U13 Hurling: BRAY EMMETS 4-3 IRE G 2-12: Bray Emmets most certainly lost the battle but won the war as they clinched the U-13 C shield after extra-time.
Having won the first leg in Greystones, Bray lost after normal time to Eire Og with home advantage, but they rallied and stole victory in extra-time thanks to a tally of 2-2 from man of the match Ciaran Kelly.
That took the unstoppable Kellys tally to 5-2 on the evening which saw him pip Eire Ogs Christy Connors – who managed 1-11 – to the award.
After a lightning quick start that saw Conor Broderick land the first point after 25 seconds, there would only be one more score (an effort from Connors) in the opening quarter of an hour.
Things then kicked into life as Kelly landed his first goal of five. Broderick steamed down the middle and saw his shot saved by Mikey Hatton OBrien who had a stormer but the sliotar fell kindly to Kelly and he did not hesitate.
Within a minute, hed raised another green flag. A team-mate saw his powerful shot crash off the post and Kelly was once again onto the rebound like a flash of lightning to make the net bulge.
That second goal arrived on 17 minutes and Bray would not score again until the second period as the visitors chipped away until they were within a single point thanks to efforts from Joshua Barry and Connors.
Connors showed his class in the 23rd minute as he stuck his hurl into a sea of bodies and somehow emerged cleanly with the ball before popping it over.
Connors missed a 60 but was awarded a free by referee Con O Ceadaigh as an Emmets player was deemed to have deliberately struck the ground to distract the Eire Og man. He did not miss at the second attempt.
The Eire Og number 12 then won and scored a free from just inside his own half which dropped beautifully over the crossbar.
There were other goal chances in the first period for both sides. Joshua Barrys low shot was expertly kept out by Robbie Murphys outstretched hurl and although they would recycle the sliotar and slap it into the net, an Eire Og player had stepped out of play before squaring it.
At the other end, Kyle Plunkett raised his hurl to flick on a long ball which dropped narrowly wide and on the stroke of half time, Ciaran Kelly flashed a shot across the face of goal.
Minor football final match report: WITH ten minutes gone in the Under-17 A football final, played at Pearses Park, Arklow, on Saturday last, few people would have predicted the final outcome.
Baltinglass had gone off to a flying start and had three points on the board by four minutes. Centre-forward John Keogh had two points (one from a free) and corner-forward Jack Fleming had the other. Sean Doody and Jason Steed were controlling midfield with the western sides support play looking to be way ahead of Eire Og.
In contrast, the seasiders looked shell-shocked early on. When Jason Kenny goaled to leave the Slaneysiders 1-3 to 0-0 ahead on eight minutes, many were fearful that the Greystones men were in trouble.
Centre-forward Shaun Cranley had their opening score after ten minutes and this seemed to settle them somewhat. Half-backs Cillian Keane, Fionn OConnell and Cian Hynes began to push forward and cause problems for the Baltinglass defence. Still it was Baltinglass who scored next with a Jason Steed point in the 17th minute.
Eire Og hit a purple patch over the next ten minutes.
Conor Fulham, who began the game as a last-minute replacement for Sean Mason at full-forward but played all the game at midfield, began to influence the play in a big way and Shaun Cranley and Eoin Dorgan began to come into the game.
It was Dorgan who really woke up the Greystones men when he jinked his way inside the Slaneysiders full-back line and scored his first goal. Conor Fulham then brought the ball the length of the field on a solo run and set up Eoghan O Lonaigh for another point to leave the score at 1-5 to 1-2 after 20minutes.
Eire Og were now playing well and the nervousness and mistakes of the opening period were gone. They were moving the ball from end to end and playing with confidence. Three more points two from Shaun Cranley frees and one from corner-forward Joe Prendergast had the sides level at 1-5 apiece with two minutes left in the first half.
Few would have predicted this score line after ten minutes play. Baltinglass, who had been on the backfoot for a while, recovered and finished the half with two more points. The first was a beauty off the outside of his right foot from John Keogh. This was followed by another from his brother Tom, who attempted to chip the ball over the head of the advancing Sean ONeill in the Greystones goal, but the ball carried over the bar. The half-time score was 1-7 to 1-5 in favour of Baltinglass.
The second half developed into an exciting end to end battle between two excellent footballing teams battling for supremacy. Perhaps it was tough going for the partisan supporters of both teams, but it was great to watch for those of us who could be considered neutral.
Baltinglass began the half with Sean Doody at full-forward but it was Eire Og who got the first score when Conor Fulham got forward to finish off a goal, putting his team into the lead for the first time.
Straight from the kick out, a high ball was launched in on Sean Doody, who controlled the ball and shot the equaliser.
Eire Og wing back Cillian Keane scored the next two points, the second following an end to end move which he started himself. At the quarter hour stage, the Greystones men led by 2-7 to 1-8.
By now, Doody was back out at midfield for Baltinglass. John Keogh kicked two points and his brother Tom added another to put the Slaneysiders back ahead after 20 minutes.
The excitement was building for a grandstand finish. That man Conor Fulham got forward again and netted his second goal with eight minutes of time left. Shaun Cranley added a point from a free to put a goal between the sides.
Baltinglass came back and points from Jack Fleming and Sean Doody brought the lead down to the minimum with three minutes left. Shaun Cranley responded with an Eire Og pointed free to bring the gap back up to two points.
Excitement was now at fever pitch as both sides fought for victory. The game was entering the period for time added when Baltinglass launched a high ball in on the Eire Og goalmouth. It broke down to substitute Jack Hanlon, who buried a goal from close in to put his side back ahead.
If Eire Og were shocked, they didnt show it. Straight from the kick out they worked the ball down to Luke Dorgan, who showed great composure in sliding the ball inside the post when a point for a draw must have been the easier option.
