A bright future for Greystones club
THE joy and delight on the faces of the Éire Óg Greystones management team after the final whistle of the Under-20 ‘B’ Football Championship final in Dunbur Park was something to behold.
Having already delivered a Minor ‘A’ crown back to the seaside town in 2018, this under-20 ‘B’ crown makes a strong promise of a bright future in the Éire Óg club.
To win it they had to withstand a strong challenge from Rathnew and that they did, taking a onepoint lead into the break and preventing the Village from scoring for almost 40 minutes before injury time at the death.
The Éire Óg management team said they got their scores when it counted.
‘We just set out to play the ball out wide and our lads did it and got stuck in. We felt Rathnew would play it through the middle and we stopped the lads doing that and that’s about it, we got our scores when it counted and kept playing football,’ said Fergus O’Neill.
‘And again, like Baltinglass (in the Minor ‘A’), this is my first time in 55 years to beat them (Rathnew) in a final,’ said Peter O’Neill.
Despite coming late to prepare for this new competition, the Éire Óg lads really bought into it and put in a serious effort in training.
‘I’m delighted for the lads, they’re after putting it in. They started late and they really got involved in it. They all pulled together, and they got what they deserved today. I’m absolutely delighted for them because they’ve put it in, great training sessions, winter’s evenings, 20 or 22 of them out, so we’re absolutely thrilled and we hope they can go forward from here now,’ they added.
‘It’s been brilliant, really enjoyable, and everybody has bought into it and I really hope the county keep it going because it was sadly lacking.
‘They were a group of Minor players who finished up two years ago and didn’t have anything, and off to college, and this has brought them back into the club as I’m sure it has done for every club in the county and we need to keep it going next year,’ they added.
There was serious tension during the game as the Rathnew players, management and supporters became incensed at decisions made by referee Stephen Fagan over the course of the game.
The Éire Óg management team had instructed their players not to get involved in anything other than the football and they were delighted with how their players performed.
‘We said to the lads before the ball was thrown in, we said: ‘Lads, you just keep your counsel and you do what you have to do, and we just walk away and let the referee ref the game and let the umpires do that (their job) and that’s what we did from the start. We didn’t get involved and I’m delighted with them,’ they said.
Creating a bond and a strong unit is key for the Éire Óg management team and it is paying dividends.
‘We have our midfield who have been performing there for the last few months, Fintan O’Shea and Conal Deney, and the lads played together as a team, they really do pull together and do whatever it takes to win that game and that’s what they did, and we’re delighted of each and every one of them and the bench, every one of the subs who came on and those that didn’t because we are trying to make them into a unit of 25 lads because that’s where the future is for us.
‘The future is very bright. Lads playing football, enjoying themselves.
‘I keep saying it, people have conferences in Wicklow about what do we do. It’s very simple, you need lots and lots of matches,’ added Maurice Prendergast.
The Éire Óg Greystones team who defeated Rathnew to claim the Under-20 ‘B’ Football Championship title on Sunday in Dunbur Park.
Éire Óg players celebrate after the final whistle in Dunbur Park.
Peter O’Neill adresses his players after the final whistle.
Rathnew’s Ciaran Coffey plucks a high ball out of the sky.