Saturday 27 January
Carlow seal the points against Exiles
NFL Division 4
By Damian Dolan
CARLOW opened their national football league campaign with a fine win in Ruislip on Saturday.
Turlough O’Brien’s men turned in a determined performance to seal the points on the road but they were tested throughout by the home team.
Carlow tackled well from the off and far too often for the home side’s liking, first-half turnovers were ruthlessly seized upon by the visitors, with the likes of the excellent Brendan Murphy, Sean Murphy and Darragh Foley eating up the Ruislip turf as Carlow countered with pace and precision.
Leading 0-4 to no score after just seven whirlwind minutes, O’Brien’s men had made a blistering start.
The Exiles stayed in touch thanks to Liam Gavaghan’s goal, as London’s captain collected Killian Butler’s pass without breaking stride and fired the ball past Robbie Molloy.
Darragh Foley replied with a free, but Gavaghan’s strike had woken his team and a counter attack ended with Killian Butler pointing.
Tom Waters was unlucky to see his shot come back off the post, and Eoghan Ruth’s audacious strike showed the strength of the wind at Carlow’s backs in the first half, as it sailed over the bar with plenty of room to spare.
A Gavaghan free brought the home side back to within a point, but unforced errors were killing the Exiles.
The game swung in the visitors’ favour in the 21st minute. Anthony McDermott collected a free into the London square, only to be immediately swarmed upon by three Carlow jerseys, and dispossessed. The ball was swiftly worked to Eoghan Ruth in space and he beat McEvoy.
Paul Broderick followed that with a sublime sideline score, and suddenly Carlow were five points ahead.
A Killian Butler point rallied London once again before Broderick tacked on another Carlow point. London’s Mark Gottsche then fed the rampaging Gavaghan only for the Londoner – one of seven English-born players in the team – to be bundled over as he shaped to shoot. Referee James Bermingham had no hesitation in awarding a penalty. Eoin Murray stepped up and confidently despatched it past Molloy.
With five minutes of the half remaining, London were back to within just two points.
But it was Carlow who finished the half the stronger and they pushed the margin out to four points by the half-time whistle – 1-11 to 2-4.
London had the benefit of the elements after the break and after a Paul Broderick free came back off the upright, the Exiles raced up the field to score a point.
Then London came within a whisker of another goal when Killian Butler’s low shot flashed across the face of Robbie Molloy’s goal.
Broderick landed another huge free to maintain Carlow’s cushion and then Kieran Nolan and Darragh O’Brien combined to set up Gary Kelly to point. Three minutes later Carlow effectively wrapped the game up.
A quickly taken free caught the Exiles’ defence napping, with the ball moved swiftly through the hands of Broderick and Foley, and Jordan Morrissey, overlapping on the right, arrived to apply the finish and raise the green flag: a fine strike for the Éire Óg man making his league debut.
Carlow led by 2-13 to 2-6 with 13 minutes remaining.
London replied with points from Adrian Moyles but they did not show the required composure as Carlow tackled hard to maintain their advantage.
Indeed, London’s final wide count of 11, compared to Carlow’s two, told its own story.
Still, a Gavaghan free reduced the gap to just four with the Exiles still in the hunt, but they couldn’t get any closer and a Broderick point closed the game out.
The league campaign starts on the right path with Limerick providing the opposition in Newcastlewest next Sunday.
Carlow: Robbie Molloy; Barry John Molloy, Conor Lawlor, Jordan Morrissey (1-1); Danny Moran, Daniel St Ledger (0-1), Ciaran Moran (0-1); Sean Murphy (0-1), Sean Gannon; Eoghan Ruth (1-1), Brendan Murphy, Darragh O’Brien; Paul Broderick (0-6, 0-5 free), Darragh Foley (0-2 free), John Murphy. Subs: Kieran Nolan for Gannon (h-t), Gary Kelly (0-1) for Molloy (h-t), Brendan Kavanagh for Lawlor (53 min), Jamie Clarke for O’Brien (60 min), Lee Walker for Foley (69 min).
London: Gavin McEvoy; Philip Butler, Ryan Jones, Patrick Begley; Colin Dunne, Shane McManus, Adrian Moyles (0-2, 0-1 free); Anthony McDermott, James Moran; Eoin Murray (1-0, pen), Liam Gavaghan (1-4 free), Tom Waters; Ryan Elliott (0-1), Mark Gottsche, Killian Butler (0-2). Subs: Marcus Mangan for McManus (46 min), Ger Byrne for Murray (53 min), Martin Carroll for McDermott (61 min), John Daly for Jones (61 min).
Referee: James Bermingham (Cork)