Boys Soccer at John the Baptist CS
Under 19 boys soccer team 12/01/2017
Schoolboys soccer is a relatively new venture here at John the Baptist CS. The school’s first ever team was set up and managed by teacher Mr Sean Ryan, assisted by Ms Chris Faust, in September 2015. This was an Under 19 team made up of boys from 6th, 5th and TY year groups. They entered the Muster Challenge Cup, which they won in March 2016. Captained by Fionn Murphy, the boys played five games in total winning each to stay in this knockout tournament. As a result of their success the school secured sponsorship for new soccer jerseys (they had played in GAA jerseys!)
On the back of this success, Ms Faust developed soccer within John the Baptist CS out to more year groups. Since September 2016, the school offers Under 19s, Under 17s and Under 15s soccer. The teams are entered into their respective FAI Schoolboys Munster Cup tournament. New training and match balls were purchased and the school’s new astro-turf proved very important for training and development. Additional teachers came on board to train and manage the boys. Knockainey FC kindly offered the free use of their pitch for home matches, a community-spirited gesture which is very much appreciated by the boys and the school.
Under 19: Munster Senior Cup
Manager: Ms Faust, Assistant Manager: Mr Frawley
Under 17: Munster Minor Cup
Manager: Mr Ryan, Assistant Manager: Ms Faust
Training: Fridays 3.45 – 4.45pm (grass)
Under 15: Munster Junior Cup
Manager: Mr Healy, Assistant Manager: Ms Faust
Training: Tuesdays 3.45 – 4.45pm (astro turf), Fridays 3.45 – 4.45pm (grass)
Please note that all competitions are knockout and training ceases when a team is out of their tournament.
Under 15: Munster Junior Cup 2016
The 2016 Under 15 Boys soccer team, with Manager Mr Healy and trainers Cathal Flynn (TY) and Bailey O’Rourke (TY) prior to their match against Crescent Comprehensive College.
Under 19: Munster Senior Cup 2016
The 2016 Under 19 team during their pre-match team talk, led by Tadgh Leddin (seated) prior to playing Askeaton.
Under 19: Munster Senior Cup Champions 2015/16
The JtBCS Under 19 team 2015/2016 – Munster Senior Challenge Cup Champions
The following match report is from April 2016
John the Baptist CS Boys Munster Senior Soccer Champions!
Following a hard fought campaign, the senior boys of John the Baptist CS emerged victorious in the Munster Senior Challenge Cup Final on Tuesday 15th March. Having entered the competition as newcomers, they gave each opposition team reason to believe they would be champions!
The campaign began on 21st December when a panel of twenty-eight players travelled with their managers, Chris Faust and Sean Ryan, to Tralee to take on last year’s finalists, Mounthawk. Having recently lost out in the Munster Under 15 Football Final to John the Baptist, Mounthawk were determined not to be beaten again by the school. It was not to be, however, as five goals from our boys secured a victory of 4-5 at full time. Two well-taken goals from David Hannon, along with one each from Matthew O’Dea, Robert Buckley and Kyle Dillon made the Mounthawk side sit up and take notice! Along with this, excellent play at the back from Paul O’Heney, Fionn Murphy (Capt), Jack O’Grady and Conor Fitzpatrick and glorious attacking midfield play from Kyle Dillon, Conor McCarthy, Matthew O’Dea and Conor Grady made sure Mounthawk could not find their way to goal. The pairing of David Hannon and Aaron Carmody up front gave their defence plenty to worry about. They felt as if they were playing the possible winners of the competition!
