CONNEFF Park may not be in the same league as the plush surroundings of GAA Headquarters on Jones’ Road, yet it seems that Eoghan O’Flaherty isn’t overly fussed as to where he shows off his undoubted brilliance, writes John Ryan.
MDY Construction Senior Football Championship
Early last Sunday afternoon O’Flaherty inspired his club Carbury to a comfortable SFC victory over Confey in Clane, and with it a place in the semi-finals once again for last year’s beaten finalists.
The performance of the county man, who has played more of his football in recent years in Croke Park than within the boundaries of Kildare, was worth the entrance fee alone for those in attendance. Although he was selected at full-forward, O’Flaherty was as elusive as he was majestic, kicking seven points during the win, whilst contributing to a good few more.
Together with his older brother Morgan and Terry Rossiter, O’Flaherty was the link-man in a Carbury side which played some fine and effective football that saw them dominate for long spells of this encounter.
Although they fell four points behind inside the opening six minutes, that discouraging start from Carbury didn’t deter them and with the aforementioned trio sparkling, by half-time Carbury had recovered remarkably to lead by five.
It was more of the same early in the third quarter and with only 35 minutes on the clock Carbury’s lead was out to seven points. To their credit Confey never threw in the towel and with Michael ‘Mitch’ McCann in fine scoring form, three times over the ensuing 20 minutes Ronan Quinn’s troops closed to within three points.
That though as was close as last year’s intermediate champions would get, with Carbury’s ability to retain possession even when scoring chances weren’t at the ready dissolving Confey’s sternest efforts.
That being said, Confey – impressive victors over Maynooth at the same venue eight days previous – hit the ground running here, hitting back to an opening point from O’Flaherty (free) with points from Hugh Lynch and McCann (free) after five minutes.
The Creighton Park outfit then took control of proceedings when wing-forward Joe Kehoe confidently rolled in a penalty a minute later, harshly awarded by referee Paddy Moore against Carbury goalkeeper Noel Kenna when deeming the custodian to have foot-blocked Eoin Fitzpatrick.
Although playing against a team using a sweeper in the form of Conor Jennings, Carbury recovered themselves and finding it much easier to get precise ball into their danger men, they limited Confey to just one further score before the break, during which time they plundered 1-6 of their own.
O’Flaherty and McCann traded pointed frees after eight and 16 minutes, but by that juncture Carbury were the team moving much better, with the O’Flaherty brothers and Rossiter getting on plenty of ball.
Points from Andrew Dermody and Eoghan O’Flaherty (2) were registered by the 21st minute to cut the arrears to 1-3 to 0-5, before a sweeping passage of play in the 24th minute involving Eoghan O’Flaherty, Rossiter and Willie Groome culminated in Rossiter firing to the roof of the net via the underside of the crossbar.
David Cash and Eoghan O’Flaherty (2) added additional points before the interval, all of which left Carbury leading by 1-8 to 1-3 at the change of ends.
Upon the restart it appeared that Carbury were going to canter home, with wing-back Brian O’Flaherty twice getting forward to point inside the opening five minutes.
Confey however weren’t for going quietly and when McCann (3) and Paul Divilly pointed by the 41st minute, suddenly Carbury were looking over their shoulders once again.
That three point deficit remained after 51 and 53 minutes, with Kenna doing his part when pulling off a flying save to deny Tomas McCann after 48 minutes, before Rossiter and Michael McCann (free) traded late points as Carbury booked their berth in the last four.
Carbury, Eoghan O’Flaherty 0-7 (4f), Terry Rossiter 1-2, Brian O’Flaherty 0-2, David Cash 0-1, Willie Groome 0-1, Andrew Dermody 0-1.
Confey, Michael McCann 0-7 (5f), Joe Kehoe 1-0 (pen), Hugh Lynch 0-2 (1f), Tomas McCann 0-1 (’45), Paul Divilly 0-1.
Noel Kenna; Garry Mangan Liam Holt, Stephen McKeon; Brian O’Flaherty, Daryl O’Brian, Darren Moore; David Cash, Sean Costello; Willie Groome, Terry Rossiter, Morgan O’Flaherty; Kenny McNamara, Eoghan O’Flaherty, Andrew Dermody. Subs: Sean Kelly for Dermody (60+1 mins).
Eoin Fallon; Andrew Grehan, Frank Ryder, John O’Neill; Donal McClean, John Quigley, Eoin Farrelly; Hugh Lynch, Conor Feeney; Tomas McCann, Eoin Fitzpatrick, Joe Kehoe; Michael McCann, Paul Divilly, Conor Jennings. Subs: Jason Prior for Feeney (50 mins); Colm Chan for Farrelly (53 mins).
Paddy Moore (Clane)