ADULT LADIES FOOTBALL: There are times when us scribes are prone to some exaggeration in describing a match as cracker of game.
The Junior ‘C’ football decider between Éire Óg and Avoca at Dunbur Park on Sunday was a cracker and that’s no overstatement
The teams went at it hammer and tongs from start to finish, there was no let up, with the Greystones women escaping with a one-point victory at the finish.
And first to congratulate captain fantastic Megan Healy and her teammates were the Avoca players. True sportsmanship. Commendable.
Hats off to Avoca, even in defeat. This is only their second year in ladies football and to get to a final at the second year of asking was a wonderful achievement in itself.
That’s not all folks. They were laying seized to the Éire Óg goal at the finish in search of an equaliser if not a winner. And in the first half they had a goal disallowed for a square infringement. This game was that tight.
Playing beside the sea in Wicklow town, Avoca had the wind in their sails in the first half, allowing them to coast to 2-1 to 0-2 lead at half-time.
The game was barely minutes old when they had their first goal, finished to the net by star centre-forward Tania McDonald after a darting run past the Éire Óg cover. And the second goal arrived 20 minutes later courtesy of midfielder Georgina Canavan blasting the Greystones net.
But it must be said that the Éire Óg keeper Ella O’Reilly made a couple of super saves to stop Avoca from inflicting irreparable damage.
In between we had lots of end-to-end football from the teams, everyone playing her part. Midfielders Eve Shortt and Canavan, dynamic dynamo Tania McDonald, Rebecca Nolan and Carrie Shortt especially on song for Avoca.
Orchestrating sweetly for Éire Óg were goalie Ella O’Reilly, full-back Deanna Clarke, centre back Megan Maguire, Eimear Ryan at midfield, captain Megan Healy and lively winger Abbie Smullen.
At the break Avoca led 2-1 to 0-2.
But would it be enough to hold off the Greystones girls who would have the wind in their favour.
Devastatingly, Éire Óg exploded from the blocks like a rocket from Cape Canaveral. Megan Healy and Eimear Ryan had two green flags waving in the space of one minute, the Greystones side ahead 2-2 to 2-1.
Game on really in earnest. A fight to the death. Spectators’ voices beginning to croak with the cheering and shouting. Tension everywhere.
Ellie O’Neill turned the screw another notch, stretched the Éire Óg lead 2-3 to 2-1. Avoca yet to score as we approached the three-quarter mark. But corner-forward Lisa Murphy added to Avoca’s pain – Éire Óg’s lead now out to 2-4 to 2-1.
It was hectic, it was frantic… and everything in between. Avoca had their share of the ball too, but they were not finding a path through Greystones’s defence.
Full-back Deanna Clarke started an attacking move from her own goal and, with the ball fed through the lines, it ended with Megan Healy blasting her shot to the Avoca net. Éire Óg 3-4 to 2-1 to the good.
With the wind behind them, the Greystones players were riding the waves brilliantly.
But this Avoca squad are made of stern stuff too. They were not going to give up without a fight. Into the last 10 minutes and Tania McDonald got the ball rolling, weaving her way through the Éire Óg defence and firing to the net. Éire Óg’s lead cut to 3-5 to 3-1. Game on.
Avoca tails were up. They went for the kill. Centre-back Kirsty Hughes sent a rocket to the Greystones net. The lead down to a single point: 3-5 to 4-1.
Tension unbearable. Spectators hoarse. Teams in overdrive.
Tania McDonald is something else. She swings a boot and up goes the white flag. Teams level 3-5 to 4-2.
Éire Óg breathed a small sigh of relief as Abbie Smullen and Megan Healy put them two points up. The game in injury time. Avoca kept knocking on the door. And they had chances before Tania McDonald cut the margin to a wafer-thin one point.
Mick 0wens blew his final whistle. Éire Óg jubilant but Avoca can hold heads high too.
Both teams contributed to a fantastic match.
Éire Óg Greystones: Ella O’Reilly; Katie Bourke, Deanna Clarke, Leah Fallon; Julie Rose O’Brien, Megan Maguire, Siobhan Darcy; Ella Horgan, Eimear Ryan (1-0); Abbie Smullen (0-2), Megan Healy (2-1), Sarah Doyle; Elana Johnson, Ellie O’Neill (0-1), Lisa Murphy (0-3). Sub: Lauren Howard was used a number of times in different substitutions.
