Éire Óg 0-14
By Kieran Murphy
A YOUTHFUL Clonmore side came within a whisker of pulling off a notable scalp in this senior football league Division 2 game in Woodside on a cold but dry Wednesday evening.
There were still 15 minutes to go and who knows what might have happened in the remaining time but Clonmore were gifted a great opportunity to ask that question of last year’s intermediate championship finalists.
On 44 minutes Con Murphy worked hard and was rewarded with a fine point to leave the visitors only two points ahead. Somehow Éire Óg contrived to lose the ball from the kick-out. With the keeper committed, Niall Humphries found himself in front of an empty goal just inside the big square. Two defenders desperately tried to close him down and perhaps the man in possession was aware of this.
In any case, Humphries who has been a constant source of goals for Clonmore over the years, contrived to leave his shot just outside the left-hand post and wide. It was a huge let-off and perhaps if the ball had found the net it would have swung momentum in favour of Clonmore.
Acutely aware they had been let off, the YIs added a point each from Mark Kelly and Cormac Walsh to put four between them. After that Clonmore came at them in waves. Éire Óg are renowned for their attacking ability but they can defend too. They limited Clonmore to points from Rory McGuire and two frees from Murphy while at the death Recce Denieffe all but made the game safe for the eventual winners when he bisected the Clonmore posts as the game went into injury time.
In that final quarter the game was on a knife edge. The first-half exchanges indicated this was always going to be the case. Cormac Mullins’ work-rate produced two first-half points for himself while he had a hand in much of what the Reds did well. Clonmore, for their part, used their youthful exuberance well with Keith Bowes and Tom Pollard landing points. The older head of Con Murphy landed two frees as the sides went in tied at six point each on the half-time whistle.
The intensity never let up in the second period. Clonmore needed a goal which they couldn’t find on the night. Éire Óg did what they are good at: inning games they could very well lose. A fascinating season awaits for both these teams.
Éire Óg: Johnny Furey; Luke Fitzpatrick, Lee Moore, Tomás Walsh; Conor Walsh (0-1), Jordan Lowry, Cathal Kelly; Dean Hayden, Craig White; James Ruth, Diarmuid Ruth (0-2), Corey Harmon (0-2, 0-1 45); Mark Kelly (0-3, 0-2 frees), Cormac Mullins (0-5), Recce Denieffe (0-1). Subs: Eoin Maddock for M Kelly (51 mins), Lee Nolan for C Walsh (56 mins), John Gilligan for Lowry (59 mins).
Clonmore: Frankie Whelan; Cormac Connolly, Shane Murphy, Jordan Kane; Sean Tompkins, Willie Byrne, Sean Deay (0-2, 0-1 free); Andy Byrne (0-1), Enda McGrath (0-1); Paddy Gahan, Con Murphy (0-4, 0-3 frees), Luke Connolly; Keith Bowes (0-1), Tom Pollard (0-1), Niall Humphries. Subs: Rory McGuire (0-1) for Bowes (41 mins), John Kelly for Kane (51 mins).
Referee: Jonathan Murphy (St Mullins)