Éire Óg show class to win U-20 ‘B’ ti­tle

Brave Rath­new come up short in de­cider

Wicklow People (Arklow) - - SPORT - BREN­DAN LAWRENCE at Dun­bur Park

ÉIRE ÓG GREY­STONES made a mas­sive state­ment as to the health of their un­der­age sys­tem by clinch­ing the Un­der-20 ‘B’ Foot­ball Cham­pi­onship ti­tle af­ter a su­perb show­ing against Rath­new in Dun­bur Park on Sun­day af­ter­noon last.

Some lovely foot­ball and sweetly taken scores helped them to get past a dogged Vil­lage side and the lift­ing of the Paudge Doo­ley Me­mo­rial Cup in this very com­pet­i­tive cham­pi­onship to fol­low on from the Mi­nor ‘A’ vic­tory ear­lier in the year sug­gests some­thing of a golden age in the years ahead for the Grey­stones club.

Ev­ery sin­gle line of the Éire Óg team and their sub­sti­tutes con­trib­uted hugely to this win. De­fen­sively, aside from Sean Cof­fey’s first-half goal when he punched home from a high ball, the Grey­stones men were not found want­ing. Conor Browne pulled off some lovely saves and cleared up plenty of danger­ous ball. His ex­cel­lent point-blank save from Rath­new’s Michael Doyle in the first half was sur­passed by his re­flex thwart­ing of Luke Cor­co­ran’s shot from close range which the Éire Óg net­min­der didn’t see un­til the last sec­ond. It’s on these ex­cel­lent mo­ments that cham­pi­onship vic­to­ries are built.

In front of Browne, his six de­fend­ers bat­tled bravely against a very ca­pa­ble Rath­new at­tack. The most telling stat of all is the one that shows that Rath­new failed to score in the sec­ond half un­til the into in­jury time. Brian Law­less and then Conor Nolan had the un­en­vi­able job of try­ing to cur­tail the in­flu­ence of Sean Cof­fey at full-for­ward and for the most part they suc­ceeded.

Andy Clarke and Luke Pren­der­gast were busy through­out while team cap­tain Eoghan McTague led su­perbly from cen­tre-half back.

When your mid­field re­turns a five-point haul it’s fair to say that they have put in a de­cent shift. Conal Deeney and Fin­tan O’Shea were ex­cel­lent all through this game with O’Shea tak­ing the game by the scruff of the neck at key mo­ments, grab­bing the open­ing two scores of the game and the fi­nal score of the first half to send the Grey­stones men in lead­ing Rath­new by 0-6 to 1-2.

Scores are valu­able com­modi­ties in cham­pi­onship fi­nals and when you have a free-taker of the cal­iber of Shaun Cran­ley you are off to a great start. The cor­ner-for­ward bagged eight frees with his ef­forts from the ground prov­ing might­ily im­pres­sive on a De­cem­ber af­ter­noon.

Where did it go wrong for Rath­new? Their reliance on the high ball down on top of Sean Cof­fey at times in this game went un­re­warded as good de­fend­ing, poor pass­ing and saves left them with only the early goal to show for their ef­forts at the end of the game.

From the open­ing mo­ments of the game the Rath­new side­line and sup­port­ers were an­gered by de­ci­sions made by ref­eree Stephen Fa­gan. This feel­ing of dis­con­tent con­tin­ued through­out the game and led to un­nec­es­sary in­sults be­ing flung at the Balt­in­glass of­fi­cial.

It would be un­fair to say the cause of Éire Óg’s vic­tory on the day was down to any er­rors made by any of­fi­cial. Rath­new’s 10 wides and their fail­ure to take their goal chances would be more valid reasons for their de­feat. They will feel, how­ever, that they might have had a penalty late in the first half for a sus­pected foot block, while Éire Óg’s sixth point was ex­tremely tight as it flew over the top of the up­right from the boot of Fin­tan O’Shea and the call­ing back of the play when Rath­new looked through on goal in the sec­ond half for a sus­pected head in­jury to an Éire Óg player cer­tainly did the Balt­in­glass of­fi­cial no favours in the eyes of the Rath­new sup­port­ers.

The Vil­lage side started like a train but only had two wides and a missed goal chance to show for their ef­forts by the time Fin­tan O’Shea breezed through their de­fence and lashed over the open­ing score of the game when a goal might well have been on.

The in­ten­tion to hit Sean Cof­fey with high balls was bla­tantly ob­vi­ous and with JT Moore­house look­ing dom­i­nant at cen­tre-half back it looked like we were in for a great spec­ta­cle.

O’Shea fol­lowed up his opener with a tasty ef­fort af­ter he had been fed by Eoighain O Lon­aigh who showed nim­ble feet to get away from the tight-mark­ing Jack Healy.

