SENIOR FOOTBALL QUARTER FINAL: BALTINGLASS ensured they held on to their Senior crown for a while longer thanks to a pulsating final quarter against a gallant Eire Og team in Aughrim.
Having trailed for almost the entire game up until the 45th minute, they outscored their opponents 1-4 to 0-2 to graft out a tough win which will stand to them in their semi-final showdown with Rathnew.
County star Darren Hayden was full of early running for the Greystones men and opened the scoring from a free with 90 seconds on the clock.
He would play a big part in their second score with a fine run and pass to Jamie McDonald to slot over after Eire Og intercepted a wayward Baltinglass free on their own 21.
At the other end, Dan Kelly settled Baltinglass into the fixture with a fine score and a couple of frees, but sandwiched in between was the first of several pieces of magic in the fixture.
Craig Smullen got on the end of some neat Eire Og play and he found a massive gap to run into, he passed to Enda King whose lobbed effort was tipped by Jackson but Daniel Keane was on hand to poke home a deserved goal for his side.
Greystones extended their lead from the impressive Daniel Woods after Stephen Kelly found a gap through the middle again and provided support with a lung busting run after a quick free from Hayden.
Baltinglass kept chipping away at the scoreboard with Eire Og defending very well and a long range John McGrath effort was the pick of the bunch.
With some exceptional pieces of skill at either end, Enda Kings dummy solo allowed Liam Maguire the time to chip over a point of his own before Baltinglass struck for goal.
Having worked the ball into the full-forward line and finding their progress blocked, the ball was fed across to Peader Burke who avoided a tackle and had time to progress into goal and slot calmly under Lorcan Treanor and into the net.
Eire Og almost responded immediately through a trademark Hayden burst but his effort was just over the crossbar.
Game on after an electrifying couple of minutes.
Danny Woods provided an enthralling opening half with picking sublime passes to colleagues and kicking some wonderful scores of his own and linked up with the problematic Daniel Keane throughout the opening half for a number of Keanes scores and assists on the day.
A free from Mark Jackson brought the opening half to its conclusion with a worthy two-point lead for the Greystones men.
Adam McHugh and Dan Kelly brought parity with two fine frees to open the second half but Hayden struck a free for himself and Woods and Keane again linked up for the latter to fire over to keep the Greystones men ticking over.
With considerable size around the middle section of the field on both sides, Baltinglass sprung Mikey English from the bench to shore up the middle after losing three consecutive kick outs.
In the opening period, Eire Og turned over huge amounts of Baltinglass possession, with Stephen Kelly accounting for over half his sides total.
In the following 18 minutes, it would be Billy Cullen and Ian Sheerin coming to the fore for their side and winning loose ball.
Cullen was employed as a sweeper for Paul Garrigans side and was Baltinglass leading light in the opening period and continued on this vein in the second.
Dan Kelly and the accurate John McGrath brought the game level for a third time before Sean OBrien, who was being extremely well shackled by Eire Og, won two balls in a row and fired a score for himself and helped set up Jason Kennedy for a rousing score to give Baltinglass a two-point lead.
Danny Woods fired over a magnificent long range point to bring his side back to one but tired bodies were beginning to come evident for Eire Og who had members playing hurling the day prior and involved in fixtures for almost every weekend in September thus far including replays.
With that in mind, Tom and Pat Burke seen an increase in their running in the second period straight at the heart of Greystones and on one such run from Tom, the ball was worked to an unmarked OBrien who had ghosted around the back of the Eire Og defence and fired home low around Treanor.
OBrien can be lethal in situations as this and needs one sniff to find a goal chance similar to last years county final.
Dan Kelly added a point from play and a free to open a six-point gap and it seemed Baltinglass were going to survive this scare with them defending tirelessly with every long ball into their goal mouth.
Dan Keane concluded the scoring on the day but it is Baltinglass who march on in their defence of Miley after two encounters with Eire Og which will aid them in their pursuit.
SENIOR HURLING SEMI-FINAL:GLENEALY motored on to the Dacia Cars Senior hurling final following a 3-17 to 4-09 victory over the men of Eire Og Greystones after an entertaining semi-final clash in Joule Park, Aughrim, last Saturday afternoon.