The team had its next outing on 19th January in Charleville against Dunmanway. As this was a knock-out tournament, every game was played by our lads as if it were the final! Again this was a hard fought match with JtBCS going behind 2-1 before the introduction of the squad’s youngest player, Bradley McNamara, early in the second half, turned the game around. Our boys again emerged victorious with a 5-3 win. Goals from Hannon, Dillon (2), Carmody and McCarthy ensured this. Again, superb defence and clean tackling made any attack on goal from Dunmanway virtually impossible. Added to this, the first appearance of goalie, Cian O’Grady, on return from injury, made a significant difference to the team. Along with an extremely safe pair of hands, O’Grady also has the vocal quality of a premiership goalkeeper! Returning to the dressing rooms for their rendition of the West Ham Utd classic, ‘Forever Blowing Bubbles’, the boys were beginning to realise that their next match was the quarter-final and things were getting serious!
The team travelled 23rd February to Waterford to take on quarter-final opponenets, De La Salle School. Pulling into the Waterford City car park, the boys almost felt that they had turned professional! Playing on City’s second pitch, this was the only game of the competition to be played on grass. Inclement weather over the months made many pitches unplayable, with matches being forced onto astro-turf. It was to be a test of the strength and quality of the JtBCS boys, transferring their skills from astro to grass. It proved to be an easy transition and again victory belonged to John the Baptist with a 2-3 win. This was a tough, physical game with captain Fionn Murphy picking up an injury late in the game. A soccer debut from PJ Butler gave the opposition a quick free on the back of his ill thought out tackle, which thankfully amounted to nothing. Another great display from the midfield and backs and the ever-vocal goalie! Goals in this match came from Dillon, O’Grady(Conor) and McNamara. McNamara in particular scored an outstanding goal, running up the left wing, beating four defenders and rounding the goalie to put it in the top right of the net. Back to the dressing rooms for the team sing-song and on their way to the Semi-Finals!
Semi-final day was held in Charleville on Wed 9th March against Mount Sion school from Waterford. With a strong wind against them in the first half, JtBCS fought hard and played clever, returning to the side line at half time drawing with the oppostion. Mount Sion knew they were going to be up against it in the second half! Taking full advantage of the wind with them our boys took all chances at shooting for goal. A beautifully taken corner from the left side by Conor O’Grady found it’s way into the back of the net, thanks in part to Conor’s tight angled kick and in part to the wind that sailed it past the defence. A questionable handball in the box gave Mount Sion a late penalty and a glimmer of hope. However, two more goals by Hannon and O’Dea gave JtBCS a 3-2 win and a spot in the Munster Senior Challenge Cup Final!
Munster Senior Challenge Cup Final
Tuesday 15th March was Cup Final match day against Bantry school, Colaiste Bheantrai. Travelling to Blarney FC all-weather pitch, the team and backroom management all felt the excitement of the occasion. The stress was added to by the quest for the ‘black shirts’, which were to be the strip for the day! Jerseys located, medics and management on board, the panel of 27 players focussed on the task ahead. They were determined to bring back the silverware, a first soccer title and another Munster title to John the Baptist school! Spirits were high as the bus set off from the school, with the boys breaking into song by the outskirts of Hospital town!
Arriving at the pitch, the team was met by the official referee and linesmen. The boys quickly togged out and got onto the pitch to warm up where their opponents had already spent some time practising drills and set pieces. Soon two busloads of supporters from Bantry school arrived, all decked out in face paints and banners. If our boys were beginning to feel like the underdogs, they didn’t show it! With Sean Ryan guiding them, they warmed up and came together to encourage each other on. Some parents and senior students soon arrived to our sideline to add much welcome support. At 12pm the referee blew his whistle and it was ‘game on’!
From the outset, this was a physical game. Bantry showed lots of nice soccer skills and touches on the ball. They were strengthened by the addition of their Cork City and Ireland player up front and it wasn’t long before Conor Ellis scored for them. Within 25 minutes Bantry scored another goal and things were not looking so good for Hospital. However, the unrelenting spirit and determination that we had seen from the very first match of the tournament shone through for the JtBCS players. Soon, our own David Hannon received the ball, broke through defence with graceful elegance and danced the ball into the back of the net. Bantry didn’t know where to look! JtBCS were back in the game. Renewed by this goal, the boys pushed on and with the last kick of the first half Conor McCarthy superbly got on the end of a beautifully taken corner by Aaron Carmody, to put it away in the far corner. On the blow of the whistle both sides came in level. The team rehydrated and refocused. Fighting talk from a few gave confidence to the others. Murphy and O’Grady (Conor) were sure they could win this, they had beaten better teams already! This was the confident talk the boys needed and they took to the pitch more determined than ever.
