Éire Óg 0-13
Minor A Football Final
At Netwatch Cullen Park
By John Whelan
In what was the first draw in the Carlow Minor final since 1967 Éire Óg and Palatine played out the perfect curtain raiser to Old Leighlin versus Palatine. As Éire Óg sought their thirty second title it looked like their effort might just come up short but a Dylan Salter point deep into stoppage time was enough to level the sides for the sixth time and send the game to a replay.
Palatine looked dominant at times but the lead never went beyond four points and a sustained effort in the closing minutes from Éire Óg allowed them to live to fight another day.
Evan Kelly opened the scoring for Éire Óg within the first minute after James Brennan blocked impressively inside his own half to win possession. Shane O’Neill converted a free on three minutes to try settle Palatine into the game. Dylan Salter reclaimed the lead for Éire Óg in this ding dong battle on four minutes.
Palatine got two scores in quick succession from Conor Crowley and Cian Fitzpatrick to take the lead for the first time. Éire Óg responded with a period which saw them in relative control but with a lack of scores. Evan Kelly levelled the sides once more on thirteen minutes but Éire Óg were looking more impressive as a defensive unit. Cathal Myers put in a big hit before Kyle Kenneally blocked down a ball to stifle a Palatine attack.
Reece Denieffe picked up the scraps from a dangerous ball across the square and slotted it over to give Éire Óg the lead on sixteen minutes. Conor Crowley converted a free before Gavin Healy completely undone all of Éire Óg’s work when his shot drifted over Craig Walker’s head in the Éire Óg goal and ricocheted off the post and into the back of the net. Éire Óg were rattled and Niall Cawley tacked on another score when Éire Óg struggled to clear.
Jody Murphy got an important score to try quell some of the Palatine momentum before Gavin Healy continued his fine form and reclaimed a four point lead. It would be Palatine’s last score of the half .
Jordan Morrissey got one of the scores of the game when he dummied past his man and slotted the ball over the bar and it was bookended by Reece Denieffe points to bring Éire Óg back to within one point at the break. It was Palatine 1-6 Éire Óg 0-8.
Shane O’Neill opened the second half scoring with a converted free on thirty five minutes but they would go another fifteen minutes before another score. Points from Reece Denieffe and James Brennan saw the sides level once more. They too would go another fifteen minutes without a score.
A straight red card for Brian O’Mahony looked like it would hand the momentum to Éire Óg but instead Palatine got their first score in fifteen minutes when Gavin Healy placed the ball underneath Craig Walker to get his second goal of the day to give Palatine a three point lead. Crucially they did not score in the remaining ten minutes.
With five minutes remaining Éire Óg had what looked like would be their only chance denied. A high arcing ball drifted over Colm Heneghan’s head in the Palatine goal and they have Conor Doherty to thank as he saved the ball on the line. Credit to Éire Óg they didn’t panic and substitute Lee Mulhall calmly stroked the ball over the bar to bring them back to within two with four minutes left.
James Brennan edged Éire Óg even closer as the game entered stoppage time and Dylan Salter was on hand to get the all important leveller. Both teams will be glad to have another bite of the cherry, the replay takes place on Saturday October 17th at 2.15.
Craig Walker, Kyle Kenneally, Cathal Myers, Devon McCarthy, Jody Murphy(0-1), Dean Hayden, Lee Nolan, Dylan Salter(0-2), Evan Kelly(0-2), Paul Behan, James Brennan(0-2), Shane Waters, Ross Dunphy, Jordan Morrissey(0-1), Reece Denieffe (0-4, 2fs) SUBS Jamie Lawler, Luke Fitzgerald( in for D McCarthy 34 mins), Lee Mulhall(0-1)( in for K Kenneally 51 mins), Liam Ramsbottom, Sam Dunne, Daniel Crotty, Evan Dudley( in for S Waters 54 mins), Ciaran Murphy( in for P Behan 45 mins), Craig Snoddy, Brian Fitzgerald, Sean Dunne, Oran O’Flaherty, Harry Hynes, John Murren, Matt Brennan, MJ Keane, Ian Mahon, Connar Fox, Alex O’Mara, Jimmy Phelan, Kelvin Corcoran
Colm Heneghan, Dillon Cotter, James Kehoe, Odhlan Duff, Sean Dermody, Conor O’Doherty, Daragh Fitzpatrick, Shane O’Neill,(0-2, 2fs) Adam Duggan, Gavin Healy(2-1), Niall Cawley(0-1), Cian Fitzpatrick(0-1), Conor Crowley(0-2, 2fs), Conor Reynolds, Brian O’ Mahony SUBS Paul Harland( in for O Duff 51 mins), Andrew Bevins, Alan Daly, Conor Clonan, Cian Connolly, Adam Murphy, Cathal O’Neill, Darragh Heneghan, Andrew Kehoe, Marc Dalton, Michael Daly, Bobby Crowley( in for S Dermody 39 mins)