SENIORS LOSE TO NEWTOWN: A game of chances taken and chances
missed might be a fair way to sum up this very entertaining battle between
north neighbours Newtown and Eire Og Greystones in Aughrim on Sunday morning in
the Boom & Platform Hire Senior Football Championship.
The scintillating Newtown inside line of Sean Gregory and
Ross Davis caused all sorts of problems for an exposed Eire Og defence with the
Magpies creating plenty of space for long balls in to the two speed demons with
full-forward Neilly Martin operating in a roving role out the field.
The Greystones men would be found guilty of shooting 14 wides,
missing several goal chances and coughing up plenty of possession as they
sought to pick out men in their struggling forward unit against a hungry
Newtown were very impressive around the middle where they
brought a significant physicality in the form of Mark Fitzsimons and Declan
Doyle, the former grabbing two sweet points and the latter chalking up 1-2
after a commendable hour of football from both.
Then you throw in a subs bench from which Damien Gilligan
can spring Dean Odlum, Stephen Davis and Sean Heffernan and you have a team in
black and white who will have given the watching St Pat’s manager Casey O’Brien
(season ticket holder) in the stand plenty to think about after the sides were
drawn together in the next round later on Sunday evening.
Eire Og are missing a lethal forward and a recognised
leader. Stephen Kelly is the obvious missing link in terms of leader and, in
fairness, their young players, while showing lots of promise and endeavour,
will need time to bed in at this level of club football, so the Eire Og camp
need not to be too disappointed as they had fine showings from Darragh Shiels,
Darren Hayden, Peter Keane, Danny wood and Shaun Cranley.
Ross Davis was the first out of the blocks, firing over a
beauty after 30 seconds, and this was followed by a sublime stroke over from
Mark Fitzsimons who you sometimes mistakenly think of as a mere workhorse but
this burly midfielder is a very tasty footballer.
Eire Og had three wides and a shot dropped short to Ken
Turner before half-back Peter Keane lofted over their opener after eight
minutes. They had three more wides on the board before their goalkeeper Conor
Browne saved superbly from Ross Davis and Eire Og broke up the field where
Daniel Keane fired over to level matters at 0-2 apiece.
Where Eire Og were struggling to pierce holes in the Newtown
defence, the Magpies were enjoying a much easier time of it at the other end
and Sean Gregory availed of the space being given away to point after selling a
neat dummy to Liam McGuire.
A lazy foul by Gregory on Darren Hayden resulted in a black
card for the nippy Newtown attacker and Shaun Cranley lofted the first of his
six-point haul (three frees) at the other end after super work by Gavin O’Shea
under a high ball.
Eire Og registered two more wides immediately after the
first water break but Newtown were not so wasteful when Ros Davis made a mark,
powered forwards and flicked to Declan Doyle who finished home past Conor
Browne for the game’s first goal and a 1-3 to 0-3 lead for Gilligan’s men after
Points from Eire Og’s Sean Lawless and Newtown’s Declan
Doyle left the Magpies up by 1-4 to 0-4 but the Greystones men would register
three more wayward shots before the break as their attack just failed on all
levels in passages of this game.
With six gone in the second half things were looking even
bleaker for Eire Og. They had fallen 2-5 to 0-7 behind, the Newtown goal coming
from a penalty from Evan Moran, they had lost Liam McGuire to a black for the
foul on Gavin O’Shea that led to the penalty but on the plus side they had
bagged three scores of their own through Shaun Cranley (free), Darragh Shiels
and Sean Lawless.
At the second water break Newtown led by 2-8 to 0-9, Evan
Moran and Declan Doyle raising white flags for the Magpies, Shaun Cranley
sweeping over two frees for Eire Og.
Damien Gilligan sent Dean Odlum into the fray in place of
Conor Odlum and he scored an uplifting point after 25 shortly after Eire Og had
went wide from a goal chance and had watched Ken Turner nonchalantly punch a
high ball clear.
Eire Og needed a goal, simple as that.
They weren’t penetrating with any consistency to close the
gap with points but they were just unable to do so because of the
well-structured Newtown defence that had crucial soldiers in the form of John
O’Donoghue, Oisin Greenan and Robert Greenan and the physically dominant Shane
2-10 to 0-12 it finished.