The second half was as hard fought as the first. The midfielders of Dillon on the right wing, O’Dea and O’Grady in the middle and McCarthy on the left never stopped working. They ground down each attack and became an impenetrable wall for the opposition. Their tactics were working! Bantry started to get frustrated with their lack of progress. The substitutions on of Mikey O’Grady and Bradley MacNamara added weight to the team. JtBCS were showing their dominance on the pitch and their physicality and stamina outplayed their opponents. A third and final goal of the match sealed the victory for John the Baptist. The owner of the last, and winning goal for Hospital, is still being debated and will be for many years to come! Conor McCarthy put the ball over the line but it was ‘saved’ by the Bantry goalie who hit it back out into play. Although the linesman called it, the ref let the game play on, only for Bradley MacNamara to unquestionably bury it in the back of the net! Whistle blown, Bantry returned to the centre spot for the third time in the game.
The last twenty minutes (and 4 minutes extra time) seemed an eternity. All support from our sideline was willing the lads to hold the game and take the Cup! Mention must be made to Declan Murphy, the Captain’s father, who became an honourary manager from the sideline. His experience working at national level with some of the team made for spirit-rousing direction from the sideline. His voice, coupled with that of goalie Cian O’Grady’s from the back, helped the boys stay focussed and determined to the final whistle. Although a few yellow cards were picked up during the game, JtBCS showed outstanding skill and sportsmanship on the pitch. The defence of Fitzpatrick, O’Grady (Jack), Murphy (Capt) and O’Heney put paid to any late comeback by Bantry and reduced their star striker to an average player! In the dying seconds, Conor Phipps, who had played outstandingly in other games, came on as a substitute.
With extra time up, the referee blew his whistle, much to the dismay and horror of Bantry and the sheer delight of John the Baptist CS. The rest of the team invaded the pitch and there were much jubilant celebrations by players, managers and supporters alike. The FAI offered commiserations to Bantry and congratulations to Hospital. Fionn Murphy proudly lifted the Munster Senior Challenge Cup high, victorious in their campaign to bring the first ever boys soccer silverware to John the Baptist school. The by-now official team song, ‘I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles’ broke out on the pitch as the boys celebrated! Proud parents and friends took photos and the backroom team congratulated each other on their winning tactics – tactics that took an unknown team from a very shaky first 20 minutes in their first game of the campaign, to Munster champions a mere three months later! Well done to all and huge congratulations to the team.
John the Baptist CS Team and panel:
Fionn Murphy (Captain), Cian O’Grady (Goalkeeper), Conor Fitzpatrick, Jack O’Grady, Paul O’Heney, Kyle Dillon, Matthew O’Dea, Conor O’Grady, Conor McCarthy, Aaron Carmody, David Hannon, Bradley McNamara, Conor Phipps, Robert Buckley, Mikey O’Grady, Brogan Walsh, PJ Butler, Stephen O’Dea, Brian Moore, David Noonan, Sean McCarthy, Alex Hoffler, Sean Hartigan, John O’Donnell, Jack O’Mahony, Jamie McCarthy, Bradley McNabb
John Faust and Jamie Doran
The Future of JTBCS Soccer
It is hoped to further expand soccer in 2017/2018. We would hope to continue to offer soccer across the year groups and open it up to First Year boys next year. We would also hope to enter teams into additional tournaments, e.g. the North Munster Soccer tournament, if possible. We would also like to include more challenge matches in preparation for fixtures. We would encourage all boys to come and try out for the teams, even if they are not regular soccer players. Our sport is open to all!