This Week´s Club Notes

November 7, 2018

CLUB MAN STAR'S IN COUNTY TEAM'S WIN: Wicklow's NFL defeat of Tipperary, who have been showing some form on the Gaelic football field over the last few years, has come as a welcome morale boost for the team going into the championship. Before the game the cognoscenti would have seen it as somewhat of a David (Wicklow) versus Goliath contest so Cill Mantáin's victory came as a huge surprise to many.

The manner of its accomplishment had the substance of a fairytale and for us in Éire Óg it was particularly gratifying in that our own Darren Hayden played an important part in its achievement.

2 mins. 48 secs remaining, Wicklow 7 points down and the action deep in its territory. Darren collects the ball inside the 45 and bursts out of defence in graceful athletic flight and holds possession until he is 10m inside the 45 on the other side. He offloads to Rory Finn who cleverly lobs the keeper. 2 mins. 20 secs. left, the kick-out, the Tipp effort overcooked. Wicklow keeper collects, passes to corner back who finds Darren in a tight situation almost on the sideline. Darren dodges and weaves into the middle and passes to Niall Gaffney charging forward. The ball, after passing through a few other Garden County hands finds its way to the net. Just seconds left and the seemingly impossible happens.

The Clare football manager on hearing an account of the match uttered in astonishment “if it had happened in NY it would have been attributed to the mafia” implying of course that Wicklow's triumph amounted to a grand larceny. One would consider this a slightly unfair assessment and feels it should be seen more in the light of the efforts of the ram in Frank Sinatra's hit “High Hopes”, a just reward for persistence.

JUNIOR A FOOTBALL:  During the week the JuniorA footballers recorded a heartening victory, 0-16 to 1-09, over a good and competitive Ashford side in the 2nd round of the league. The team's performance was a balm to the management's frustration at its surrender of a big lead in the dying minutes of the 1st round game against Emmets. Éíre Óg really played well in the 1st half and had built up a 4 point lead at the break. However, they set their supporters hearts aflutter with the concession of 1-02 in the 3rd quarter. Thankfully the loss in the team's shape in this period was only temporary and the lads regained the upper hand in the latter stages and sent over 5 excellently executed and unanswered points.

Willie O'Hagan (0-7, 5 frees), Ronan Hanaway, James Cranley (0-2), Daniel Webb (0-3) and Andrew Walsh showed to advantage. Other scorers were Seán Ryder (0-1), Eddie Davis (0-2) and Darren Quigley (0-1).

U-12 FOOTBALL The lifeblood of a club lies in its juvenile section and while players are a sine qua non of its existence, these, without enthusiastic and suitable mentors, would not serve much of a purpose. Thankfully at the moment we have both at u-12 in girls' and boys' football and each group has had a busy few days.

In boys u-12 the format of competition is designed to ensure that sideline time for players is minimal; competitions involve two 11-a-side teams from each club playing one another on a modified pitch with possession limited to 2 plays of the ball (1 hop, 1 solo). This makes for a free- flowing game and helps to prevent the games being over-dominated by the stronger players which can be a problem at this level. The elimination of the one-two would also, one suggests, be a positive move in this direction.

The boys' 1st game was away to Bray Emmets on Monday 7th. Both Éire Óg teams put in a great effort and while the result went Éire Óg's way the management derived their greatest satisfaction from the quality of the lads' team play and the level of skill they displayed.

On Friday the squad put in another excellent performance at home against Donard.

Team 1: Frankie Byrne, Neil Brown, Patrick O'Connell, Aaron Bailey, Rory Barry, Eoisín and Seán O'Neill, Cyan Hynes, Ben Hogan, Daniel Healy, Seán McCormack, Josh Rushe, Jacob Browner, Oisín Shanahan.

Team2: Emmet Gulliver, Liam and Patrick Byrne, Conor O'Donovan, Callum Shortt, Thade Shanahan, Cillian Keane, Joseph Prendergast, Luke Dorgan, Neil Burke, Jack O'Sullivan, Frankie Kavanagh, Glenn Halligan, Freddie Happonan.

The u-12's next game is away to Baltinglass on Tuesday 22nd at 7pm. A logistical nightmare as it was for Donard on Friday. The list of participants in this competition does not, one hazards, undergo huge changes from year to year and it should be possible to draw up a table of fixtures which would have a more logical construct. One cannot see why earlier-season games should not be between near neighbours and that the longer distanced games be reserved for the brighter evenings of high summer when a later starting time could be arranged. There is even a feeling in the club that these latter matches should be played at an intermediate venue such as The Centre Of Excellence.