St.Joseph’s C.C………………………………..1 Elphin…………………………………………..2
St.Joseph’s senior soccer team bowed out of this season’s competition by virtue of losing 1-2 to a decent Elphin side at Bellaghy on Wednesday. Due to the busy schedule of the week with a soccer game and East Mayo GAA trials the previous 24 hours, injuries and ‘flu it was a case of getting a team on the field for the home school. It was a something of a similar story for Elphin who like us in East Mayo battle gamely in Roscommon against the odds; it has to be said, most of the time. Considering all the fact it was a very entertaining game where there was little between the teams.
Both teams opened very brightly with Aidan Hopkins nearly finding the net in the first few minutes but it was Elphin who got their noses in front with a shot from inside the area that the unsighted Ronan Dunleavy could not do anything about after 5 minutes. Fair play to the ‘keeper he lined out as a substitute the previous day in Swinford playing in defence.
The teams were level on ten minutes when Robert Jordan mesmerised four Elphin players before finding Cian McCudden and the Ipswich Town fan found Hopkins who swivelled and shot to the net. A great goal, from a player who gave a wonderful first half display. On 18 minutes the home side nearly got in front when debutant Pádraig Duffy found Jordan but his shot sailed over the bar. Minutes later it was heroics from Dunleavy who got down to smother a goal bound effort from an Elphin forward. A 1-1 score line was about right for an entertaining first half. Another player who deserves a mention for a fine display is Ivan Duffy who turned in a fine defensive display in the back line alongside usual stalwarts Gary Horan and Ciarán Sweeney.
The second half started in lively fashion and Elphin were in front when a fine looping header found the net after a corner to the Roscommon School. A minute later McCudden hit the ‘bar and then Eoin Kelly (who drove forward at every opportunity) and Keelan “the ‘keeper” Horkan (getting his chance outfield!) combined to set up Hopkins and with the goal at his mercy he blasted over. As per usual Holton popped up everywhere to try and rescue the situation. The introduction of young Patrick Goldrick helped his cause as the new recruit put in another fine display and asked questions of the away defence a couple of times. Brad Moran did likewise when introduced. Jordan did his utmost to find a way through a packed Elphin defence but fair play to the Roscommon boys they survived whatever was thrown at them and won on a 2-1 scoreline.Is it the end of an era for St.Joes or the beginning of a new one? Only time will tell.
This year we will say goodbye to some of the best sportsmen we were lucky to have had for the past 5/6 years in St.Joseph’s. It would not be right to let this opportunity pass without thanking them and wishing them well in their futures. It would be nice to think that some of the younger students would look up to the lads and acknowledge what they achieved and use them as role models and maybe one day realise their own dream. The lads who are leaving us this year can look back with pride on their time in St.Joseph’s and most definitely helped in delivering a golden era on the sports field to their school. Gary Horan, a very versatile player and probably the most under-rated player over the past number of years. One year Gary won an u17 title playing in goals and an u14 medal while playing in central defence! Niall Kenny, not the quickest player but has a superfast brain, always saw 2 or 3 moves ahead of everyone else, countless attacks perished on “The Rock”, and he could score too!, we will never forget his winner in the u17 Final two years ago! Tommy Holton, Big Man, even bigger heart, dismantled the opposition in the u14 final a few years ago and a really nice guy even if he does support Arsenal! Cian McCudden, Ipswich Town supporter, someone has to be!, started off ordinary and grew into a great player, promised goals about five years ago and has delivered in recent times. Eoin Kelly, industrious JCB man,a thorough bred, Robert Jordan, great talent, unplayable and versatile, a joy to watch, superb attitude and such a team player.Aidan Hopkins ,delivered time after time, a stalwart. Ronan Dunleavy, versatile, great fella, never let any team down, Ivan Duffy, tidy and tenacious defender, great work horse. Conor O’Donohue wore the jersey with pride and gave his all. Lads, it’s been a pleasure “Thank You”