Superb Mark’s survive O’War in semis
TOWARDS the close of a titanic battle at McGee Park on Sunday, St Mark’s discovered an additional gear to come away with a 2-15 to 3-8 extra-time victory over Man O’War in the semi-final of the Dublin Junior One Club Football Championship.
Driven on by a passionate home crowd, Mark’s registered four unanswered points beyond the regulation 60 minutes of action to book their spot in the competition’s showpiece alongside Geraldine P Moran who had just one point to spare over Crumlin in the day’s other semi-final at Pearse Park.
This means both sides will be battle-hardened in advance of their forthcoming encounter, but Mark’s will have an additional 20 minutes of competitive fare to build upon.
It proved to be a memorable day overall for the Tallaght club, with their second side getting the better of Templeogue Synge Street in the Junior Six South All County Football Championship semi-final.
Their flagship team initially fell behind to a Willie Moore free in the opening minute of their last-four meeting with Man O’War, before midfielder Luke Doyle rattled the net for the hosts.
This looked to be the catalyst for a strong opening period display from Mark’s, but their Lusk counterparts were determined to have their say on proceedings.
Although they were one point adrift at the first half water break, Man O’War subsequently claimed a goal of their own through Seán Hussey when play resumed.
Fintan McCloskey provided the final pass for this major and after being released by Hussey off a swift counter-attack in the closing moments of the half, he fired home to propel the visitors into a 2-5 to 1-4 interval advantage.
This threw down the gauntlet to Mark’s, but their response was emphatic. In the third-quarter alone, they amassed 1-4 without reply to put themselves firmly in the driving seat.
Their second goal of the contest arrived courtesy of Mark O’Meara on 36 minutes and, following three more points on the bounce, the Tallaght men were six clear and seemingly on course for a convincing victory. Credit must go to Man O’War, however, as they simply refused to throw in the towel.
There was just under five minutes left in the second half when the aforementioned Moore slotted home a penalty to reinvigorate their challenge.
Another brace of points by the influential centre-forward set up a tantalising finale and when full-back Anto Kelly found his range in clinical style, the sides were inseparable come the end of normal time (2-11 to 3-8).
Given what had just transpired, Man O’War appeared to have the momentum heading into the additional 20 minutes. Yet this was the cue for Mark’s to flex their muscles and ultimately seal a final place.
Joseph Cannon got the home team back up and running with an excellent curling effort, before David Kearns (who contributed four points to his side’s final tally) and Doyle also found the target to move Mark’s three in front at the midway point in extra-time.
And the Tallaght side was not prepared to let another winning position slip from their grasp as O’Meara raised another white flag to eventually help see off the stubborn Man O’War challenge.