Carlow Junior B Football Final
Eire Og 2-6
12 months ago Asca had their promotion hopes dashed when they lost out to St Mullins in the 2022 Junior B decider.
This time out they showed huge resilience and discipline to see off a strong effort from Eire Og, while picking off some fantastic scores.
It looked shakey early on when Derek Hayden was in for a 6th minute goal after a super move started by the excellent Liam Ryan and although his effort was tame, if anything it was a warning shot.
The bullet did land on target in the 8th minute courtesy of Ryan from the penalty spot but Asca raised the roof in response on 10 minutes when Jack Phelan smashed home a rebound after Conor O'Brien had put Aaron Bowden in for the initial effort.
This was a really enjoyable contest and brothers Ben and Jamie Doorley slotted over two points from play each in the first half for Asca, with the energetic John Phiri also pointing, while Eire Og had points from Ryan and Derek Hayden (2).
Conor O'Brien's late free brought the first half to an end with Asca leading 1-6 to 1-3.
Hayden brought it back to two points just minutes into the second half but Jamie Doorley responded immediately for Asca.
Then a rapid fire 1-1 from Liam Ryan had Eire Og 2-5 to 1-7 ahead. The goal was a beauty, Gary Powell finding Derek Hayden who fed Ryan and his shot was unstoppable.
The response was again immediate and again it was a Doorley, this time Ben pointing from play to level us up on 2-5 to 1-8 after 37 minutes.
Eire Og would only score once more in the game from a 57th minute Shane Murphy free, but with Asca a point up from a Conor O'Brien free, things started to take a downward turn for Eire Og when they lost Derek Hayden to a straight red card for an off the ball tangle.
Hayden was absolutely furious with the decision, making it known to the officials and took his frustration out on a wheelie bin located next to the steps of the stand. Thankfully Ray Whelan LTD wheelie bins are every bit as strong as their support for this digital platform!
Another O'Brien free was met with that Shane Murphy free mentioned above but from here Asca turned up the heat moving into stoppage time. Firstly Diarmuid Long pointed and seconds later Gary Powell was dismissed for Eire Og seemingly for a loose swing of the elbow. Asca landed two more points from play via Jamie Doorley and James Ingram before John Phiri sealed the deal with their second goal.
It was a very entertaining game to watch and Asca are certainly building momentum with a bundle of talented youngsters coming through to strengthen their Junior 'A' aspirations in 2024.
Special mention must go to Liam Ryan of Eire Og who finished with 2-2 and was outstanding on the day.
Asca: William Long; Evan McAteer, Brian Hosey, Mark O'Brien; Aaron Bowden, Danny Quigley, Andrew Vint; Bryan Jackson, John Dwyer; John Phiri (1-1), Conor Byrne, Conor O'Brien (0-3f); Ben Doorley (0-3), Jack Phelan (1-0), Jamie Doorley (0-4). Subs: Adam Dooley for McAteer (38 mins), Diarmuid Long (0-1) for M O'Brien (43 mins), James Ingram (0-1) for Dooley (47 mins inj), Jake Murphy for C Byrne (55mins).
Eire Og: Ben McArron; Tommy Donohoe, Aaron Bolger, Lee Carpenter; Philip Hegarty, Brian Fitzgerald, Gary Powell; Diarmuid Murphy, Shane Murphy (0-1); James Ruth, Liam Ryan (2-2, 1-0 pen), Hugh Dooley; Jack Feehan, Dan Brennan, Derek Hayden (0-3, 1f). Subs: Paul Behan for Donohoe (40 mins), Marc Corcoran for D Murphy (49 mins)
Referee: Lar Murphy