Hurlers' Make Maiden Senior Championship Appearance

November 7, 2018

SENIOR HURLING DEBUT: Friday night an e-mail arrived from Brendan Cuddihy in which he waxed lyrical about the historical significance of the upcoming hurling game v ARP which was to be played in Aughrim on Sunday last. In it he pointed out that it was to be the first time in the 130 year history of the GAA that a hurling team from Greystones would have played in the Senior Championship and that it was 14 years on from that equally historic occasion on which that group of lads who were to be the provenance of hurling in Na Clocha Liatha gathered with camáin – an implement which at the time had a far from prominent presence in Greystones – in hand in the “darkness visible” illumination supplied by our then rudimentary lighting system.

Sunday's was a successful excursion for Éire Óg as they came away in the end with a comprehensive win, an outcome which did not appear all that likely at the half way stage. While ARP had played with what was quite a strong breeze and were a few points behind at the break, the trend of play in the 1st period had engendered a feeling that the game could still go either way. A feeling that was reinforced for the 5 minutes after the break when ARP were solidly encamped in the Éire Óg territory and during which they added 2 points. Eventually, however, the Éire Óg lads did bestir themselves and their superior fitness began to tell. The route to victory was firmly established when Danny Nolan bravely dived between his marker and the oncoming goalkeeper to strike the sliothar to the back of the net.

A welcome victory which did however carry a health warning against even a suspicion of complacency. ARP are far from being among the elite of the competition and there were many occasions on which Éire Óg were guilty of cardinal errors which would have been ruthlessly exploited by a better opposition. In short we were far from the finished article but at the same time there was more than a little evidence of the green shoots of promise.

Hurling has such an array of skills that even in games which are not out of the top drawer there will be cameos to light up the contest. On Sunday, two were particularly worthy of mention viz. A humdinger of a point from centre-back Billy Cuddihy which involved him bursting majestically from deep in defence to send a snow-gathering sliothar between Hawkeye-extended posts from 80 m.,and a wonderful display by Anto Byrne of anticipation and reaction which saw him gain possession of the sliothar off the hurl of the receiver of an ARP free.

Scorers: Danny Nolan 1-1, Leon Browne 1-1, Shane Nolan 0-2, Peter Keane (half-back) 0-2, Anto Byrne 0-3 (1f), Billy Cuddihy 0-1 and James Cranley, who gave an excellent display of freetaking, 0-6 all from frees.

Dan O'Neill had a fine game in goals and the fullback line of Seán Hughes, Aidan Eivers and Kristian Flynn who displayed commendable sang froid under pressure, settled in to its task very well after an early hesitancy. There was little to fault in the play of the half line of Peter Keane, Billy Cuddihy and James Kelly and in that of the centre-field pairing of Stephen Kelly and Kevin Byrne. A lively half-forward line of Leon Browne, Anto Byrne and Shane Nolan between them contributed 1-6. The full forward combination of Danny Nolan, Michael Walsh and Shane Nolan posed a huge threat to the ARP goal. Martin Joyce, Daniel O'Connor and Stephen O'Neill stood by in readiness for the fray.