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Sunday 17 December 2017

St Jude's produce a dazzling display as they come so close to final glory

ALL week in Templeogue, they were saying their hurlers weren't going to Parnell Park just to march behind the band.

They were right - there was no band!

But what a concerto Jude's produced in their first final.

They wanted a good start. And as the 'Big O' would say, they got it. And the more the hour went on, the more comfortable they looked.

Early on, Ronan Joyce went on a powerful burst towards the church end that lit up the Donnycarney night.

Later in the half, Danny Sutcliffe caught the sliotar high in the clouds in front of the terrace, despite being in the shadows of Damien Kelly and Ross O'Carroll.

MEMORABLE

In the programme, Danny said his most memorable moment of 2014 was being "on the party bus with management and players going into town after getting the win over Faughs in the quarter-final."

Last Friday night, Jude's came within a cocktail sausage of ordering an open topped bus for the trip back to Tymon.

They brought so much to the party - skill, pace and the glue that stuck it all together, spirit.

Before the extra-time, they were the better team.

They foraged for every leaf. Just like they had done against the Larriers in the semi-final.

And when it was all over, they stood out on the pitch in respectful silence for the Cup presentation.

Ger McManus looked up at the stand and, perhaps, wondered what might have been.

He was the full-back in a rearguard that defended magnificently.

"It was a good match, score for score. Kilmacud are a fine team and we wish them all the best now in Leinster," stated Ger.

"We probably had our chance in normal time to do it. We just fell a bit short. But Kilmacud have a lot of experience. They have won before.

"We'll take an awful lot from the game. We are a very young side.

LEARN

"So to play in a county final is a huge thing for us and we can only learn from it."

It has been more than a memorable season for Jude's, which included reaching their first senior championship semi-final.

With 11 minutes left in the final, they were three points to the good and Crokes were in deep trouble.

Ross O'Carroll's goal was a tonic straight from the Stillorgan pharmacy.

But still, Jude's kept going, and as the watch struck 60 minutes, they were two points ahead.

It was then that Crokes produced a Late Late Show that Ryan Tubridy would have been proud of.

The brilliant Fionn Ó Riain Broin hit ten points, nine of them from play.

And he would have had a goal in the 14th minute only for the save of the match from the outstanding Matt Collins.

"We have a good year and, thankfully, it's not over yet. We still have the league final to play.

"We'll go back to training now and put the head down and try to get some silverware out of the season," muses Ger.

FAITHFUL

As the lights began to dim in Parnell Park, the Jude's faithful started to shuffle out the gate.

There was a little piece on the history of the club in the programme.

One paragraph read that "in 1978 we had no clubhouse..no dressing-rooms..no pitch...no money."

St Jude's have come a long way since then.

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