It was a case of “Hats off to Harry” in the Iveagh Grounds on the Crumlin Road when young Harry Ladd led Lucan Sarsfields to victory in the annual John Humphrey memorial cup hosted by St James Gaels.
Played on 27 and 28 December, the competition is held in memory of young John Humphrey, a St James Gaels player, who died tragically in an accident in 1998. The fact that the players in this year’s competition would all have been born in the year young John Humphrey died made it a particularly special memorial.
Generously sponsored by John’s family the tournament showcases the cream of under 10 talent in Dublin football.
The group stages on Saturday saw Lucan Sarsfields, Cuala, Castleknock and 2007 champions Thomas Davis advance to the final stages at the expense of St Anne’s, Templeogue Synge Street, Bray Emmett’s, Robert Emmett’s and hosts St James Gaels.
The standard of football throughout the tournament was excellent and there was no shortage of scores over the two days. By the time the final whistle was blown by referee Lee Moroney (St Anne’s) on the last of the 20 games a total of 105 goals and 166 points had been scored giving an average of over 5 goals and 8 points in each of the twenty minute games.
In a very exciting game on the first day of the competition St Anne’s edged out hosts St James Gaels by one point with a 2-1 to 2-0 victory. Gaels goalkeeper Ben Pepper set a high standard between the sticks as he dealt with the incessant pressure from the Bohernabreena team.
On the second day of the competition Lucan edged out a great Castleknock outfit by 2-8 to 2-4 to claim a place in the final. Led by their electric forward Harry Ladd they found it hard to put up the type of scoreline their possession merited because of the dogged determination of the Castleknock defenders.
As they did in 2007 Thomas Davis and Cuala then treated everyone to an absolutely brilliant game which required two periods of extra time to separate the two sides! At the end of normal time the sides were locked at 1-8 for Lucan to 2-5 to the boys from Tallaght.
The extra time ended in dramatic fashion with the Tallaght boys smashing the ball to the Cuala net to force another draw with just seconds remaining on the clock. A further period of extra time took a lot out of both teams and in that period Cuala outscored Davis’s by two points to one to claim victory by the narrowest of margins on a scoreline of 2-12 (18) to 3-8 (17). Indeed, the Tallaght team had a chance of another reprieve at the death but a free kick for an equaliser just fell that little bit too short.
In the final Lucan proved that bit too strong for Cuala who were clearly showing signs of tiredness from their mammoth semi-final game. A whirlwind of first half goals from the Sarsfields team left too much for Cuala to do and despite another towering performance from their number 4 Diarmuid Maas Cuala had to play second fiddle to the wizardry of Harry Ladd who bagged three goals for himself in a 6-6 to 1-4 victory which landed Lucan the prestigious trophy.
Speaking at the presentation of the trophy to Lucan Billy Hannigan, Chairman of St James Gaels, paid tribute to all of the players and their mentors who had made the event such a success. He paid a special tribute to Gaels Paul Flanagan who is the driving force behind the competition and to everyone else who helped out in any way.
Harry Ladd from Lucan was presented with the award for best player in the competition while the efforts of the Cuala team were recognised with the presentation of a trophy for best endeavour to Diarmuid Maas.
Finally mention needs to be made of Aaron Byrne and Ross Mulvaney from St James Gaels who did an excellent job as referees throughout the tournament along with Lee Moroney from St Anne’s
All the match Results
Group A: St. James Gaels, St. Annes, Cuala, Robert Emmetts, Castleknock
Group B: Lucan Sarsfields, Bray Emmets, Thomas Davis, Templeogue/Synge St.
Humphrey Cup Press Release and Fixtures List
Humphrey Cup >