Ennistymon pulled off a major shock in the opening round of the Clare Senior Football Championship as they held out for a two point win over 2014 County Finalists Éire Óg.
Éire Óg 0-13
Venue: Hennessy Memorial Park, Miltown Malbay.
For the second year in succession, Éire Óg have been defeated in the first round but the stark contrast between now and twelve months ago is they put up a fight over the hour in 2014 versus Cratloe, the same cannot be said for their 2015 opener.
Goals win matches and that was certainly the case as Ennistymon put Éire Óg to the sword in a memorable win for the men from the market town. After many years of failing to rise to the occasion that is the Senior Championship, Ennistymon finally stepped up to the mark aided by an underwhelming Éire Óg outfit.
Eimhin Courtney was first off the mark with just under two minutes played from a placed ball. Joe Dowling responded for Ennistymon with a fisted effort after Joey Rouine had a shot on goal saved by former Limerick FC netminder Barry Ryan. Éire Óg built up a two point advantage with points from Courtney and Eoin Glynn who was setup by a Barry Toner offload.
Daire Crowe picked up his first score of the Championship to narrow the gap to the minimum on the ninth minute. Cathal Crowe’s side took the lead for the first time when corner-forward, Sean McConigley fired to the back of the Éire Óg after receiving a Danny Rouine pass. Joey Rouine pushed them further ahead with a point as he brushed past the challenge of Michael O’Regan and slotted between the posts.
An eighth minute scoring drought subsided for the Townies as Courtney was on target once more. Michael Leigh replied in the best possible fashion as blasted past Barry Ryan for the second goal of the game with eighteen minutes on the clock. David O’Halloran opened his account on the twentieth minute but Ennistymon finished the half the stronger with efforts from Joey Rouine and Joe Dowling leaving them six points clear at the break.
Sean McConigley piled the misery on the Ennis club after the resumption when he got to the ball ahead of his marker and picked up his second and Ennistymon’s third goal of the contest. The leaders would surprisingly only score once more for the remainder.
Paddy O’Malley got the Townies’ first score of the second half with thirty seven minutes played. Three points in succession from the lively Eimhin Courtney in an eleven minute spell cut the gap to five points with forty eighth minutes on the clock.
Shane Daniels was on target from a free for James Hanrahan’s side but his effort was cancelled out by Joey Rouine who pointed following a nice pass from McConigley. Éire Óg tried with all their might to level matters and added points through Courtney, Daniels and Ciarán Russell. They had a glorious goal chance with two minutes remaining as Conor Brennan tore up the field and linked up with Eoin Glynn who found the on-rushing David O’Halloran who hit to the right of Padraig Brennan’s goal.
With nine of the starting team from the 2014 County Final included in their lineup, Éire Óg will be regretful and shellshocked to a degree with the outcome. When all is said and done they only have themselves to blame for the result as they didn’t work hard enough, they failed to track back when they lost possession whereas Ennistymon hassled and harried to win back possession. The only time they showed real fight was in a half-time melee that saw substitutes and both sets of management get involved in the ruckus which saw no yellow cards issued.
The Townies didn’t expect to lose this one, no team goes out expecting to lose but they certainly underestimated what their opponents were going to bring to the table. They are in the same position they were this time last year but the crucial difference is there was positives to be taken from their first round defeat in 2014. Eimhin Courtney was the star man for Éire Óg in an attack that really felt the absence of Sean O’Meara and Stephen Hickey.
This is a huge win for Ennistymon. For too long they have failed to show promise at Senior despite sweeping up success at various underage ranks. They played as a team and this was critical to their victory.
Ennistymon’s distribution of ball into the inside forward line was second to none and only left their attackers with one task which was to get a score. They will need to improve for when it comes to the winners section and nine scores over sixty minutes may not suffice the next day. Adam Ralph and Daire Crowe dictated matters in defence while Joseph Dowling, Joey Rouine and Sean McConigley caused serious damage up front.
Ennistymon: Padraig Brennan; Oisin Vaughan, Enda Ralph, Kieran Vaughan; Daire Crowe (0-01), Michael O’Loughlin, Adam Ralph, Michael Devitt; Patrick O’Dwyer, Francis O’Loughlin; Joseph Dowling (0-02), Michael Leigh (1-00); Joey Rouine (0-03), Sean McConigley (2-00), Danny Rouine. Subs: Ciaran Devitt for Leigh (47), Cathal McConigley for F O’Loughlin (47), Michael Houlihan for O’Dwyer (56).
Éire Óg: Barry Ryan; Francie Keane, Aaron Fitzgerald, Michael O’Regan; Dean Ryan, Ciarán Russell (0-01), Sean Corry; Darren O’Neill, Shane Daniels (0-02 1f); Conor Brennan, David O’Halloran (0-01), Paddy O’Malley (0-01 1f); Barry Toner, Eoin Glynn (0-01), Eimhin Courtney (0-07 2f). Subs: Conor O’Halloran for Keane (20), Éinne O’Connor for O’Regan (36), Brian Shannon for O’Malley (48), Liam Corry for Corry (58).
Referee: Jim Hickey (Cratloe).