Nell's kings of the Inner City
HOST Joeys dethroned by young Coolock side
PARNELL'S 5-15 ST JOSEPH'S/OCB 1-9
A SUMMER shower in Fairview Park. But no need to close the roof. The rain had well stopped before councillor Niall Ring threw-in the ball.
On the August Bank Holiday Friday night, the St Joseph's/O'Connell Boys Inner City Football tournament is the only show in town.
The invitational week-long event is confined to teams of Junior 'B' Championship standard or lower. The IFSC Dublin Inner City Trust are the kind sponsors. The competition has been going since 1982.
"We have been coming down here now for 20 years," revealed Parnell's mentor, Brian Power. "We always enjoy it. This is the fourth time we have won it. We did the three-in-a-row in 2011.
"We have a very young side. There's a bit of experience there too. It was an excellent performance."
Parnell's had borrowed their club's first-team jerseys. They were a comfortable fit. They were full of energy, and they were fast. They had a brisk start as they attacked the city end. They had two goals in the bank within the first nine minutes.
Anytime their opponents spilled possession, the Coolock hoover was plugged in. Parnell's were eager to get on the ball, and they didn't waste it.
Home goalie, Eddie Tuite, had to borrow some saves from the Paddy Cullen songbook.
Gerry Murray is a class centre half-back. Alongside him, Seán Cooper is playing marvellous stuff this weather. His grandmother, Carmel Cooper, won All-Ireland camogie gold with Dublin.
Parnell's looked to have secured the silver a long time before Derek McKittrick blew the last whistle.
Derek, the flying Finn, refereed all seven games. He was still sprinting when the evening shadows fell on Friday night.
"Parnell's were the better side," acknowledged Joey's/OCB manager, Justin Dixon. "They were the best team in the competition. They well deserved it."
The hosts also deserve dollops of praise. Their centre half-back, Derek McDonnell, played with pace and panache. Seán Skelly dazzled in attack. He has quick feet and he struck some tasty scores. He's well able to create that vital yard.
The contribution of Shay Hallissey was a lesson for all footballers. He kept it neat and simple. So too did his brother, Damien, at midfield. And it was in the second half that the Saints were at their best.
They created moments of menace, and they kept on the toes till the last bell. They were rewarded with a goal nine minutes into the second period when Alan Conroy turned on a euro and rattled the garden gate.
Joey's/OCB were the holders. They overcame St Vincent's in a cracker of a final last year. On their way to the prize last week, Parnell's had beaten O'Toole's and Innisfails.
Parnell's were sitting in the comfy seats at the interval. They led by 3-8 to 0-6. The darting runs and guile of Lloyd Buckley were causing problems. He struck two goals in two minutes. Ciarán Farrell added a third goal just before the tea. Ciarán Harvey popped over four elegant first half points, three of them coming on the spin.
Jamie Sammon ticked on two further goals in the second period as both clubs continued to give full value.
Parnell's had a strong bench. Lads came on and made an impact. The aim of making the first XV was written all over their boots.
The home club joined in the applause at the presentation ceremony. And all will salute their own noble efforts in continuing the annual festival in the park.