2023 Carlow Senior Football Final
Eire Og 2-13
After a first half that would put the most raging insomniac to sleep, Eire Og turned on the style in the second half and played some superb football to put Tinryland to the sword in what ended as an emphatic win in the end for the YI's.
This game had an awful lot riding on it which was heightened even further due to the off the field stuff over the past few months and while few could have been shocked by the dour first half, it still didn't make it any less disappointing for neutrals.
In that first half you could've taken a few power naps and you still wouldn't have missed a huge pile. Eire Og tried to squeeze Tinryland albeit not to the desired outcome initially but still forged three points from play via Ross Dunphy (2) and Darragh O'Brien while the latter also converted a free.
There was a lack of conviction about Tinryland early on and although going in just 0-4 to 0-2 down at half time would have been something they were probably pleased with, apart from Conor McGrath's fine point from play (I won't ever comment on his shooting capabilities again!), they were wayward on five occasions in the first half and with their system and style of play they needed to be converting almost everything to give them a foothold.
It was good to see Mark Mullen of Tinryland joining the fray at half time and with Sean Gannon and Mark Furey playing from the start it really was fantastic for all those guys as it looked unlikely that any of them would play a part in the lead up to the game.
Eire Og had their homework done and allowed very little space to Broderick and Diarmuid Walshe to do harm. James McGrath looked lively when introduced for Tinryland and slotted a nice from play in the second half as did Cormac O'Brien and Jonah Dunne but this was scant consolation in the grand scheme of things.
Colm Hulton's 42nd minute point got a massive cheer and it was a sign of things to come for his side. The final quarter belonged to Eire Og and what a spell it was. Firstly Jordan Morrissey got on the end of a sweeping move in the 46th minute and hit effort fizzed over to make it 0-8 to 0-4
From the resultant kickout Adam McArron received possession. He was shooting for a point but Ross Dunphy copped that it was dropping short and he beat the advancing Cathal Gaffney to the punch and Eire Og were seven points up.
You just knew the writing was on the wall for Tinryland at this juncture and when they were forced to come out of their shell they did score a couple of nice points as mentioned above, but they were also massively exposed which McCarron and Dunphy twice used to their advantage. Cathal Kelly also popped up with a score.
Murtough Ware then got a well deserved county final moment in the 59th minute when he bundled home from close range. He had initially set up Josh Brady who had his effort saved by Cathal Gaffney. Ware took a lot of stick for missing a goal chance in the 2021 Final to Rathvilly, which ironically was also in the dying moments of the game so this was a real moment of redemption for the big man.
Captain Jordan Morrissey got the last score of the day with a point from the hands and Eire Og were county champions once again.
There was lots of emotion released at the full time whistle. Hurt, frustration, joy, sadness. A mix of everything.
These games are not life and death. But they do mean an awful lot to a lot of people. Just look at our interview with Mark Furey.
Eire Og: Johnny Furey; Cathal Kelly (0-1), Benny Kavanagh, Shane Buggy; Mark Behan, Mark Furey, Diarmuid Ruth; Kelvin Chatten, Jordan Morrissey (0-2); Cormac Mullins, Sean Gannon, Darragh O'Brien (0-4, 3f); Adam McCarron (0-1), Ross Dunphy (1-4), Colm Hulton (0-1). Subs: Reece Denieffe for Mullins (23 mins inj), Lee Moore for Ruth (48 mins), Josh Brady for McCarron (55 mins), Murtough Ware (1-0) for Chatten (57 mins).
Tinryland: Cathal Gaffney; Matthew O'Toole, Jonah Dunne (0-1), Conor Ryan; Danny Moran, Niall Lowry, Conor O'Toole; Shane Redmond, Cormac Walshe; John Murphy, Paddy Regan, Conor McGrath (0-1); Diarmuid Walshe, Paul Broderick (0-2, 1f, 1 mark), Maurice Lawler. Subs: Mark Mullen for M O'Toole (HT), James McGrath (0-2, 1f) for Lawler (34 mins), Cormac O'Brien (0-1) for C McGrath (43 mins), Mark Lawlor for C Walshe (47 mins), Shane Webb for D Moran (52 mins)
Referee: Paud O'Dwyer