Intermediate men’s football championship: Éire Óg showed exactly why they are the favourites for promotion back up to senior football, after a dominant display against Kilmacanogue in Rathnew last Friday evening.
The Greystones outfit caused Kilmac trouble from all over the pitch with their full-forward line of Sam Thompson, Darren Hayden and Cillian Keane in emphatic form from the off.
It was Cillian Keane and Darren Hayden who got Éire Óg off the mark inside the first couple of minutes, but their joy was short lived. Niall Meldon’s long ball aimed for Sam O’Callaghan looked to be over hit, but after a misjudgment from goalkeeper Conor Browne, the ball fell kindly into the path of Conor Gallagher who finished from close range.
Kilmac doubled their lead moments later through a free from Sam O’Callaghan, but sadly for the Sugarloaf side, this was as good as it got. A menacing run from wing back Dave Rooney clawed a score back for Éire Óg before they took the lead after a goal-line scramble around the Kilmac net.
Darren Hayden’s free dropped agonisingly short and bounced off the crossbar. Cillian Keane then rattled the bar from close range before eventually finishing on his second attempt, to see the green flags raised for his side for the first time.
Sam O’Callaghan’s ability from a dead ball did cause issues for Éire Óg as he added another couple of scores, but Darren Hayden was also in fine form from frees and he kept his side’s tally ticking over midway through the half. Dan Keane and Darragh Shiel also found good points of their own, before a stunning score through Darren Hayden from an acute angle increased their advantage.
Sam O’Callaghan took his first-half tally to four points with another couple of well taken scores, but it was Éire Óg who had the final say of the first half with a score from Sam Thompson, giving his side a 1-10 to 1-4 lead at the interval.
It was Éire Óg who started the second half the brighter of the sides and after a fantastic ball by Joe Prendergast found Sam Thompson, the dangerous corner-forward rattled the ball into the back of the net.
Darren Hayden found another point shortly before Hayden found a goal of his own. An inch perfect 30-yard pass from Fionn O’Carroll ended with Hayden rounding goalkeeper Niall King before slotting it into the back of the net.
Michael Whelan and Sam O’Callaghan tried their best to get their side back into the game with a score each, but Kilmac were met with a resilient Éire Óg defence spearheaded by the likes of David Dunne and Stephen Kelly.
Thompson and Dan Keane added further scores before Sam Thompson found his second of the game after a great give and go with Cillian Keane.
Darren Hayden found his second goal of the game with just over ten minutes remaining after cutting inside and rifling his effort into the top left corner.
John Fox responded with a point for Kilmac, but the Greystones side remained eager for more scores, which came courtesy of James Cranley and Joe Prendergast.
It’s a fantastic win for Éire Óg, who despite not being at full strength, showed that they were a class above Kilmac and it would be a mistake for anyone to write them off in this Intermediate campaign.
Éire Óg: Conor Browne; James Wood, Mick Cannon, Thade Shanahan; Fionn O’Carroll, David Dunne, Dave Rooney (0-1); Stephen Kelly, Dominic O’Brien; Dan Keane (0-2), Danny Wood, Darragh Shiel (0-1); Sam Thompson (2-2), Darren Hayden (2-6, 4f), Cillian Keane (1-2). Subs: Joe Prendergast (0-1) for Darragh Shiel (31), Gavin O’Shea for Dominic O’Brien (50), James Cranley (0-1) for Darren Hayden (50).