Eire Og Annacarty 2-8
Eire Og Annacarty with a very impressive team performance brushed aside the challenge of a highly fancied Loughmore/Castleliney to book their place in the next round of the County Senior Football Championship at windswept Holycross on Sunday.
The final scoreline wasn’t a true reflection, because Eire Og were the dominant force and it was only over the last five minutes that last year’s finalists Loughmore managed to add 1-3 of their tally of 1-7 to make the final score that little bit more respectable.
With the wind in their sails, Eire Og opened the scoring when Damien O’Brien slotted over a free-kick after Richard Ryan was fouled. That was followed by Padraic O’Dwyer splitting the posts before Jeremy Furlong made it 0-3 to no score after Wesley Ryan had done the spadework.
There was 10 minutes gone before Loughmore registered their first score through Noel McGrath and McGrath was again on target a minute later following good work by James Egan. And it looked like Loughmore were gaining a stranglehold on proceedings when Evan Sweeney brought the sides level for the only time in the game after 15 minutes.
However, Annacarty responded in style by raising the green flag after 17 minutes. With a quick inter-passing movement from deep inside their own half Ronan O’Brien, Patrick Horan, Damien O’Brien and Richard Ryan broke down the right wing slicing through the Loughmore cover and finished off this well worked move with Richard Ryan cutting in from the wing and firing high into the roof of the net.
With the Annacarty players roaming in packs snuffing out everything that the Mid Tipp side could throw at them, the West Tipp men were now totally in control and before the half-time whistle sounded had added another three points from Damien O’Brien, Ollie Kelly and Richard Ryan, who slotted over a ‘45’, giving Annacarty a 1-6 to 0-3 lead.
Loughmore were expected to take control on the resumption but despite reducing the deficit in the opening seconds courtesy of James Egan they struggled to make headway. Instead it was Annacarty that did the damage two minutes into the second half opening up a 2-6 to 0-4 lead. A penetrating solo-run from right full-back Diarmuid Ryan saw him break into the opposition goal area and although his intended pass went astray Loughmore failed to clear their lines allowing Ollie Kelly pounce on the loose ball and score from close range. That knocked the stuffing out of Loughmore and a rampant Annacarty added two further points from Damien O’Brien with 45 minutes gone.
With both sets of players tiring, Loughmore, produced a late-late recovery with James Egan adding a brace before County Minor Football captain Liam McGrath got his fist to punch home a Noel McGrath free in the 61st minute to make it 2-8 to 1-6. Loughmore did add another point from the boot of James Egan three minutes into stoppage time, but by then it was too little too late to deny Eire Og Annacarty a well deserved victory and their ticket into the next round.
Eire Og Annacarty: D Horan, D Ryan, M O’Dwyer, F Waters, R O’Brien, C O’Brien, B Fox, P Horan, W Ryan, R Ryan (1-1; inc ‘45’), D Moloney, P O’Dwyer (0-1), D O’Brien (0-4; 3 frees), O Kelly (1-1), J Furlong (0-1) Subs: J Quinn
Loughmore/Castleliney: D McGrath, W Eviston, E Connolly, T Long, A McGrath, C McGrath, J Meagher, T King, N McGrath (0-2), J Egan (0-4; 3 frees), E Sweeney (0-1), L Tracey, L McGrath (1-0), J Scully, C Hennessy Sub: J McGrath
Referee: D O’Mahoney.