Éire Óg 2-9
By Kieran Murphy
THIS intermediate football semi-final clash at Netwatch Cullen Park on Saturday between two traditional rivals provided plenty of talking points, none more so than the route one O’Hanrahan’s took in getting quality ball into their full-forward Daryl Hayden who rewarded the tactic well with a tidy haul of 3-2.
You generally don’t make that kind of contribution and end up on the losing side and so it came to pass. Mind you, at the other end, Éire Óg also positioned a big and strong Kyle O’Byrne at full-forward who nailed 2-1. On another day that would have been enough to ease his side to victory but Hayden was unmarkable and won the battle of the big target men.
Danny Thompson pointed for O’Hanrahan’s within 16 seconds. This was followed less than a minute later when Hayden scored the first of his goals when he touched a high ball to the net. James McGrath’s free on five minutes extended the lead and Éire Óg were looking down the barrel of a hammering. For the YIs, O’Byrne’s sixth-minute point got them off the mark and Corey Harmon converted a free into the scoreboard end of the ground.
Éire Óg keeper Johnny Furey had to bring off a superb double save to keep out an O’Hanrahan’s goal. His bravery was rewarded when his colleagues swept down the pitch and O’Byrne, in a carbon copy of Hayden’s goal, got a hand to a high ball and the green flag fluttered again.
The Reds felt they were hard done by on 20 minutes when referee Paud O’Dwyer penalised them for an illegal foot-block. McGrath converted the resultant penalty to help the Blues into a 2-4 to 1-3 interval lead.
Three minutes into the second half O’Byrne scored his second goal when he used his strength to make enough space for himself to get his foot on the ball to score from close range.
Far from being disheartened, O’Hanrahan’s hit back immediately and that man Hayden was on hand to find the net yet again. It was getting harder and harder for Éire Óg to keep coming back.
The eventual winners hit four points on the trot to edge into a match-winning position with three-quarters of the game gone. John Gilligan scored a point for the Reds but they were living on crumbs by that stage. A Mark Davies point cancelled out Gilligan’s effort.
With two minutes to go any outside chance of an Éire Óg fightback died when Hayden completed his hat-trick with what was possibly the best goal of the lot.
With the ball falling in the square, it was 50-50 whether the full-forward could take possession. With Johnny Furey advancing, the net-minder was wrong-footed when Hayden got a delicious flick with his hand to plant the ball in the bottom right-hand corner of the net. That was it. Game, set and match to the club who are celebrating their centenary year.
O’Hanrahan’s: Jamie Hennessy; Ger Sinnott, Kevin Power, Chris Bermingham; Owen O’Gorman, Justin O’Brien, Peter Fagan; Colin Nolan, Keelan Lacey (0-1); Ray Walker, James McGrath (1-3, 1-0 pen, 0-2 frees), Mark Davies (0-2); Danny Thompson (0-1), Daryl Hayden (3-2), Joe Doran. Subs: Colin Quigley for Thompson (44 mins), David Kenny for O’Gorman (49 mins), Graham Delaney for Walker (49 mins), Brian Cawley for Doran (62 mins), Barry English for Delaney (63 mins).
Éire Óg: Jonny Furey: Luke Fitzpatrick, Dylan Salter, Shane Kelly; Dean Hayden, Lee Moore, Cathal Kelly (0-1); Cathal Myers, Kyle O’Byrne (2-1); James Ruth (0-1), Corey Harmon (0-4 frees), John Gilligan (0-1); Adam Nolan, James Brennan, Ben Costello (0-1). Subs: Eoin Maddock for Myers (43 mins), Conor Walsh for Brennan (54 mins), David Dunphy for Costello (55 mins), Tomas Walsh for Nolan (59 mins).
Referee: Paud O’Dwyer (Palatine).