Champs power on
Glenealy 2-16 Éire Óg 2-10
We may have turned over the page of the calendar into the month of September but there was little autumnal about the weather for the meeting of Glenealy and Eire Og in the Senior hurling championship played at Pearse's Park, Arklow on Saturday evening last September 1.
The pitch was bathed in balmy sunshine with the playing surface ideal for hurling.
The only drawback was a tricky cross field breeze which needed to be gauged when shooting for scores.
Gavin Weir had Glenealy on the scoreboard with a point in the first minute but Sean Lawless of Éire Óg responded with his side's first point a minute later.
In the next five minutes Jonathon O'Neill converted three frees in a row to stretch the Glenealy advantage.
However, big Andy Walsh, playing at full-forward for the Greystones men lit up the game and rocked Glenealy back on their heels when he scored the games first goal in the seventh minute.
Centre forward Anto Byrne landed a high ball in on the Glenealy goalmouth where Andy caught, turned and beat Cian Staunton from close in.
Level pegging now and one minute later James Cranley had Éire Óg ahead with a point from play.
Another point from a Jonathon O'Neill free had matters all square again on ten minutes.
Éire Óg were continuing to bomb in the high balls on Andy Walsh but Danny Staunton, despite giving away inches in height to the very tall Walsh, was keeping him under a tight rein.
Garry Hughes and Leighton Glynn were coming into the game more in the Glenealy forward line.
Hughes put Glenealy ahead again but then Big Andy struck for his second goal.
Garry Byrne came back immediately with another point to reduce the Éire Óg lead to one point.
James Cranley stretched the lead back to two points but then Glenealy put together a series of points from Leighton Glynn, Garry Hughes, Alan Driver and another pointed Jonathon O'Neill free to leave the Reds ahead by two points after 23 minutes.
Then came a great escape for Glenealy when Eoin Dorgan intercepted a short puck out by Cian Staunton to Ronan Manley.
The Éire Óg corner-forward raced in on goal and really should have buried goal number three for Éire Óg.
However, his rising shot went over the crossbar and Glenealy breathed easy again.
Leighton Glynn added his second point and then came a telling blow to Éire Óg just two minutes from break. Alan Driver knocked down a high ball to John O'Neill for Glenealy's first goal.
Mick Walsh came back with the final Éire Óg point of the half to leave the half-time score at 1-12 to 2-5 in favour of Glenealy.
The tempo of the game dropped considerably in the second half as Glenealy seemed content to maintain their advantage without ever needing to raise their game to any great heights.
They appeared fortunate to be awarded a penalty in the second minute when the ball came back off the post into the square and there was a heavy scramble for possession.
The referee awarded a Glenealy penalty and Jonathon O'Neill duly despatched the sliotar inside Dan O'Neill's right post.
Jonathon went on to add three more points from frees in this half while Garry Hughes added the Glenealy men's only score from play in the second half.
Éire Óg goalie Dan O'Neill denied Leighton Glynn a goal with five minutes left.
Kristen Flynn pointed from distance for an early Éire Óg point but James Cranley pointed frees were the only scoring response from the Greystones men until a point from sub Danny Nolan in the last minute.
Cranley pointed three frees but he found the cross wind a little more difficult to judge than the Glenealy marksman O'Neill, missing a couple of shots along the way.
The tactic of dropping high balls in on full-forward Walsh faded in the second period and as the game wound down to its inevitable conclusion, Andy had moved to an outfield role.
Scorers - Glenealy: Jonathon O'Neill 1-8, Garry Hughes 0-3, John O'Neill 1-0, Leighton Glynn 0-2, Gavin Weir, Garry Byrne, Alan Driver 0-1 each.
Éire Óg Greystones: Andy Walsh 2-0, James Cranley 0-5, Sean Lawless, Eoin Dorgan, Mick Walsh, Kristen Flynn, Danny Nolan 0-1 each.
Glenealy: Cian Staunton; Lee Kavanagh, Danny Staunton, Ronan Manley; Garry Byrne, Warren Kavanagh, Joey Driver; Jonathon O'Neill, Paul O'Brien; John Manley, Garry Hughes, Leighton Glynn; Gavin Weir, Alan Driver, John O'Neill; Subs. Wayne O'Gorman, Rory O'Neill, Robert Byrne, Matt Traynor.
Éire Óg Greystones: Dan O'Neill; Shaun Hughes, Mick Arrigan, Dan O'Connor; Kristen Flynn, Billy Cuddihy, Peter Keane; Stephen Kelly, Sean Lawless; Brian Lawless, Anto Byrne, Mick Walsh; James Cranley, Andy Walsh, Eoin Dorgan. Subs. Conal Deaney, Leon Browne, Danny Nolan.
Referee: Chris Canavan (Avoca).