Éire Óg 0-15
By Kieran Murphy
THIS intermediate football championship first round game at the Training Centre on Thursday between two sides who know each other well rattled and hummed from beginning to end.
Playing with the wind in the first half, the YIs never really made much use of it until late in the second quarter when Corey Harmon knocked over two long-range points to give his side a three-point lead.
When Grange came looking for something after that they were turned over close to their rivals’ goal posts and Adam Murphy made them pay at the other end when completing Éire Og’s total of 0-8 against 0-3 scored by John Murphy which accounted for the Grange total in the first half.
The Killerig Cross side showed a great willingness to battle but they lacked a scoring edge up front which hurt them from beginning to end.
In the first half, four of the winners’ starting forwards all scored from play and that proved to be decisive. Grange were unfortunate to lose Cathal Bailey through injury in the first quarter.
Just after the restart Murphy landed a free for Grange. Who knows what might have happened if they had managed to convert a great chance into a three-pointer? Instead a rocket of a shot came back off the upright and Ricky Keating did well in the YI goal to thwart Martin Farrell from close range when he picked up the rebound.
Methodically, Éire Óg pulled the Grange challenge asunder. The Teach Asca side have a reputation for their attacking style of play but what is sometimes ignored is their willingness to put bodies on the line.
Grange were repelled time and time again and when Éire Óg enjoyed a purple patch they made full use of it. Recce Denieffe, Cormac Mullins and Kelly with two points gave Grange a mountain to climb. It could have been more worse for them but their keeper, Louis Kilcoyne, did brilliantly to get down at the right-hand post at the Fenagh end of the ground to save from Kelly.
Both sides created half chances on goal in the final quarter but defences ruled and scores were hard to come by. The winners lost Luke Fitzpatrick to a yellow and a black card at the very end but that only made them more determined. Grange, for their part, will have learned from this and will surely have a say as the group stages unravel.
Éire Óg: Ricky Keating; Luke Fitzpatrick, Richie Mahon, Shane Kelly; Diarmuid Ruth, Jordan Lowry, Cathal Kelly; Craig White, Kyle O’Byrne; James Ruth, Adam Murphy (0-2), Corey Harmon (0-3, 0-2 frees); Recce Denieffe (0-1), Cormac Mullins (0-3), Mark Kelly (0-5, 0-1 free). Subs: Cathal Myers for White (10 mins), John Gilligan (0-1) for D Ruth (black card 38 mins), Eoin Maddock for Mullins (57 mins), Tomás Walsh for S Kelly (61 mins).
Grange: Louis Kilcoyne; John Doyle, Fionn Murphy, Cormac Lawlor; Gordon Hegarty, Ned Pender, Gavin Lawlor; Cathal Bailey, Mark Kelly; Henry Hegarty, Davy Moran (0-1), John Murphy (0-6, 0-3 frees); Martin Farrell, Niall Byrne (0-2), Paddy Hickey (0-1). Subs: Kieran Pender for Bailey (24 mins), Podge McGrath for Farrell (44 mins), Brian Lawlor for Hegarty (48 mins), Steve Doyle for G Lawlor (48 mins), Nano Healy for Kelly (black card 55 mins).
Referee: Billy Fanning (Ballon)