ADULT MEN’S FOOTBALL:Éire Óg Greystones manager Chris Traynor is calling on as many supporters of his team as possible to get down to whatever Wexford venue plays host to the Leinster quarter-final clash with St Mogue’s Fethard on Saturday, November 5, to cheer on the Wicklow Intermediate champions as they look to take another step in this provincial competition.
Traynor’s charges produced a stunning second quarter against Fenagh at the SETU campus in Carlow on Saturday afternoon that carved open a 1-11 to 0-2 lead over Paul Kenny’s charges who were missing some key personnel on the day.
It was very heartening to witness the rousing reception Dan Keane and his comrades received as they left the pitch at the superb facility at what used to be known as IT Carlow and Traynor feels that if another big crowd make the trip to the game against Fethard it could be a major boost for the Greystones side who will face a stiff challenge from the Model County outfit.
While Fenagh may have been missing a number of players through injury and travelling, Éire Óg were without the services of Sam Thompson so that their opponents were missing some players shouldn’t be seen as a huge factor in this victory.
The win came about because of that second quarter where Éire Óg bagged 1-9, the goal from the excellent Joe Prendergast who would finish with 1-4 while the Wicklow side also had big performances from Fionn O’Carroll, Darragh Shiel, Shaun Cranley and the class acts Stephen Kelly and Darren Hayden.
One worrying aspect of the game was the sending off of Darren Hayden nine minutes into the second half on a straight red card although it is understood that the decision is bieng appealed.
Chris Traynor feels that the red card was “very harsh” and that it was a “hard shoulder challenge on Sean Murphy, as any player has to deliver on a man of that size”.
“I couldn’t believe it when he reached for the red card,” said the Éire Óg boss before adding that the matter will be pursued ahead of the game in Wexford.
The situation came about when Sean Murphy, affectionately known as ‘Choo Choo’ gathered a ball and turned to head for goal. There waiting for him was Hayden who appeared to deliver a powerful shoulder challenge on the Carlow inter-county footballer, sending him sprawling to the ground.
However, after consultation with his linesmen, match referee Alan Coyne flashed the red card much to the dismay of Hayden, Traynor and the Éire Óg supporters.
Credit to the Greystones men, they didn’t panic or react negatively to this incident, and they pushed on for the win, limiting Fenagh to just two points for the rest of the game despite their numerical advantage.
A scrappy start meant that it 0-1 apiece by the 12th minute as both sides seemed to be feeling the other out in this environment of relatively unknown quantities that is the Leinster club championship.
Sean Murphy was looking powerful with ball in hand but Éire Óg’s Darragh Shiel had a fine game in that regard, doing very well to stop the midfielder getting up a head of steam with those trademark surges forward.
Shaun Cranley opened the scoring with a free which was answered by a fine score from Jack Treacy, but Darren Hayden popped over another free to leave the visitors leading by 0-2 to 0-1 after 13 minutes.
Dave Rooney increased the Éire Óg lead after great work from Peter Keane, Stephen Kelly, Fintan O’Shea and Danny Wood and from here on in the Greystones side were almost untouchable.
With Fionn O’Carroll putting in a massive shift in the full-back line, Fenagh hardly got a look in and at the other end the Éire Óg lads were flying.
Points from Darren Hayden (free), Joe Prendergast (2) were replied to by Padraig Hynes (free) but when Prendergast drove home a fine goal to the top corner of the Fenagh net moments after a Gavin O’Shea point to make it 1-7 to 0-2 after 24 the writing was on the wall for the Fenagh men.
Gavin O’Shea probably should have had a goal of his after 25 but Jack Rohan saved smartly in the Fenagh goal but further points from Cillian Keane, Prendergast and Shaun Cranley who had been picked out with a delicious through ball from Fionn O’Carroll and a fine score from Darren Hayden off the outside of his right boot left it 1-11 to 0-2 in favour of the Wicklow men.
Quality play from James Wood had earned Éire Óg a turnover that led to Hayden’s last score of the first half.
