McDon­ald makes huge dif­fer­ence for Grey­stones men

Bray People - - SPORT - CRAIG FARRAR

COM­ING into this game, Éire Óg led their group after de­feat­ing An­nacurra in the open­ing round and faced Avon­dale in the knowl­edge that a vic­tory would rep­re­sent a ma­jor step to­wards seal­ing top spot.

The Grey­stones men started at a fran­tic pace, with Dar­ren Hay­den in par­tic­u­lar find­ing oceans of space in be­hind the Avon­dale half-back line on sev­eral oc­ca­sions.

While Éire Óg raced into a two point lead through Hay­den and the im­pres­sive Daniel Keane, it could have been so much bet­ter as two goal chances went abeg­ging.

With Éire Óg seem­ingly on the cusp of pulling fur­ther ahead, Avon­dale sud­denly came to life. Deep in the op­po­si­tion half with Eire Og back in num­bers, Avon­dale put to­gether one of the moves of the sea­son to raise a green flag. Show­ing im­pres­sive pa­tience, the ball was worked in and out, over and back be­fore an in­ci­sive run from Ryan Cahill split the Eire Og de­fence in two.

Cahill passed across the goal to find Sea­mus McGraynor who dis­patched to the net with ease.

While McGraynor’s goal was a sim­ple fin­ish, there was noth­ing easy about his next score mo­ments later. From the nar­row­est of an­gles on the wrong side for a right footer, McGraynor made a mock­ery of Fa­ther Time by slot­ting over a point that wouldn’t look out of place on any stage.

Sud­denly the mo­men­tum was with Avon­dale and they be­gan to find more scor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties. A high ball in from Barry Shee­han fell for Cahill who slot­ted a point be­fore Dean Ga­han drilled over from dis­tance.

Enda King re­sponded twice for his side but Éire Óg were strug­gling to gain any mean­ing­ful pos­ses­sion in the op­po­si­tion half ow­ing to a com­bi­na­tion of sloppy hands when re­ceiv­ing the ball and an ap­par­ent un­will­ing­ness to play to full-for­ward Billy Nor­man’s strengths by send­ing high balls into the edge of the square.

When such a pass did come in, it was Dar­ren Hay­den who found him­self the tar­get and the county star did well to bat the ball goal­ward, forc­ing goal­keeper Brian Burke into a fine in­stinc­tive save. How­ever, Burke was un­for­tu­nate to see the ball end up in the net when Billy Nor­man bravely dove for the ball and punched it just in­side the post as it drifted across goal.

They say the next score after a goal is cru­cial, with a point for the con­ced­ing team of­ten seen as a sign that they will not let the heads drop.

Avon­dale had no in­ter­est in a point. Go­ing straight up the field form the kick­out, Cian O’ Han­nain came into the pos­ses­sion in the square sur­rounded by a crowd of bod­ies. Some­where in the thick of the scrum, a foul oc­curred as O’ Han­nain tried to play the ball across goal to a team-mate and ref­eree Kieron Kenny pointed to the spot for a penalty.

Sean McGraynor pro­ceeded to send Éire Óg net­min­der Dar­ren Quigley the wrong way and raise a green flag in what was a bit­ter blow for the Grey­stones men hav­ing just scored a goal of their own mere mo­ments ear­lier.

Be­hind go­ing into the sec­ond half, Éire Óg started the sec­ond half brightly with scores from each of their half-for­wards push­ing them ahead be­fore Avon­dale re­sponded through Conor Byrne and Ryan Cahill.

Go­ing into the fi­nal quar­ter, the game was bal­anced on a knife edge be­fore the Éire Óg man­age­ment in­tro­duced Jamie McDon­ald.

It is no ex­ag­ger­a­tion to say this switch changed the game, with McDon­ald fir­ing his side into the lead with a se­ries of im­pres­sive scores. McDon­ald showed a real poacher’s in­stincts through­out his time on the pitch, con­sis­tently pop­ping up in the right place at the right time to slot over the bar. The for­ward would go on to fin­ish the game with four points, all of which came at cru­cial pe­ri­ods and re­ally killed off the Avon­dale chal­lenge.

It could have been so much dif­fer­ent for Avon­dale had they con­verted one of sev­eral goal op­por­tu­ni­ties in the open­ing stages of the first half but their waste­ful shoot­ing came back to haunt them, and in the end Éire Óg won out in rel­a­tive com­fort to so­lid­ify their stand­ing at the top of the group table.

A late red card for Peter Keane for a sec­ond yel­low did lit­tle to dampen the mood in the Éire Óg camp after a sec­ond suc­ces­sive vic­tory.

Scor­ers – Éire Óg Grey­stones: Billy Nor­man 1-00, Jamie McDon­ald 0-04, Daniel Keane 0-02, Dar­ren Hay­den 0-03, Enda King 0-03, Daniel Woods 0-02, Craig Smullen 0-01, Dar­ren Quigley 0-01 (45).

Avon­dale: Sea­mus McGraynor 1-01, Sean McGraynor 1-02(0-01f), Dean Ga­han 0-01, Conor Byrne 0-02, Liam Kin­sella 0-01, Ryan Cahill 0-02.

Éire Óg: Dar­ren Quigley; Liam Maguire, Justin O’Brien, Peter Keane; Sean Ho­ran, Leon Browne, Craig Smullen; Pearse Kelly, Daniel Woods; Daniel Keane, Enda King, Dar­ren Hay­den; Do­minic O’Reilly, Billy Nor­man, Eoghan McPhili­bin. Subs: Steven Lee, Ian Hef­fer­nan, Conor Shee­han, James Busher, Saoirse Kearnon, Cor­mac Doyle.

Avon­dale: Brian Burke, Kevin Fitzpatrick, Paudie Geoghe­gan, Shane Beevor, Mark Baker, Davy Baker, Liam Kin­sella, Dean Ga­han, Barry Shee­han, Shay McGraynor, Conor Byrne, Eugene Dunne, Cian O’ hAn­nain, Sean McGraynor, Ryan Cahill. Subs: James De­lahunty, Jamie McDon­ald, Fin­tan O’ Shea, Eoin McHugh, Sean Lawlor.

Ref­eree: Kieron Kenny (Ti­na­hely)

Éire Og’s DanielWoods out jumps Avon­dale’s Barry Shee­han dur­ing the SFC in Pearse’s Park, Ark­low. Pic­ture: Garry O’Neill

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.