A tally of 3-17 against a very decent defence will win you most games, but the concession of four late goals will be of major concern to Gary Laffans men as they face the quick turnaround before facing Bray Emmets this Sunday in the decider.
However, by the time Jonathan ONeill jnr grabbed his second and his sides third goal to make it 3-12 to 0-08, there could an argument for Glenealy taking the foot off the pedal ahead of Eire Ogs late resurgence.
Nevertheless, such looseness at the back would be fatal against the forwards of the caliber possessed by Bray Emmets.
The tenacity and skill of Leighton Glynn was pivotal to Glenealys early dominance. He played a massive role in the majority of their early scores; winning the free for Jonathan ONeill Snrs opening point before catching low from a Danny Staunton clearance and making a defence tormenting pass to release Jonathan ONeill Jnr for the games opening goal after five minutes to make it 1-02 to 0-01.
Jamie Byne had brought a fine save out of Dan ONeill seconds earlier, while Anto Byrne had driven over a beautiful score from distance to open Eire Ogs account with three on the clock.
Following the Glenealy goal there was a period of uncertainty in the Glenealy defence but they survived any major mishap with an Anto Byrne wide from a free from his own half all Eire Og had to show for their efforts.
Despite Eire Ogs honesty and determination, the Glenealy side were that bit sharper in some aspects of the play and by half-time they had created a 2-07 to 0-08 gap that was not insurmountable for the Greystones men by any stretch of the imagination.
Glenealys second goal of the first half came from the hurl of Alan Driver and followed points from Jonathan ONeill Snr (free), Leighton Glynn (two), Jamie Byrne, and three James Cranley converted frees to make it 2-06 to 0-04, with Dan ONeill pulling off a fine save from Enan Glynns shot in the lead up to Drivers goal from a sweet ground stroke, Gary Byrne with a ball from midfield that unlocked the Eire Og defence.
Credit to Eire Og, they didnt panic, and they bagged four points before the break, one from a mountainous free from Stephen Kelly, a super score from Shane Nolan, a wicked effort from Anto Byrne from a tight angle and an Andy Walsh point just before the break to send Eire Og in with some hope on a score of 2-07 to 0-08.
A good start was vital for the Greystones men but a wide from James Cranley was followed by a devastating 1-05 for the Glenealy men with points from Jonathan ONeill Snr (two frees and a 65), ONeill Jnr, Jamie Byrne, and Glenealys third and final goal, this one from the hurl of Jonathan ONeil Jnr to make it 3-12 to 0-08.
Again, full credit to the Eire Og men. They refused to panic or throw in the towel and back they came with vengence. Andy Walsh rattled the net with 14 gone in the second half and this was quickly followed by a major from Anto Byrne and all of a sudden that mountain Eire Og had to climb had been reduced to a steep hill at 3-12 to 2-08.
Garry Byrne, Jonathan ONeill Snr (65) and Joey Driver Jnr stopped the Eire Og resurgence in its track with three fine points but Shane Nolan and Anto Byrne would raise late green flags for the Greystones men who never once relented but Glenealys ability to pop over points helped them stay well ahead of their opponents with points from Jonathan ONeill Snr (free), and a superb Jamie Byrne point coming between Eire Ogs tw goals to make it 3-17 to 4-09.
Glenealy march on but this tough clash with a fine and improving Eire Og outfit will stand them in good stead for the meeting with Bray Emmets this Sunday in Joule Park, Aughrim.
FIXTURE CHAOS: DR. BRENDAN CUDDIHY has said he has ended his long relationship as doctor to Wicklow GAA county teams after his club, Eire Og Greystones, was forced to play the county Senior hurling semi-final and the county Senior football quarter-final replay in less than 24 hours.
There are also rumours that many of the county players who hail from Eire Og may no longer be making themselves available to the Senior county hurling and football squads after Wicklows CCC failed to find an alternative to the fixture pile up last weekend.
We talk about fairness, but my job as doctor to these guys is their welfare and I have to look at them and say the County Board are making you play two games in less than 24 hours, said Dr. Cuddihy moments after the Eire Og footballers were defeated in the football quarter-final replay against Baltinglass.
