A CERTAIN Seanie Johnston might have been the pre-match attraction but after his substitution, just 35 seconds, after throw in, Coill Dubh got on with the business in hand, put in an impressive second half showing and had seven points to spare come the long whistle, writes Ruth Chambers.
Trevor Carew’s side had seven points to spare and two spare men after Éire Óg finished out the game with 13 men when Adrian Moran and Kieran Moran were both sent off, the latter receiving a straight red card after an off the ball melee as the game came to a close.
For the most part Éire Óg were well in contention and only trailed by the minimum (0-9 to 1-5) at the break, after a goal from full forward Declan Curran just five minute before the interval. After the turnaround however Coill Dubh, as expected, got on top and cantered to victory in the end.
The fan fare before throw in ensured a large crowd gathered in Clane for the opening round of the Senior Hurling Championship and just seconds after replacing Seanie Johnston Declan Flaherty got scoring proceedings under way with a point from play.
Three minutes later Éire Óg got off the mark when the reliable Deckie O’Toole converted a free after Adrian Moran was impeded by Mark Grace. However, by the time their second score arrived they trailed by two after Eanna O’Neill and Tom Carew split the posts for the side in red and white.
Points from Paul Kennedy and Declan Curran left the teams level just after the midway point of the half.
The two free takes, first Tom Carew and then O’Toole, both added to their tallies before three on the trot, courtesy of Mark Delaney and two from Carew (frees) left Coill Dubh leading 0-7 to 0-4 with six minutes of the half remaining.
Coill Dubh’s lead didn’t last too long however because in the 25th minute their opponents grabbed the game’s opening goal and parity restored. Full back Noel Casey was caught napping and when he failed to clear Declan Curran took full advantage and struck past Damien Byrne in the Coill Dubh goal to leave the scoreboard reading 0-7 to 1-4.
Nine times champions Coill Dubh responded with a point from the impressive Mark Delaney but O’Toole soon left it level again with yet another converted free in time added on. Before John McLoughlin sounded the interval whistle there was time for one more score and it went the way of Coill Dubh and came from the stick of Mark Delaney out right to leave the half time score at 0-9 to 1-5.
Éire Óg started the second period well and indeed got their noses in front early on. O’Toole levelled the game with a free, while Paul Kennedy split the posts to give his side a 1-7 to 0-9 lead.
The game’s second goal arrived just three minutes in to the second period and came from Declan O’Flaherty, who left the sliotar in the roof of Paul Dermody’s net and gave Coill Dubh a 1-9 to 1-7 lead and it was a lead they never relinquished.
At the end of the third quarter Coill Dubh led 1-11 to 1-10 and all Éire Óg could muster up thereafter was a single point compared to seven for the team in red.
Tom Byrne (free), Tom Carew and Mark Delaney (two) stretched the lead to four by the 56th minute and just to make doubly sure Delaney added another two, along with Eanna O’Neill and Ryan Casey to ensure a winning start for Trevor Carew’s team.
Coill Dubh, Mark Delaney 0-7 (1f), Tom Carew 0-5 (3f), Declan Flaherty 1-1, Eanna O’Neill 0-2, Tom Byrne 0-2 (1f), Ryan Casey 0-1.
Éire Óg Chorra Choill , Deckie O’Toole 0-7 (5f, 1 ’65’), Paul Kennedy 0-3, Declan Curran 1-1.
Damien Byrne; Dean O’Regan, Noel Casey, David Brouder; Barry Cahill, Mark Grace, Ross Carew; Damien Behan, Eanna O’Neill; Seanie Johnston, Tom Byrne, Ryan Casey; Tom Carew, Mark Delaney, Ruairi Hayden. Subs: Declan Flaherty replaced S Johnston 1 min, Antoine Carew replaced R Hayden 39 mins, Morgan O’Callaghan replaced B Cahill 39 mins.
Éire Óg Chorra Choill:
Paul Dermody; Kieran Moran, Brian Fitzpatrick, Danny Boyle; Tommy Cullen, Pauric Ryan, Kieran Connor; Mark Kelly, Collie Gleeson; Joe Dempsey, Adrian Moran, Paul Kennedy; Richie Whelan, Declan Curran, Deckie O’Toole. Subs: Alan Lagrue replaced R Whelan 35 mins, Alan Dunney replaced C Gleeson 38 mins, Gary Johnson replaced P Dermody 39 mins.