Blake is on the mark as Éire Óg clinch hat-trick of titles in style
Éire Óg 1-16 Palatine0-5
Carlow football champions Éire Óg blew away the Palatine challenge to complete a three-in-a-row of SFC titles and notch up their 29th in all. They weren't flattered by a 14-point winning margin at Netwatch Cullen Park yesterday before an attendance of 2,500.
In a final played in perfect conditions, Éire Óg were in front within a minute, with a pointed free from their top forward Chris Blake. He quickly added a second white flag before Andrew Kehoe pointed a Palatine free.
With Jordan Morrissey outstanding in midfield, the champions took complete control, although full-forward Derek Hayden did drive a 10th-minute penalty wide of the Palatine goal.
Palatine then had goalie Craig Kearney to thank for a fine save from Chris Blake on 17 minutes, while Éire Óg also spurned a gilt-edged chance before Reece Denieffe, a late inclusion, dinked a lovely ball over Kearney on 28 minutes for the game's only goal.
Palatine's first point from play came on 23 minutes from left half-back David Reid.
Éire Óg led 1-7 to 0-3 at half-time and they hit three unanswered points in the opening minutes of the second half from Cormac Mullins, goalkeeper Rickie Keating, who split the posts from a 45, and Chris Blake (free).
Denieffe then chipped in with a splendid long-range point to put his side 1-11 to 0-3 in front on 37 minutes. The title was in the bag.
Palatine never really showed up. Outclassed in all aspects, they could only muster 0-2 in the second half to their opponents' 0-9.
Éire Óg were able to run in six substitutes and still win at their ease. One of their subs, Niall Quinlan, hit an impressive four points from frees in the final 15 minutes as the holders coasted to the easiest of wins.
Eoghan Ruth was denied an Éire Óg goal when a green flag looked a certainty while left full-back Benny Kavanagh, who had an outstanding game, was named man of the match and Chris Blake top-scored with 0-6.
Éire Óg now progress to a home game against the Wexford champions in the opening round of the Leinster Club Championship
Scorers - Éire Óg: C Blake 0-6 (4f); R Denieffe 1-1; N Quinlan 0-4 (4f); J Morrissey, C Mullins 0-2 each; R Keating 0-1 ('45). Palatine: A Kehoe 0-2 (1f); D Reid, J Brennan, C Crowley 0-1 each.
Éire Óg - R Keating; R Mahon, M Fitzgerald, B Kavanagh; J Lowry, M Furey, P McElligott; J Morrissey, R Denieffe; S Gannon, D O'Brien, E Ruth; C Blake, D Hayden, C Mullins. Subs: R Dunphy for Hayden (28); N Quinlan for Mullins (42); C Hulton for Denieffe (45); E Kelly for Mahon (48); D Ruth for Blake (53); A Murphy for O'Brien (54).
Palatine - C Kearney; D Fitzpatrick, S Reilly, A Murphy; C O'Doherty, C Lawlor, D Reid; J Brennan, J Kane; T Kenny, S O'Neill, H Kenny; C Crowley, N Reid, A Kehoe. Subs: C Reynolds for O'Neill (39); C O'Neill for J Kenny (39); G Healy for D Reid (44).
Ref - P Murphy (Fenagh).