Carlow SFC Semi Final
Eire Og 1-9
(Eire Og win 4-3 on penalties after sudden death)
The final game in a three course serving of double headers at HQ this weekend certainly gave onlookers a fair bit to digest. For some it may have led to acid reflux.
In atrocious conditions it was a war of attrition and at times wouldn't have looked out of place in cinematic terms with the likes of Saving Private Ryan, Braveheart and The Siege of Jadotville with bodies dropping like flies.
Remember these players have been going to combat each week with little or no time to recover and simple science will tell you that it was inevitable that injuries would occur as a result.
Which like a lot of famous historical wars begs a bigger question of course. Was all this necessary in the first place?
There were a lot of things that looked uncomfortable to this writer.
The sight of one of Carlow's all time greats Brendan Murphy and Barry John Molloy reduced to onlookers. Another all time great Sean Gannon limping off after 10 minutes or so. Mark Furey a short time later. Brian Smith wasn't long on before making way. Darragh O'Brien in agony having taken a penalty and still willing to step up to take another one. And there's probably more that aren't as evident to those outside the camps.
All these make for warrior type stories and obviously injuries do happen in sport. But has the hectic schedule week on week done any favours for the likes of the above or Tinryland's Mark Mullen or Cormac Walshe? With the first round of Leinster set for 21/22nd of October could the pressure have been taken off a little bit?
I guess it's really a seperate topic for another discussion, but it did play a big part in this tussle, hence why it's been given some air time here and players may well miss a county final as a result.
That's a fair feed for anyone to munch on mentally and that's before we talk about the penalties!
Again, the rule is there and penalties are now recognised as part of the elimination process when needed. But again it was very uncomfortable to watch all these guys go through it. They've busted their guts to get this far and one team has to depart in as brutal an execution as you will get.
Eire Og looked like they were facing the electric chair on more than one occasion throughout the afternoon but especially during the penalties when Rathvilly had to convert just 1 of their final 2 to win it.
Johnny Furey eradicated the power surge and all of a sudden the sponge was wetting Rathvilly heads as Brian Murphy had his attempt denied.
Josh Brady now had the chance to seal it. The penalty was executed. And so were Rathvilly.
A beautiful moment for young Brady and the YI's. A most horrific ending in contrast for Rathvilly.
It's mad to think that we had almost 90 minutes of action before all of this as well if added time is taken into consideration.
And speaking of added time, it was something that Rathvilly were questioning at Full time. Six minutes were added on. The clock at the scoreboard indicated there was at least ten seconds remaining.
Conor Doyle and Rathvilly were disgusted. They had just won the ball back on their own 45 with an acre of space to break into. But David Hickey was adamant that time was up and in fairness he showed all the Rathvilly players his stopwatch and was fully transparent with them.
Rathvilly looked the more impressive side in the first half of this encounter. Eire Og's discipline wasn't hectic and on four occasions in the first half Liam Gavin scored frees, while two of Conor Doyle's three scores in this half also came from frees. Kevin Murphy and Jake Elliott with the others from play.
He may have only been on the field for around 10 minutes but Sean Gannon was making sure that he was leaving a mark on the contest as his goalbound effort was foot blocked and Adam McCarron duly obliged with the penalty. Darragh O'Brien hit three frees in this opening half which ended Rathvilly 0-9, Eire Og 1-3.
And that's the thing with Eire Og. They weren't vintage in the first half, but yet Rathvilly were only three points to the good having been on top for long spells of it.
When Conor Doyle (who was excellent) pointed early in the second half you felt Rathvilly might push on. But credit to Eire Og, they got stuck in. Ross Dunphy steadied the ship from play, while three more O'Brien frees accounted for their second half total while Rathvilly didn't score again after Doyle's point.
A big moment in the half was a Johnny Furey stop from Kevin Murphy which was a brilliantly worked opportunity matched only by the save. So it was Rathvilly 0-10, Eire Og 1-7 at Full Time.
Extra time it was and in this period Josh Moore and Colm Hulton exchanged points with Kevin Murphy and Darragh O'Brien doing likewise, which meant Eire Og 1-9, Rathvilly 0-12 and the inevitable heart stopping penalties.
It was a contest that will live long in the memory for how it was decided.
The penalties provided the thrills with the skies providing the spills while Eire Og retreated down the O'Brien Road with the golden ticket to this weekends County Final.
And now Tinryland to come. You couldn't script it!
Eire Og: Johnny Furey; Cathal Kelly, Benny Kavanagh, Eoghan Byrne; Mark Behan, Mark Furey, Diarmuid Ruth; Kelvin Chatten, Jordan Morrissey; Reece Denieffe, Sean Gannon, Darragh O'Brien (0-7f); Adam McCarron (1-0 pen), Ross Dunphy (0-1), Colm Hulton (0-1). Subs: Cormac Mullins, Lee Moore, Kieran Nolan, Jordan Lowry, Murtough Ware, Kyle O'Byrne.
Rathvilly: Robbie Molloy; Kyle Byrne, Dara Curran, Colin Byrne; Adam Burgess, Josh Moore (0-1), Paraic Deering; Padraig Bolger, Conor Doyle (0-4, 2f); Ed Finnegan, Brandon Kelly, Kevin Murphy (0-2); Jake Elliott (0-1), Liam Gavin (0-4, 3f), Jamie Byrne. Subs: Brian Smith, Brian Murphy, Robbie Ryan, Alan Kelly, Jeffrey O'Donoghue, Ryan Sibbald
Referee: David Hickey