This is very bad practice. You wouldnt see this happening in other sports. You dont see it happening in rugby, you dont see it happen in soccer. Our lads are being discriminated against, basically.
As a result, I have an association with the County Board here as a volunteer since 1985, I was here as a volunteer doctor for the Laois championship match and as of today Im walking away, because I couldnt be associated with, I dont want to be associated with an organisation that doesnt take player welfare seriously.
Thats the end of the road. We talked about player welfare all week and that has been ignored.
Its on the GAA website that player welfare is paramount. Paramount means that its above all else. In Wicklow we talk the talk but we dont walk the walk.
There is a saying from Ancient Rome: the senators are wise but the Senate is an ass. The officers of Eire Og Greystones have respect for the individual members of the County Board, but we feel their collective decision-making process has failed our players.
Wicklow Chairman Martin Coleman said that at a County Board meeting earlier in the year, the clubs voted against starting the championships early and they were warned on the night by a member of the CCC that they would be playing games weekend after weekend and day after day in some cases.
He also said that he would be very sorry if Dr. Cuddihy was to step aside from his voluntary role
THERE is a feeling of huge disappointment and anger in the Eire Og Greystones club this weekend following the fixing of the Senior hurling semi-final and Senior football quarter-final replay on Saturday and Sunday of last weekend, within 24 hours of each other.
Eire Og Chairman John Keane and Dr Brendan Cuddihy spoke on behalf of the club following their footballers exit to Baltinglass in Joule Park, Aughrim, on Sunday.
After the Carnew match last week, I contacted Mick Hagan after the game, the St Pats game was still going on at this stage. I asked, the football was obviously fixed for this Sunday, and when were they thinking of fixing it and he said the Saturday, the day before. And that was his immediate reaction, said John Keane.
I said, Thats impossible, very unfair, player welfare, weve a lot of players involved, eight players involved, four starters, and four who would come on. And he said, Well, we dont want to put back the hurling county final. And I said, If you put it back by one week, that solves all the issues.
And he said he couldnt do that. I asked why? He said, We cant. So, it wasnt even in his thinking at the time.
We discussed leaving the hurling fixture as it was and moving the football to the Wednesday and if the hurlers lost on the Saturday then you just play next Saturday instead.
So, Mick Hagan said he would think about it and the next day I rang him and he was gone on holidays to Clare. It was left over to Bridget Kenny. After many phone calls, they said they were having a meeting of the CCC on the Tuesday night. That didnt happen. So, they met on the Wednesday night, and we got a one-line email saying the fixture was going ahead as stood. No reason why.
We emailed them back and said we were very unhappy with the situation and we wanted to know the reason why. No answer to that. We met on the Friday night ourselves as a committee and with the management of both sides. The management teams were very unhappy, on both sides. The players were very unhappy, committee very unhappy and the club was very unhappy, but we said we had to the best for our players at that stage because we had done our preparations but the players still didnt know if they were going to be playing or not.
That was the clubs approach to this weekend. We didnt know if we were going to be playing these fixtures or not. Massive games. Besides all that, theres just the unfairness of it. I spoke to Martin Coleman, I spoke to Martin Fitzgerald and they sympathised but they both said there was nothing they could do as they dont sit on the fixtures committee
U11 Hurling Heroes:
Game One: On the morning that our senior hurlers played in their second championship semi-final in three years the clubs brigade of 2006 and 2007 hurlers made their own history for the club. Two U11 hurling teams both playing in their respective finals took to the fields in Ballinakill at the same time. They did so without their general, their leader in chief Mark Barry, who had been deployed to Croatia on a diplomatic mission to commemorate the events of 40 years ago in Lorrha. These Eire g-ers, aided by the Generals Lieutenants had to face their counterparts from that granite mining village of yore, Aughrim and the St. Pats club, Wicklow Town
U11 matches are 13 aside, such is the growth in juvenile membership in Eire Og that we were able to have 18 players for the Aughrim match and 17 young men to face Pats. Everyone of these 35 iomna showed Cchulainn like attributes all year and even more so on this final day.
