Éire Óg 1-7
By Kieran Murphy
COULD this be the year Carlow’s sleeping giant wakes from its slumber?
Then the next question: will they be able to stay awake? With the talent Tinryland generates, it never ceases to baffle as to why they underachieve.
Last year they seemed to have awoken when, with a brilliant second-half performance, they beat Palatine in the group stages of the championship. After that Mount Leinster Rangers eased past them into the semi-finals. Same old Tinryland?
So far this year there was nothing to indicate that was going to change. They were decent against Old Leighlin but awful against Ballinabranna. There was no suggestion they were putting in the kind of effort which would equip them to compete with the top teams in the county.
On Saturday, in this senior football championship game at Netwatch Cullen Park, the indications are that this is about to change. Never mind the scoreline. They outclassed the champions. Some will say Éire Óg were poor and out of touch. Maybe so, but Tinryland made them look ordinary.
Right from the off when Diarmaid Walshe scored a goal on two minutes and Paul Broderick picked off a point from play, they seemed to be at least one step ahead of their rivals.
As is their want, Éire Óg got back into it and when Eoghan Ruth fisted the ball to the net on 25 minutes it looked as if it was business as normal. Maybe they thought so too but the only side who was asleep here was the Reds.
Derek Hayden’s point on 29 minutes levelled the scores at 1-3 each and that is how it stayed to the interval.
During the recess Tinryland had a question to mull over. Were they going to battle to the end or let Éire Óg swat them aside like they did two years ago?
Recce Denieffe opened the second-half scoring for Éire Óg. The reply was swift with Niall Lowry’s persistence under pressure rewarded with an equaliser. Walsh and Ruth traded points in a tight game.
Tinryland frequently got all their men behind the ball. Twice Éire Óg had frees on the 45m mark. On both occasions they kicked the ball back towards the half-way line. It was excruciatingly difficult to watch.
When it looked as if Éire Óg were set to move up a gear Tinryland hung grimly on and showed tremendous character. With six minutes to go Matthew O’Toole levelled the game and this was followed by another point from wing-back Conor O’Toole. Tinryland were making a statement.
When an Éire Óg attack broke down, their opponents drove forward. This time they had options in front of goal. They went left and from an awkward angle Matthew O’Toole took on the responsibility to drill the ball to the Éire Óg net.
There was no comeback for the shell-shocked champions. Beaten but not out. The dynamic of the championship has changed. Up to this it was Éire Óg’s to lose. Now they have to win it. Tinryland have put themselves up there as serious contenders.
If they stay awake, that is, because there is no doubt the Reds have their eyes wide open now.
Tinryland: Ciaran Byrne; Keelan Gaffney, Conor Ryan, Danny Moran; Rory Doyle, Shane Redmond, Conor O’Toole (0-1); Conor Byrne, Niall Lowry (0-1); Cian Lawlor, Cormac Walshe, John Paul Moore (0-1); Paul Broderick (0-1), Diarmaid Walshe (1-2, 0-2 frees), Jonah Dunne. Subs: Adam Dunne for Doyle, Matthew O’Toole (1-1) for Dunne (both 44 mins), Glen Doyle for C Walshe (50 mins), Cathal Gaffney for Moore (61 mins), Peter Hennessy for Byrne (62 mins).
Éire Óg: Robbie Moore; Richie Mahon, Mark Fitzgerald, Benny Kavanagh; Jordan Lowry, Mark Furey, Paul McElligott; Jordan Morrissey (0-1), Sean Gannnon; Recce Denieffe (0-1), Darragh O’Brien (0-2 frees), Eoghan Ruth (1-1); Ross Dunphy, Derek Hayden (0-2), Colm Hulton. Subs: Adam Murphy for Hulton (15 mins), Cormac Mullins for Denieffe (44 mins), Evan Kelly for Lowry (50 mins), Diarmuid Ruth for Mahon (57 mins).
Referee: John Hickey (Fenagh).