St. Joseph’s Foxford steal the show with fantastic John Murphy Cup triumph



FAI Schools John Murphy Senior ‘B’ Boys National Cup Final


Friday, February 8, 2019


St. Joseph’s SS, Foxford 3-2 Grennan College, Thomastown

Conor Flynn (39), Caolan Hopkins (44, 60)                         Colm Whelan (41 pen), Jack Barcoe (75)     


FOXFORD’S ST. JOSEPH’S SECONDARY SCHOOL caused a major upset in the John Murphy Cup as they dethroned reigning Champions Grennan College to lift the title in impressive style in Athlone Town on Wednesday last.


St. Joseph’s were entering this contest as slight underdogs with a wealth of pedigree on show from Grennan College.


However, the Mayo side may well have been the surprise package given their wonderful comeback in the National semi-final which saw them pegging back a two nil shortfall to snatch a 3-2 win late on over the 2017 Champions Pobalscoil Ghaoth Dobhair to clinch a major scalp in their campaign.


On the other side of the draw, Grennan College enjoyed a 7-2 thumping of Munster stars Coláiste Mhuire, Buttevant with Colm Whelan netting four that afternoon as well as some sublime goals courtesy of Jack Holden, Jack Barcoe and Tommy Carolan.


Denis Doyle had a few selection issues with his extended panel in the build up to his match day preparations.   The pairing of Ken Knox and Cian Shanahan were absent for the panel as Knox sustained a broken leg and Shanahan suffered concussion following the pairs clash at training. 


One late change for the Murphy / Burke duo saw Connell Dempsey in the starting line-up in place of Keith Ormsby who wasn’t 100% match fit.


The Mayo side made an explosive impact on proceedings with Eoin Prendergast and Caolan Hopkins asserting their presence early on.


Grennan took their time getting into the game but Jack Barcoe had an audacious lob on Brian McMahon midway through the first period, having beaten the number one but unfortunately not the woodwork.  


The encounter served up some delightful football and it was end to end stuff as Grennan’s Jack Holden was relieved to see his defensive header sail over his own goal four minutes later.


Prendergast made a darting run down the left wing as the youngster whipped in a brilliant ball to the danger zone thus forcing an outstretched Stephen Donnelly into an exceptional save with 29 minutes on the clock.


Ten minutes later, we saw the opening goal as a deflected effort from Conor Flynn saw the ball rocket past a stranded Donnelly.


However the Foxford lead was short lived as just two minutes later Colm Whelan converted from the spot to make it 1-1.


Added excitement just before the interval as the impressive Caolan Hopkins struck the net to make it 2-1 at the break with a huge advantage for the Westerners heading into the second half.


Foxford made it 3-1 on the hour mark when Caolan Hopkins reacted quickest to a Lorcan Towey set piece with a free header at the far post. Hopkins’ second of the afternoon and Foxford’s third, it looked like game over for Thomastown at this stage in proceedings.


Whelan and Barcoe were demanding the release of an early ball but it wasn’t forthcoming which was fuelling the striker’s frustrations. The Grennan College management team had to restructure their attacking prowess which saw Tommy Carolan replaced by James Drea and Jebin Babu in for John McCarthy.


With fifteen minutes remaining, the game again sparked to life as Grennan College managed to bring the deficit to just one when Colm Whelan’s initial effort was saved well by McMahon but the rebounded effort from Jack Barcoe was successfully tapped home.


Foxford’s Eoin Prendergast nearly grabbed a fourth but his stunning effort ricocheted off the post giving Grennan a life-line.


In a thrilling contest, Grennan presumed they had an equaliser five minutes later but Jack Holden’s goal was disallowed for off-side.


It was a nervy ten minutes for St. Joseph’s as Grennan had the momentum with Whelan and O’Bryne testing the Foxford net-minder late on. It looked like the game was edging to extra time but that elusive equaliser never arrived and St. Joseph’s held on for a memorable victory.


ST. JOSEPH’S SS, FOXFORD | Brian McMahon, Connell Dempsey, Seán Holmes, Jamie McHugh (Captain), Ryan Kenny, Mikey Lowther, Conor Flynn, Liam Durkan, Lorcan Towey, Eoin Prendergast, Caolan Hopkins

SUBS | Keith Ormsby (for Prendergast, 89), Nathan Armstrong (for Kenny, 80), Evan Reape (for Hopkins, 76), Cain Lowndes, Adam Naughton, Ryan Herbert, Ethan Connolly, Wayne Doocey

TEACHERS | Brian Murphy, Stephen Burke


GRENNAN COLLEGE, THOMASTOWN | Stephen Donnelly, Jack Kerins, Jason Brennan, Jack Holden,

Adam Farrell, Jack O’Byrne, John McCarthy, Jamie Holden, Jack Barcoe, Colm Whelan (Captain), Tommy Carolan

SUBS | James Drea (for Carolan, 66), Jebin Babu (for McCarthy 72), Joe Conlon, Michael Walsh, Evan Nolan, Draven Wright Lee, Leon Walsh, Cian Kavanagh, Ken Knox, Cian Shanahan.

TEACHER | Denis Doyle ASSISTANTS | Vincent Carroll, Seán O’Sullivan


MATCH OFFICIAL | Ray Conlon (Midlands)