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St Jude's make it third time lucky

First-half goals by Collie O'Neill and Donnie Ryan proved pivotal as St Jude's overcame St Margaret's by 2-11 to 1-7 in their Dublin Adult Football League Division 4 promotion play-off final in Newcastle last Sunday morning.

After suffering play-off heartache in the past two campaigns, it proved a welcome upturn in fortunes for the Templeogue club, a fact acknowledged by team mentor Padraic Monaghan.

"It is fantastic for the lads to finally gain promotion into AFL3 after the disappointment of the last two years.

"We lost the final to Scoil Uí Chonaill by just a point last year but the lads showed great character to overcome that defeat and finally reach Division 3.

"We all know how Scoil have fared this year and we also appreciate that the games will be far more competitive next season but it is a challenge that we are really looking forward to and something I believe that the lads deserve," said Monaghan.

The aforementioned goals, which arrived by the end of the first quarter, always looked likely to prove too much for St Margaret's, who enjoyed plenty of possession without being able to make serious inroads into their deficit.

Aaron Cregan impressed throughout from wing-back with David Patton and Brian Shanahan also making valuable contributions but their efforts proved in vain, much to the disappointment of team manager Pat Stritch.

"Naturally, we are very disappointed losing but at one stage this year we didn't look like we would make the play-offs so it was nice to go on a strong run at the end of the season.

"There are some good young lads coming through the club at the minute and if we can hold onto them and stave off a few retirements from our more senior players than we can look forward to next year with some optimism," said Stritch.

Optimism is something that St Jude's will enjoy in abundance after their comfortable win, with the displays of Rob Martina, Cillian Barden, Seamie Ryan, Donnie Ryan, Dan Gallagher and the evergreen Gareth Roche offering a nice blend of youth and experience.

"It was our ambition and main target at the start of the year to gain promotion and given how strong Ballymun Kickhams were, it is great to follow them up to Division 3," said Monaghan.

"We played consistently well all year and I think we deserve our rewards for what has been a great season," he added.