Éire Óg march on
U20'B'FC semi final: Éire Óg Greystones 2-11 Naomh Eoin 1-8
Éire Óg and Naomh Eoin served up a very entertaining and well contested Under-20 'B' Football Championship semi-final game played at Kilmacurra at noon on Sunday last, November 25.
Both squads were on the field doing their warm up routine 20 minutes before throw-in time, providing proof that clubs have bought in big time into this competition.
Pitch conditions were good, with a slight breeze favouring the team playing up towards the dressing room end of the playing field.
Naomh Eoin played uphill in the first period and hit the ground running when Andrew Doyle had a point in their first attack straight from the throw in.
Jacques McCall pointed a free and Sean Leonard added another to leave the Barndarrig/Avoca combination ahead by three points after six minutes.
Tall midfielder Anthony Quinn and Jacques McCall were on top at this early stage and strong running centre forward Malachy Stone was putting the Greystones defence under pressure.
However, when Shaun Cranley pointed a free and midfielder Fintan O'Shea added another point for Éire Óg, there was only one point between the sides after 12 minutes.
Half-back Tom O'Shea extended the gap to two points, but Éire Óg were coming more into the play now. Midfielders Conall Deeny and Fintan O'Shea were coming to terms with their opponents and centre forward Fionn O'Carroll was getting more into the game with corner-forward Shaun Cranley also beginning to make an impact.
Cranley put his side ahead when he placed a 17th minute penalty kick expertly to the right of Naomh Eoin goalkeeper Chris Makim.
The goalkeeper had an excellent first half dealing capably with a number of shots dropping short and making one fine point blank save. A pointed Jacques McCaul free had the sides level at 1-2 to 0-5 by 20 minutes.
One minute later Naomh Eoin went back in front when Richard Sheane finished a fine forward move to the net from close in. Dale Murphy quickly added a point to extend the lead to a goal. However, three Shaun Cranley points in a row - one from play, one from a free, and the third from a '45' on the call of time - had the sides level at 1-6 apiece at the break,
Éire Óg brought on Thady Shanahan at full-back for the second half. He had a big impact and between himself and goalie Conor Browne ensured that there were few goal opportunities for Naomh Eoin from here on. Dale Murphy pointed Naomh Eoin back into the lead straight from the throw in.
However, they were to score only one more point for the entire second half. Not that Éire Óg were scoring at will either but Shaun Cranley with two frees and Fintan O'Shea had them two points up at the three-quarter hour stage.
However, Aaron Tuke brought the margin back to the minimum with Naomh Eoin's final point on 20 minutes.
From here on Éire Óg ground out their win. Cian O'Flaherty and Rory Lucey added two points and when Colin Deeny netted their second goal with three minutes to go, Éire Óg was comfortably ahead for the only time in the hour.
This proved to be an excellently contested encounter.
Éire Óg were probably the more balanced outfit but Naomh Eoin stayed with them all the way until that second goal. Midfielder Anthony Quinn certainly made his mark and looks to be one to keep an eye on for the future.
Scorers - Naomh Eoin: Richard Sheane 1-0, Jacques McCaul 0-2, Dale Murphy 0-2, Andrew Doyle 0-1, Sean Leonard 0-1, Tom O'Shea 0-1, Aaron Tuke 0-1
Éire Óg: Shaun Cranley 1-6, Colin Deeny 1-0, Fintan O'Shea 0-3, Cian O'Flaherty 0-1, Rory Lucey 0-1
Naomh Eoin: Chris Makim; Cathal Keegan, Johnny Devereux, David Byrne; Aaron Tuke, Mikey Fahey, Tom O'Shea; Anthony Quinn, Jacques McCaul; Andrew Doyle, Malachy Stone, Richard Sheane; Dale Murphy, Patrick Redmond, Sean Leonard. Subs: Richard Murray, Garry Collins, Wayne Costelloe, Michael Byrne, Stephen Cullen
Éire Óg: Conor Browne; Luke Prendergast, Andy Clarke, Gavin O'Shea; Sean Mason, Eoghan McTague, Eoghan Potts; Conall Deeny, Fintan O'Shea; Rory Lucey, Fionn O'Carroll, Dan Clarke; Cian O'Flaherty, Eoghan O Longaigh, Shaun Cranley. Subs: Cillian Keane, Thady Shanahan, Daire Devlin
Referee: Philip Bracken (Laragh)