Senior Footballers: For a long time in this Senior Football championship encounter, played at Aughrim on Saturday last, August 8, there looked to be only one likely outcome. Eire Og looked the livelier and fitter team, full of movement with defenders moving forward to support their attack on a constant basis.
Dave Rooney and Fintan O’Shea established a grip around the middle where Kiltegan’s Rory Finn and Padraig O’Toole were very subdued in the opening quarter. In those first 15 minutes it was practically all Eire Og, who scored five points and missed three goaling chances into the bargain. Peter Keane, overlapping from the half-back line, put the Greystones men ahead with a point after three minutes.
A long ball from Padraig O’Toole found Seanie Furlong, who brought the sides level a minute later. Eire Og continued the forward momentum and had further points from Dave Rooney, two from Sean Lawless and a point from Craig Smullen who capitalised on a mess up between Kiltegan defence and goalkeeper, losing possession as they tried to work the ball out.
In between the Greystones side failed to convert any of three good goal chances. A Conor Fulham volley from close in came back off a post while minutes later Conor was through with only Dan Troy to beat but the ball ran away over the end line when a goal looked certain.
Dave Rooney looked to have a chance as well later but the defence scrambled the ball clear. Kiltegan were struck a further blow when they lost Cathal Fitzgerald, who was injured in an accidental clash with a colleague from his own side.
The game was delayed for a few minutes while the player was attended to and removed from the playing field. Stephan Coogan came on for the unfortunate Fitzgerald.
Sometimes adversity can breed resilience and Kiltegan began to come to life when play resumed. Padraig O’Toole was held up as he was through on goal and a penalty was awarded. Seanie Furlong clipped the inside of the right post with his shot and suddenly there was only one point in the game.
Eire Og continued to move well but Kiltegan were back in the game. Between the water break stoppage and hold up for the player injury we had eight minutes of time added on. Seanie Furlong added on two points (one free) for the Westerners and a Mikey Foley point brought their tally to 1-4.
Eire Og had further points from half-back Fionn O’Carroll, a Dave Rooney free, Daniel Keane and a score from centre back Darren Hayden. All of the Eire Og half-backs had now scored.
The Greystones side were a goal ahead within a minute of the restart for the second half when Daniel Keane brought their tally to 0-10. Rory Finn responded when he benefited from a block down on a Craig Smullen attempted clearance.
Padraig O’Toole, now coming more into the game, narrowed the gap to a point. David Rooney from a free and Shaun Cranley brought Eire Og back up to the goal gap again.
Anthony Furlong pointed to reduce the gap again. We had a
slight delay while an ambulance came on the field to remove the injured Cathal
When play resumed Eire Og added three further points from Dan Keane. Dave Rooney and Shaun Cranley to establish a five-point lead. They must surely have felt they were now on their way.
But Kiltegan were not giving up. Three points from frees by Anthony Furlong (2) and Seanie Furlong brought the Western side back to two points. Seanie and Daniel Keane exchanged points and when Conor Fulham put a goal between the sides again as the game approached the time added period, you felt that Kiltegan had to get that goal to push the game to extra-time.
Amid mounting excitement, they went in search of that equalising score. Padraig O’Toole was held up as he attempted to burst through on goal. However, he managed to get away a pass to Seanie Furlong who had just enough room to swing his left leg.
His shot went low just inside the right post to level the game at 0-17 to 2-11.† Kiltegan were still there and we now moved into two ten-minute periods of extra-time.
Kiltegan scored first through Anthony Furlong but Eire Og got motoring again and reeled off five points on the trot from Dave Rooney (free) Daniel Wood, Rooney again from play, James Cranley and Daniel Wood again to bring their tally to 0-22.
Seanie Furlong and Anthony Furlong from a free responded to leave just two points in it at half time in extra-time. Padraig O’Toole and Rory Finn finished the game very strongly for Kiltegan.
In addition, Eire Og suffered the misfortune of losing Dominic O’Brien to a black card just when they needed him most. Padraig O’Toole, with two points, brought the sides level with five minutes still to be played. A point from a free by Anthony Furlong put Kiltegan back in front again.
Try as they might Eire Og were unable to breach the Kiltegan rearguard. Kiltegan ran out winners on a final score of 2-17 to 0-22.
It was tough on Eire Og who played so well for so long. Even the Greystones men would acknowledge that Kiltegan just would not give in and it was this never-say-die spirit which prevailed in the end.
This was a meeting of two teams beaten in the opening round
of the Fitzgerald Kitchens Junior ‘A’ Football championship with Blessington
losing out to Baltinglas, while Eire Og lost out to Ashford, so any prediction
of an outcome was difficult.
Eire Og started very well with points inside the first six
minutes from Daniel Clarke and Wilie O’Hagan, however, the Greystones men
failed to score again before the first water break, while the Blues kicked
scores from Jordan McGarr with two (one free), Eoin Devlin and Brian Carroll
The decisive score of the game was a goal for Blessington
after 18 minutes as Conor Ryan following a sweeping move from their own half
beat Eire Og keeper Robert Nolan low to his right. With possession fairly even,
both sides kicked four points before half-time as the action went end to end
and so the tally stood at 1-8 to 0-6 in favour of the Blues at the break.
The game continued to be close on resumption with defences
on top and both sides only managing one point before the second half water
break, Brandon Byrne for Eire Og and Brian Carroll for the Blues. There was a
definite opening for Eire Og five minutes into the second half when Blues
corner-back Bradley Foster was black carded by referee Eddie Leonard.
Eire Og, with Blessington down to 14, drove at the Blues
defence and a great effort from Jamie McDonald was deflected off the crossbar
by Blessington keeper Stephen Kitt. The siege lifted, Conor Ryan and Jordan
McGarr kicked long-range points to put Blessington 1-11 to 0-7 in front.
There was an Eire Og point from a free from James Delahunty,
however when full-back Brian Lawless received a second yellow, Blessington took
over in the final minutes with points from Brian Carroll, Glenn Farrell, Adam
Boland and Eoin Devlin