Eire Og Anacarty’s county championship bid came to a disappointing end at The Ragg on Sunday last where they were suffered an eight points defeat at the hands of Borris-Ileigh in the Clean Ireland Recycling county senior hurling quarter-final.
Eire Og went into this game with a lot of confidence facing opponents who have not set the scene alight this year.
But while they played some delightful hurling at times in the first half, they were very much “under the cosh” after the break, a brief resurgence at the start of the last quarter coming to nought.
Following their shock defeat of Clonoulty-Rossmore in the West final there was a considerable volume of opinion that reckoned the Anacarty boys could add Borris-Ileigh to their “hit list” but the concession of two avoidable goals in the opening twelve minutes when assisted by a very blustery wind, undid Eire Og’s challenge, and they were outplayed by the North divisional representatives in the second half of what was far from a classic.
Borris-Ileigh were without two suspended players and had Rory Kinane injured.
To add to their woes, Declan Maher had to go off injured after eighteen minutes but they made light of these setbacks and trailing by only a point at half time, thanks to those two goals, (2-3 to 0-10), they looked odd-on favourites to be in the last four, even at the half-way stage.
It was a disappointing situation for Eire Og.
They had played some very fine hurling in the period, and outscored their opponents ten to five, but the two goals were crucial, and Anacarty will be dismayed at the fact that both were conceded in situations which did not appear to pose a major threat.
Eire Og were three points ahead after four minutes when Conor Kenny pounced for Borris’ first goal after the defence dithered in clearing its lines in the 5th minute.
Brian Fox (Eire Og) and Brendan Maher (Borris) swapped points before Borris struck again in the 12th minute, Keith Ryan applying the finishing touch to a Brendan Maher delivery which again should have been dealt with by the Eire Og defence.
The West lads responded positively and outscored Borris, six points to two in the second quarter, accurate Paudie O’Dwyer landing four of their points from frees, but at the break, there was no doubting which management team was the happier, with Borris poised to succeed.
With Brendan Maher leading the way, and Dan McCormack rowing in behind, Borris hit nine points without reply in the third quarter to go clear 2-12 to 0-10.
It was efficient and economical hurling and confidence was soaring as the points flew over.
Eire Og, who never produced their form of the West final, were not going under without a fight and Conor O Brien’s 47th minute goal, followed a minute later by a Paudie O Dwyer free, cut the deficit to four points and prompted thoughts of a late rally.
It was a short-lived surge. Brendan Maher whipped over two Borris points to steady them and when Damian O’Brien had an Eire Og goal attempt stopped by Borris keeper Jack Bourke in the 56th minute, Eire Og’s challenge was at an end.
Brendan Maher rounded off an impressive personal performance with two further points to bring his tally for the day to twelve, and confirm Borris’ place in the last four of the championship.
Eire Og have their eleventh West senior hurling title to console them as they look back on this encounter, and they are also involved in the closing stages of the football championship, but the disappointment was that had they not given away the two first half goals, they could have made life very difficult for their opponents.
There is a nice balance to their side but they were not helped by the time lapse since the West final against opponents who have been busier with keen championship games.
The O’Briens, Ronan and Conor were lively attackers while Brian Fox, and Kev Fox held the defence together, with Paudie O Dwyer’s free-taking excellent in difficult conditions.
Borris-Ileigh- J Bourke; M Treacy, P Maher, S Maher; D Maher, P Stapleton, S Bourke; B Maher 0-12(11fs), V Stapleton 0-1; D O Connor, D McCormack 0-3, K Ryan 1-0; K Maher, C Kenny 1-0, M Bourke; Subs- T Fahey for D Maher ; B Harkin for O Connor; M Stapleton for K Maher;
Eire Og, Anacarty- D Mooney; M O Dwyer, R Ryan, P McGrath; K Fox, B Fox 0-1, D Ryan; T Fox 0-1, D Hogan; P O Dwyer 0-5, 4fs, C O Brien 1-1, D O Dwyer 0-1; S Ryan 0-1, E Kennedy, R O Brien 0-1; Subs- D O Brien for M O Dywer; J Furlong for D O Brien E Bradshaw for S Ryan;
Ref- J Ryan, Boherlahan-Dualla.