Hayden the driving force as Eire Og wrap up Leinster title
Eire Og, Greystones 0-8
Eire Og, Greystones gave the Garden County an early Christmas present yesterday when they put a Leinster trophy on their sideboard after a tight and tough battle with Confey.
The Kildare side were reduced to 14 men with 12 minutes to go when their inspirational wing-forward Joe Keogh was red-carded, but they will rue even more ballooning a number of scoring chances wide in both halves.
But, in truth, the Wicklow champions were growing in confidence with the wind behind them in the second half and they were in control of proceedings at the end.
Corner-forward Gino Fuisciardi could have put the final seal on the win at the death in a highly competitive final at Aughrim.
He had only the 'keeper to beat after being set up by county star and centre-forward Darren Hayden, but his attempt to chip goalie Kevin O'Sullivan rebounded off the crossbar. A wet and greasy pitch made it difficult for both teams, but nonetheless the players still managed to serve up a rousing contest.
Controlling a slippery ball was a lottery at times and Confey had to wait 20 minutes for Joe Keogh to score their second point after full-forward and top scorer James Gately opened their account with a point off his left boot in the second minute. Eire Og defended stoutly, the backline anchored by county man Stephen Kelly at centre-back and Jack Tanner at corner-back.
Darren Hayden opened for the Greystones men on 24 minutes and then bustling Billy Cuddihy landed a fine point to leave Eire Og trailing 0-2 to 0-4 at the break.
After the restart, full-back James Kelly made a great interception to prevent Confey stretching their lead. Daniel Webb fired over a couple of points and Eire Og drew level at 0-5 apiece on 46 minutes.
Minutes later, Webb floated another free between the posts and the Greystones side were ahead for the first time.
By now, Confey were down to 14 men and even though James Gately levelled the scores a second time, Eire Og were growing in stature and confidence all the time.
Darren Hayden was at the heart of Eire Og's drive to victory, scoring the two winning points with five minutes left, the first from a free.
SCORERS -- Eire Og Greystones: D Webb, D Hayden 0-3 each, B Cuddihy, G Fuisciardi 0-1 each. Confey: J Gately 0-3, J Keogh, P Smith, T McCann 0-1 each.
Eire Og Greystones -- B Norman; J Tanner, J Kelly, E McHugh; C Smullen, S Kelly, S Horan; T Gberevbie, J Leonard; P Smith, D Hayden, K Manahan; G Fuisciardi, B Cuddihy, D Webb. Sub: D Wood for P Smith.
Confey -- K O'Sullivan; C Jennings, F Ryder, J O'Neill; D MacClean, J Quigley, P Quigley; P Divilly, C Quinn; J Keogh, R McMahon, K Smith; T MacCann, J Gately, E Fitzpatrick. Sub: C Chan for P Quigley.
Ref-- B McGough ( Meath).