THE final of the Division 1A under-13 hurling championship
was contested between Eire Og and Carnew Emmets at Ballinakill on Sunday
The underfoot playing conditions were surprisingly good
considering the absolute deluge of rain that had fallen on the previous
Saturday afternoon. Two well prepared, competitive teams provided an excellent
contest for the sizable crowd of family and supporters who came along to
support their teams.
Eire Og had a physical advantage in many parts of the field but the Emmets stuck to their task and fought like devils to quote one of their mentors.
The Greystones men got into their stride straight from the
throwin and dominated the opening minutes. However, despite this early
dominance Eire Og failed to put scores on the board and were wide on a few
William Kenny and Cillian OKeeffe gradually began to play Carnew Emmets into the game and Ryan Austin opened the scoring with a point from play after four minutes. Austin was one of the stronger Carnew players and began to provide problems for the Eire Og defence whenever he got on the ball. He powered his way through after five minutes and netted a fine goal to leave the Emmets ahead by 1-1 to nil at this stage.
The Greystones lads came back strongly and opened their
account with an Oscar Lane point after ten minutes. The seasiders went through
a period of outfield dominance making their size count in the middle third of
the field. However, Callum Walsh was keeping a good goal for the Carnew lads
and in front of him Jack Gregan, Dylan Kenny and Ken Cullen were sticking very
tightly to their men.
Eire Og were finding it very difficult to get in clean shots
and were being kept out with some excellent hooking, blocking and tight
marking. In addition, they missed a few good chances close to goal and insisted
on picking the ball close to goal when ground strokes might have paid better
Joshua Barry got their second point on the quarter hour from a free. When Seamus Dora got a chance two minutes later, he made no mistake and goaled to put Eire Og 1-2 to 1-1 ahead at that stage.
Despite an abundance of possession for the Greystones side,
the Carnew defenders continued to keep their forwards in a vice like grip.
Eire Ogs only other score a great point from a free scored by Tomas OConnell just before the half-time break. William Kenny got the Emmets off to a great start when he landed a great 65 to close the gap to the bare minimum in the opening minute of the second half.
However, the Eire Og response was quick and clinical.
Half-time substitution Ryan Ovenden was put clear in front of goal almost
straight from the puck out and this time there was no miss as the shot went
past Calum Walsh to put Greystones four ahead.
But Carnew had no intention of giving up the battle. They were landing in long ball from William Kenny and Cillian OKeeffe on the Eire Og defence. Some shots carried too far and went wide, others were cleared by a vigilant backline, but another chance opened up for substitute Jack Kennedy who first timed a ground shot to the net after five minutes.
Three minutes later William Kenny pointed a free to level
the scores. Excitement was mounting as both sets of supporters willed their
Eire Og were once again on top around the middle third with Thomas OConnell putting in a great stint. But the Carnew defence was proving the truth of the old saying its not the size of the dog in the fight, its the fight in the dog thats most important as they kept the Greystones lads scoreless for a 12-minute period up to 20 minutes.
Paddy Marrinan entered the fray then and almost immediately
had the ball in the Carnew net. Jack Coffey quickly added a point and the
four-point gap was back.
But wait, when Jack Kennedy got on the end of another long
delivery to claim his second goal five minutes from time, the game was back in
the melting pot.
However, Marrinan scored the insurance point one minute into
time added and Eire Og ran out deserving winners. They were pushed all the way
by a gutsy Carnew Emmets who fought to the end.
Pat Dunne, Bord na nOg Cathaoirleach made the presentation to Eire Og joint captains Jack Caffrey and James ODowd while the Wicklow People Man of the Match award was presented to Tomas OConnell.
Scorers – Eire Og: Paddy Marrinan 1-1, Seamus Darcy 1-0, Tom Meyler 1-0, Oscar Lane, Joshua Barry, Jack Caffrey and Tomas OConnell 0-1 each.