The Aughrim game started with a bang when from the throw-in the sliotar broke to the Aughrim half-forward who Con O Callaghan Like went straight for goal and scored with a class finish. The sliotar was up and down the pitch thereafter, but playing against a strong Ballinakill wind Eire Og found themselves a second goal down after five minutes. undeterred they hurled themselves back into the game levelling matters by half time. All eyes were on the new goal stopper for Eire Og, and Tom Meyler did not disappoint. He lorded the small rectangle and barked out orders like a veteran, his speed and skill were required in the forwards and so his net minding duties were delegated to his twin Sean, who led from the back, his puck-outs finding Eire Og retrievers on the vast majority of occasions. The pressure of defending the goal line was eased considerably indeed by the outstanding defensive work of Daniel Burns, Alec Bartac and Cathal Kirby.
This game had all the spills and thrills normally associate with Roller coast riding as the woodwork on both ends of the pitch saved the day. The crossbar, not to be outdone also prevented a certain goal. James O Dowd, Hugh O Carroll and Eoghan Duddy took the fight to Aughrim as every puck out was contested with do or die vigour. Thomas O Connell put in an outstanding performance littered with long range mega-volt clearances and precision free-taking. Joshua Barry had the unenviable task of marking the Aughrim sharpshooter who was left firing blanks as Joshua blocked, hooked and harried.
Jack Caffrey was Austin Deasy like in midfield fielding high ball, side stepping opponents and delivering ball into his forwards where Evin Donnelly and Charlie Nolan chased every ball and half chance like a pair of springer spaniels left off their leads but Lady Luck must have accompanied Mark Barry to Croatia as shot after shot either hit the side netting or flew agonisingly inches wide. That lady luck was indeed not in smiling form was confirmed when a Piaras Healy shot from the 14 hit the inside of the post and rolled across the goal. Tom Mahony got on the end of a long ball from Thomas O Connell only to be denied by the catlike reflexes of the Aughrim goal minder. Shortly after Seamus Darcy had a skilful flick to the net disallowed for square ball. His mother told him there would be days like this.
Darragh Shanahan now moved to full forward chased down a half blocked Aughrim clearance, took pocession, soloed to within shooting distance and unleashed an unstoppable shot to the back of the net. Unfortunately with lady luck in absence it was not to be our day. Congratulations to a fine Aughrim team who were victorious.
Game Two : On Saturday morning as we gathered in Balinakill to play our final you could feel the determination in the whole squad to bring the trophy home.
The weather conditions were going to be a factor with the morning rain leading to a very slippy surface. Also the very strong wind meant a good start was essential and this was exactly what happened with our forwards tackling and harrying from the front. This meant St Patrick’s had no time to get into a rhythm.
As we were playing with the wind we started at a great pace and intensity and a very strong showing from our dynamic midfield duo of Paddy Marrinan and Cillian Goff meant plenty of ball was going into the forwards.
The full forward line of Miquel Ramirez, Donagh Mellett and Adam Doherty showed great stick work on the ground to create numerous goal chances.
The first goal came from sterling work from the strong and skilful half forward line of Daragh Keogh and Sean Lehane.
As we were playing with the wind in the first half we knew we had to build up a lead and this was reinforced by the powerful showing from our defence where Oscar Lane and Reuben Palmer were outstanding and did not let anything past.
Also our corner backs Fionn Ryan and Riain O Gorman tackled ferociously and made sure our ever alert goal keeper Dean Balfe had a quiet day at the office. Our full back Ryan Ovenden led the line excellently and delivered excellent ball into the forwards, the second Eire Og goal coming from such a delivery.
At half time we led by 2-2 to no score and knew we were in for a battle royale in the second half and this is where the strength of our squad shone through as the substitutes Liam McGovern, Sam Travers and Nathan added greatly to the performance and ensured St Patrick’s were not let back into the game easily.
The second half was an excellent half of hurling and was up and down the field with all of the skills of hurling on show. St Patrick’s showed their fighting spirit and played to the final whistle and will be hard opponents into the future.
As the game entered the last ten minutes we brought on out last 2 subs, Ciaran Duddy and Dean Barry and their energy ensured we got to the final whistle with the win. We managed to keep St Patrick’s scoreless and the game ended with a 3-3 win for Eire Og.
It was a great way to finish the league and the players are already looking ahead to next year.