Disallowed late goal puts Gorey out of running in shock defeat
AIB Leinster Club Football Champsionships: T'gher-R'bercon 1-10 Naomh Eanna 0-11
A winning goal in the fifth minute of added time was controversially scratched out as Naomh Eanna were sent packing in the AIB Leinster Club Junior football championship in O'Kennedy Park, New Ross, on Saturday.
The Gorey side, who played most of the tie like a team that had enjoyed their first week as Senior hurling champions, were always battling from behind after falling 0-7 to nil down in the first 18 minutes.
However, it looked like they had pulled off the victory when David O'Brien rose highest to fist Jack Cullen's long free to the net as the game entered its final few seconds. It was a stunning finish by the Naomh Eanna corner-forward, who seemed to time his run from the left to perfection.
It is difficult for anyone not standing close to this situation to know for sure whether O'Brien entered the square early. Knowing that only a goal would do for Gorey, the referee was too far from goal to make a proper call and there was no excuse for his poor positioning.
On top of that, the situation led to quite a lengthy discussion between match official David O'Connor and his two umpires.
In reality, if there was a clear infringement, it should have been a very short conversation, with a yes or no answer immediately.
The time it took to make the decision would lead one to believe that neither the referee nor his umpires knew for sure whether O'Brien was indeed in the square when the ball arrived, so to have the winning goal disallowed on a whim must be hugely disappointing for Naomh Eanna.
Had the north Wexford side got over this first hurdle, they could have been a real contender in this competition.
They left themselves with plenty to do when they came slowly out of the blocks against the breeze and found themselves seven points down.
The visitors, who are based 54 kilometres closer to the New Ross venue than supposed home side Naomh Eanna, had a couple of frees from Jason Shiely on the scoreboard, as well as a brace from Cian O'Donohoe, in that early spell.
Gorey found their feet in the second quarter and pulled within three thanks to William Cullen, Charlie McGuckin (two) and Peter Travers.
Yet Kilkenny hurling stalwart Walter Walsh kicked a fine point in the last minute of the half to make it double scores at the break (0-8 to 0-4).
Walsh was the creator of the game's only goal five minutes after the change of ends when his run and handpass was fisted to the net from a yard out by Conor Hennessy.
It left Gorey, who scored just three points in the first 27 minutes of the second-half, playing catch-up.
Down by 1-10 to 0-7 in the 58th minute, Naomh Eanna's pressure finally started to tell. David O'Brien kicked two points, Jack Cullen scored his second, and McGuckin added his third to pull their team within two.
For a few moments it looked like Gorey had pulled off the great escape, but the over-ruling of the goal ended their football journey prematurely and has left them to focus solely on this Sunday's tie with Camross of Laois and their Leinster Club Senior hurling championship campaign.
Naomh Eanna: Barry Kinsella; Joseph O'Connor, Daniel Sunderland, Seamus O'Donnell; Jack Cullen (0-2), Pádraig Doyle, Aodhán Doyle; John O'Brien, Brendan Travers; Charlie McGuckin (0-3), Peter Travers (capt., 0-1), Seán Doyle; William Cullen (0-3, 2 frees), Conor McDonald, David O'Brien (0-2 frees). Subs. - Lee Kinsella for McDonald (42), Michael Molloy for S. Doyle (49), Eoin Molloy for O'Connor (50), Conor Levingston for Cullen (52), Jack Cushe for B. Travers (54).
Tullogher-Rosbercon: Eoin Ryan; Declan Grennan, Seán Murray, Terence Croke; Billy Ryan, Pat Hartley, Kevin Hennessy; Walter Walsh (0-1), Donnacha O'Connor (capt.); Tarek O'Connor, Jason Shiely (0-3 frees), Shane Ryan (0-1); Conor Hennessy (1-2), Cian O'Donohoe (0-2), Brendan Lawlor (0-1). Subs. - Richard Gill for B. Ryan (48), Peter Meggs for Shiely, temp. (56-57), Meggs for S. Ryan (60+3).
Referee: David O'Connor (Dublin).