This Week's Club Notes

November 7, 2018

HURLERS PIPPED: Saturday last 4pm, Éire Óg were at home to Na Fianna of Dublin in the 2nd round of the Leinster Hurling League – are you really telling me that there were some people who were not glued to the secular canonisation (the words of Diarmuid Ferritéar) ceremony on RTÉ?!

Conditions were not the best for spectating or indeed for playing. The physical comfort which might have been expected to derive from the summer-like dry-bulb temperature was prevented from materialising for spectators by the very strong sea-borne wind which blew with persistent chill, straight across the pitch. Further the breeze made it difficult to deliver the ball with any degree of accuracy. A fact reflected in the paucity of the scores, Éire Óg 0-8, Na Fianna 1-6.

Neither of the goals in the Éire Óg pitch has to date earned the title of “the scoring one” so with the wind direction being as it was the tossing of the coin was somewhat of an irrelevance – for the record Éire Óg played into the Charlesland end in the 1st half.

Exchanges were quite even throughout the game with the locals holding a marginal advantage in the matter of the occupation of the opponent's territory.

Unfortunately, however, the fire in the belly of the Éire Óg players failed to burst into flame and their play never attained the heights of that of the previous week in Maynooth. As a result, they failed to stamp their authority on a game which they were more than capable of winning. Five minutes after the throw-in Phelim Byrne gave Éire Óg the lead with a well taken point which the umpire signalled with a raised hand. Both sides huffed and puffed for the next 7 or 8 minutes and then disaster struck. A pernickety free conceded on the 40m mark out on the left wing, the sliotar from the resultant free falls, one does not know whether by accident or design, unimpeded to ground 5 metres from the post where it lay in splendid isolation as backs and forwards hustled and harried. Suddenly a forward's camán exits the confusion and strikes the sliotar with anything but conviction.

We watched in horror as the ball found its way with agonising slowness past an unsighted Dan O Neill. For the remainder of the half, and indeed for the duration of the match, scores were at a premium and the teams entered the break with, as recorded individually by the Éire Óg followers, Na Fianna leading 1-2 to 0-4. How great then the chagrin of the Éire Óg camp when their team had only been officially credited with 3 points. The failure of the umpire to raise the white flag for Phelim's point led to its not finding its way into the ref's notebook.The highlight of this period was a wonderful full-length save by Dan O'Neill on a shot struck powerfully from about 15 metres.

The 2nd half was nip and tuck all the way and ended with a golden opportunity for an equaliser falling short of the target. A hurling snob might not have found the game wholly to his satisfaction but he would have to admit that it had many instances of impressive individual skills, in particular the wonderful blocking down by the Éire Óg defence, and that as a contest, controversial as it might have been in its outcome, always held spectator interest.

Ger White as centre-back was Man of the Match. He was inspirational in his commitment and his reaction to the breaking ball bordered on the unbelievable. Kristian 'Buster' Flynn cleared great and intelligent ball out of defence and Ger Flynn raised Éire Óg hearts with his athletic forays into na Fianna territory. James Kelly played with discipline and effect at half-back.

The team was greatly weakened by the absence of county-tied players – Stephen 'Chester' Kelly and Billy Cuddihy. The Éire Óg cause suffered a further blow with the departure at half time of Anto Byrne and Peter Keane under and injunction from the county hurling management.

CONDOLENCES: The club extends its sincerest sympathy to the family of Gerry Collins who died recently. Gerry was well known in the club having helped out on occasion with the juveniles. His son Stephen was an underage player of talent with Éire Óg. Ar dheis Dé go raibh anam Gerry.