‘Pooch’ shines in Grey­stones

Éire Óg see off Ard­clough

Wicklow People (Arklow) - - SPORT - DANIEL GOR­MAN at Grey­stones

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

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