Junior B 2003 – The Voyage
Mired in controversy during the off season, manager less since the demise of the 3 wise men (Leahy, Whelan and Costello) in September and in the midst of a 1st ever players strike, the signs were ominous for our Junior B 2003 campaign.
Then along came Giles and Keegan to run the show, having both accepted the early retirement package on offer from the Junior A’s. PJ was guided upstairs to a directorship role (a la Roy Evans) and the B ship was ready to sail by early February. The players strike abruptly ended – Bar hours were to be extended to include Sunday mornings, Albert would commit to 5 training sessions for the year and Willie would lash in an order for size 40 knicks.
The net was cast far and wide in the search for the dream team. Old contact sheets were dusted down and former stalwarts like Joe Daly and Bob McKeown were hounded. "Training!? – Ah I don’t think" and "Sur let’s talk again when the ground hardens up" were common excuses.
D-Day dawned on a damp Feb afternoon and the first outing v Garristown. A motley crew took to the field 10 mins late in true Junior B fashion, having lost their way en route and drifted into enemy territory in Meath. A 10pt defeat followed and the harsh realities of management came home with a bang. Plan B was fired into place for the next outing and a new mission statement was launched - "Mol an óige agus tiocfaidh sí ". The minors were quickly drafted in as Giles/Keegan dished out their own redundancy packages to almost anyone with a full drivers license. And so the journey began …..
2003 was a very successful and entertaining year for our Junior B team. A great blend of youth and experience enabled us to post the best record of any of our 3 Adult teams for both the 2002 and 2003 seasons. We finished 6th in our league (Adult Div 9), just 1 place off the promotion playoffs. We were within 1 win of a cup semi-final spot, but best of all was our championship run, where we bowed out in the ¼ final to eventual winners St. Brigids.
Having lost 3 of our opening 4 league games, the ship was steadied in a hurry and a run of 6 league wins followed. During a great summer run from May-Aug, we achieved 10 wins in 13 outings. However back to back losses in June to eventual winners St. Vincents and to St. Brendans were to prove too costly. On a positive note, of the 5 teams that finished above us, we beat Cuala and lost to St. Vincents, St. Brendans and Ballinteer St. John all by the slimmest of 1 point margins.
The highlight of any season is a good championship run and great wins over St. James Gael and Thomas Davis left us with a championship ¼ final date in early September. On the day the occasion seemed too much and we never performed from the start. A better 2nd half performance saw us reduce the margin to 8pts, but it was never enough. The pre-match atmosphere in the dressing room that day was electric and no doubt when spring gives ways to summer in 2004, everyone will just want to get back there again and prove we are good enough to bring a Junior championship title to the club.
Great credit and thanks is due to 2 people that were involved this year. First to Chris McGinn, who’s minors made up the bulk of our team. Chris is doing terrific work with them and it was a pleasure to be allowed introduce the lads to Adult competition. Secondly, thanks to PJ Lynch (El Director of Junior B football), for all his advice and support during the year. Dealing with the politics of players, management, refs and county board is an art form in itself and no one is more accomplished then the legend himself.
The end of season get together took place on Sunday Nov 10th in the clubhouse. The destination of this years Oscars were as follows:
Player Of The Year - Donal Redmond
Young Player Of The Year - Cormac Nolan
Most Committed Player - Brian Farrell
We look forward with anticipation to the 2004 season and the opportunity to build on this years success. The target is simple – league or championship success.
- John Keegan and John Giles
Junior B League - 2003 Adult Football League Division 9
St James Gaels
Sc Ui Chonaill
Single Round - 1
Bottom four play-off (16 v13; 15 v 14)with two losers being relegated
Junior B Cup - 2003 Sheriden Cup Section A
Top two teams progress to Semi-Finals
Junior B Cup - 2003 Sheriden Cup Section B
St James Gaels/RE
Ballinteer St Johns
Ballyboden St Endas