A pick up in the square by Andy Clarke al­lowed Ciaran Cof­fey the chance to open Rath­new’s ac­count as we neared the end of the first quar­ter and the tal­ented mid­fielder wasn’t go­ing to miss from that range.

A pe­riod of poor shoot­ing fol­lowed un­til Dy­lan Smith pointed a free af­ter a foul on Sean Cof­fey to level the game af­ter 21 min­utes at 0-2 apiece.

Conal Deeney pushed Éire Óg back in front with a sweet score hav­ing prof­ited from an in­tel­li­gent O’Shea pass. JT Moore­house showed his class when he helped Deeney back to his feet af­ter the Rath­new cen­tre half back had tried to block Deeney’s ef­fort.

But the goal threat from Rath­new was con­stant in the open­ing half and it fi­nally ma­te­ri­alised into a green flag when a bomb from Jen­son Cox dropped down on top of Sean Cof­fey and the full-for­ward helped it home past Conor Browne to give Rath­new a 1-2 to 0-3 lead.

What fol­lowed was a key phase of the game. Rath­new would fol­low up the goal with two wides while Éire Óg’s re­ac­tion to the goal was im­pres­sive. They in­tro­duced Daire Devine for Eoghan Potts af­ter 25 min­utes and watched as Fionn O’Car­roll wal­loped the Rath­new cross­bar a mo­ment later.

Cran­ley grabbed his first and sec­ond points (both frees) while O’Shea notched his third to leave it 0-6 to 1-2. The Éire Óg man­age­ment also switched Shaun Cran­ley with Dan Clarke with Fionn O’Sul­li­van and Tris­tan O’Toole fol­low­ing their men.

Cran­ley pointed a free that had been moved for­ward for dis­sent four min­utes into the sec­ond half and then Conor Browne pulled off his su­perb re­flex save from Luke Cor­co­ran while Ciaran Cof­fey went wide from the re­sult­ing 45.

Ten­sions started to rise on and off the field. Cran­ley bagged the next two scores (both frees) be­fore Deeney swept over a su­perb point and then Fionn O’Car­roll pointed the score of the game af­ter a sub­lime ex­change of passes with sub­sti­tute Sean Ma­son to make it 0-11 to 1-2.

Noth­ing was go­ing right for Rath­new and it was 0-13 to 1-2 (two more Cran­ley frees) be­fore Sean Cof­fey fi­nally stopped the rot with a lovely score but it had all the hall­marks of be­ing too lit­tle too late for the Vil­lage side.

A Ciaran Cof­fey free af­ter 31 min­utes com­pleted the Rath­new scor­ing for the day be­fore Cran­ley’s eighth and fi­nal score of the day left the fi­nal tally read­ing 0-14 to 1-4 af­ter a ca­pa­ble per­for­mance from a very tal­ented young side.

Scorers - Éire Óg Grey­stones: Shaun Cran­ley 0-8 (8f), Fin­tan O’Shea 0-3, Conal Deeney 0-2, Fionn O’Car­roll 0-1.

Rath­new: Ciaran Cof­fey 0-2 (2f), Sean Cof­fey 1-1, Dy­lan Smith 0-1 (f). ÉIRE ÓG GREY­STONES: Conor Browne; Conor Nolan, Brian Law­less, Andy Clarke; Luke Pren­der­gast, Eoghan McTague, Eoghan Potts; Conal Deeney, Fin­tan O’Shea; Rory Lucy, Fionn O’Car­roll, Dan Clarke; Cian O’Flaherty, Eoighain O Lon­aigh, Shaun Cran­ley. Subs: Daire Devine for E Potts, Conor Ful­ham for D Clarke, Thade Shana­han for A Clarke, Eoin O’Neill for E O Lon­aigh, Sean Ma­son for C O’Flaherty (inj), Gavin O’Shea for F O’Car­roll.

RATH­NEW: Pa­trick Reynolds; Fionn O’Sul­li­van, Jack Healy, Char­lie O’Brien; Tris­tan O’Toole, JT Moore­house, Nicky Kear­ney; Ciaran Cof­fey, Gary Hughes; Jen­son Cox, Sam O’Dowd, Luke Cor­co­ran; Dy­lan Smith, Sean Cof­fey, Michael Doyle. Subs: Colin Syn­nott for N Kear­ney, Cian Hunter for J O’Con­nor, Ro­nan Earls for G Hughes.

REF­EREE: Stephen Fa­gan (Balt­in­glass)

Éire Óg cap­tain Eoghan McTague col­lects the Paudge Doo­ley Me­mo­rial Cup from Eu­gene Doo­ley with Wick­low GAA chair­man Martin Fitzger­ald.

Fine field­ing was on dis­play in Dun­bur Park on Sun­day.

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