1987 Championship Win
Drogheda, having a lean time in terms of winning Trophies, got a lift in Tallanstown on Sunday when the St Nicholas team from the Ballsgrove/Rathmullen part of Drogheda, collected the McEvoy Cup which goes to the winners of the Junior 2 Championship. St Nicholas beat Na Pairsaigh (Dundalk) by 2-12 to 0-8 in a final that wasn’t short of incidents.
And when they come around to discussing these incidents, Na Pairsaigh will surely dwell on the dismissal of the Player/ Manager Thomas Connor, ten minutes into the second half. There’s no knowing how the game would have resulted had the former St. Patrick’s clubman finished the match, but considering that they were in front at the time of the sending off and playing well, and that their collapse afterwards was total, Na Piarsaigh have some reason to believe they would have won. Connor had his name taken in the first half, and when he put in a rather wild tackle on St Nicholas forward Paul Thornton, referee, Sean Holdcroft was left with no alternative but to send the centre-half off.
Lucky, perhaps, the way things turned out. St Nicholas are still a good side and they should not be all that hard-pressed to stay in Junior 1 football. They have some fine footballers on call, the majority of them around the age of twenty. They are guided by Felix Hackett, one of the games characters who in his own footballing days played for St. Domnicks and Naomh Mhuire, winning a Junior 1 medal. And what of Na Piarsaigh, they will be very disappointed with the result especially as it was their second championship final defeat in a short space. By coincidence their previous defeat in 1985 was at the hands of another Drogheda side, Naomh Mhuire. They had their chance, but blew it, not only by having their centre-half sent-off, but by missing so many gilt-edged chances in the first half which they clearly dominated. The first half ended with the Black and Ambers 0-8 to 0-5 in front; with only marginal improvement in their shooting, they'd have been ahead by an awful lot more. With Jimmy McCourt and Dermot Short on top at midfield, Na Piarsaigh forwards enjoyed lots possession in the opening half. They responded by kicking some fine points, but there were a lot of misses too. St Nicholas forwards on the other hand, were particularly starved, but still managed five points, with man-of-the-match Mark Monaghan showing some fine skill on the left wing.
St Nicholas had reduced the deficit to two point when Thomas Connor was sent off. Within minutes, the Drogheda lads were on terms, the points coming from Monaghan and Tommy McDonnell, who had come in for Mal Duffy, the starting right full forward. Nothing went right for Na Piarsaigh after that, Phillip Kirwan sent St Nicholas into the lead for the first time with a beautifully struck point, and the the Dundalk side's defence made an awful blunder to let Paul Thornton in for a goal. Declan Woods chipping in with another goal at the Drogheda side ran amok. Na Piarsaigh collapsed completely and had the game gone on much longer, the dividing margin would have been much bigger then ten points. St Nicholas could do no wrong, but then it was easy for them. The majority of the sizable Tallanstown crowd had left by the time the referee Holdcroft sounded the final whistle, but there was still quite a few around to see County Board Chairman, Jim Lennon present the trophy to Phillip Kirwan. Founded in 1892, the same year as Na Piarsaigh first competed in club football, St Nicholas were winning their first County Board trophy.
A member of that years County minor team, Mark Monaghan played very intelligently for the winners. He claimed three points and was easily the liveliest on a side that moved with a lot of style in the second half. Tommy McDonnell was more trouble for the Na Piarsaigh defence, with Phillip Kirwan, Tim Murphy, John McKeown and Sean Brennan and the others to play well. Kieran Tobin opened with great style for Na Piarsaigh, kicking some very good points. But little was seen of the former colleges player after that. And the same could be said for the former Geraldine's Clubman, Andy Quinn. Most consistent were Gerry Kellett, Jimmy McCourt, Phillip Duffy, Bernard Malone and until he was ordered off Thomas Connor.
St Nicholas: Paul Thornton 1-2, D woods 1-0, M Monaghan 0-3, O Henry, P Kirwan 0-2 each, B Pentony, T McDonnell, John Walsh 0-1 each.
Na Piarsaigh: P Smyth 0-3, K Tobin B Malone 0-2 each, J McCourt 0-1
St Nicholas: Sean Brennan, Derek Farrelly, John McKeown, Shane Butler, Brian Kelly, Jim Murphy, Damien Fagan, Phillip Kirwan, Brian Pentony, Paul Thornton, John Walsh, Mark Monaghan, Mal Duffy, Declan Woods, Ollie Henry.
Subs: Martin O Neill for Fagan, Declan Newman for Kelly, Tommy McDonnell for Duffy
Na Piarsaigh: Bernard Duffy, Gerry McGee, Gerry Kellett, Gerry Closkey, Declan Kenny, Thomas Connor, Kevin Conlon, Jimmy McCourt, Dermot Short, Phillip Duffy, Kieran Tobin, Paul Smyth, Dessie Buchannon, Andy Quinn, Bernard Malone
Subs: Paddy O Neill for Buchannon
Referee: Sean Holdcroft, Kilsaran