Flying start sends Eire Og on their way to the semis

Graham Tarmac Antrim JFC, quarter-final

Éire Óg 4-12 Wolfe Tone’s 2-8

Eire Og advanced to the semi-final of the Graham Tarmac Junior Football Championship following this 10 point win over Wolfe Tones in a feisty quarter final at Woodlands on Friday night.

The Tones didn’t help their cause when they lost two players to Red cards in the period leading up to half time though by that stage they were already in trouble.

Eire Og got off to a flying start and struck with two goals in the opening minutes to put themselves in a strong position. Conor Erskine was hauled down as he raced in on goal with the referee pointing to the spot.

James Toal stepped up to take the spot kick and Danny McIvor got down to deny him but Conor McKenna was first to the rebound and returned it to the Wolfe Tonne’s net.

Wolfe Tonnes looked rattled and from the resulting kick out Conor Erskine intercepted and raced clear for a second goal and suddenly the hill facing the Greencastle side had become much steeper.

James Toal, who was to have a major impact on proceedings, added three points, his third a great effort from out on the left and it was hard to see how the new boys of Antrim football were going to get back into the game even at this early juncture.

They finally got off the mark however with Jack Parke opening their account and when Aodhán Moloney fired low past Hamill in the Eire Og goal, things were looking more promising.

Unfortunately they were unable to build on this cameo moment and it was Eire Og who came back strongly and James Toal, Gavin Donnelly and Niall Ward added points before Donnelly set up Caomhin Dyke with a tantalising pass across goal and Daykin gratefully palmed home in the 21st minute.

Tomas Austin and Conor Burrows replied with points for Wolfe Tone’s, but they received another severe blow when Gerard McDonnell, who was booked earlier, was shown a straight red and a minute later, Stephen McKee became the second Tone’s man to see Red.

As the second half got under way Eire Og sought to put matters to bed and James Toal kicked a couple of early points and Niall Ward followed with another to increase their lead.

Their opponents were still battling hard against the odds and Chris Dawson kicked an excellent point but Éire Óg responded in decisive fashion as Dermott Murray set up the lively Daykin who evade a couple of challenges before finishing to the net in the11th minute.  

It looked all over at this stage but to their credit, Wolfe Tonnes continued to fight against almost impossible odds and Dawson and Park converted frees at the other end.

The Greencastle side continued to press and Jason Parke gave them something to cheer about as he broke clear on the right to fire to the net.

It was too little, too late however as both sides exchanged scores in the closing stages and Conor McKenna finished with the games last score to give his side a healthy 10 point win.

Eire Og now face O’Donnell’s in their semi-final while St. Malachy’s, who defeated Laochra Loch Lao in the other quarter-final will face St. Mary’s Rasharkin.

Eire Og: M Hamill; K Ryan, A McKnight, J Devlin; C Rice, R Clarke, D Murray; C McKenna (1-1), C Daykin (2-0); G Donnelly (0-2), N Ward (0-2), C Erskine (1-0); S Erskine (0-1), J Toal (0-6, 3 frees), K Clarke.

Subs: E McNulty for K Ryan (HT), A McKenna for C Erskine (45), P Loughran for A McKnight (45), S McNamee for N Ward (53), O McMenamin for J Devlin (59).

Wolfe Tonnes: D McIvor; A McAllister, S McKee, N Brannagan; J Parke (1-4, 0-4 frees), D McGovern, C McDonnell; K Moloney, E McKee; M McCann, C Burrows (0-1), D Moloney; C Dawson (0-2, 1 free), A Moloney (1-0), T Austin (0-1).

Subs: P Walsh for N Brannigan (9), J Carberry for T Austin (54), M Smyth for E McKee (60)

Referee: Paddy Tumelty (Lámh Dhearg)

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