Result: 0-06 to 0-08

A new league campaign for the JAs got under way with a very tight encounter against a hardy St Brendans outfit. With new management in place and new faces added to an already talented side, hopes are high for the JAs this year. Training sessions have been well attended in pre-season, I can only thank the lads for their commitment to the cause.

Despite a heavy downfall of rain during the night, the sky was blue and the ground slightly heavy underfoot by the time the referee got proceedings under way. We were strong in all departments, the mindset was right. We were as ready as we were ever going to be. Cormac Smyth and Conor Barton lined out in midfield and set their stall out right from the start. I could see it would be a tight game, no quarter was given from the off. Tackles were hard but fair. Not much separated the two sides. The backs were immense, not giving an inch to the opposition. Aiden Garvey, just out of minor, showed just how valuable he is going to be to the team this year. He was relentless in the tackle, dispossessing his man time and time again.
Our opening point came after a St Brendans attack was broken down by captain Kevin Cronin. He laid the ball off to Carl Maloney who in turn found Ciaran Doyle. Ciaran expertly rounded his man and sent the ball high over the bar. Charlie McPartland got on the score sheet after making a run from wing back. After some of the shoulder play he slotted the ball over for his own point. Brendans came back with points of their own. We were under pressure at times but our defence held fast. Conor Deane at wingforward was a constant thorn in the Brendans defence. Cutting in from the wing time and time again, he set Carl up to keep us slightly in front on the score sheet. Jack Kenny, another player just out of minor, was giving his marker a torrid time. He was constantly out in front and laying the ball of to the advancing midfield and centre half forward. One to watch for sure and very unlucky not to get on the score sheet himself.
At half time Boden were a point up. We had to be more clinical in front of goal. Our wide count was too high for my liking. Get back to playing ball, once we register a score, go at them again. Oranges were had, water was supped, instructions were given, we were going to have to up our intensity big time.
In the second half we were soaking up a lot of St Brendans pressure. We just were not taking the game to the opposition as we did in the first half. Our shot selection was not of a standard we would expect. Damian Kenny came on for Ciaran Doyle at full forward. Doyler had given his all and his class on the ball is a sight to see. St Brendans were tagging scores, we were allowing them back into the game. We were getting into scoring positions, however it was just the execution of the ball that was letting us down. We were getting caught up in their shenanigans, taking the focus of the actual game. A lesson learned by all.
The dynamo that is Conor Dean got on the score sheet to tie up the game. All we had to do was get on the front foot, go at them and we were home and dry. Substitutions were made, Shane Bobbett for Sean Mulligan and Ross McCormack for young Deano who suffered the injustice of a black card. How he was given it is beyond me. Brendans went a point up after some clever recycling of the ball. The JAs were giving their all at this stage. It was as if the Gods were conspiring against us, the lads were giving their all and to see Brendans tag on another point was gut wrenching.
However, there was drama right at the end. Charlie picked the ball up at the back, hand-passed to Cormac who found Carl. He lofted the ball into the oppositions goalmouth. In what felt like an age, the ball just shaved the outside of the goalpost. A cruel, cruel way to lose out but lose out we did. From the resulting kickout the referee blew for full time.
I have seen enough to know that we will cope well in this league. The JAs are a formidable force and once we gell, God help the opposition. Hold your heads high Men, you can be proud of of yourselves. JA Abu.
Report by; Martin O Donnell.
Alan Keane, Aiden Garvey, James McTiernan, Barry O’Donnell, Kevin Cronin, Sean Mulligan, Charlie McPartland, Cormac Smyth, Conor Barton, Conor Deane, Kevin O Reilly, Carl Maloney, Jack Kenny, Ciaran Doyle, David Gilheaney.  Subs; Adam Farrell, Ross McCormack, Shane Bobbett, Damian Kenny, Cian Lynch, Ian Clarke.