Éire Óg 1-13
By Kieran Murphy
THE Éire Óg manager was having none of it on Sunday after he had watched his side edge the senior football league Division 1 final at a wet Netwatch Cullen Park.
When it was put to him Rathvilly had come looking to make a championship marker but failed to do so, Joe Murphy deflected such notions to one side.
“It was a really good competitive game and we rode our luck at times. Rathvilly are serious championship contenders and we knew that before tonight. It was reaffirmed again tonight,” he said.
Rathvilly threw everything at them in the first half and went in leading thanks to a Darragh Murphy goal coming up to half-time.
The reigning county championships led 0-5 to 0-3 on 12 minutes with Colm Hulton scoring two points and Cormac Mullins and Chris Blake landing one each from play. Darragh O’Brien accounted for another from a seventh-minute free after Jeffrey O’Donoghue deliberately upended the goal bound Blake.
The former intercounty player didn’t even wait for the black card. He walked to the stand knowing he had no chance of hoodwinking referee Patrick Murphy.
Rathvilly played some good football. Brian Smith was particularly effective, as was Alan Kelly.
In the first period a Rathvilly attack almost brought a goal but the ball came back off the upright. That let-off was balanced at the other end when Mullins looked certain to find the net for the YIs but the woodwork intervened.
The Rathvilly goal was a gem. When Éire Óg lost possession going forward a quick through ball was picked up by Darragh Murphy. Keeping his composure he picked his spot and found the bottom left-hand corner. Right on the half-time whistle Conor Doyle landed a great point from 55 metres out. Leading 1-4 to 0-5 at the break Rathvilly had thrown down the gauntlet.
“We knew it was going to be competitive. It was great to get the game and that will stand to us,” said Joe Murphy afterwards.
A 34th minute free from Brian Murphy extended the Rathvilly lead. Two Darragh O’Brien frees narrowed the gap and Colm Hulton levelled on 41 minutes. The former Ballymun player then beat his marker down the left-hand side and suddenly he had a run on goal. Robbie Molloy advanced but somehow Hulton squeezed the ball between the keeper and the left-hand post for an exquisite goal.
After a quiet semi-final against Palatine, Hulton was announcing himself here.
“Colm is a very talented guy and we are glad to have him back in the club he started with,” said Murphy.
Three points up Éire Óg were not going to be caught. Rathvilly introduced Brendan Murphy who brought a sense of urgency to what they were trying to do. He was effective but having spent so much time out of the game after his intercounty suspension, Éire Óg had his measure here.
The cup presentation was a low-key affair. Short and sweet. There are bigger fish to fry for these two teams.
“There are three or four teams who have their eye on it (the championship) and another few who are trying to get to the level,” warned a cautious Éire Óg manager.
Éire Óg: Robbie Moore; Lee Moore (0-1), Mark Fitzgerald, Evan Kelly; Ross Dunphy, Mark Furey, Paul McElligott; Sean Gannon, Kelvin Chatten; Eoghan Ruth, Adam Murphy, Cormac Mullins (0-3); Colm Hulton (1-4), Chris Blake (0-1), Darragh O’Brien (0-4, 0-3 frees). Subs: Jordan Lowry for Murphy (h/t), Derek Hayden for Chatten (h/t), Recce Denieffe for Furey (57 mins), Luke Fitzpatrick for Kelly (60 mins).
Rathvilly: Robbie Molloy; Ryan Sibbald, Jeffrey O’Donoghue, Jeff Worth; Barry John Molloy, Colin Byrne, Josh Moore; Ed Finnegan (0-1), Brian Murphy (0-3fs); Conor Doyle (0-1), Alan Kelly, Gary Owens; Brian Smith (0-1), Darragh Murphy (1-2, 0-2, 45s), Danny Molloy. Subs: Tony Bolger for O’Donoghue (black card 7 mins), Brendan Murphy for Owens (41 mins), Conor Owens for D Molloy (41 mins), Senan Molloy for Sibbald (50 mins), Wayne O’Donoghue for Worth (57 mins).
Referee: Patrick Murphy (Ballinkillen)