ÉIRE ÓG 2-10
BY JOHNNY CAROLAN
THE relief was clear to see on the face of Éire Óg manager Harry O’Reilly as the Ovens side beat Newcestown at Brinny last Saturday to preserve their Bons Secours Hospital Cork Premier SFC status.
Goals from Mark Griffin and Colm O’Callaghan made the difference for Éire Óg, meaning that Newcestown will operate at senior A level in 2023. While O’Reilly wasn’t happy to see Newcestown relegated, it was better than the alternative.
‘Neither of us wanted to be here today and I don’t like to see Newcestown going down either,’ he said.
‘They’re a great club, a massive dual club and it’s a pity that they have to go down.
‘I think the whole year has shown that it’s going to be really hard for dual clubs in the future, the way the leagues are structured with 18 weeks in a row, you’re knackered before you even get to the championship.
‘We were missing seven players all year, we had a couple of them back and it made a huge difference. Newcestown were the same, they were decimated with injuries too.
‘The lads were in the hurling relegation play-off last week and they won it, that was a big boost. They came in happy this week, which was great, but that game could have gone either way, there was nothing in it.
‘Newcestown kept plugging away and got their points, they got a lot of frees but you’ll have that. We’re relieved to get out of it and hopefully get set again for next year, when we won’t have as many away or out injured.’
An even first half saw both sides enjoy good periods. The returning John Cooper did well at centre-back for Éire Óg, allowing Griffin and Ronan O’Toole to get on top at midfield.
Two Daniel Goulding frees and a Cooper point put them 0-5 to 0-4 but Newcestown, who benefited from having David Buckley back from injury but were without Colm Dinneen and Séamus O’Sullivan, responded through Edmund Kenneally and Jack Meade.
After Goulding made it 0-6 each, Griffin struck for the key score of the first half. After a good run, he passed to Dylan Foley, who tried to set up Goulding for a goal but, though that didn’t come off, Griffin was able to send the loose ball home for the biggest lead of the game up then.
Within five minutes of the restart, Newcestown had drawn level through Buckley and Kennelly. Parity was fleeting though as an O’Toole mark allowed John Cooper to set up his brother Joe for the lead point.
Goulding’s fifth put them two ahead before the second goal, O’Callaghan linking with Dylan Foley after a fast break when a Newcestown attack broke down.
Newcestown never gave up, with sub Niall Murray on the scoresheet as Buckley added some good scores. His sixth left a point in it in the 58th minute but Éire Óg kept their composure and Kevin Hallissey set up Joe Cooper for his second to give them the cushion they held to the end.
‘The goals were the difference,’ O’Reilly said.
‘We made hard work of the first one, we had an opportunity that was saved and then Mark got the ball and buried it. Colm’s goal was a great goal – a lot of space and a powerful man, he’s hard to stop when he’s running through like that.’
Scorers- Éire Óg: Daniel Goulding 0-6f, Mark Griffin 1-1, Colm O’Callaghan 1-0, Joe Cooper 0-2, John Cooper 0-1. Newcestown: David Buckley 0-6 (3f), Edmund Kenneally 0-4 (2f), Jack Meade 0-2, Niall Kelly, Trevor Horgan 0-1 each.
Éire Óg: Chris Kelly; Dermot O’Herlihy, Michael Corkery, John Mullins; Jerome Kelleher, John Cooper, Daire McCarthy; Mark Griffin, Ronan O’Toole; Kevin Hallissey, Colm O’Callaghan, Joe Cooper; Dylan Foley, Daniel Goulding, Rian O’Flynn. Subs: Jack Murphy for Corkery (52), Donnacha Kelly for Foley (57).
Newcestown: Christopher White; Murt Kennelly, Cian Twomey, Micheál McSweeney; Trevor Horgan, Gearóid O’Donovan, Richard O’Sullivan; Eoghan Collins, Seán O’Donovan; Fionn Keane, Luke Meade, Jack Meade; David Buckley, Tadhg Twomey, Edmund Kenneally. Subs: Conor Goggin for Collins (half-time), Olan Walsh for Jack Meade (36-38, injured), Walsh for Jack Meade (43, injured), Niall Kelly for Kennelly (43).
Referee: Conor Lane (Banteer).