Michael Lyng Motors Senior Football Championship Semi-Final
Éire Óg 2-9
At Netwatch Cullen Park
By John Whelan
Palatine have sensationally booked the first place in this year’s county final. The Palatine men will return to the big date in October for the first time since 2012 where they will face Rathvilly or Old Leighlin. A supreme second half display saw Palatine stun Éire Óg and duly dump them out of the championship; a return of 2-2 in the opening seven minutes of the second half put Palatine in complete control.
Éire Óg had led by three at half time and looked to be well on top. Eoghan Ruth scored after just twenty seconds when Sean Gannon secured the ball from the throw in, drove forward and gave it to Cormac Mullins who found Ruth and he calmly stroked it over the bar. Lee Gordon cancelled Ruth’s score out with a free on three minutes. Cormac Mullins edged Éire Óg back into the lead after an impressive Derek Hayden tackle saw Palatine cough up possession.
Jordan Lowry took advantage when Eoghan Ruth palmed the ball clear from a kick out, Lowry had about fifty metres to run into and he went all the way and popped it over the bar. Palatine responded well with a Tomas Kenny point before John Reid gave the Éire Óg full back questions to answer. Reid sauntered his way towards goal and elected to fist it over the bar. It was an ominous sign for Éire Óg and when a high arcing ball dropped fortuitously for Tomas Kenny it was clear they were in trouble. Kenny passed the ball across the Éire Óg goal into the path of Ciaran Moran who pushed it to the back of the net to give Palatine a three point lead on eleven minutes.
Éire Óg won a free and took it short instead of going for it, the ball came to Eric McCormack and he popped it over the bar. Éire Óg did the same thing again when they won a free with Mark Furey getting the score to reduce the deficit to one on sixteen minutes. Lee Gordon converted a free to put Palatine two clear once more.
A lot of what Éire Óg did well this season was led by Benny Kavanagh driving forward from the half back line and when he won the ball on the Palatine forty five metre line Palatine seemed to anticipate a pass. Kavanagh side stepped his man and found acres of space as he drove towards goal and blasted the ball beyond Craig Kearney’s grasp in the Palatine goal to give Éire Óg the lead.
Niall Quinlan added a point from a free after Cathal Kelly was fouled; Kelly had received the ball from Cormac Mullins who had travelled all the way back inside his own half. Shane O’Neill was introduced for Palatine for the black carded Jason Kane and he made no mistake in converting a free.
As half time approached Éire Óg finished stronger with Murtough Ware and Niall Quinlan added scores. Quinlan’s point on twenty nine minutes would be Éire Óg’s last for over twenty minutes. It was Éire Óg 1-8 Palatine 1-5 at the break.
Palatine made three changes at half time with Tomas Kenny, Lee Gordon and Bryan Farrell all making way with Brian Kelly, Mark Rennick and Niall Reid coming on.
Palatine began the onslaught on Éire Óg when Jamie Kenny took his chance and slammed the ball passed Ricky Keating. Brian Kelly wasted no time in getting his first score and his thirty fifth minute point gave Palatine the lead, a lead they would hold on to for the rest of the game. Palatine were not going to let up and John Reid who found himself in on goal in the first half had no intention of settling for a point as he rattled the Éire Óg net to sway the game in Palatine’s favour. Brian Kelly tagged on another point to complete an astonishing 2-2 in the first seven minutes of the second half.
Éire Óg struggled to respond and ultimately they will rue the high level of wides and failure to capitalise on scoring chances.
Ciaran Moran got Palatine’s first score in nearly ten minutes when he put them six clear. Stephen Reilly had possession close to the Éire Óg goal when he selflessly passed to Jamie Kenny who popped it over instead of going for what would have been a match clinching goal. It was Palatine’s last score.
Chris Blake got Éire Óg’s first score of the half on fifty minutes. Despite the dominance of Palatine, Éire Óg were still in the game and when Cormac Mullins was fouled David Hickey signalled for a penalty. Kearney saved Simon Rea’s shot but Rea reacted quickest and scooped the rebound over Kearney and into the net. They would have time for one more chance to level the game but Palatine dealt with everything Éire Óg threw at them to finish out the game and turn their attention towards their first county final in three years.
Palatine Craig Kearney, Bryan Farrell, Conor Lawlor, David Kinsella, Christopher Crowley, Aidan Murphy, Stephen Reilly, David Reid , Jason Kane, Paul Reid, Ciarán Moran(1-1), John Reid(1-1), Jamie Kenny(1-1), Lee Gordon(0-2,2fs), Tomas Kenny(0-1) Subs: Cormac Holloway, Jack Brennan, Joe Byrne(in for S O’Neill 57 mins), Patrick Cushen, Gavin Farrell, Brian Kelly( in for T Kenny H/T), Chris Parle, Darragh Moran, Thomas Murphy, Shane O’Neill(0-1, 1f)( in for J Kane 14 mins), Bryan Farrell, Niall Reid( in for B Farrell H/T), Mark Rennick( in for L Gordon H/T), Cian Forkan
Éire Óg Ricky Keating, Richie Mahon, Alan Callinan, Niall Kenny, Jordan Lowry(0-1), Mark Furey(0-1), Benny Kavanagh(1-0), Sean Gannon, Murtough Ware(0-1), Cathal Kelly, Derek Hayden, Eoghan Ruth(0-1), Eric McCormack(0-1), Cormac Mullins(0-1), Niall Quinlan (0-2, 1f) Subs: Robbie Moore, Kelvin Chatten( in for M Furey 47 mins), Simon Rea(1-0)(in for E McCormack 50 mins), Mark Fitzgerald( in for R Mahon 38 mins), Darragh O’Brien( in for C Kelly 41 mins), Keith Hession( in for N Quinlan 55 mins), Shane Kelly, Chris Blake(0-1)(in for M Ware 47 mins), Fiach O’Toole, Lee Moore, Sean Wogan, Ronan O’Brien, Paul Cashin