SENIOR HURLING: Bank Holiday Monday morning our hurlers travelled to Ashford to play St Pats, Wicklow in the semi-final of the Billy Byrne Cup. The morning was bright and fair and there was little wind; not a bad morning at all for hurling. However, that spark of the intensity which we have come to associate with the healthy rivalry between the clubs took some time to ignite and an air of holiday lassitude hung over the early stages of the game. This together with some poor shooting rather than great defending accounted for the football-like half time score of 0-6(St Pats) to 0-3. Two noteworthy features of the 1st half were the fact that Greystones were awarded no free in the attacking area of the field – a mentor protesting the injustice of this was, for his pains, forced to view the game thereafter from the other side of the fence – and the issuing of a red card – which even the Éire Óg connections thought somewhat harsh – to a Pats player on 30 minutes. However, for the ref, discipline and player safety are tantamount and these factors would rightly have coloured his view of the incident.
Any illusions our lads might have had that having an extra man would have them straightaway in the driving seat were quickly undermined by a well taken St Pats goal immediately after the break. However Eire Og rallied and points from Peter Keane, Ger Whyte and two from James Cranley followed by a Buster Flynn goal had the game back in the melting pot. Both teams exchanged scores in a much more free-flowing game than the first half. Ger Whyte scored another 3 points and when Paul Gaskin flicked a loose ball beyond the keeper Eire Og were 4 points up with 7 mins remaining. Pats weren’t about to go home without a fight and scored the next 4 points all from play. County player, Andy O’Brien, received a second yellow from Jimmy Kelly in the closing min. In what was to be the last puck of the game and reminiscent of the All Ireland Final, a long range St Pats free was adjudged to be wide by the narrowest of margins. Hawkeye hasn’t been installed in Ashford yet so without the aid of technology the wide stood and game finished level.
It was well within Éire Óg’s power to have won this game but then, considering their numerical advantage for all of the 2nd half, would they have deserved victory? Generally it was felt that on the run of play a draw was a fair result 2-12 (Éire Óg) to 1-15.
UNDER 14 HURLING- Our Under 14 hurlers, under the Cill Chomhall Gaels (CCG) umbrella, comprising players from Kilcoole, Newtown and Éire Óg Greystones, enjoyed a fantastic victory over a gallant St. Pats in sunny Dunbur on Sunday morning last in the County ‘A’ Shield Final.
This was our third encounter of the year with St. Pats so we knew that without the unfortunate Leo Hanney we were faced with a very tough assignment. CCG got off to a very good start and led 1-01 to 0-0 after a couple of minutes. But Pats fought back and went a goal ahead midway through the half. The first period was very evenly contested, but goals from Glen Dunne and Eoin Dorgan and some fantastic points by Thomas Moorhouse, Shaun Cranley and Joe McDonald gave us a 2 point lead at the break.
In the second half, the CCG boys showed great grit and determination and no little skill, and answered all the questions asked of them by a very good St Pats side. At vital times the Northeast lads managed to keep St Pats at bay thanks to some terrific goalkeeping by Oisín Curry and great defending by Marwan Machaalani, Brian Shortt, Conor Odlum, Shane Ryan, Drew Campbell and Glen Ryder. Luke Thompson and Shaun Cranley hurled excellently in midfield and further goals by Thomas Moorhouse, Eoin Dorgan and Adam Heffernan and points by man of the match Joe McDonald, Glen Dunne and Luke Thompson put some welcome daylight between the 2 teams. These forwards were ably abetted by Denis Burke and Brendan Cleary throughout. The final result 5-12 to 3-05 was, judged on their efforts, somewhat unfair to the gallant Wicklow lads. Well done to all the CCG lads on a great display.
Panel for the year : Shane Ryan, Drew Campbell, Glen Ryder, Shaun Cranley, Eoin Dorgan, Denis Burke, Brendan Cleary, Niall Sheehy (all Eire Og), Oisín Curry, Brian Shortt, Marwan Machaalani, Luke Thompson, Leo Hanney, Thomas Moorhouse, Max Ó Faoláin, Fionn Mansfield (all Kilcoole) and Conor Odlum, Adam Heffernan and Joe McDonald (all Newtown).
Coaches Andy Hanney, Colm Dorgan and Gerry Curry congratulate all the players on a great year which started in Greystones on the dark Thursday evenings in February and praise them for their dedication to training. The boys from 3 different clubs gelled very well Indeed, on and off the pitch, and this made the effort all the more worthwhile. Thanks also to Ronan Keddy and Gary Coady who helped out at training from time to time and gave a fresh voice and impetus when it was most needed.
Well done to Jim O’ Brien and to his talented and sporting St Pats team on a great game. Míle buíochas to referee Kieran Manley who did an excellent job and to Eddie Leonard and the St Pats club who had their grounds in excellent condition and for afterwards laying on refreshments for all present.