Eire Og dig deep to book place in JFC Semi Final

Eire Og dig deep to book place in JFC Semi Final

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Eire Og dig deep to book place in JFC Semi Final

July 23, 2014

Éire Óg dig deep to book place in the semi-final

Éire Óg 2-08 Shalloe Pearses 1-09

A place in the London county junior football semi-final was the prize on offer to the winner last Sunday evening in Ruislip, when Éire Óg took on Shalloe Pearses. Both teams had won their opening game in the group and a win for either side would take a lot of pressure off before heading into the third round of games in a fortnight’s time.

Éire Óg were the dominant side early on, registering 1-02 without reply from their opponents; Stevie Perry opened the account with a fine score from a very acute angle on the right hand side before Joe McMahon rattled the net with a great solo run at the heart of the opposition defence, he slotted calmly beyond Shalloe goalkeeper.

It took almost 10 minutes for Shalloe Pearses to get their first score on the board but they really came into the game as the first half progressed. With their forwards moving well, they caused problems for the Éire Óg defence, leading us to concede possession and frees in dangerous positions. Only for some bad wides from the Pearse forwards, Éire Óg were lucky to go in at half time with a 2 point advantage.

A positive approach was needed as we headed into the second half in fairness to the lads in the green and blue; as soon as they stepped over the white line, their response was admirable. Once again we registered the first couple of scores of the half and by the midway point we looked to be in control of the game. A well worked team goal, finished off my Ronan Campfield looked as though it would be enough for us to book our place in next month’s semi-final.

As soon as that second goal went in, we seemed to take our foot off the gas and we allowed Shalloe Pearses to come back into the game as mistakes crept into our play. Pearses managed to claw their way back from a 7 point deficit with just 5 minutes remaining; a shot to the top corner of the net from just outside the 21 was a sure sign that they weren’t going down without a fight. A second chance at goal came soon afterwards and if it hadn’t been for a last gasp save off the line from the ever reliable corner back, Emmet Lambe, Éire Óg could have been buried as the full-time whistle approached.

With the teams level and only a couple of minutes left on the clock; it really was a backs to the wall job from an Éire Óg point of view. It was the first time in the match when we looked as though we could be beaten and we really needed our leaders on the field to step up to the plate, and that they did: Sean Allen, who had operated at full forward for most of the game dropped back inside his own 45 where most of the play had been for the previous 10 minutes. Brian Digney threw his body in the way of a couple of shots and from the breaking ball, Allen broke up the field with an outstanding run before raising the white flag as the clock ticked into injury time.  Cian McGovern added the insurance point with the last play of the game and Éire Óg escaped with the victory.

It was the type of game where we really had to dig deep and show some steely resolve in order to earn the win. It was an outstanding team effort that really tested the character of this bunch of players.  Standout performances on the day came from Ronan Campfield, Sean Allen and Brian Digney, with Joe McMahon once again pulling the strings in attack. Man of the match on the day had to go to Emmet Lambe: he didn’t give the corner forward an inch and always managed to get a hand or a first to the ball first which made him a thorn in his opponent’s side for the hour. We cannot underestimate his save off the line when the game hung in the balance and his determination really lifted all of those around him.

Next up, we play Dulwich Harps in the third round of group games. With our place already secured in the semis, it gives us a real opportunity to improve our overall performance and raise our game an extra  20-25%.

Team: Dave Moran, Emmet Lambe, Brian Digney, Niall Murray, Adam McAviney, Eoin Flanagan, Liam Dunne, Eoin Conway (0-1), Ronan Campfield (1-0), Sean McGrath, Joe McMahon (1-3), Cian McGovern (0-1), Conor Nilan, Sean Allen (0-2), Steven Perry (0-1). Subs used: Ciaran Lyons, Johnny Costello.