In the last of the four county senior football championship quarter-final games to be played, Aherlow Gaels defeated Eire Og Annacarty/Donohill by 0-15 to 0-8 under floodlights at New Inn on Wednesday night last.
Followers came in anticipation of a close fought battle between divisional rivals but the game never really lived up to pre-match expectations. Indeed, even in the early stages when the teams were level on four occasions, there seemed to be some spark missing. Disappointingly it faded as a contest in the last quarter with ‘The Glen’ easing through.
A contributing factor perhaps was the constant stop-start nature of the game in which at least 12 cards of all hues (including two reds) were brandished over the hour. It didn’t seem that kind of game either but the referee applied the rules to the letter of the law - the players could take the responsibility and the consequences for their own cards.
The early passages of play were lively and promising and after 10 minutes the sides were tied at 0-2 apiece. Barry Grogan opened proceedings with a point and after a pair of frees were swopped between Bernard O’Brien (A) and Damian O’Brien (EO), Paul Downey had the Annacarty’s side first point from play to level.
The pattern continued and the sides were still tied after 25 minutes at 0-4 each.
Another Damian O’Brien pointed free followed by a fine point from Philip McGrath on the run put Annacarty two up but just as it looked Eire Og might be taking control Bernard O’Brien from 40 metres and a free by Barry Grogan levelled matters once again.
Right on half-time a well struck free off the ground from 45 metres by Darragh Mooney gave Eire Og the slenderest of leads at the break by 0-5 to 0-4.
Again the second period opened up positively with five scores inside the first six minutes to see the sides still all square at 0-7 each.
Damian O’Brien (EO) and Bernard O’Brien (A) had early frees before Barry Grogan levelled for the third time.
Two further points from play from Damian O’Brien (EO) and Bernard O’Brien (A) extended parity and promised a cracking finish but it all soon changed. In the closing 20 minutes the Glen side would outscore their rivals by 0-8 to 0-1 to ease through.
A fine Mark Russell point gave Aherlow the lead before a penalty won by Russell (with Diarmuid Ryan black carded)was pointed by Barry Grogan to put two points between the sides which grew to seven by the the final whistle as the game petered out as a contest.
In a fragmented closing quarter Ronan O’Dwyer (EO) was black carded; while Tom Fox (EO) and Thomas Fahey (A) were both dismissed for second yellow card offences.
Aherlow Gaels: Shane Leonard, Mark Hanley, Ciaran McDonald, Ed O’Meara, Sean Mullins, John Hennessy, Sean Cunningham, Mark Russell (0-1), Thomas Hanley (0-1), Sean Kiely (0-1), Thomas Fahey, Laurence Coskeran, Bernard O’Brien (0-4, 0-2F), Barry Grogan (0-7, 0-3F, 0-1 pen), Cathal Dillon.
Subs: Seamus Grogan (0-1) for Dillon (45 mins).
Eire Og Anncarty/Donohill: Raymond Barry, Ronan O’Brien, Paidi O’Dwyer, Dan Hogan, Diarmaid Ryan, Conor O’Brien, Willie O’Neill, Eoin Kennedy, Tom Fox, Kevin Fox, Paul Downey (0-1), Brian Fox (0-1), Philip McGrath (0-1), Damian O’Brien (0-4, 0-3F), Daragh Mooney (0-1F).
Subs: Donal O’Dwyer for Ryan (black card, 40 mins); Eoin Bradshaw for R. O’Brien (black card, 47); Dinny Crosse for Kennedy (50); Richard O’Doherty for McGrath (55).
Referee: Sean Lonergan (Moyle Rovers).