Glenealy dig deep to earn another crack at Carnew
Glenealy 1-12, Carnew 1-12: Arch hurling rivals Glenealy and Carnew must meet again on November 8 to decide which of them will be crowned Senior hurling champions for 2008.
They have been the dominant forces in hurling this decade, titles alternating between them by the year, and when they met at Aughrim in Sunday’s final there was not a puck of a sliothar between them at the end of an hour’s hard, uncompromising hurling.
Glenealy had a whirlwind start to the match with a 1-1 lead inside five minutes, Carnew wrested the lead before half-time and stayed in front most of the half, and then the reds hit back in the closing minutes to force the final to a replay.
That in microcosm was the tale of the 2008 championship decider, the exchanges were tough but fair, no quarter was asked or given, and when Eddie Leonard blew the final whistle on proceedings most fans will agree that on balance a draw was a fair result after a titanic battle between the teams.
Midway through the second-half the defending champions Glenealy looked to be in serious trouble.
Not alone had they lost their early first-half advantage but they had drifted five points behind following Don Hyland’s goal for Carnew, who had already beaten them this year on their way to the league title.
However, Glenealy are not alone the hurling aristocrats in Wicklow but their players are also made of stern stuff. Like their opponents Carnew, they never show the white feather, they never give up no matter how dark the October rain clouds are overhead.
In the final quarter, Glenealy’s players dug deep into their reserves and bombarded the Carnew ramparts.
On the other hand Carnew defended stoutly, their men equally resolute and resilient, making for a titanic struggle between these two giants of Wicklow hurling.
At the three quarter stage Glenealy lagged behind 1-12 to 1-7. Nearing the last five minutes they had cut that deficit to two, 1-10 to 112 thanks to the phenomenal accuracy of midfielder Jonathan O’Neill from frees and one spectacular point from a 75 metre line ball.
Carnew backs were to the wall, Glenealy hopes and hearts were in their mouth. It was indeed a nail-biting finish to a cracking, hard game of hurling.
Corner-forward Enan Glynn, showing for the first time since his sparkling start to the match, landed his third point on 53 minutes and the margin was down to a point.
In an effort to work the oracle to halt the slide, Carnew brought in Billy Rickerby for Gary Doran but Glenealy kept bombing forward. With just a minute of normal time left they won another long-range free on the right.
Moments earlier Jonathan O’Neill had pulled a somewhat similar free wide of the Carnew posts.
Undaunted O’Neill stepped up to the sliothar again and showed great composure under pressure as his shot honed in on the centre of the target for the equalising point and a fitting draw.
Defending their title, Glenealy had a whirlwind start to this match and that despite playing against the wind.
Team captain Enan Glynn, who got the man of the match award 12 months ago after hammering home three goals in the defeat of Kiltegan, looked as if he was going to stage a reprise performance judging from his early play.
As well as scoring the opening point after three minutes, he was causing repeated problems for the opposing defence until Carnew took steps to close off the loophole by switching Willy Collins to do the policing job.
Minutes later Alan Driver found the Carnew net, profiting from the work of MJ O’Neill, and the reds were 1-1 up after five minutes.
From the puck out Joe Murphy made one of his many high fielding catches of the sliothar and he put Carnew on the scoreboard.
And so the battle royal was on in earnest. Dermot Doran had a huge game at wing-back for Carnew as did Emmett O’Sullivan at full-back, Joe Murphy at wing-forward, while Thomas Doyle, MJ and MA O’Neill were showing strongly for Glenealy.
However, in the end of the day, this game came down to a contest between the respective sharpshooters.
Again Don Hyland and Jonathan O’Neill were on song for Carnew and Glenealy, contributing largely in equal measure to their teams with totals of 1-7 to 0-8 respectively.
Enan Glynn landed his second point, MA Neill and Jonathan O’Neill also got on the scoresheet, Hyland countered with three points on the trot and the sides were level after 28 minutes – 1-5 to 0-8.
Hyland popped another shot over the bar and Liam Kennedy scored with a mighty effort from 80 metres and Carnew retired for the interval break ahead by 0-10 to 1-5.
Brian Osborne got the Carnew show on the road in the second-half with a point after two minutes and things were starting to look as bleak as the weather for Glenealy at the end of the third quarter after Don Hyland’s goal had stretched his team’s lead to five points – 1-12 to 17.
Even though both teams concentrated in keeping play tight to minimise openings for their opponents, Glenealy kept plugging away at overhauling their opponents.
And it was Jonathan O’Neill who led the assault with his razor sharp shooting from frees and play.
One of his points from a line ball 75 metres out on the left flank, was truly a brilliant score on 46 minutes and nearing the last five minutes he had cut Carnew’s lead to just two points once more 1-10 to 1-12.
As Glenealy pressed relentlessly to pull the game out of the fire, Carnew were not to score in the last quarter. On 53 minutes Enan Glynn resurfaced in the spotlight again with a point and the margin was down to one.
With one minute of normal time left Glenealy were awarded another long-range free, a pressure puck for Jonathan O’Neill. After failing to score from a free moments earlier, O’Neill showed nerves of steel as he guided his shot straight between the Carnew posts to put this final to a replay on Saturday week, November 8.
The winners will be due to play in the Leinster Club Intermediate championship the next day.
Scorers for Glenealy: Alan Driver (1-0), Jonathan O’Neill (0-8), Enan Glynn (0-3), and MA O’Neill (01).
Carnew scorers: Don Hyland (17), Brian Osborne (0-2), Joe Murphy, Seánie Kinsella and Liam Kennedy (0-1 each).
Glenealy's Anthony Driver feels the pressure from the Carnew defence.
Don Hyland’s hurley bends as he challenges Glenealy's Robert Byrne.