contention.
“Fair play to them though as they were very clinical throughout the game and they took almost all of the chances that came their way in the second-half.
“We were slightly more wasteful but you would have to be pleased with the effort that all the lads put in.
“Of course, there is a lot of disappointment now but we have enjoyed a very positive year as far as I’m concerned.
“We had our backs to the wall in the quarter-final and in the semi-final and we managed to come through those games but it just wasn’t to be on Saturday.
“We have lots of good lads coming through into the panel now and this experience will stand them in good stead.
“Winning the championship would have been a great way to finish off the year but we wouldn’t have argued with promotion at the start of the year and when the disappointment has lessened a bit in the coming weeks, we can look back on what was a very good year,” added the former Ballymun Kickhams attacker.
St Patrick’s will now turn their attention to the Leinster Intermediate Football Championship, when they face Offaly side Clara on Saturday week with Roche looking forward to the challenge.
“It’s a nice bonus to the season to have a game like this to look forward to and hopefully we’ll get a decent crowd up to support the team.
“We’ll celebrate winning the county final but once that’s done, we’ll go back to training and start focusing on Clara and both the players and management are very excited about doing the best that we can in Leinster,” said Roche.
St Patrick’s Donabate Panel: E Moloney, D Maher, P Costello, B Gaston, N Moran, J Mullins, A Dunne, A Darby, S McGrath, S Dempsey, D Knight Sands, K Conroy, N Collins, S Walsh, O Brooks, A Redmond, T McKeon, L Watson, R McKeon, J Collins, C Redmond, C Dowling, E Connolly, M Molloy, C Kavanagh, A Page, S Brooks, E Brooks.
Round Tower Clondalkin Panel: G Cleary, S Byrne, D Gregg, B Keane, L Moran, D Murray, T Lyons, M Hallows, J Joyce, J Halpin, J Kelly, E Finn, M Walsh, I Ward, J Leech, K McGibney, C Flannery, A Doyle, S Ó Donagáin, J Murphy, J Quinlan, T Galvin, D Gilligan, J Mulholland, L Connolly, M Kelly, M Smith, D Chapman, O Douglas, D McCarthy.