Junior C Championship Quater-Final – Thur. 17th July 2008
Clontarf 1-11 V AIB 2-6 [ Half Time: 0-4, 2-4 ]
“Clontarf spirit pays dividend as Bank lose interest”
A very spirited 2nd half fightback secured Clontarf’s place in this years Championship semi-final. Trailing by 6pts at the interval, the home side stormed into the match and were fully deserving of the 2pt win before a big turnout of home support.
Clontarf started the game well and dominated the early exchanges, but the AIB game plan dashed any hopes of a bumper start for the Tarf forwards. AIB played with 12 and 13 players behind the ball, forcing Clontarf to shoot hastily for points, resulting in several wides. As early as the 3rd minute Hempo fired over an excellent free to set the home side in front. Within the next 15mins AIB twice had the ball in the Clontarf net with brilliant individual play from their corner forward, helped by a lineball that wasn’t called. Hempo kept Clontarf hopes alive with a close range free and a point from play. Clontarf’s best score of the half was taken by Ciaran Johnson after an incisive run and setup from Hempo. Both Crusher and Shane Doyle fired wides as Clontarf struggled to take their chances. As the half time whistle sounded the mood was somewhat sombre, 6pts down in a Championship game was not where the Killer B’s had expected to be.
Local residents were treated to part of Clontarf’s half time speech as Fergus Kennedy’s battle cry sent the home side back into action in a much alter mood. Graham Johnson and Damien Carew dominated midfield from the resumption, while Richie Fox, Paul Moore and Fergus Kennedy all moped up breaking ball to drive Clontarf forward. An early free from Hempo narrowed the gap to 5 and the supporters roared on the one way traffic on pitch 35. Tommy O’Connor is enjoying a fine season and fast gaining a reputation as a goal poacher. He pounced on 12mins after a brilliant cross field pass from Hempo. A quick side side and an easy point was there for the taking, but Tommy had bigger plans, as he buried an unstoppable shot high and right of the AIB goalie. Game on as they say…
That goal lifted the team and in particular Tommy’s own game. He fired over the next point and minutes later was dragged down for a free that was missed. Just as they did in the 1st half, AIB broke down field and looked certain to find the net. On this occasion Anthony Eames refused to be beaten and his brilliant save was another crucial factor in Clontarf winning this contest. Hempo tied the game with a free after excellent work from Ciaran Johnson, while another free from Tommy O’Connor send the home side into the lead. Credit to the management team for the introductions of Johnny McDevitt and Johnny O’Connell. Both had excellent final 15mins, with O’Connell scoring after McDevitt robbed a bank official. The bank continued to keep in touch with some fine scores from distance, but it was Hempo again who setup Ciaran Johnson for a terrific score from an impossible angle almost on the end line. Clontarf were now 1 pt up with less than 2 mins left. The Clontarf backs held firm as AIB searched for a way to save the game. The last action of the game save McDevitt pickpocket another AIB defender before getting hauled to the ground. Steady as ever Hempo slotted over the free from outside the 45 to a roar of much satisfaction from the home support. The final whistle sounded and Clontarf had recorded a memorable comeback that demonstrated the great spirit in this squad.