‘Pooch’ shines in Greystones
Éire Óg see off Ardclough
AT the second attempt, Éire Óg got off to winning ways in their provincial league battle with their inter-county stars weighing in to overcome Ardclough.
A straightforward victory could have been even more straightforward had it not been for a goal gifted to the Co. Kildare side moments into the second half in highly controversial fashion.
The Greystones men were four points to the good when referee Eugene Doherty restarted proceedings. What he didn’t realise was that home goalkeeper Ger Whyte hadn’t yet returned to his goal – he’d barely re-entered the pitch and had about 120 metres to make up. Ardclough won possession, worked it to Sean Buggy and he flicked it home from 20 yards out.
That threatened to derail Éire Óg as their frustration bubbled over, but they recovered and their quality shone through in the end.
Despite togging out for Wicklow the following day, Stephen Kelly, Peter Keane, James Cranley et al starred for Éire Óg in miserable conditions on Saturday morning.
It was the home side that started the brighter. They raced into a 0-5 0-1 lead, the pick of the opening scores arriving in the 16th minute. Billy Cuddihy mopped up in defence and pucked upfield. ‘Pooch’ Cranley took it in his stride, motored past his man and raised the white flag with ease.
He was at it again minutes later. Leon Browne intercepted well and fizzed a ball down the left flank. Cranley had switched flanks by this stage but it had the same outcome as he escaped the attention of his marker before slotting over.
It was a handsome lead that Éire Óg were enjoying but Ardlough were architects of their own downfall with the umpires in danger of taking off and flying away if they had to keep waving shot after shot wide.They ended their drought in the 23rd minute – a full 20 minutes since their last successful effort.
As the rain continued to pour, conditions underfoot – already poor beforehand – worsened and there was many a Bambi impression by both sets of players.
It was around this time that a Ardclough man fancied his chances in a 50-50 with ‘Chester’ Kelly. Some say he is still trying to find his whereabouts on the Greystones turf today.
Ardclough did seem to find their footing (metaphorically) as the half came to a close and two quickfire points pulled them back to within a goal.
You can’t keep a good man down though and some great skill from Cranley forced Ardclough to foul him and he deposited the free to guarantee Éire Óg a four-point advantage at the break.
Following an opening day defeat to Ballygarrett, Éire Óg were keen to get a win under their belt but that came under threat when Whyte was fashionably late for the restart.
The hosts – who let the referee know their thoughts in no uncertain terms – were livid. Declan Molloy had a very presentable free to level matters within moments. When he missed, it seemed to snap Éire Óg out of their rage and refocus them on the task at hand.
In the 38th minute, Sean Buggy was in for another goal.
This time, Whyte was in situ and he proved a worthy opponent as he blocked the strike.
Andrew Walsh – the proverbial big man – was found deep in Ardclough territory. He had more than a sniff of goal but his rapid shot cleared the crossbar.
Martin Joyce slotted three points later and suddenly his side had a three-point cushion. It looked like the Kildare men were starting to tire but Éire Óg’s fitness levels weren’t waning.
There was another moment of controversy in the 50th minute. A shot from Sean Buggy flirted with the upright – Ardclough said it was over, Éire Óg disagreed. The officials sided with Éire Óg and the match restarted.
Two players were embroiled in a scrap as they rolled on the ground with team-mates arriving to instigate.
Éire Óg continued to play and a shot was deflected wide. It looked like a 65 had been given despite the fact that the referee had been preoccupied with the handbags. The 65 then appeared to be cancelled and instead the ball was dropped in to an Éire Óg player who was at least three yards clear of any Ardclough men.
Not resting on their laurels, Éire g immediately poured forward and took full advantage as ‘ Pooch’ netted.
Éire Óg Greystones: Ger Whyte; John Douglas, Mick Arrigan, Daniel O’Connor; Peter Keane, Billy Cuddihy, Eoin Potts; Kristin Flynn, Stephen Kelly; Leon Browne, Michael Walsh, Gavin Parslow; Danny Nolan, Martin Joyce, James Cranley.
Ardclough: Aidan Buggle; Darragh Walsh, Eoin Stakelum, Robbie Spain; Sean Whelan, Ronan Maguire, Peter Coleman; Eoghan Walsh, Liam Hanley; Sean Buggy, Colm Buggy, Paul Fitzgerald; Declan Molloy, Tony Spain, Rory Morrissey.
Referee: Eugene Doherty