Éire Óg 1-14
Michael Lyng Senior Football Championship Quarter Final
At Netwatch Cullen Park
By John Whelan
Kildavin-Clonegal led Éire Óg for close to thirty minutes in this match. An impressive final fifteen minutes of the first half saw Kildavin-Clonegal hold a deserved three point lead at half time and all signs pointed towards a Kildavin-Clonegal victory. The Éire Óg men had half the amount of scoring chances (6) that Kildavin-Clonegal (13) had but crucially Éire Óg only trailed by three at the break.
Kildavin-Clonegal started the game in fine fettle and when Éire Óg failed to clear competently, Daniel St Ledger pounced and from close to fifty metres he put the ball over the bar to give them the lead after forty seconds. St Ledger added another score when he converted a long range free from fifty five metres to double Kildavin-Clonegal’s lead after three minutes.
Simon Rea got Éire Óg’s first score in the form of a free on five minutes, Niall Quinlan added a free of his own on eight minutes. Joe Roberts converted a free to reclaim the lead for Kildavin-Clonegal once more. The first half saw Éire Óg give away 13 frees and Kildavin-Clonegal give away 8. Kildavin-Clonegal scored four of the resulting frees and Éire Óg scored from three out of their eight.
By the time the game reached the tenth minute, Daniel St Ledger’s opening shot was still the only score from play. A quick two point salvo from Derek Hayden and Eoghan Ruth within sixty seconds saw an end to that and Éire Óg took the lead for the first time. Kildavin-Clonegal maintained their dominance however and Joe Roberts and Daniel St Ledger converted frees, another long range one from St Ledger to give them the lead once more.
On twenty three minutes, Aidan Kelly processed a long range pass and found Liam Conway who blasted the ball beyond Ricky Keating’s reach to surge Kildavin-Clonegal clear. Kildavin-Clonegal were well and truly on top but failed to add any more scores in the half and Niall Quinlan converted a free for Éire Óg to reduce the deficit to three at the break.
Late in the first half Sean Gannon was brought on after he had not started the game. Within the first minute of the second half Gannon had delivered a forty five metre pass to Murtough Ware who raised the first white flag of the half. The frequency of frees did not look like it was going to subside in the second half, Éire Óg gave away 15 and Kildavin-Clonegal gave away 12.
Kildavin-Clonegal showed no signs of succumbing to the Éire Óg comeback and a Joe Roberts free, a Pauric Hickey point as a result of a quick free and another Joe Roberts free saw Kildavin-Clonegal regain their firm hold on the game over a four minute period. After this period they found it hard to find scoring chances.
Gannon continued to pull the strings and a pass found Cormac Mullins who passed it to Jordan Lowry who found Eoghan Ruth and he made no mistake in sticking it over. Éire Óg looked a different
team with Benny Kavanagh and Jordan Lowry leading the line from the half back positions to give Éire Óg an extra bit of bite in their attacks. Sean Gannon got a point to reduce the Kildavin-Clonegal lead to two on forty four minutes, Benny Kavanagh had carried the ball from his own half. Gannon added another a few moments later, this time Derek Hayden had done the hard work and dispatched it to Gannon. Éire Óg had reduced the deficit to one point and were looking dangerous.
Another Derek Hayden run opened up the Kildavin-Clonegal defence and as he crossed the ball across the goal ,Niall Quinlan got there at the right time and palmed it into the net to complete a major turnaround. On fifty minutes Jordan Lowry and Benny Kavanagh surged forward and found Derek Hayden who slotted the ball over the bar. Niall Quinlan added another score after Murtough Ware swiped a ball out of a Kildavin-Clonegal man’s hands as they tried to clear the danger.
Kildavin-Clonegal finally mounted a response with Daniel St Ledger converting a free which was their first score in fifteen minutes. Jordan Lowry responded with a point before St Ledger converted another long range free to reduce the deficit to three once more with just injury time to play. Sean Gannon capped off a fine performance with his third score as time expired and Kildavin-Clonegal just couldn’t find a way back into the game.
Kildavin-Clonegal will regret not utilising their first half dominance as they now exit the championship, Éire Óg will have plenty to work on for the next day, a semi final against Palatine. Éire Óg defeated Palatine in the group stage already, Palatine defeated Éire Óg in the league and it will be an enthralling contest.
Ricky Keating, Richie Mahon, Alan Callinan, Niall Kenny, Jordan Lowry(0-1), Murtough Ware(0-1), Benny Kavanagh, Mark Furey, Eoghan Ruth(0-2), Derek Hayden(0-2), Mark Fitzgerald, Keith Hession, Simon Rea(0-1,1f), Cormac Mullins, Niall Quinlan(1-4) SUBS: Robbie Moore, Cathal Kelly( in for M Fitzgerald 46 mins), Shane Kelly( in for N Kenny 39 mins), Chris Blake, Kelvin Chatten, Sean Gannon( in for K Hession 27 mins) (0-3), Lee Moore, Sean Wogan, Eric McCormack( in for S Rea 56 mins), Paul Cashin, Fiach O’Toole, Ronan O’Brien, Darragh O’Brien ( in for C Mullins 46 mins)
Ronan Brennan, Liam Roberts, Liam Murphy, Paul Kavanagh, Paul Kelly, Mark Nolan, Donal Hickey, David Byrne, Daniel St Ledger(0-5, 4fs), Pauric Hickey(0-1), John Kirwan, Owen Roberts, Joe Roberts(0-4, 4fs), Aidan Kelly, Daniel Murphy SUBS: Kenneth Brennan, Pauric Byrne( in for P Kavanagh 56 mins)(1-0), Fintan Harrington( in for L Murphy 51 mins), Owen Roche, Liam Conway( in for D Murphy 17 mins), Richie Sinnott, Conor Fitzpatrick, Niall Murphy, Conor Smith