Michael Lyng Senior Football Championship
Éire Óg 1-20 Palatine 2-10
At Netwatch Cullen Park
By John Whelan
Éire Óg have started their 2015 Championship campaign with an impressive victory over Palatine. In the league bout between the two Palatine blitzed Éire Óg in the second half to claim victory. A six point lead for Éire Óg at half time looked to be foreboding for Palatine but they battled hard to bring the deficit back to three points. An efficient final five minutes for Éire Óg was enough to see off the Palatine challenge.
One of Carlow’s most consistent performers in the league and championship this year was Sean Gannon and he started the game with a trademark blazing run from the throw in towards the Palatine goal. Referee John Hickey awarded Éire Óg a free and Niall Quinlan slotted it over to give them the lead. Éire Óg looked sharper in the earlier exchanges, Jordan Lowry and Benny Kavanagh ensured the ball wouldn’t go beyond the half back line.
Jamie Kenny found the keys to unlock the Éire Óg defence but a Ricky Keating save denied Palatine a goal, Paul Reid popped the ball over the bar when it rebounded out. Sean Gannon replied with another blazing run, this time he passed Jack Brennan to find some space and he slotted it over the bar to restore Éire Óg’s lead. On eight minutes Brian Kelly levelled the sides with a free. Gannon claimed the lead for Éire Óg once more on twelve minutes.
Jamie Kenny continued to bother the Éire Óg defence and levelled the sides with a score, swiftly followed by a Brian Kelly point that gave Palatine the lead for the first time in the tie. Kenny was unlucky to see a legitimate goal opportunity stifled by a Fiach O’Toole block. The period of dominance for Palatine seemed to inspire Éire Óg and from the sixteenth minute to the twenty second Éire Óg scored five unanswered points. Niall Quinlan got the first in this purple patch for Éire Óg, quickly followed by an Eric McCormack free. Mark Furey did well to win a ball in midfield and Cathal Kelly put the ball over the bar from his pass. Derek Hayden and Sean Gannon finished off the scoring with a point each to edge them four points clear.
Palatine needed some form of a rebuttal and Ciaran Moran delivered with a goal to bring them back to within one. Much to the dismay of Palatine another Éire Óg phase of dominance ensued. Cormac Mullins replied for Éire Óg with a point, quickly followed by an Eric McCormack point after a Cathal Kelly pass. Éire Óg weren’t finished and a Jordan Lowry run found him close to the Palatine goal, the referee played advantage as he was being fouled, he somehow got the pass away to Cormac Mullins who blasted the ball past Craig Kearney to put Palatine on the ropes. Niall Quinlan finished off the scoring with another point to put them seven clear. Stephen Reilly reduced the deficit to six as half time approached.
Brian Kelly converted a free in the early going of the second half. Halftime substitute Shane O’Neill won the ball and drove towards goal, he unleashed a furious shot that clipped the cross bar and went away from goal. Brian Kelly converted another free on thirty six minutes to bring Palatine back to within four.
Eric McCormack got Éire Óg’s first score of the second half on thirty eight minutes after a fine pass from Cormac Mullins. Palatine had looked sharper in the opening minutes of the half and Jason Kane was unlucky to see his goal chance drift narrowly wide. Éire Óg responded with an impressive score, Darragh O’ Brien flicked the ball on from midfield, Sean Gannon won it, passed it back to Darragh O’ Brien who delivered it to Niall Quinlan and he calmly slotted it over the bar. Eric McCormack added another free to restore the Éire Óg lead to seven. Palatine responded once more and Ciaran Moran was in on goal only for his effort to go narrowly wide. Éire Óg replied with a Darragh O’Brien point.
Palatine were still not out of the game and Brian Kelly added another free. Shane O’Neill got another opportunity but this time Benny Kavanagh stuck in an impressive block to deny him. With ten minutes remaining Palatine got a free and took it quick, Ciaran Moran took his chance and drove it past Ricky Keating for his second goal and to bring Palatine to within four. Paul Reid scored a point to edge Palatine even closer. A chaotic sixty seconds followed, Brian Kelly received a red card and Shane O’Neill received a black card to kill their momentum. A fine Cormac Mullins point in the aftermath was a blow for Palatine .
Eric McCormack put Éire Óg five points clear, Darragh O’Brien and Sean Gannon had worked well again to bring the ball up the middle of the field and give the pass to McCormack. McCormack added another after a Chris Blake pass found him. As the clock rolled over sixty Kelvin Chatten, Keith Hession and Cormac Mullins combined to move the ball forward with Mullins putting it over the bar.
A fitting end to Éire Óg’s scoring was a Sean Gannon break from his own half which saw him drive up the field unopposed, bouncing the ball and controlling it ever so slightly with his head, he then slotted the ball over the bar to give Éire Óg a final tally of 1-20. Patrick Cushen got a late free to end the game.
Ricky Keating, Fiach O’Toole, Alan Callinan, Niall Kenny, Jordan Lowry, Derek Hayden(0-1), Benny Kavanagh, Mark Furey, Eoghan Ruth, Cathal Kelly(0-1), Darragh O’Brien(0-1), Sean Gannon(0-4), Eric McCormack(0-6, 2fs), Cormac Mullins(1-3), Niall Quinlan (0-4, 2fs)Subs: Robbie Moore, Chris Blake( in for Darragh O’Brien 57 mins), Keith Hession( in for Niall Quinlan 56 mins), Mark Fitzgerald( in for Cathal Kelly 45 mins), Shane Kelly( in for Fiach O’Toole 41 mins), Richie Mahon, Kelvin Chatten( in for Derek Hayden 44 mins) , Lee Moore, Paul Cashin, Sean Wogan, Murtough Ware, James Ware, Corey Harmon
Craig Kearney, Stephen Reilly(0-1), Conor Lawlor, Chris Parle, Mark Rennick, Jack Brennan, Gavin Farrell, David Reid , Jason Kane, Ciarán Moran(2-0), Aidan Murphy, Lee Gordon, Jamie Kenny(0-1), Paul Reid(0-2), Brian Kelly (0-5, 4fs) Subs: Cormac Holloway, Joe Byrne, Patrick Cushen(0-1, 1f in for Shane O’Neill 55 mins), Christopher Crowley, Cian Forkan, Tomás Kenny(in for Lee Gordan 45 mins),
Darragh Moran, Tommy Murphy( in for Mark Rennick 50 mins), Shane O’Neill(in for Jack Brennan H/T), Niall Reid, John Reid, Bryan Farrell, David Kinsella, Dermot McDonald