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Éire Óg Greystones Club Notes
It is hardly news to any but the Rip van Winkles among you that both the county’s hurlers and footballers were in action against Meath at the week-end and that honours were shared. In both victory and defeat the players did the county proud.
IOMÁINT Saturday’s hurling game in the Christy Ring Cup belied its lowly secondary-competitive status and the sun-soaked spectators in Arklow were witness to an intensely but fairly fought (“you’d have to be in the hale of your health to be out there”, a fellow spectator remarked) high scoring contest enriched by a wholly unanticipated level of skill and some quite marvellous scores.
While Wicklow was fully deserving of its victory, the margin 3-18 to 2-12 is more than a little unfair to a battling Meath team which was rather harshly reduced to 14 early in the 2nd half. Éire Óg’s representatives on the team, Stephen “Chester” Kelly and Billy Cuddihy more than earned their keep on the day. Chester was a commanding presence at centre-back and Billy was a formidable barrier to Meath’s approach to goal. His powerful striking regularly changed situations of Meath menace into welcome Wicklow attack.
Now it’s on to Páirc an Chrócaigh on Saturday week to play either Down or London in the final.
PEIL Only the most optimistic of supporters could have anticipated that Wicklow would have put up such a sterling performance against Meath. The Royal County men were given a close run for their money and were very relieved to get away with a win.
The 1st half was frenetic in its pace but high in the quality of its football and replete with encounters in which body met body in high physicality. At the break no one was critical of its entertainment value but all agreed that its intensity could not be maintained in the furnace-like conditions which prevailed. And so it proved. The tempo dropped after the break and the game’s continuity was interrupted by injuries – 5 minutes injury time of which quite a fraction was due to Leighton’injury.
A battling performance by Wicklow and, overall, an enjoyable occasion which would have been rendered more so by a victory. Mais, c’est la vie!
Again our representatives did us proud – Darren Hayden with his athletic ball carrying and astute passing and Chester with his excellent anticipation and confident defending.
The club extends good wishes to Leighton Glynn who was obviously in great pain as he departed the field early in the 2nd half. His going was a huge loss to the Wicklow cause.
Our u-14 footballers had been handed a trouncing at the hands of Baltinglass in the Féile so it was impossible to see any outcome other than a comprehensive defeat in their league game against the same opposition in its home territory. But the pundits propose and the players dispose! The ignominy of the Féile loss rankled with our players, their pride was severely stung so their attitude was anything but defeatist as they set out for Baltinglass on Wednesday evening. The team’s positivity bore fruit. They closed the Féile chasm and held their vaunted opposition to a draw.
As has been these lads wont, they burst out of the traps, had the opposition on the back foot in the early stages and went a few points in front. A goal from Baltinglass after 12 minutes set the hosts on the road to a comeback and it was they who had the advantage on the scoreboard at the break.
Éire Óg started the 2nd period in style and played some very attractive football. Sadly it was not hugely productive on the scoreboard and the opposition was able to conserve a 4 to 6 point lead. However, the Éire Óg players never allowed what would have been an understandable frustration to undermine their intent and they continued to contest with vigour while at the same time playing good football. Their persistence paid off. Scores began to come and the gap on the scoreboard reached its zero limit a few minutes before the final whistle. And what a heart-stopping few minutes they were with each side being afforded lead-taking opportunities as play switched rapidly between ends. Éire Óg spurned a last minute chance of victory when failing to convert a close-in free.
A disturbing statistic of the game was that the Baltinglass players were issued with 1 red and 4 yellow cards. It is disappointing that a referee should be forced to hand out such an array of cards to players so young. Of what is it a reflection?
The referee is to be commended in not having allowed an age-influenced leniency to affect his punishment of indiscipline.
The cards, on the other hand, tell of the lads from Baltinglass having engaged in an over-robust style of play, presumably in the hope of intimidating the Éire Óg boys. It is a great tribute to the character of our team that they were not fazed by these tactics.
LEATH-SCÉAL Our own junior footballers and hurlers and our senior team – it is hard to get out of the habit of referring to them as the ‘intermediates’ – have been busy and quite successful over the past few weeks and it was intended to give them due recognition in this week’s notes. However, attendance at the county matches left one with a serious time famine and with no reports to hand, one took the less demanding option of writing short notes on Wicklow’s exploits. Ná tóg orm é!