To travel across the M50 and come away with a victory over a tough Ballymun side is no mean feat. Numbers were extremely tight, the starting fifteen and four subs. The quality was there in abundance, collectively we are a force to be reckoned with. The right mentality was what was needed now, no hiding place. Bring our game to the ‘Mun, stay on the front foot.

The hosts were first to register the first two points. No need to panic, plenty of time left. Our captain, Kevin Cronin, was back after an absence due to a hand injury. He was settling his team-mates down with calm instruction, while thwarting the Ballymun attack. Man of the match, Ciaran Doyle, was giving his marker a roasting. He was turning the ‘Mun defence inside out. He registered his first point after been brought down just outside the area. His calmly slotted over his free and set us on our way. Cormac Smyth at half forward was another man on a mission. Not one to pull out of a tackle, he was first to a breaking ball. Stooping low to collect the ball, he expertly picked out Damian Kenny who cleverly rounded his man only to be fouled when he was about to pull the trigger. Up steps Ciaran to bring it to level pegging.
Conor Barton and Brian Kirwan in midfield were, by now, setting out their stall. Two mountains of Men, the Ballymun guys pitched beside them were feeling every single tackle. Conor was winning the high ball and delivered that quick ball that our forwards were looking for. Brian was helping out in defence when  needed and was very quick in turning defence into attack. Andy Byrne at wingforward was making that diagonal run time after time and helped himself to a point along the way. He was great at creating wee pockets of space for himself, a sign of a cute player. Out on the other wing was Karl Weldon. I can’t say enough about this man but I will try. He drifted in and out, led his marker on a merry dance. His upper body strength is phenomenal, collecting the ball and just swatting his marker away. His goal was pure class. Collecting a great ball in from Aiden Garvey, he dinked in and out of the Ballymun defence. Just when it looked like the ‘Mun defence had done enough, Karl let loose a low shot and the ball nestled into the back of the Ballymuns net.
At half time we were two points up, 1-6 to 1-4. That had to be put to the back of our mind for now, we were back to no score. We had been punished before when we thought we had the win. The pack had to be shuffled owing to Brian Kirwan tweaking the hamstring. Cormac was switched to midfield, Aiden Garvey moved to centre half forward and Rory Jordan came on in the wingback position. Adam Farrell, who would normally operate in goal, came on at corner forward for James Hutchinson. A team must adapt to the environment, people may be asked to play out of position. It is all for the greater good, all for the team. Ballymun came at us in droves from the resulting throw in. James McTiernan and Barry O’Donnell on the fullback line were standing firm. Forcing the man on the ball out to the wings, never panicking. The ‘Mun quickly registered two points to level it and then another to pull away. Young Doyler split the posts to keep us in it. Ian Clarke was settling things at the back, breaking down the attack and instrumental in our counter attacking. Ballymun were awarded a penalty out of absolutely nothing. We were left scratching our heads wondering how the hell that just happened. Up he steps, slams the ball into the back of the net. We were behind again.
There was still time on the clock, no need to panic. Sean Mulligan came on for the injured Damian, the pack had to be shuffled in double quick time. Charlie was moved from wingback to corner forward and Sean into the half back line. Aiden Garvey was now feeding of the breaking ball and was running at the Ballymun defence with gutso. Karl and Andy were running of his shoulder and Aiden was off loading and looking for the return. This off the shoulder play led to our goal. Conor in midfield won the high ball, he offloaded look Aiden, Karl collected an inch perfect ball from Aiden and instantly fed Cormac who was cutting in from the wing. Picking his target perfectly, Cormac let loose with a rasper of a shot and got his well deserved goal. We were back in the game. Alan Kennedy in goal was on top of his game and his kickouts were spot on. At a time when we needed to keep possession, his distribution of the ball was excellent. Men were giving their all at this stage. Keeping cool heads and passing the ball to a team-mate, from one side of the field to the other.
However Ciaran wasn’t finished yet. To bring his tally to 11 points is just amazing, five in the first half and the remainder in the second. No flukes, each a masterclass in how to execute the art of sending the ball over the blue spot. A young player can only benefit from watching a player of the highest quality in action. Take a bow young man.
Ballymun were throwing everything they had at us by now but the JAs were standing their ground. We were packing the defence and breaking on masse, hungry for more. The referee blew the whistle with the ball in Bodens possession. A fantastic win, a game that had it all. I must give huge credit to Ballymun for giving us a cracking game, played the way football should be played. Hard but fair.
Up next is Naomh Mearnog in the Championship on the 14th. A few things to work on in training, no major surgery needed. As I told the lads, they can be very proud of themselves for putting in a huge shift against a very strong outfit. Onwards and upwards now. Boden Abu, JAs Abu!!
1. Alan Kennedy. 2 Kevin Cronin 3. James McTiernan 4. Barry O Donnell. 5 Charlie McPartland. 6 Ian Clarke. 7 Aiden Garvey. 8 Brian Kirwan. 9 Conor Barton. 10 Andy Hugh. 11 Cormac Smyth. 12 Karl Weldon. 13 Damian Kenny. 14 Ciaran Doyle. 15 James Hutchinson.
Subs; Sean Mulligan, Rory Jordan, Adam Farrell, James Kinsella.
Report by Martin O’Donnell.