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Eire Og Survive Second Half Old Leighlin Spark As Amond Bags A Brace

Brian O'Donoghue
August 27, 2023

Eire Og 3-8

Old Leighlin 2-8

It was two Aaron Amond goals in four second half minutes that gave the Netwatch Cullen Park crowd the main highlight of this typical championship curtain raiser. 

Amond by now, has trademarked the give and go, get the return and finish, and both of his goals were as a result of that trademark. His direct running, desire for ball possession, and having the skill and confidence to finish was a joy to behold. 

However, their opponents, in typical Eire Og fashion, managed to respond with two goals in three minutes which all but put the game to bed. The first from a well positioned tap in by Sean Gannon and then a well finished overlap by Benny Kavanagh, were big nails in the coffin. 

We will have to give both teams a bit of an allowance for first round nerves, rustiness, and jitters but both teams will need to improve if they want to challenge for the Nationalist Cup. 

Both teams were guilty of giving up cheap turnovers at times, but with both teams camping 14 men behind the ball one could argue that turnovers were as a result of a well drilled system, but to that person the question has to be asked, what’s the system for attacking so?, because both teams were lacking when it came to real potency going forward.  

Two of Eire Og’s three goals came from their full back line. In the first half Colm Hulton dropped a bomb of a shot from range which looked to be sailing over the bar only for it to come crashing down off the post into the unlikely hands of Cathal Kelly. What was he even doing there? Only Cathal knows! But he reacted brilliantly and finished well. 

Veteran defender Benny Kavanagh also bagged a goal when a gap opened up in the heart of the Old Leighlin defence, Eire Og had men over and someone of his experience was never going to miss.

Those of us used to watching Éire Og teams attack with purpose and flair were surprised to see multiple attacks breakdown or trickle away on Saturday evening. Credit to Old Leighlin perhaps, when they were organised they turned Éire Og over several times but couldn’t penetrate at the other end. 

The Eire Og defence of the other hand were not properly tested over the hour. With the exception of the Amond goals they only had one point from play, a missile from Mikey Bambrick, but the other 7 came from frees or marks. 

Eire Og on the other hand scored 3-7 from play with only one Adam McCarron free required. McCarron looked like he intended to shoot the lights out early in the first half and his first score came at the end of a really good move that started with Johnny Furey, the goalkeeper, moved through the hands of the industrious pair of Shane Buggy and Kelvin Chatten and finished with a perfect strike from McCarron. 

Old Leighlin got to grips with him shortly after that but Éire Og were able to introduce Cormac Mullins at a crucial stage and his first touch was to get a nerve settling neat score for Eire Og, and his second touch was the pass across the edge of the square that found Gannon for a goal. 

Colm Hulton and Diarmuid Ruth kicked two fabulous long range points with 10 minutes left in the first half and at the break Éire Og lead 1-6 to 0-4. 

When Amond netted his two goals it felt for a moment like it might go down to the wire, but in truth Éire Og well had enough to see the job out. 

It was far from a classic, and in a very tough group a win could prove crucial. Eire Og have a lot to improve on that’s for sure, and nobody should write off Old Leighlin, they have quality, youth and experience, but that extra elusive ingredient may well be found in the next two rounds; it will need to be. 

Eire Og: Johnny Furey; Cathal Kelly (1-0), Eoghan Byrne, Benny Kavanagh (1-0); Lee Moore, Kelvin Chatten, Shane Buggy; Mark Furey, Diarmuid Ruth(0-1); James Brady, Sean Gannon (1-0), Darragh O’Brien(0-1); Adam McCarron(0-2), Ross Dunphy(0-1), Colm Hulton (0-2) Subs: Cormac Mullins (0-1) for Ross Dunphy, Reece Denieffe for James Brady, Adam Murphy for Sean Gannon, Mark Behan for Lee Moore. 

Old Leighlin: Stephen Scallan; Jordan Kelly, Shane Dooley, Roy Sheehy; Tadgh Roche, Niall Roche, Kevin Carpenter; David Bambrick, Ian Atkinson; Cathal Coughlan (0-3), Aaron Amond (2-1), James Dowling; Mikey Bambrick (0-1), Seamus Kinsella (0-2), Darragh Fitzgerald (0-1). Subs: Pauric Coughlan for Mikey Bambrick, Sean Taylor for James Dowling. 

Referee: Billy Fanning (Ballon)