Dales march on unbeaten
AVONDALE backed up their stunning win over Baltinglass in the first round of the Boom and Platform Hire Senior Football Championship with a hard-earned victory over Eire Og in Ashford last Sunday evening.
On a miserable day for football this was never going to be the open free-flowing football that both sides desire, however it was Avondale who ground the result out with crucial second half goals coming from Cian O’Hannain and Conor Byrne.
It took nine minutes for the opening score with Dan Keane cleverly engineering a free that Darren Hayden converted. Avondale had to wait 15 minutes for their opening score from a Sean McGraynor free.
With the rain coming down heavy, the pitch was slippy and both sides were struggling to get good ball into their forward line.
Conor McGraynor showed his class with a point with the outside of his right boot from 40 yards.
After 18 minutes David Rooney tied it up with an interception from a sloppy pass before splitting the uprights.
Avondale, although appearing the better side, were being very wasteful in front of goal with numerous wides and balls dropping short.
Eventually David Baker strode up from half back to show the forwards how to do it. Rooney tied it up with a free before Éire Óg’s Fintan O’Shea showed that Baker was not the only half back with an eye for an audacious score on the field to put the Greystones men in front.
McGraynor tied it up on the half hour mark with a carbon copy of his previous effort.
Éire Óg nudged their noses in front after a patient passing movement saw them find Darragh Shiels who landed a monster score for the lead at half-time.
Another slow start to the second half resulted in nothing really happening for the opening eight minutes. However, Avondale then struck into life. Substitute Shane Beavor strode menacingly through the Greystones rearguard before offloading to centre forward Conor Byrne and he drilled low and hard to the keepers right for the
Ross Ward added a free to put the Rathdrum men three clear.
Éire Óg showed courage to come back with a Rooney free followed by Matt Maguire and Dan Keane scores from play to tie things up.
On 51 minutes came the crucial second goal. Conor Byrne lobbed a ball into O’Hannain and the corner-forward showed strength to roll his marker before shooting soccer style under advancing keeper Conor Browne to restore the three-point lead.
Once more Éire Óg refused to surrender; Hayden with a free before Keane put the minimum between the sides as we entered injury time. Conor McGraynor got an insurance point late on for the Dales.
A poor match overall, caused by the conditions. Avondale will be delighted to get their second victory of the campaign to leave them tied at the top of the group with St. Pat’s and Blessington. However, after shooting 17 wides they have much to work on.
Éire Óg have been most unfortunate to lose their opening two games and with a bit more look they could be in a much stronger position. Best for them were Darren Hayden and wing backs Peter Keane and Fintan O’Shea although their whole back line was good as a cohesive unit.
For the victors, Conor McGraynor hit some magnificent points and David Baker got a lot of breaking ball. Man of match was Saoirse Kearon who kept Éire Óg dangerman Shaun Cranley scoreless and he cut out many Greystones attacks through his reading of the play.
Scorers - Avondale: Cian O’Hannain 1-0, Conor Byrne 1-0, Conor McGraynor 0-3, David Baker 0-1, Ross Ward 0-1, Sean McGraynor 0-1
Éire Óg: David Rooney 0-3, Darren Hayden 0-2, Daniel Keane 0-2, Fintan O’Shea 0-1, Matt Maguire 0-1, Darragh Shiels 0-1
Avondale’s Zach Cullen powers up the field with Éire Óg’s Darren Hayden giving chase.
Avondale’s David Baker kicks a point as Darragh Shiels and Liam Maguire close in.
Éire Óg’s James Woods and Avondale’s Cian O’ Hannain battle for possession.
Avondale’s Conor Byrne heads for goal.