Eire Og retain County League title

Jeddy Walsh

Jeddy Walsh

Eire Og Annacarty/Donohill 1-12

Moyle Rovers 1-9

EIRE OG ANNACARTY/DONOHILL deservedly retained the County Adult Football League Premier Division title by virtue of a three-points victory over Moyle Rovers at floodlight Ballyporeen on Friday night last. In so retaining the Dr. Clifford Cup they brought to a successful conclusion an unprecedented busy year in which they played no less than 26 competitive senior games at the highest level in both codes. They can enjoy a well-deserved rest now.

The other story of Friday night’s game was that it marked the very last time that Declan Browne lined out for his club Moyle Rovers, bringing the curtain down on the glittering football career of arguably the greatest exponent of the game that the Premier County has ever produced.

The past year has been a contrasting one for last Friday night’s opponents, with seemingly both going in opposite directions right now. But with silverware on the table, both were anxious for a victory and it was the West champions who made the better start with a point by Padraic O’Dwyer inside 30 seconds. They doubled this advantage after four minutes when midfielder Eoin Kennedy set up Damien O’Brien to point.

Moyle Rovers suddenly exploded to life to take control and in a purple patch of six minutes ran up an unanswered 1-4 with some delightful inter-passing football.

Peter Acheson and Martin Dunne inter-changed before setting up county minor Ross Mulcahy who took his chance well to goal.

Four points quickly followed, two from an in-form Liam Boland and one each from Jack Lonergan and an excellent catch-and-kick from roaming full-forward Philip Quirke.

In between the Rovers had an narrow escape when Eire Og rattled an upright. The Powerstown/Lisronagh side seemed fortunate to be 1-4 to 0-2 ahead after 12 minutes; but they wouldn’t score again for the remainder of the first half.

As Moyle Rovers had their period of ascendancy Eire Og in turn took control and between the 12th minute and half-time scored 1-5 of their own.

Damien O’Brien was proving to be a troublesome target man at full-forward and his lay-off for Jeremy Furlong to point started the roll. The resultant poor kick-out went straight to Paul Downey and he returned it over the crossbar for kick-out practice to resume once more. A third point in three minutes followed when Damien O’Brien drifted out to the left to collect and slotted straight between the uprights. The Rovers full-back line were in trouble.

Lively corner-forward Paul Downey had his second point on 19 minutes to reduce the deficit to a minumum as Eire Og kept coming in waves.

The frailties in the Rovers defence were fully exposed in the 25th minute. A high ball played in through the centre deceived all defenders and Kev Fox reacted quickest and finished to the net with a powerful volley beyond Ian Browne.

Eire Og captain Eoin Kennedy, solid at midfield throughout, had the final point of the first half to send the West side in leading 1-7 to 1-4 at the break.

On the resumption Rovers moved Peter Acheson and Philip Quirke to midfield opposite Padraic O’Dwyer and Eoin Kennedy in an attempt to wrestle back dominance.

However it was Eire Og who again started brighter with centre-forward Richard Ryan and a Damien O’Brien free extending the advantage out to five points within five minutes.

Rovers needed to do something quickly and they did with four of the next five points going their way.

The introduction of Paul Shanahan had an instant reward with Shanahan pointing with his very first touch.

Moyle Rovers’ Declan Browne then kicked a free to put his name on a GAA scoresheet for the very last time as Rovers tried to rally the troops.

Liam Boland and another free from Declan Browne followed with a fisted point from Eoin Kennedy being Eire Og’s only response in that period.

With 13 minutes remaining only two points separated the sides, but Rovers would not get any closer.

Damien O’Brien with a free extended it out to three once more before Declan Browne reduced it again with another free.

Rovers during the course of the second half introduced all five subs but Eire Og were matching them everywhere with Brian Fox outstanding at centre-back marshalling the rearguard and setting up movement after movement with superb passes.

The last score of the game came at the death with Damien O’Brien scoring his fifth point of the night.

Eire Og were deservedly in front at the final blast of Paddy Russell’s whistle.

And now for a well-earned seasonal rest for the Annacarty/Donohill boys. No less than 17 championship games in both codes plus five county football league fixtures and four county hurling league fixtures in a calendar year. Indeed between late August and mid October the seniors were in action on 10 consecutive weekends.

On Friday last Brian Fox was superb at centre-back with Ronan O’Brien and Padraic O’Dwyer also showing well in defence. Captain Eoin Kennedy was all over the field leading his side while all the forwards, particularly Damien O’Brien, had their moments.

Rovers too will need a break to regroup from what has been a disappointing year. The lay-off from training since their county exit to Arravale Rovers showed on Friday night. The absences of Sean Carey and Brian Mulvihill were immense and now with Declan Browne retired Rovers will have to start some rebuilding.

On Friday night many reached their own high standards; but there were some good flashes of football from the likes of Ronan Desmond, Peter Acheson, Philip Quirke, Ross Mulcahy, Liam Boland and Declan Browne whose farewell from the football fields is a very sad day for the sport. Will we ever see his likes in Tipperary again?

Eire Og Annacarty/Donohill: Donnacha Horan, Michael O’Dwyer, Conor O’Brien, Oisin O’Dwyer, Ronan O’Brien, Brian Fox, Dan Hogan, Padraic O’Dwyer (0-1), Eoin Kennedy (0-2), Jeremy Furlong (0-1), Richard Ryan (0-1), Kevin Fox (1-0), Paul Downey (0-2), Damien O’Brien (0-5, 0-2F), Donal O’Dwyer.

Subs: Tom Fox for Paul Downey; Darragh Mooney for Kevin Fox.

Moyle Rovers: Ian Browne, Liam Cronin, Richie Power, Aaron Kelly, Danny Lyne, Alan Campbell, Ronan Desmond, Martin Dunne, Ross Mulcahy (1-0), Sean Keating, Peter Acheson, Jack Lonergan (0-1), Liam Boland (0-3), Philip Quirke (0-1), Declan Browne (0-3F).

Subs: Paul Shanahan (0-1) for Danny Lyne; Conor Conneally for Jack Lonergan; Rian Clancy for Martin Dunne; John Shanahan for Liam Cronin; Liam Carey for Sean Keating.

Paddy Russell (Emly).