SOMETIMES in football, you take a chance that pays off. Clan na Gael’s JJ Quigley did exactly that in the 2002 final.
As Dundalk trailed St Patrick’s 2-2 to 0-7, Quigley took a punt and what a punt it was as his long range effort dipped into the top corner of the Pat’s net, putting Dundalk into a lead, which they then never relinquished.
Looking back at it, Quigley can vividly remember the moments leading up to the goal. He said: “It happened near the standside, there was a kick-out by the Pat’s ‘keeper and it came my way.
“Paddy (Keenan) shouted for it and went up to get it, but it dropped perfectly to me.
“I could see one of their players charging at him and I spun him. I came around full circle, otherwise I was going down from the challenge.”
What happened in the next moments though changed the course of the game. “I felt as though I would score a point in the game”, said the half-forward.
“So I took a chance and I went for a point from around 35 yards or so but it started to dip and it kept dipping.
“I thought it was going to hit the bar but somehow it ended up in the top corner of the net as the ‘keeper couldn’t keep it out.”
The goal sent the Dundalk faithful into raptures in Drogheda, something Quigley remembers. “I remember the crowd going wild. It was in the last 15 minutes or so and it came off.
“It was one of those goals we needed at that stage to lift us for the final bit of the game and in the end, we fought and fought and won it.”
Prior to the game, Quigley remembers the atmosphere in the camp was terrific, despite the fact the game did not take place in Croke Park, despite a request for it.
“I was a bit devastated that it wasn’t in Croke Park, but apart from that, the mood in the camp was great.
“Everyone was in great form and we knew at the time, the Pat’s were going for three in a row, but we felt unstoppable coming into the game.”
Quigley puts the relaxed atmosphere down to his clubmate Toal and the mentors, adding that he feels as though Toal gets the best out of players.
“I wish him all the best in the final. I thought he was a great coach.
“He gets the lads to bond as a team and feel together as a unit. He somehow gets the best of players.”