Éire Óg turn on the style
Eire Og 5-16, Baltinglass 4-8: In the county grounds in Aughrim Eire Og’s Junior footballers under the astute guidance of Seamus Ahern, Janey O’Halloran, Billy Long and Tom Sherlock finally came of age.
Their transition to Senior ranks was hard fought by a gallant Baltinglass side who battled to hold back the Blue and White tide.
The game started with Rosie Keogh, who was to be a constant thorn in Eire Og’s side, scoring Baltinglass’s first point. However this was negated by a similar score from the boot of Janet Nolan.
This score was the catalyst for an avalanche of scores from Siobhan O’Riordan, Laurie Ahern, Niamh Kelly and Sophie Nolan which ensured that the Greystones outfit led 1-5 to 0-5 after 15 minutes.
Then a deliberate trip by the Baltinglass centre-forward Anne Marie Doran resulted in the half-forward receiving a yellow card and with it a period of ten minutes on the sideline.
Strangely this spurred on the Slaneysiders and in what was their best period of the match they scored 2-4 to a lone reply from Ahern. The scores had come from Geraldine Norton (0-2) who was finally able to shake off the indomitable Lorna Fusciardi, Rosie Keogh (2-0) and Sinead Fisher (0-2).
The goals resulted from great work outfield by Ann Marie Doran but Eire Og side finished the half on the up with scores from Ahern and O’Riordan to leave the halftime score 3-5 to 1-10 in Baltinglass’s favour.
The second-half belonged to Eire Og and with a plentiful supply of ball presented to the forwards the influence of Aherne and Deeney (who had up until half-time been held in check by a hard-working Balto defence) was to be seen to its fullest.
Lesley Anne Long profited with two goals and when Caoilfhionn Deeney was put through by Janet Nolan the flame-haired forward buried past Grace Driver in the Baltinglass net to put the game beyond Damien Patterson’s girls.
At the other end the Greystones defence marshalled by Gemma Kiely and Niamh Sherlock were in no mood to give up scores easily, a goal by Karen Moore being all the green and whites had to show for their pressure. The final score read 5-16 to 4-8 in favour of Eire Og.
Best players in a strong Eire Og side included Gemma Kiely, Lorna Fusciardi, Laurie Ahern, Siobhan O’Riordan, Caoilfhionn Deeney and Leslie Ann Long while for Baltinglass Rosie Keogh, Louise Byrne, Sinead Fisher and Geraldine Norton tried hardest to wrest the trophy from the grasp of Eire Og.
In the aftermath of one of the best Junior finals in recent years the sense of relief in the Eire Og camp was palpable. This team who had lost the last two Junior finals had been determined not to let this one slip and it seemed to be that factor which carried the day over a tough Baltinglass team who tried valiantly until the end.
However, it was not to be and Ann Caulfield representing the late Kathleen O’Neill presented the trophy for player of the match to Siobhan O’Riordan (who incidentally has represented Leinster in rugby) and the championship cup to Laurie Aherne.
Then it was off back to their clubhouse in Greystones while Baltinglass licked their wounds with a meal provided by their proud sponsors, Enda Hallahan in the Judges Inn.
Eire Og Greystones, winners of the Junior football championship final.
Baltinglass, beaten finalists in the Junior championship.