Scenes of joy as Man O’War end 44-year wait

by Aaron Dunne
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Man O’War 2-9

O’Dwyer’s 0-10

MAN O’WAR were pushed all the way before they completed a 2-9 to 0-10 win over Ballinacor in their Leinster GAA AIB Junior Club Football Championship quarter-final.

Despite falling behind early on, it was the Dublin champions that controlled the early jousts with frees from Willie Moore and Conor Dolan edging them in front by the 10th minute.

Moore and Dolan kept their scoreboard ticking over with Sean Hussey also on target as Man O’War kept their noses in front by 0-5 to 0-3 at half-time.

Despite moving three points clear early in the second-half, the visitors began to lose their way slightly as Ballinacor kicked four points on the bounce to edge in front by the 43rd minute.

However, the contest turned irrevocably in Man O’War’s favour at the end of the third quarter as John Fleming pounced for the game’s opening goal with points from Moore and Dolan leaving three points between the teams with ten minutes remaining.

That margin was reduced to two points deep into added time but Fionn Slattery was on hand to put the result beyond doubt with an insurance goal for a Man O’War team best served on the day by James Kelly.

The win came a week after the club had ended a 44-year wait for the county junior title when they saw off north Dublin rivals O’Dwyer’s.

Four points up at half-time, We a second-half a goal by Sam Clancy proved to difference after scores from Shane Moore, John Fleming, an impressive brace from Conor Dolan (Dublin U20 Captain 2023) and monster sideline free from Willie Moore. –

The release of joy and raw emotion at the final whistle was sight to behold, as the Man O’War supporters ran onto the field to congratulation their heroes.

Many former players, coaches and mentors who soldiered for years seeking the very prize we had just won. During his acceptance speech, Sean Hussey thanked the management, supporters and, while recalling how long we had been trying to win the championship, the crowd reminded him it was exactly 44 years! Sean called out the win our as the start of something new our club. After his speech, the cup was hoisted by Jason McGlynn and Conor Dolan, cue more wild celebrations.

After the game the players a made their way via convoy from Naul to Nags Head, the Five roads, up to Balrothery Village, through the village and up to the clubhouse.

Many supporters young and old lined the route to welcome the lad’s home with the cup!

The team had a few hours in the clubhouse with family and friends before making their way to the Man O’War Pub for a wonderful evening.

 of celebration. That evening as everyone rejoiced in the day, members of our 1979 winning team joined the celebrations, and some even donned their old jersey! Amid the celebrations, tributes were paid, and glasses were raised to dedicated and loyal supporters who are no longer with us, and who no doubt would have been front and centre of the day’s events.

We would like also to extend thanks to the following: Our loyal supporters & Neighbours, Country Crest, who have been sponsoring our men’s team for almost 20 years now. All the local clubs and business who wished the team well – we really appreciated your kind words and gestures of support. To O’Dwyers GAA, thank you for a very competitive and sporting game, we really appreciate the kind words from captain Aaron Keenan at the end. Thanks to Clann Mhuire CLG who were brilliant and accommodating hosts for the game. To Man O’War Gastro Pub for providing catering for our players back at the clubhouse post match as well as a wonderful night of celebration afterwards. Thanks to the loyal group of volunteers who decorated the local community, who to prepared and dressed up the hall and the upstairs for the team in advance of the day. To those who baked, served tea and sandwiches and made the families and friends of the players feel welcome. The The Balrothery Inn for feeding our ‘Monday club’ (AKA the day two party!) the day after the game.

Thanks to our own Liz White for her as always fantastic photos, special thanks also to James Fleming and Niall Clancy who snapped some amazing moments from a special day.

To our members and supporters, you came with your colours, decked out your homes and gardens and on the day, we asked you bring the ‘Mow Roar’ and you did. Thank you so much, your support for the players has been fantastic. To the young footballers of our club, we hope Sunday’s events has inspired you and inspired a new generation of players. We are hopeful of more days ahead like Sunday October 29th, 2023! And finally, we are still in dreamland from the weekend, and it’s hard to tell when celebrations will end, or indeed when the enormity of this triumph will sink in. But for now, we want to say a massive well done to our players and management. The joy and memories you have given this year will never be forgotten, your hard work and attention to detail all season has paid off and we are extremely proud of you all.

Enjoy these few days. Come on the ‘War!!!

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