independent

Saturday 25 October 2014

The year that was

Highs, lows and poetic inspiration

BRIAN O'DONOGHUE

Published 01/01/2013 | 11:44

SO ANOTHER year has come and gone and a world of sport has passed by, there are many highs and lows and we've picked out some of the best.

The ultimate highlights have to be the three All Ireland medals that came to our county and the first of those arrived on a cold night in February as Mount Leinster Rangers took on the northern champions.

Carlow's draw with Meath was also a huge highlight as JJ Smith's goal earned a replay which sadly didn't go Carlow's way.

St. Leo's and St. Laurence O'Toole's also had successful years with Marcus Lawler breaking the European sprinting records and the Carlow school adding to their Leinster medal haul. Siobhra O'Flaherty involved on both sides there and her GAA club, Eire Og what a year they had almost completing a clean sweep of medals.

The Olympics were called a home Olympics and our own Gabrielle Shelley represented his country proudly before retiring, while the likes of Mo Farah set the world alight and what about our own Katie Taylor, already looking set to be Ireland's greatest ever athlete.

Ireland had a poor Euro 2012 but the one moment that stood out was the Irish fans belting out the fields of Athenry despite being hammered by Spain 4-0. Sticking with soccer and a mention has to go to Padraig Amond after he picked up the player of the year award for Accrington Stanley.

There are so many stand out moments and all can't be included, but we've picked out our favourites and revisited reports and highlights from this paper at the time of the event and we begin, at the start of the year with Mount Leinster Rangers. MLR v Na Fianna (Middletown, Armagh) Eddie Byrne senior was on the microphone in front of the hundreds of people gathered outside Joyce's pub and he was in his element. William Wallace in his best Braveheart moments couldn't stir the soul the way Eddie did on Saturday night. He told the huge crowd that he prayed at half time, he said Saint Anthony is the saint to pray for when you need to find something and he prayed to him for Rangers to find the net, they did just that but sadly his son Eddie's goal was disallowed.

Those moments were only small pebbles in the giant stepping stones that the Rangers took to get that far. It seems like a long time ago that Paul Coady made his senior debut but it was only in 2011 against Naomh Brid. Could he have imagined in his wildest fantasies that less than a year after that day in McGrath Park, that he would have an AllIreland medal?

The game changing moment was now due and when Brian Nolan failed to deal with the sliotar an opponent was through for a certain goal, he had to take the man and he did. Referee Casey had no real option but to send the blonde full back off for the first time in his hurling career. David Carvill scored the close range free and then followed up with one from distance, until MLR full forward Denis Murphy stepped up twice to point frees and at half time MLR were three points behind1-8 to 1-5 at half time.

Two minutes before he would be taken off to a massive reception Denis scored one more free and Rangers were on top of the world. It would have been lovely if his replacement Paul Coady could have pointed the last play of the game but he was unlucky, not thay he cared as the final whistle blew and Mount Leinster Rangers were All-Ireland champions.

What about the two All-Ireland camogie medals that came to Carlow between August and November? When Carlow defeated Kerry in Lattin Cullen in the All-Ireland Junior B final a poem on the back page of this paper summed the game up.

Then the Myshall ladies travelled to Ashbourne where they took on Four Roads of Roscommon in their All-Ireland final. Nuala Quirke had won her 30th county medal in a row and Myshall had won 13-in-a-row and again we were inspired into poetry.

Sean O'Brien became the ERC player of the year after Leinster's All-Ireland Heineken Cup final clash with Ulster, and then his home club Tullow reached the Towns Cup final.

The second half started as the first had ended with good Tullow pressure and Canavan booted over a super penalty from the sideline. However with five minutes played Enniscorthy showed how playing in division 1A will benefit a team and when scrum half Alan Jacob spread wide it was too easy for Poole, Damien McCabe and finally Hughie O'Neill to isolate Sean McCarthy and the Wexford team lead 20-9.

Tullow ran in the subs and again they had an impact with Tullow gaining some momentum forcing the leaders into error and Canavan booted the penalty for 20-12. Enniscorthy still never looked like fading and two penalties in a row saw Poole follow Canavan's lead and he made it 23-12.

He was given a golden opportunity to add a further three points but his miss left Tullow with a glimmer of hope.

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