Fenagh had improved slightly on the restart, bagging two scores to Éire Óg’s one but then Darren Hayden received his marching orders while Sean Murphy’s influence on the game was lost due to the ferocity of the impact.
Prendergast and Dan Keane would finish the Éire Óg scoring in a game they were never going to lose at that stage, and they gave a number of substitutes decent game time which should stand to them if required against Fethard.
Chris Traynor was happy with the result and the performance, mentioning the displays from Prendergast and Fionn O’Carroll as two very positive aspects of the day while mentioning that the entire team performed very well.
The Wexford native expects a tough battle with St Mogue’s Fethard who will have Wexford footballer John Tubritt and Wexford hurler Mikie Dwyer within their ranks, but he is confident of a strong showing from Éire Óg Greystones and hopefully another step along this Leinster journey.
Éire Óg Greystones: Billy Norman; James Wood, Stephen Kelly, Peter Keane; Fintan O’Shea, Fionn O’Carroll, Dave Rooney (0-1); Cillian Keane (0-1), Darragh Shiel; Joe Prendergast (1-4), Dan Keane (0-1), Danny Wood; Gavin O’Shea (0-1), Darren Hayden (0-3, 2f), Shaun Cranley (0-3, 1f). Subs: David Dunne, Conor Mackle, Cian Hynes, Dan Clark, Daire Devine, Thade Shanahan.
U15 BOYS FOOTBALL: Éire Óg Greystones and AGB lit up Rathnew on Saturday morning in an entertaining encounter that was decided by an all-important breakaway goal courtesy of Sean Lehane.
Both sides came out hot in the first half, with AGB getting an electric start. Ryan Morgan, after creating a little havoc in the Greystones square, fired a soccer-style opener to the net for a major in the opening 30 seconds.
The inside line down the opposite end was equally on fire but could only manage points as Rian O’Gorman and Conor Keogh would combine and between them score four points while Diarmuid O’Reilly would also see his free bounce over the bar.
The Arklow side on the other hand were hungry for majors and against the breeze added a sweet Diarmuid O’Reilly point and an astonishing Ryan Redmond major. Redmond, who was playing midfield, was told by management to take a breather and in doing so stayed inside. A minute later he latched onto a break and fired to the top corner.
In this period the Greystones side moved the ball well, but with them being against the breeze in the second half they needed a big lead at half-time.
They started their pursuit of just that with a goal from blood substitute Jamie Coyle and points from Conor Keogh, Oscar Lane, Sean McLaughlin and Keogh again to end the half with a six-point lead.
In what was a game of two halves, AGB would play all the football in the third quarter as well as some of the fourth before Éire Óg would reply. Ryan Redmond was electric in this half, scoring four points, while Ryan Morgan and the powerful Dylan Mullen added points.
AGB, however, after a good start, scored for the last time in the 28th minute for a two-point lead which looked to be enough by this stage.
After all, in the second half so far Éire Óg Greystones had managed one attack but it was the incredible defensive work from man of the match Darragh Keogh that kept them in the game and a free from Conor Keogh on the 58th minute stopped their scoring drought.
An end-to-end period would follow from here as both sides sought out a winner. It only took Greystones two minutes to find it. Captain Sean Lehane, who was the blood sub off for his side’s second goal, was on hand here to seal the winner.
A brilliant team move eventually led to a Ruairi Shaw shot being saved and fell into the path of Sean Lehane who kicked home the winner.
AGB did look for some last gasp dramatics, but the Greystones men held out.
The captain and the game-winning goalscorer Sean Lehane accepted the cup on behalf of his side and Darragh Keogh accepted man of the match for a great finish for this Éire Óg team’s year.
Éire Óg Greystones: Matt Smullen; Luke Murphy, Darragh Keogh, Callum Clarke Twomey; Alex Dale, Corey O’Brien (0-1), Donagh Mellet; Oscar Lane (0-1), Ben Griffiths; Rian O’Gorman (0-1), Paddy Marrinan, Cillian Brady; Sean Lehane (1-0), Sean McLaughlin (0-1), Conor Keogh (0-6, 3f). Subs: Ruairi Shaw for R Gorman (39), Jamie Coyle for S McLaughlin (53), Conor Lehane for C Twomey (59).