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Éire Óg almost let it slip

Éire Óg 1-8   St Joseph’s 1-7

THE final scoreline in the Senior Football Championship Round 2 game at Cusack Park on Saturday evening suggests a very close tie but, in truth, Éire Óg were comfortable winners. Seven points ahead entering the final quarter, they failed to score after this and were under a little bit of pressure in the closing minutes as the Doora-Barefield outfit piled on the pressure.

St Joseph’s manager, Mark Raftery readily admitted that his side struggled for much of the game. “We were second best for the whole of the first half and the initial part of the second half. They kicked as many wides in the first half as we did. We wasted a lot of ball, four or five went into the ’keeper’s hands.”

He went on to say that his charges have a lot of work to do. “They were ahead of us. It’s as simple as that.”
Éire Óg boss James Hanrahan admitted that his charges “could have won it by a few more points. It was heart-stopping stuff there at the finish. We gave away a soft goal and they had one or two chances to equalise. However, we won and that’s what counts.”

“We are in the quarter-final and it’s knock-out from now on. We will see who we will be playing. It’s four or five weeks away but we are there,” he added.

In addition to having to survive a strong finish from the Doora-Barefield side, Éire Óg played the final couple of minutes with 14 players, after Sean Crotty picked up a second yellow card.

St Joseph’s received a great boost in the lead-up to the game. Experienced defender Kevin Dilleen, who was sent off on a straight red card against Liscannor a week earlier, was successful in his appeal and lined out at full-back.

The town side had the better of the first-half exchanges and deservedly led at half-time on a scoreline of 1-3 to 0-1. They lost Sean O’Meara after 10 minutes to injury and he was replaced by Sean Crotty.

They had early points form Eoin Glynn and Dean Ryan but these were the only scores of the first quarter. Glynn had his second point in the 19th minute, before Paudie Nugent came up field to kick St Joseph’s only score of the opening half.

A foul on Brian Dolan, as he headed for goal, led to an Éire Óg penalty with six minutes remaining in the half. Eoin Glynn gave Declan O’Keeffe no chance with a well-struck effort to leave the half-time score at 1-3 to 0-1 in Éire Óg’s favour.

Christy O’Brien pointed for St Joseph’s in the second minute of the new half but three in-a-row from Éire Óg had them seven clear with just six minutes of the second period played.

Points were swapped twice before the end of the third quarter. After two further points for St Joseph’s, the margin was down to five with 11 minutes still to play. Tempers flared a little and yellow cards were issued to Mark Hallinan (St Joseph’s), David Russell, Sean Crotty and Liam Corry (all Éire Óg) over the next few minutes.

Éire Óg still looked to be on the way to a comfortable win as the end of normal time approached. With a minute remaining, a high delivery from Alan O’Neill was won by Darren O’Neill but he lost possession and Colm Mullen flicked the ball to the net. Seconds later, Éire Óg’s Crotty was dismissed and then St Joseph’s substitute Kevin Frehill pointed to leave the minimum separating the teams. However, the game was now in the third minute of injury time and following the kick-out, Barry Kelly sounded the final whistle, leaving Éire Óg winners by a point and safely into the quarter-finals.

Éire Óg: Eoin Slattery; Ciarán Russell, Donie Lyne, Conor Brennan; Liam Corry, David Russell, Sean Corry; Darren O’Neill, Dean Ryan; Graham Glynn, Shane Daniels, Eoin Glynn; Brian Dolan, Stephen Hickey, Sean O’Meara.
Subs: Sean Crotty for O’Meara (inj, 13 minutes) and Eimhin Courtney for Ryan (58 minutes).
Scorers: Eoin Glynn (1-2, 1-0 penalty), Shane Daniels (0-3, 2f), Dean Ryan (0-2) and Brian Dolan (0-1).
Frees for: 14; wides: 6.
Bookings: David Russell (51 minutes), Sean Crotty (52 minutes and 62 minutes) and Liam Corry (55 minutes).
Sent off: Sean Crotty (62 minutes).
St Joseph’s: Declan O’Keeffe; Declan Malone, Kevin Dilleen, Martin Brooks; Paudie Nugent, Stephen Collins, Sean Flynn; Cathal O’Sullivan, Ivor White; Paul Dullaghan, Alan O’Neill, Christy O’Brien; David O’Brien, Cathal Duggan, Eoin Hanrahan.
Subs: Colm Mullen for D O’Brien (38 minutes), Ger Fannin for Hanrahan (44 minutes), Mark Hallinan for O’Sullivan (44 minutes) and Kevin Frehill for Duggan (58 minutes).
Scorers: Christy O’Brien (0-3), Colm Mullen (1-0), Paudie Nugent, Ivor White, Cathal Duggan (free) and Kevin Frehill (0-1 each).
Frees for: 16; wides: 11.
Bookings: David O’Brien (14 minutes), Paudie Nugent (24 minutes) and Mark Hallinan (51 minutes).
Referee: Barry Kelly, Miltown.


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