NOT for the first time this season, Clogherinkoe have shown their fighting qualities and looking at defeat in the face, they somehow manage to lift themselves and put in a storming last quarter and on Sunday they repeated what they did in the Kildare JFC final and repeated in their opening game of the Leinster JFC, writes Tommy Callaghan.
AIB Leinster Junior Club Football Championship
Glen Emmets: 1-8
St Conleth’s Park, Newbridge, was the venue for this Leinster Club quarter final against the Louth junior champions, Glen Emmets, on a cold miserable afternoon with heavy mist falling constantly throughout the contest and despite the visitors opening the scoring inside a minute, a free from the influential Conor Grimes, it was the Kildare champions who looked the more impressive in the opening ten minutes or so.
And one man in particular stood out, and stood out a mile.
Ciarán Gravin, who else.
Gravin was superb from start to finish and while he equalised that earlier point from Emmets on four minutes, taking a lovely pass from Dean Hanley, he then proceed to hit three more points on the trot, all frees, to put The Cloghs ahead 0-4 to 0-1 with less than ten minutes gone.
In between those points the Kildare boys could have had a goal but a brilliant stop by Fergus Barnett in the Glen Emmets goal denied Gravin who had been set up by Daniel Grehan.
While Clogherinkoe had opened a handy lead, nevertheless the Louth boys were doing well out field but found the Cloghs defence difficult to breakdown and when Gravin again hit an absolute beauty to make it 0-5 to 0-1 one felt this was going to be their day.
Mark Noone eventually got Emmet’s second score of the game, a fine effort from the ground and when Conor Grimes added another the Louth boys were right back in the game with just four minutes before the break and two points behind.
Daniel Grehan made a brilliant catch on the edge of the Louth champions square but when he turned looking for the net his effort was brilliant blocked by Colm Carolan.
Then two minutes into time added disaster struck the home team when a long ball in from the far side on the Kilcullen goal end from Conor Grimes saw Mark Noone rise above his marker and punch the ball to the net to give Glen Emmets a half time lead, 1-3 to 0-5.
The second half was only on two minutes when Aidan Monahan received a second yellow and a red and so the Louth lads were down to fourteen but they still kicked on with a fine point from Damian Grimes lifted the vocal supporters who had travelled down.
Ciarán Gravin replied with a fine long range effort and Cein McMonagle intercepted an intended pass and shot over the sides were level with just five minutes gone in the second half.
The Emmet boys, however, despite down a man upped their game and hit three points on the trot. The first from Mark Noone when seemingly surrounded but still managed to get in his shot, midfielder Ronan Grufferty then coolly added a ‘45’ before Eamon Mullen converted a free after the ball had been brought forward and Simon Murtagh was given a straight red. It looked harsh as it seemed his ‘crime’ was not to release the ball, however the match official indicated that he had kicked out in the process and so the sides were levelled up at 14 apiece with Emmets now three clear.
Clogherinkoe looked in big trouble at this stage and while there was still 15 minutes or so remaining they were not getting the possession around the middle and their half back line was not ‘hovering’ as they had been earlier.
Neil Bergin, very quiet up now then saw the Emmet’s keeper knock over his effort to reduce the deficit to two. Suddenly Clogherinkoe began to gain possession and run at the opposition. A great ball inside by Paul Lowry was caught by Ciarán Gravin but goal attempt was off target but it did not take long for the same player to make amends.
A brilliant run by Cein McMonagle opened up the opposition defence; he off-loaded to Gravin who seemed to have run out of space but he still managed to find the net amongst a body of players to leave it Clogherinkoe 1-9 Glen Emmets 1-8 with some seven minutes remaining.
From here on in it was all Clogherinkoe who took over completely around the middle.
That man, Ciarán Gravin hit his eight point of the game to stretch the lead to two quickly followed by a great point from Robbie Dunne.
Brian Gravin was winning everything around the middle at this stage and two late points from Neil Bergin ensured Clogherinkoe would march on into the Leinster semi final where they have a home game once again in Newbridge the weekend after next.
An excellent overall display and what a game from Ciarán Gravin.
In one word he was simply superb and if he can continue this rich form and with plenty of back up from Robbie Dunne, Daniel Grehan, Mark Nolan,Neil Bergin and Sean McEvoy, who knows where this voyage will end.
Clogherinkoe, 1-8 (5 frees), Neil Bergin 0-3, Cein McMonagle 0-1, Robbie Dunne 0-1.
Glen Emmets, Mark Noone 1-2 (1 free), Conor Grimes 0-2 (2 frees), Ronan Grufferty 0-2 (1 free, 45), Eamon Mullen 0-1, Damien Grimes 0-1.
Gary Ryan; Declan Lowry, Seán McEvoy cpt., Conor Grehan; Paul Lowry, Thomas Reilly, Kevn McEvoy; Brian Gravin, Daniel Grehan; Simon Murtagh, Robbie Dunne, Cein McMonagle; Dean Hanley, Ciaran Gravin, Mark Nolan. Subs:Ben Kenny for Paul Lowry (60 minute).
Fergus Barnett; Aidan Monahan, Colin Carolan, Keith Boylan; Danny Whyte, Andrew Mooney, Stephen Healy; Gordan Healy, Conor Grimes; David Bracken, Eamon Mullen, Derrick Johnson; Mark Noone, Ronan Grufferty, Keith Lynch. Subs, Damien Grimes for Dereck Johnson (half time); Keith Rooney for Gordon Healy (half time); Keith Farnan for Aidan Monahan (48 minutes); Martin Morgan for Mark Noone (57 minute); Tom Grimes for Keith Lynch (60 minute).
Fergus Smyth (Offaly).