St Joseph’s NS Football Team win Cumann na mBunscol 2022 Final

Tuesday, November 8th will be long remembered in St Joseph’s NS as it marked one our greatest sporting success stories in recent years. Our senior boys football team secured victory in a gritty Cumann na mBunscol final against Rathoe NS.

“It’s over 9 years since our school team last enjoyed success in this competition. Following on from last year’s heart-breaking final where we were agonizingly beaten by two points, this victory was just reward for a talented and hardworking bunch of players who’ve shown great skill and resolve not only on the night but on the path to the final.” comments Barry Murphy, Coach & Vice Principal.

Having trained well from the beginning of the year we faced our eventual finalist opponents, Rathoe, in our first match. Rathoe made the better start, but we soon settled into the game, played some fantastic football and won the game comfortably. This victory set the tone for the remainder of our group matches. This followed by comfortable wins against Leighlinbridge, Ballinkillen & Newtown Dunleckney in our next 3 games.

Our 6th class contingent of players were consistent throughout and produced moments of ‘’Kerry-esque’’ brilliance on the field at times. Jack Kane, Tyler Byrne and captain, Michael Davis, were tigerish in defence and showed great hunger.

In our last group game against Clonegal some of our younger players showed their potential in a comprehensive victory. Adam Doyle led the charge in this thrilling game, ably assisted in the forwards by Ben Keating & Rory Cullen. In defence we saw fantastic performances from Roman Chubei, Kacper Zawadzki and Bogdan Galos. Thomas Codd, Sean Bowes and Patrick Moran Shiels showed great spirit and made the most of every opportunity. Special mention must also go to Emilio Higgins Gentile who suffered an unfortunate wrist injury in an early training session and had to watch the remaining games from the side-line.

After the initial postponement of our final before the Halloween holidays due to bad weather we eagerly awaited the re-scheduled fixture on November 8th. From the moment the ball was thrown in it was clear we were in a battle. Rathoe played with more composure initially and kicked the first few scores. The experience and hunger of our 6th class players soon kicked in and the nerves evaporated.

Oisín Wall and Páidí Connolly got stuck into their opponents and showed tremendous courage and leadership. William Myers, despite being marked by two defenders for most of the game, took off like a cheetah time and again to break Rathoe hearts with some blistering goals when we needed them most. Towards the end of the game Noel Butler was coolness personified in goals with some greats saves and accurate kick-outs whilst Bobby Cullen landed a huge free to help settle the supporter’s nerves. The last 2 minutes of the game were tense with Rathoe putting huge pressure on the Hacketstown goal. Thankfully, Johnny Kelly was there to stand in their way, by any means necessary.

When the final whistle blew our initial relief was soon superseded by joy and delirium. Michael Davis lifted the cup to a huge round of applause from our great supporters who had travelled in large numbers from Hacketstown. This victorious bunch of players are not only talented footballers but great role models both on and off the pitch who’ve shown a tremendous attitude and respect for opponents, referees and each other on this wonderful journey.


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