Eire Og Annacarty had the measure of their South opponents Cahir in a dour struggle in the County SFC at Golden and ran out worthy 1-7 to 1-5 winners in the end.
Éire Óg had the better of the early exchanges and led 1-5 to 0-2 after twenty six minutes, however when the half time whistle was sounded only a point separated the sides. Tired legs slogged it out in the heavy going in the second half in which only three flags were raised,two points for Éire Óg and a solitary Cahir point from substitute Liam Flannery.
Cahir fought to the end and they finished with three minors and four under twenty one players.
Éire Óg had wind advantage in the first half and in the early stages used it to good advantage. They opened with a point from Richard Ryan after two minutes, with Tom Fox and Darragh Mooney doing the hard work. Then a Benny Hickey effort went wide off the post. Robbie Costigan was a tower of strength at centre back but his forwards lacked finishing power. Damien O’Brien pointed a free before Paddy Flaherty set up Padraig Whelan for his side’s opening score after ten minutes. At the end of the first quarter Darragh Mooney broke down a Cahir kickout around midfield and Richard Ryan latched on to the breaking ball, soloed through and set up the excellent Brian Fox for the Éire Óg goal.
Liam Casey,Padraig Whelan and Edmund Whelan then combined to put Ryan Hennessy through for Cahir’s second point. Raymond Barry then saved well from Benny Hickey before Éire Óg increased their lead with points from Damien O’Brien, Richard Ryan, and Paul Downey. So after twenty six minutes Éire Óg led 1-5 to 0-2.
Things looked grim for the Cahir boys at this stage but to their credit the fought on and struck a purple patch, led by Benny Hickey who lofted over a point and then,following the kick out, Cahir intercepted an Éire Óg pass in front of goal and Hickey cooly slotted the ball under the legs of the advancing Éire Óg keeper. This goal was followed by a fine point by Niall McKenna to leave Cahir trailing by just one point at the break.
The tempo of the game changed in the second half.
Éire Óg were forced to defend against the breeze and this they did well. Cahir, on the other hand failed to convert the wind advantage into the crucial scores which the required .Indeed the physically stronger Cahir full forward line got little change from the sticky Éire Óg backs. Damien O’Brien pointed a free after forty minutes and Donal O’Dwyer set up Jeremy Furlong for another after fifty minutes to give Éire Óg a three point lead. Liam Flannery replied immediately with a Cahir point and neither side raised a flag in the final ten hectic minutes.
The more experienced Éire Óg side had the better of the exchanges with the O’Bvriens,Fox’s, Richard Ryan and Darragh Mooney to the fore, not to mention the evergreen John Quinn. Cahir had a nice blend of youth and age too. Benny Hickey, Paddy O’Flaherty, Padraig Whelan and Liam Casey and Eddie Kenrick had their moments in the attack, while Robbie Costigan, Niall McKenna,Dean Lonergan and Gerald Hally fought gallantly in defense.
Éire Óg; Raymond Barry; Michael O’Dwyer, Conor O’Brien, Daniel Hogan; Ronan O’Brien, Brian Fox (1-0),Tom Fox;Kevin Fox, William O’Neill; Donal O’Dwyer Jeremy Furlong (0-1), Richard Ryan (0-2); Paul Downey (0-1), Damien O’Brien(0-3)(0-2f), Darragh Mooney.Subs ; Donncha Horan for Raymond Barry,John Quinn for Willie O’Neill,Pat Ahearne for Jeremy Furlong.
Cahir; Aaron Wall; Eoin Donaghy, Gerald Hally, Liam Howard;Niall McKenna (0-1),Robbie Costigan, Dean Lonergan;Liam Casey,Eddie Kenrick;Edmund Meehan, Ryan Hennessy (0-1), Paddy O’Flaherty;Padraig Whelan(0-1), Diarmuid Tarrant, Benny Hickey (1-1). Subs; Eoghan Quinlan for Ryan Hennessy, James McGrath for Eoin Donaghy, Liam Flannery(0-1) for Diarmuid Tarrant, Liam Meehan for Eoghan Quinlan.
Referee; Martin Doyle.