Eire Og, Annacarty 2-18 Lorrha 2-14
Two late points spared Eire Og Annacarty blushes as they claimed their place in the county senior hurling quarter-final at The Ragg on Sunday on a 2-18 to 2-14 scoreline, after they almost frittered away a ten points interval lead in a slack second half showing.
A low key encounter looked to be heading in only one direction after the West champions forged ahead 2-11 to 0-7 at the break before Lorrha rallied after half-time.
Late points by Kevin Fox and Paidi O’Dwyer allowed Eire Og a collective sigh of relief as Paddy Ivors’ long whistle finally ensured their place in the last eight.
The merit of the Eire Og win is not in question. They were undoubtedly the better team for most of the way but a lapse in concentration in the last quarter gave Lorrha the initiative.
Lorrha started confidently and went three points clear after ten minutes thanks to two “Bonnar” Maher frees and Eoin McIntyre’s point. Conor O’Brien opened Eire Og’s account in the 13th minute and a minute later Ronan O’Brien netted for them to be followed by further points from Ronan O’Brien and Paidi O’Dwyer.
The West champions were now into their stride and four unanswered points opened a six points lead with Conor O’Brien the key man in attack creating and finishing chances. Fittingly, it was he who put the icing on the cake for them in injury time in the first half as he finished off a move involving Eoin Bradshaw and Paidi O’Dwyer for a 2-11 to 0-7 advantage.
In that opening period, Lorrha relied heavily on “Bonnar” Maher’s free-taking for their scores. He obliged with five, Ciaran Duggan and Eoin McIntyre supplying the others, but it was very clear that they needed a big improvement if they were to seriously challenge their rivals.
Lorrha got the ideal start to the second half when Eoin McIntyre took a pass from “Bonnar“ Maher to score a great goal in the 4th minute. After he had swopped points with Ronan O’Brien, “Bonnar” went for goal off a twenty meter free but his effort was easily saved. Eire Og continued to look the sharper and were 2-14 to 1-9 clear in the 44th minute when Noel Hogan and Niall McIntyre combined to set up Willie Maher but Daragh Mooney in the Eire Og goal saved well.
Had either of those two chances yielded a goal who knows what might have happened, but Lorrha were now motoring with less inhibition and got their reward when Willie Maher blasted home a goal in the 53rd minute to cut the deficit to four points. Ciaran Duggan’s point cut it to three a minute later but Conor O’Brien eased Eire Og nerves with a point to keep four in it with time getting scarce.
Then Willie Maher hit two great Lorrha points in a minute to leave them only two adrift with four minutes to play. Nail-biting stuff indeed, but Eire Og’s nerve held. They were delighted when Kevin Fox pointed on the hour, and doubly delighted when Paidi O Dwyer insured their win with a pointed free a minute later.
Eire Og, Annacarty - Darragh Mooney; Diarmuid Ryan, Eoin Kennedy, Dan Hogan; Paul Downey, Brian Fox, Tom Fox; Kevin Fox (0-1), Eoin Bradshaw; Pa Horan, Conor O’Brien (1-5), Dinny Crosse; Seanie Ryan, Paidi O’Dwyer (0-9,6fs), Ronan O’Brien (1-3).
Subs- Richard O’Doherty for S Ryan(52mins); Philip McGrath for Bradshaw(59mins);
Lorrha - Paddy Reddin; Graham Houlihan, Jamie Lewis, Daniel Smith; Ciaran Hough, Brian Hogan, Jack Maher; Ciaran Duggan (0-2), Noel Hogan; Cian Hogan, Eoin McIntyre (1-1), Niall McIntyre; William Maher (1-2), Patrick Maher (0-9,8fs), Chris Fogarty.
Subs- Conor Hogan for Smith(half-time); Tadgh Nevin for Fogarty (50mins);
Referee- Paddy Ivors, Ballingarry.