Éire Óg 3-3
By Harry Shorthose
ÉIRE Óg and Rathvilly played out a draw in the ladies football intermediate championship final at IT Carlow last Wednesday evening, meaning they will have to do it all again in a replay.
The half-time and full-time scores don’t tell the full story of this game though. A serious injury to Edel Hayden midway through the half changed the dynamic of the game.
Éire Óg looked set to give Rathvilly a hammering. However, her injury turned a switch and they suddenly lacked the energy to go forward. Indeed they only scored one point in her absence.
Éire Óg cruised early on. Aóife Hayden netted within seconds of the game starting. Chloe O’Toole and Leona Kelly added points to edge them further ahead. They heaped further misery on Rathvilly when Hayden set Kelly through who fired into the back of the net before Casey Tobin added another. They were 3-2 to no score up at this stage.
Rathvilly did go forward but twice hit efforts wide. After a lengthy delay for Hayden’s injury, she was eventually carried off and suddenly Rathvilly started to dominate. They suddenly had a level of confidence they didn’t have before.
Aisling O’Connor and Rachel Whelan sent over three points before the break to give them some hope of chasing the deficit. They should have been closer though, racking up 10 wides in the half.
Rathvilly picked up where they left off after the break, Natasha Doyle converting a point from a free within three minutes. Éire Óg defended with their lives, Rathvilly kept pushing but couldn’t get past them. Ten minutes later Whelan added two more points to leave them five behind.
Casey Tobin hit what was now a rare point for the Carlow town side with 12 minutes to go. The Slaneysiders weren’t giving up though and Fia Murphy and Whelan added three more points in quick succession.
That left them four points behind with nine minutes to go. Rathvilly kept pushing people forward but Éire Óg were hanging on.
Could they hang on and keep them at bay just long enough?
With a minute to go, Courtney Gahan added another point. Perhaps she could have gone for goal? There were two further serious injuries to Éire Óg players in the half, meaning that there were 10 minutes of injury time.
Rathvilly threw everybody forward, desperately searching for something to keep them in the game. Whelan converted over two minutes in and it was in the dying moments that Murphy added another to bring the teams level.
A draw seems a fair result. With the injuries sustained by the Carlow town side, it would have been cruel on them to have lost while Rathvilly didn’t deserve to lose for the sheer effort they put into the game to pull back level.
Éire Óg: Cariosa Morihan; Sheila O’Keeffe, Noreen Wrenn, Oonagh O’Brien; Alex Curtis, Sarah Furey, Violetta Nolan; Jasmine Brennan Dowling, Edel Hayden; Amy Soraghan, Leona Kelly (1-1), Chloe O’Toole (0-1); Bríd Whelan, Aoife Hayden (1-0), Casey Tobin (1-1). Subs: Roisin Ahearn for Hayden (16 mins), Hannah Dunphy for Curtis (35 mins), Maria Lawlor for Tobin (68 mins), Georgia Fitzgerald for Dowling (34 mins), Elsa Doyle for Soraghan (39 mins)
Rathvilly: Dominique Balfe; Sarah McGurk, Maire Farrell, Aisling Byrne; Kacey Haberlin, Lorna Molloy, Natasha Doyle (0-1); Sinead Tallon, Aisling O’Connor (0-1); Chloe Bolger, Caoimhe Deering, Chloe Moore; Fia Murphy (0-3), Rachel Whelan (0-6), Rhyannan Gardiner. Subs: Maria O’Callaghan for Gardiner (h/t), Bronagh Walsh for Moore (56 mins), Courtney Gahan for Deering (38 mins, 0-1), Emily Brown for Haberlin (48 mins).