Joy for Joseph's

THIS WAS a romp for St. Joseph's who turned in a classy display to destroy a hotly-fancied Crossabeg-Ballymurn in this totally one-sided Junior football championship final at Wexford Park on Saturday last.

St. Joseph's cruised through this 60 minutes, laying the foundations with a storming start that saw them lead by 3-3 to 0-2 after just ten minutes, with each of the goals classic pieces of finishing which brought their large following to their feet. The style of football played by the eventual winners sat well with the crowd who thoroughly enjoyed their attacking flair and excellent scoretaking, making it a dream managerial first for Wexford inter-county footballer, David Murphy.

For Crossabeg-Ballymurn it was a bitterly disappointing way to end their remarkable 24-match unbeaten run. They were left stunned with the ferocity of their opponents' start to the game, and once the three goals went in early on, there was simply no way back despite their best efforts to turn things around.

As a result of their blistering start, St. Joseph's players seemed to enjoy the game, savouring every moment and every score as they attacked in numbers, while they defended with composure when the necessity arose. All in all it was the type of display that enriches county final day.

The crowd had hardly settled into their seats when Shane Dempsey kicked over an excellent point after two minutes, while the same player added a pointed free one minute later. It was all St. Joseph's during this opening spell as they pushed their opponents back in defence. Decky Downes kicked over a point, while on six minutes a Gary Byrne shot was deflected into the path of Wayne Carthy who powered an unstoppable shot into the top right-hand corner of the net, giving his side a 1-3 to nil lead.

This opening spell was proving a torrid test for Crossabeg-Ballymurn who were unable to build a quality attack of their own. Then after seven minutes they were hit another cruel blow when Wayne Carthy this time powered through the centre before unleashing an unstoppable 25-metre shot high into the corner of the net, giving his side an amazing nine points lead (2-3 to nil).

Crossabeg-Ballymurn eventually opened their account with an Eoghan Kehoe eighth-minute point, but straight from the kick-out the town side returned to the attack. Shane Dempsey, having lost possession, regained the ball to drill a low right-footed shot into the bottom corner of the net, a score that helped them to an eventual 3-6 to 0-5 lead, with their opponents just managing three pointed Eoghan Kehoe frees and a Seamus Carroll effort.

As the second-half unfolded Crossabeg-Ballymurn were unable to make a fist of getting back into the game, as St. Joseph's showed they were not for letting the initiative slip, kicking over three unanswered points through Kyle Dempsey, Decky Downes and Derek Bergin to extend into a ten-point lead.

With St. Joseph's continuing to put their foot on the gas, Crossabeg-Ballymurn were confined just to counter-attacking, but the forwards were unable to make any impression. As the game entered the final quarter the Joseph's players could be forgiven for thinking ahead down the road from the county grounds, as they flashed over further points through two Shane Dempsey frees, and a further effort from Ian Walsh, with their opponents managing their solitary second-half score just on the final whistle from substitute David Bury.

It was a cracking final display from St. Joseph's who will now look forward to their year in Intermediate 'A' football, but for Crossabeg-Ballymurn it's back to the drawing board.

Wexford People

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