Result: 1-10 to 1-09

Photo by Liam Cunningham.

The JBs got their Championship campaign back on track with a hard fought victory over a hardy and well drilled outfit in Naomh Barrog. Weather conditions were perfect, the Ballycullen pitch looked immaculate. Naomh Barrog are a division above us but that was not going to be a factor in our preparation. We had to be in the right frame of mind and on our day we are a match for anyone.

The referee called for the match ball and on the stroke of 3 o’clock and the game was underway. Barrogs were first to the ball and set about testing our defence with a high ball sent into their forward line. Michael Dunne was out in front and with the help of Adrian Minnock and Brian Fitzgerald, worked the ball out the field. Barrog were working hard in midfield and weren’t long in sending over two unanswered points. We had to compete or we were going to be out of this game. Dermot Manley, playing at wingback, helped massively by making vital interceptions and going forward on the counter attack. We were making inroads into Barrogs half but were wasteful in front of goal. Our shot selection was going to have to be better. Boden were four points down before we registered a score. That came from the trusty boot of Andrew Kerins. Rounding his man, he calmly sent the ball over the crossbar to get us on our way. Ciaran Murphy was working so hard at wing forward and after some great off the shoulder play, got a fine point of his own. We were now raising our game. Ross Traynor was dropping deep from his corner forward position to help out the half back line and this helped our counter attacks time after time. The Barrog defence could not handle our attack play at times and gave away quite a few fouls. Andrew Kerins showed huge composure and sent over two of these frees.
At half time the score was 6pts to 4pts in the visitors favour. We were below par at times, wasteful in front of goal, bringing the ball into cul de sacs, not supporting the man on the ball. If it wasn’t for Alan Keane in goal, we could have been well out of this game by now. Definitely the man of the moment. The half time message was to settle on the ball, win your battles, up the intensity and not to panic, We believed we could turn this around.
The second half started and there was a noteable difference. Donal McCarthy was heavily involved now and his he picked up a great ball in from Ian Clarke, turned and ran direct at Barrogs goal. With their defence on the back foot he let fly a powerful shot and just as it looked like the ball was going into the top right corner, it sailed over for a point. Now we had the bit between the teeth. Andrew helped himself to another fine score. Alan McQuaid came on for Ciaran who had given his all for the cause. Young Minnock was a man on a mission and never gave the opposition an inch, a brilliant performance. We were under pressure for sure. Barrog were really testing us but Alan Keane was having the game of his life in goal. He pulled off some amazing saves and dominated his area, we are so lucky to have him.
Our goal came after a Barrog attack was broken down and the ball found Ross out on the right wing. He sent his marker one way and then cut in and sent the ball into the Barrog net. Out tails were up. Alan McQuaids pace was vital to the team now. He scored a peach of a point from the tightest of angles. The opposition got a goal of their own to keep things on a knife-edge. Keith McCarron and Alex Murphy tagged on a point apiece to get us out in front yet again. James McTiernan was moved to midfield and Liam McNamara moved to wing back after coming on for Jamie. Barrog were piling the pressure on. They tagged on points of their own to make it a one point game. Now we had to be controlled in the tackle, no silly frees. Work the ball out, keep possession. The opposition were awarded a free right at the death. Hearts in the mouth stuff, a draw would of felt like a defeat at this stage. Up stepped the Barrog player, set himself up, the tension was huge. He struck the ball high and thankfully it sailed just wide. With that the referee blew his whistle, we had our win.
With a scoreline of 1-10 to 1-9, it was hard fought but we’ll take it. A win is a win. Up next is Ranelagh Gaels in the league. Another tough game but it’s the way we like it, one game at a time. It’s a long oul season, a marathon not a sprint. There will be many twists and turns for sure. The JBs can be proud of themselves, a great group of Men.
A special thanks to our team sponsor Pfh who have kindly come on board again this season and have supplied us with a new set of jerseys and rain coats for the Management. They also contributed to our pre-season gym work in Kickstart. Go raibh mile maith agaibh.
Report by Martin O’Donnell.