London Intermediate Football semi-final
St Brendans: 1-13
Harlesden Harps: 0-7
by Fiona O’Brien
A clinical all-round team performance from St. Brendans, aided by the accuracy of John Bo Daly’s boot, smothered any threat from Harlesden Harps as they earned a place in the Intermediate Football final.
Two successive points from Denis Murphy and Andy Hayes within the first three minutes paved the way for the scoring pattern that ensued for the tie’s remainder.
Daly kicked a successful free minutes later, and although the Harps succeeded in gaining territory in their opponents’ half they failed to convert any possession into scores.
Peter Rafferty opened his side’s account only after fifteen minutes and two scoreable wides from his team mates. Hayes responded with a successful free of his own, and his corner-forward Niall Campbell left Harps’ hearts in their mouths as his powerful kick between the posts looked like it was to pass its way under Eamon Mycote’s crossbar to leave them with an impossible deficit to close.
Any momentum Harlesden were mounting was undone by the interruption caused by a contested black card for half-forward Ben O’Mahony, and it allowed Hayes to set Daly up on goal. Daly forced his way through the square as Mycote closed him down, but Daly’s strength endured and he expertly edged the ball past the keeper before any block from the keeper was made.
As the ball rattled the back of the net, St. Brendans found themselves seven points up with half of the opening period played. Daly added a free of his own minutes later before Padraig Sweeney got a second point for his side.
Daly was putting more pressure on Mycote but this time his attempt met the keeper’s fingertips, preventing a goal, but Brendans were still rewarded with a score as the ball drifted over the crossbar. Two further points from Hayes and Campbell gave their side a 1-9 to 0-2 lead at the halfway mark.
All Brendans needed to do now was ensure no resurgence from their opponents, and they did just that as Hayes and Campbell linked up immediately from the whistle. A short free from Campbell to Hayes gave him his fourth of the match.
Daly added another two to his account, and Harps’ frustration was most characterised with the Daniel Somers’ sending off for a sloppy foul on Daniel Igoe, who was leaving the Harps’ forwards for dust, for a tackle that would have been deemed high even in rugby.
It did seem to ignite a desire to win in Harlesden, and they began to play with more fluidity suggesting they are a side much more capable than the final score line displayed.
Padraig Sweeney claimed his first before, in a lovely spell of play, Graham Power linked up with Rafferty for the latter’s point. Minutes later the tireless Ashley O’Halloran almost scored a goal that drifted upwards for a point.
The three unanswered scores were undone by an individual moment of brilliance from full-back Ryan Jones who was rewarded with a point after his bursting run down the whole length of the pitch.
The responding double from substitute Chris McConville came too late for his side, and the whistle blew to cheers from the St. Brendans bench who were undeniably the deserved winners.
St Brendan’s: Conor Donnellan, Shane O’Hare, Ryan Jones (0-1), Arthur Dunne, Sean McGoldrick, Paddy Irvine, Denis Murphy, Taghy Gavin, Rory Costello, James Minogue, John Bo Daly (1-5, 2 frees), Denis Murphy(0-1), Niall Campbell (0-2, 1 free), Andy Hayes (0-4, 1 free), Daniel Igoe Subs: Paddy Bowles for Hayes, Paddy Irvine for Rory Costelloe, Larry Costello for Murphy, Barry Gallagher for McGoldrick
Harlesden Harps: Eamon Mycote, John Sheerin, Sean O’Halloran, Ronan McGee, Peter Rafferty (0-2), Ashley O’Halloran (0-1), Aiden Lynam, Daniel Somers, Ciaran Houlihan, Graham Power, Andrew Murphy, Ben O’Mahony, Darren Lynch, Matthew Holohan, Padraig Sweeney (0-1) Subs: Cormac Marrinan for O’Mahony (black card) Dermot Harkin for McGee, Chris McConville (0-2) for Holohan, Mark McConville for Murphy