Eire Og attacked again from the kick out and the ball was returned to substitute Roy Byrne in the right corner. His shot for another point dipped under the crossbar at the post and suddenly the Greystones men were five points up and safe.
Jack Hanlon did point again but when the final whistle sounded after four minutes there were jubilant scenes as Eire Og celebrated a victory which looked remote in the early stages of the game.
In a year in which there has been a rejuvenation of our fortunes at inter-county under-17 level, it was indeed fitting that we were treated to such an outstanding final at club level in this grade. Both clubs and their mentors should be credited for that.
Scorers Eire Og: Conor Fulham 2-0, Luke Dorgan 2-0, Shaun Cranley 0-5, Roy Byrne 1-0, Eoghan O Lonaigh 0-1, Joe Prendergast 0-1, Cillian Keane 0-2,
Baltinglass: John Keogh 0-5, Jack Hanlon 1-1, Jason Kenny 1-0, Tom Keogh 0-3, Jack Fleming 0-2, Sean Doody 0-2, Jason Steed 0-1.
Sean ONeill; Thade Shannon, Daniel Healy, David Prendergast; Cillian Keane, Fionn OCarroll, Cian Hynes; Eoin ONeill, Neil Browne; Gavin OShea, Shaun Cranley, Luke Dorgan; Joe Prendergast, Conor Fulham, Eoghan O Lonaigh. Subs: Sean Mason, Roy Byrne.
Darren Walshe; Arun Daly Danne, Christopher Grimes, Hugh OToole; Emilio Faulkner, Alan Barrett, Aaron Corcoran; Sean Doody, Jason Steed; Jason Kenny, John Keogh, Adam Germaine; Jack Fleming, Jack Kirwan, Tom Keogh. Subs: Jack Hanlon, Evan Frahill.
Kieron Kenny (Tinahely).
Managers reaction: THIS wonderful championship victory means the world to the Eire Og Greystones GAA Club. Witnessing the reaction of players, the management team and supporters after the final whistle would soften the hardest of hearts. Beating the defending champions at the pinnacle of Minor A football in a superb game of football in Pearses Park, Arklow, is a hugely positive development for a proud and ambitious club.
The Greystones lads bagged 5-9 over the course of the game, two of the five goals coming in a stunning reaction of Jack Hanlons late goal for Baltinglass that looked to have finally killed off the Eire Og challenge.
As incredibly important as the 5-9 tally was, holding a superbly talented Baltinglass attack to 2-14 was an achievement in itself and the back seven of Eire Og, Sean ONeill in goals, Thade Shannon, Daniel Healy, David Prendergast, Cillian Keane, Fionn OCarroll, and Cian Hynes deserve massive credit for battling tooth and nail to help bring the Minor A championship home to Greystones.
The management team of trainer Gerry Browne, selector Peter ONeill and Fergus OCarroll who has managed this group of players all the way up since under-8 level and who kept it going through thick and thin, spoke after the game and it was abundantly clear what this victory meant to all three of them.
I thought that the game went as expected, said Gerry Browne. There was an onslaught at the start of the game, but we have finished all of our games very strong all year, weve prepared for that, weve set ourselves out. This man here (Peter ONeill) is a veteran of many a battle in Aughrim and many other venues and he set up the team for todays game.
Really delighted with them, they were absolutely fantastic. The fittest team, they were flying fit, he added.
They said to themselves in the dressing rooms that if we are within touching distance with 15 minutes to go that we would have the legs and we can do this, said Fergus OCarroll. Thats what the lads did. They knew they were going to have the ride out the rough start and they were going to have to sync and get themselves together and they did that and then they came back into it. Im absolutely delighted for them, he added.
That was a super Baltinglass team, a lot of county players on the team, I really feel sorry for them in one way, said Gerry Browne. They had so many good players on that team, they are absolutely super, and we knew we had to up our game to that standard.
We set out our stall early in the year, we knew what we had, and we were actually quite confident all year that we were going to deliver this back to Eire Og Greystones after many many years of it not being there, he said.
55 years Ive been playing and managing against Baltinglass and never won, and by God this was worth the wait, said Peter ONeill.
Each and every one of that panel, theyve kept together and stuck together all through the years, theyve had ups and down, said Fergus
Weve a very small panel, with 18 players there all year, including the under-15s, really there are four under-15s in that panel. 12 of the panel are under-17 next year, added Gerry Browne.
Were delighted with them, were so proud of them, they stuck together as a team and played together as a team and theyre a great group of lads and they really worked for each other and were so delighted.
Every man had their job coming out here today. Every man knew exactly what he had to do in their position and what the game plan we had set up today and they delivered that in buckets, they delivered that in buckets. You saw the second half when we kicked on. We flew that ball up and down there. No one could see how fast that ball went down that pitch, and like lightening into the back of the net., I lost count of the goals, he said.
We knew once we got the ball into our full-forwards that they were good enough to beat their backs. We said it all along. We knew, said Peter ONeill.
When the Baltinglass goal went in: Didnt worry me at all. We knew we would come back. They never panic, they never panic, they just keep working.
We were losing by 10 points to St Nicks and we beat them by seven, we were losing by five points to Baltinglass and we beat them as well. We knew the lads would stay with it, he said.
Last week against An Tochar we were two points up at half-time, we were three points down with about six or seven minutes to go to get it back, said Gerry Browne. We had it all planned out. We had two pairs of fresh legs to come in at the end, two super footballers, Sean and Roy (Sean Mason and Roy Byrne), absolutely top-class footballers and we knew what we had coming in off the bench. We kept them, and we kept them as long as we could before we unleashed them. And you saw the damage they did, he added.
What does the championship title mean to Eire Og.Its massive, its massive.