Late Murphy free salvages a share of the spoils for Carnew
Carnew 1-8, AGB 2-5: Every year AGB make a promising start to the football season only to run out of steam when the championship comes round and find themselves battling to stave off relegation at year’s end.
On Saturday at Carnew the Arklow players began 2009 with passion and fire in their game as they forced Carnew, the defending league champions in division one, to come from behind to force a draw.
County man Ciarán Hyland, who lined out at centre-back for AGB, was the inspiration to his colleagues with a tour-de-force display of attacking football, scoring 1-1 himself and setting up the second goal for Philip Gleeson with his mazy solo run.
Carnew, who are in the final of the Dunne Cup top four competition from last year’s leagues, started as if they were going to blow the Arklow seasiders out of the water from the word go as they took an early two points lead as winger Joe Murphy hit the target twice from frees in the opening five minutes.
However AGB, once they settled into the contest, showed that they were prepared to scrap for everything and, for a first game of the season, this match had real championship bite and needle with the exchanges threatening to boil over a couple of times in the second-half as Carnew sought to attack the AGB lead.
Philip Gleeson got AGB off the mark with a point after six minutes and midfielder Niall Mullett cancelled out Carnew’s third point by Joe Murphy, this time from play after he had been teed-up for the score by a good cross-field ball from Seánie Kinsella.
Yet AGB had not bedded into the game completely at this stage, their play was good and bad in parts.
On 18 minutes, however, they got the lift they needed. Ciarán Hyland was ever willing to link up with his attack and he blasted the ball to the Carnew net after taking a back pass from Damien Hurley.
It was game on from there and Carnew knew they had a fight on their hands if they were to salvage something from their opening league match.
As they sought to refocus, the home side brought Gary Doran out from his full-forward position to act as a third midfielder.
Joe Murphy exchanged points with Ciarán Hyland before AGB gifted their opponents an equalising goal. Dermot Doran pumped a ball in from the right wing; goalie James Bolger and an AGB defender got their wires crossed and the ball finished up in the far corner of the net.
The sides were deadlocked at 1-4 each.
AGB were unfazed by that setback and hit back for an answering goal instead. And what a gem of a goal it was too.
Ciarán Hyland took off on a dashing solo run through the heart of the Carnew defence before laying the ball off to Philip Gleeson, who drilled his pile-driver of a shot to the net off the crossbar.
On the other side of the fence Joe Murphy had a huge game for Carnew, scoring all eight of their points, six of them from frees. His fifth effort just before half-time left his team trailing by a mere two points at the break – 1-5 to 2-4.
In a second-half that was at times tempestuous, we had just four scores for the entire 30 minutes as Carnew pressed relentlessly and AGB defended resolutely.
AGB’s Niall Mullett and Joe Murphy exchanged points in the first ten minutes of the new half and then Joe Murphy narrowed the gap to one point as the match entered the final quarter.
The Arklow lads refused to buckle under the pressure and Carnew looked as if they were never going to grab the final equaliser as they ballooned a number of good chances wide of the target – Joe Murphy even nodded as he failed to convert from two frees.
A move at the other end involving Donal O’Keeffe and centre-forward Stephen Hurley floated the ball across the face of the Carnew goal to lurking substitute Damien Redmond, but his attempt to raise a green flag was smothered by the Carnew keeper Emmett O’Sullivan and the chance was gone.
Then Carnew kept battering their opponent’s ramparts right to the end. With less than two minutes to go they were awarded another free in a scoreable position and this time Joe Murphy regained his accuracy to flight over the point that ensured a share of the league points.
Just before the final whistle, AGB suffered another blow when Damien Redmond was sent off on a straight red card.
Nevertheless the Arklow team can take some positives from this game. While players on both teams showed ring-rust after the winter break and lacked fitness, AGB have it in their own hands to build on this draw and try to emulate the 2008 achievements of their opponents Carnew, who won league and championship titles last year.
Scorers for AGB: Ciarán Hyland (1-1), Philip Gleeson (1-1), Niall Mullett (0-2), Donal O’Keeffe (0-1).
Carnew scorers: Dermot Doran (1-0), Joe Murphy (0-8, six frees).
AGB: James Bolger, Darren McAndrew, James Tyrrell, Paul O’Donohoe, Pat Egan, Ciarán Hyland, Paul Lawlor, Niall Mullett, Mark Ivanoff, Damien Hurley, Stephen Hurley, Alan McBride, Philip Gleeson, Philip Healy, Ivan Hurley. Subs. - Donal O’Keeffe for D. McAndrew, Damien Redmond for P. Gleeson, Ciarán Byrne for P. Healy, Philip Healy for D. O’Keeffe.
Carnew: Emmett O’Sullivan, Willy Collins, Vinny Flaherty, Shane Doyle, Mark Collins, Liam Kennedy, Nick Skelton, Dermot Doran, Thomas Kennedy, Keith Osbourne, Timmy Collins, Joe Murphy, Eoin Coleman, Gary Doran, Seánie Kinsella. Sub. - Don Hyland for G. Doran.
Referee: Kieran Kenny (Tinahely).
Ciarán Hyland scores Arklow’s opening goal.
Action from the match between Carnew and AGB.
Action from the match between Carnew Emmets and Arklow Geraldines Ballymoney.