Big brother Brendan watches over Jude's
Elder McManamon hits five points as southsiders dethrone Sylvester's
A DIRTY old night in Dublin town. The Parnell Park floodlights did their best to lift the gloom.
ST JUDE'S 0-10 ST SYLVESTER'S 1-4
A small pocket of people huddled at the back of the seated stand, away from the wind and the rain.
Among them was RTé's Brian Carthy, out supporting his local club and son, John Brian, the talented goalkeeper and Jude's squad member.
It was a repeat of last year's league final when Syls had three points to spare. But operation transformation saw the Templeogue team claim the three-points margin this time to see them progress to Sunday's AFL Division 1 decider against Na Fianna.
They deserved their ticket. They had that bit more zest and guile for the hour, and the Malahide men could manage just one point after the tea.
Jude's also had Brendan McManamon - who was recalled to Pat Gilroy's squad last week. He was the top- scorer for the evening, but he did much more than that.
He often came deep to gather possession and restart the engine. And he has that noble skill where he can flick the ball up off the turf to his hands while in full stride. Shades of Maurice Fitzgerald.
At the end, there wasn't a Tymon high-five to be seen. "It's only January," manager, Ciarán McGovern, reminded all.
"We are happy with the result, but we are not getting carried away or anything like that. It's a nice distraction at this time of the year.
"Conditions were bad and the football might not have been the prettiest at times, but we showed good desire and that vital bit of hunger.
"The lads are a hard working group. They have belief in themselves and it's nice to see them getting rewarded for their efforts."
Jude's began the battle of the Blues in a sprint. They played with the breeze that blew down the pitch to the score-board end, and straight from the throw-in, Seamus Ryan flashed the ball over the black spot.
In all, they were level four times. But it was the holders who led at the break, 1-3 to 0-5. Their goal couldn't have come at a better time -- a minute before the interval. Cultured centre half-back, Brian Sexton, sent over a high delivery from the right just in front of the main stand.
It landed in the heart of the kitchen, and climbing highest to flick the ball to the sack was young Míceál McCarthy.
Jude's didn't lose any sleep over it. Within two minutes of the restart, Paul Maguire tied it up again before Brendan McManamon's free edged them in front.
Nigel Dunne brought parity for the last time on 42 minutes, and three vital points, one from Shane Gallagher, and two from Brendan McManamon, the last one an elegant effort from play, pushed Jude's nearer the red carpet.
Syls chased equality late on. Full-back, Kian Cleere, joined the adventure. Darren Clarke was inches away from an equalising goal.
Jude's began their warm-up for the final with a warm down in front of the clubhouse goal. Championship finalists in 2009, league finalists last year, will Sunday be third time lucky?
SCORERS - St Jude's: B McManamon 0-5 (3f); P Maguire 0-2; S Ryan, S Gallagher, C Gavin 0-1 each. St Sylvester's: M McCarthy 1-1 (0-1f); D Clarke 0-2 (1f); N Dunne 0-1.
ST JUDE'S: P Copeland; C McBride, S Breheny, G Roche; N Cronin, C Guckian, S Ryan; T McKeon, C Murphy; P Cunningham, S Gallagher, C Gavin; P Maguire, K McManamon, B McManamon. Subs: D Donnelly for Cronin (25); G McManus for Gavin (48); D Gallagher for B McManamon (58).
ST SYLVESTER'S: R Wallace; A Lawlor, K Cleere, F Carney; C McIntyre, B Sexton, C Hanratty; S O'Connor, P Bracken; G McArdle, N Dunne, G Sweeney; E Fanning, M McCarthy, D Clarke. Subs: R Hazley for O'Connor (inj, 20); A Relihan for McArdle (50); J Murphy for Bracken (54); R Cleere for Fanning (54); B Ryan for McIntyre (55).
REF: B O'Shea (St Mark's).