EIRE OG (CARLOW) 2-18 ST JOSEPH’S (LAOIS) 3-13
By Paul Keane at Netwatch Cullen Park, Carlow
Eire Og, the Carlow club that simply refuses to lie down.
Back at the county semi-final stage, Turlough O’Brien’s men needed penalties to overcome Rathvilly with young Josh Brady the eventual matchwinner at the end of that marathon.
Two games later, and with a provincial club quarter-final place on the line this evening, against Dublin opposition on November 4, it was Brady that once again helped wrestle a memorable win his side’s way.
The teenager converted from the penalty spot again though this time it was in the first-half of extra-time and the goal helped repel a ferocious St Joseph’s effort.
St Joseph’s, who only won the Laois title six days ago, fought like Trojans and moved four points ahead early in extra-time only for Eire Og to hit back with that Brady goal and eventually steal the win.
Adam McCarron’s two points in the second-half of stoppage time nudged the hosts over the line and they will return to the Carlow town venue to face Ballyboden St Enda’s or holders Kilmacud Crokes.
St Joseph’s, twice Leinster finalists in the past, will kick themselves for not finishing this one off. They led by five points in the final quarter of normal time but were suckered by an Eire Og comeback and a 65th minute Colm Hulton equaliser which forced the additional 20 minutes.
St Joseph’s led by four at one stage in extra-time as well but simply couldn’t shake off a dogged Eire Og side for whom McCarron and Brady starred. Eoghan O’Flaherty, the former Kildare player, led the St Joseph’s attack with 0-7.
It was always going to be a tough ask for Michael Dempsey’s St Joseph’s to take to the field so soon after their breakthrough win in Laois.
They overcame Portlaoise by just a point in a low-scoring arm wrestle last Sunday and must have enjoyed celebrating a first county title success since 2000.
But if they partied hard all week and took their eye off this Leinster club opener, it wasn’t apparent.
They started brightly and led 0-2 to 0-1 in the eighth minute and while Eire Og, who won their 31st Carlow title almost three weeks ago, hit back with an unanswered 1-2, it was the visitors that finished the half by far the stronger.
David Dunphy grabbed that early ninth minute goal for Eire Og, slipping a low shot beneath the goalkeeper after a powerful run through the middle from captain Jordan Morrissey.
But the second quarter was all about the craft and creativity of a St Joseph’s side that outscored Eire Og by 1-6 to 0-2 in that 15-minute or so period.
Dylan Doyle smashed the St Joseph’s goal in the 16th minute after a terrific burst up the left wing.
O’Flaherty then pointed after a dubious call went against Eire Og at the other end, allowing St Joseph’s to counter attack at pace and work the ball to the number 11.
St Joseph’s were patient and purposeful, moving the ball carefully through the hands yet they were always ready to burst through and attack the goal when openings materialised.
Their discipline was evident in the 24th minute, a high press on Eire Og’s kick-out forcing goalkeeper Johnny Furey to cough up a turnover and, ultimately, a Michael Keogh point.
Oisin Hooney helped himself to two points and O’Flaherty closed out the first-half scoring with his third after a slaloming run in off the left wing that ended with a neat strike off his right side.
Far from looking sluggish and jaded, St Joseph’s now carried all the momentum with a 1-8 to 1-5 interval lead.
A second goal for St Joseph’s in the 45th minute, scored by Danny Hickey who hit the net at the second attempt after his first shot was blocked on the line, appeared to be decisive.
That score left St Joseph’s five points up with a 2-10 to 1-9 advantage and, on the face of things, home and hosed.
Eire Og refused to throw in the towel though and dramatically brought it back to level terms with five points in a row.
Big Murtough Ware, wearing number nine but stationed at full-forward, came roaring into the game, setting up two points and scoring another. Ross Dunphy, the Carlow star and county final hero, added two points and suddenly the game had turned in Eire Og’s direction.
They were helped by the failure of St Joseph’s to convert a 59th minute penalty following a foul on Keogh who, moments earlier, had put his team a point up, 2-11 to 1-13.
Captain Brian Daly took that penalty for St Joseph’s but appeared to confuse only himself with a stunted run up which was followed by a soft kick straight at the goalkeeper.
St Joseph’s were still a point ahead but another Eire Og equaliser seemed inevitable and duly arrived in the fifth minute of stoppage time when Hulton split the posts to force extra-time at 1-14 to 2-11.
Daly made some amends with a palmed goal just seconds into extra-time and sub Josh O’Brien nudged them four clear with a cracking point.
Remarkably, Eire Og responded with 1-2, the goal a converted penalty from sub Brady following a foul on Ware, to lead by 2-16 to 3-12 at half-time of extra-time.
The sides were level again following an O’Flaherty score but St Joseph’s never regained the lead and those two late McCarron scores shoved Eire Og to a memorable win.
Eire Og scorers: Adam McCarron 0-6 (0-4f), Josh Brady 1-1 (1-0 pen), David Dunphy 1-0, Colm Hulton 0-3, Murtough Ware 0-2 (0-1m), Ross Dunphy 0-2, Jordan Morrissey 0-2 (0-2f), Diarmuid Ruth 0-1, Kyle Nolan 0-1.
St Joseph’s scorers: Eoghan O’Flaherty 0-7 (0-3f), Brian Daly 1-1, Dylan Doyle 1-0, Danny Hickey 1-0, Oisin Hooney 0-2, Michael Keogh 0-2, Josh O’Brien 0-1.
Eire Og: Johnny Furey; Cathal Kelly, Benny Kavanagh, Shane Buggy; Mark Behan, Mark Furey, Diarmuid Ruth; Jordan Morrissey, Murtough Ware; Kyle Nolan, Sean Gannon, David Dunphy; Adam McCarron, Ross Dunphy, Colm Hulton. Subs: Lee Moore for Behan 38, Josh Brady for David Dunphy 46, Kieran Nolan for Ruth 54. Jordan Lowry for Kelly 75.
St Joseph’s: Aaron Cooney; Jack Lacey, Adam Campion, Aidan Brennan; Tom Dunne, James Kelly, Danny Hickey; Mikie Dempsey, Brian Daly; Cormac Murphy, Gearoid Lynch, Michael Keogh; Dylan Doyle, Eoghan O’Flaherty, Oisin Hooney. Subs: Matthew Campion for Murphy 37, Ian Shanahan for Adam Campion 51, Josh O’Brien for Doyle 52, Conor Kealy for Hooney 65. Doyle for Hickey 67, Sean Brennan for Lynch 73.
Referee: Patrick Coyle (Meath).