Two years ago St. Enda’s of Glengormley recorded their greatest victory in the clubs history when they defeated An Spidal of Galway in the All Ireland Intermediate club football semi-final at Pairc Tailteann in Navan. Today we take a look back at that famous day.
As the final whistle sounded and St. Enda’s supported raced onto Pairc Tailteann yesterday, turning the green sward of the Meath ground into a carpet of black and amber it was hard not to think that we were witnessing something special.
As the Glengormley players turned on a virtuoso performance to overcome the challenge of An Spideal of Galway in this All Ireland Intermediate club semi-final with something to spare their supporters had outnumbered and out cheered their rivals throughout.
A crowd of youngster counted down the seconds prior to Niall Cullen’s full-time whistle before being given access to the pitch and adding to what was a carnival occasion. This was the first time an Antrim team had won Ulster at Intermediate level and their heroes were one step from All Ireland glory.
Hundreds remained on the Pairc Tailteann pitch for nearly an hour after the game hugging and congratulating their heroes while big Joe Maskey was signing autographs for a group of youngsters on another part of the pitch after an interview with tg4.
Prior to this season Joe had been making a name for himself with his performances for Antrim hurlers but it has been during St. Enda’s run to a first Antrim and Ulster success that a growing reputation as a serious footballer has grown.
His goal against Mullahoran in the Ulster final earned his rave reviews and his very special goal on Sunday has propelled him to the status of a God in the eyes of these youngsters. Maskey struck an unbelievable goal from 60 meters after An Spideal keeper Maghnus Breathnach was turned over on an ill-fated solo run. It was a goal that the Galway men never recovered from.
A colleague who had attended a St. Enda’s training session on the week leading up to yesterday’s game told me that St. Enda’s had spent an hour on turn over and it was obvious that Frank Fitzsimmons, Pat Hughes and Thomas McNulty had done their homework on An Spideal and reaped the rewards.
Big Joe was only one of a team of heroes who performed out of their skin with Damian Gault taking his place at full-back for the first time in this year’s championship and never putting a foot wrong despite his lengthy lay off due to injury.
Over the years I’ve followed the fortunes of Antrim clubs in the Ulster Intermediate championship and shared in the disappointment suffered by Dunloy and Moneyglass in Ulster final as well as semi-final defeats for All Saints and Rasharkin so St. Enda’s success and the way they have conducted themselves has been very rewarding.
Undoubtedly there were a few pints consumed at their Hightown club last night and why not but they are a very level headed bunch of young men and will keep their feet firmly on the ground. Kilcummin stand between them and ultimate All Ireland success on February 9th and the Kerry and Munster champions are likely to pose a stiffer challenge than An Spideal but it is one that St. Enda’s are more than capable of overcoming.
Croke Park will provide them with the expansive surface to express their very special brand of football and I would expected the Hogan stand to be turned into another sea of black and amber as James McAuley lifts the cup while big Joe could be busy again signing autographs for his growing band of admirers.