Senior Hurlers in Championship Action

November 7, 2018

Sunday evening i bPáirc na bPiarsach in Arklow our hurlers were given a rude awakening by Glenealy, a club which regularly contests the final, as to what is required to win a county senior hurling championship. The latter's position as a stronghold of the game was highlighted by the number of kids wearing its favours as they tipped around with camán and sliothar during the game.

After the promising performance of Éire Óg in their last 2 outings in the Dacia championship their followers, eventhough they were well aware of Glenealy's reputation, were hoping that they would give the opponents a good run for their money. However it was not long before this optimism had proven to be in vain. A gulf in class was apparent from the throw-in and we had slipped 1-4 to 0-0 behind after about 7 minutes and were struggling bigtime. It wasn't that the Greystones lads weren't getting plenty of ball, rather it was that Glenealy were more skilfull and far-seeing in their use of it. Their 1st touch was excellent, their intuitive hand-passing scarcely ever failed to find its target and their speedy forwards gave our Chesterless back division a torrid time. In fact the quality of Glenealy's forwards allowed them the luxury of upstaffing their backs and creating an almost impenetrable defensive system. This neutralised the effectiveness of our forwards to the extent that we had failed to score by the break. It must be added that our wayward shooting did have a part in this situation.

At the break the fear among the Clocha Liatha supporters was that their team would suffer the indignity of a whitewash . Yet they were hopeful on the evidence of the exchanges of the 1st half that this was unlikely to be the case.

However the early stages of the 2nd period did little to allay their fears as the wearers of the red and white continued to dominate and to keep the scoreboard ticking over. Eventually to the great relief of their followers Éire Óg broke their duck but their scoring frequency remained so miserly that their fans despaired of the score ever reaching double figures. Thankfully our position at the end was not as dire as predicted by the early indicators and at the final whistle the team had accumulated the respectable total of 12 points. This figure is seen in a better light when one takes into consideration that it more or less matches the number of scores accumulated by the opposition after the interval. Unfortunately one of theirs was a major. This goal epitomised the difference in the overall play of the teams. An Éire Óg back near the '45', in a state of indecision, overplays the ball, an alert Glenealy forward skilfully robs him and after a clever transfer the ball is driven to the net.

A disappointing defeat it must be said but, in the light of the quality of the opposition, one which should not be a cause for despondency. It is certain the the team will have learned from this defeat and that a wiser and sharper Éire Óg will take the field in the next round.

Shane Nolan had a strong presence in the middle of the field and Seán Hughes worked tirelessly to good effect at corner back. Peter Keane was here, there and everywhere on the pitch and his use of the ball was exemplary. Dan O'Neill played well in goals and could not be faulted for not preventing the passage of 3 goals to the net. He reached high on two occasions to stop the ball going over the bar. Anto Byrne tried hard in the forwards. Kristian 'Buster' Flynn at full-back handled a difficult assignment and made an exciting save on the stroke of half-time. James Cranley was very reliable off frees. Phelim Byrne, Joe Canning-like scored a wonderful point from a 35m sideline cut.

COMHGÁIRDEACHAS to the county u-21 hurlers who have reached the final of the U-21 B Hurling championship in which they play Kerry. The final will be played as a curtain-raiser to the A final between Limerick and Wexford and will be broadcast on TG4.

5KM RACE SEPTEMBER 19th Éire Óg is an ambitious club and had a number of projects in mind for the future e.g. a hurling wall for which planning permission has been received and which is seen as a priority. These schemes unfortunately require finance so the club is forced to continuously devise methods for raising money. The latest is a chip-timed 5km race on a scenic Greystones seafront course on Saturday September 19th. Starting time 10 a.m. Entry 15 euro.

FIXTURES To-night Wednesday Éire Óg v St Kevins minor football at home 7.15pm.

Thursday 27th Junior A v Barndarrig. 6.45 Newcastle.

Senior Football Championship Quarter Final v Blessington in Aughrim at 11.30 am.