Erin’s Own forced to battle all the way

ERIN’S OWN had to pull out all the stops to see off the challenge of a dogged Carrigdhoun side in a disappointing Evening Echo county senior hurling championship third round tie at Páirc Uí Chaoimh last night.

Clearly the better side through their skilful play and teamwork, the defending champions were forced live on their nerves for the last few minutes as the divisional side whittled a six-point deficit down to three and had at least two goal chances near the end.

Four times the sides were level in the first half, as Erin’s Own turned over a point to the good and had to face into the wind but they made light of the conditions tacking on nine further points to ease their way into the next round.

Erin’s Own made the better start and had two points on the board inside the opening four minutes, both by Eoghan Murphy from frees. Given the strength of the wind the defending champions were going to need a sizeable half-time lead, but some dreadful finishing both from play and frees saw them hit six wides in the opening 15 minutes,

It took Carrigdhoun 10 minutes to get on the scoresheet with a point from Sean O’Sullivan. That score settled the divisional side and with Kevin Canty doing well at full forward for them, they deservedly led 0-4 to 0-2 at the end of the opening quarter, with the Valleys man scoring half their tally.

The hurling was extremely poor with scores scarce and it took Erins Own 25 minutes to get their first score from play, a Mark O’Connor point, which helped to tie the game for the second time.

The Carrigdhoun defence, well-marshalled by Stephen White, Timmy Lordan and Patrick Dwyer completely blotted out the Erin’s Own attack and only county minor defender Killian Murphy and Sean Kelly posed any real threat.

At the other end, the Erin’s Own full back kept a tight rein on Canty while Peter Kelly was well on top at centre back. The defending champions’ skill regularly got them out of trouble, and in a game that lacked any real bite, they came closest to a goal when Kieran Murphy drove a 20-metre free off the crossbar and Mark O’Connor hit the rebound over to give his side a 0-7 to 0-6 half-time lead.

There was little improvement in the standard of play on the change over. The wind died somewhat and the Murphy brothers Kieran and Eoghan stretched their lead to 0-9 to 0-6 after 40 minutes of dreary hurling.

Both sides continued to chalk up the wides, Erins Own adding five in that 10 minute spell to their first half tally of 7. Carrigdhoun added three to their five, before the defending champions finally began to string some excellent passing movements together which yielded a succession of points. By the end of the third quarter they held a commanding 0-16 to 0-10 lead with impressive midfielder Brian Clifford chipping in with a brace, and they were well on their way to a quarter-final clash with the winners of the St. Catherines/Avondhu tie.

Only some great defending by Stephen White and Timmy Lordan kept the Carrigdhoun goal intact while at the other end Peter Kelly and Shane Murphy did likewise for Erin’s Own.

Carrigdhoun came forward in waves. Three points in a row had the deficit down to a goal as time ticked away. It took some great defending to keep the divisional forwards at bay and Erin’s Own were grateful for the final whistle.

Scorers: Erins Own: E. Murphy 0-6 (0-4 frees); Kieran Murphy 0-3 (0-1 free); P. Kelly (free), M. O’Connor, B. Clifford 0-2 each; Killian Murphy 0-1. Carrigdhoun: R. Dwyer 0-5 (0-3 frees); K. Canty 0-3; B. Dwyer 0-2; S. O’Sullivan, J. Kingston, R. Butler 0-1 each.

ERINS OWN: S. Bowen; P. Fenton, P. Fitzgerald, K. Murphy; S. Cronin, P. Kelly, S. Murphy; C. O’Connor, B. Clifford; M. O’Connor, I. Quinlan, K. Murphy; S. Kelly,. M. Murphy, E. Murphy.

CARRIGDHOUN: B. McCarthy (Ballymartle); S. White (Ballygarvan), T. Lordan (Courcey Rovers), C. Moloney (do.); K. Lynch (Tracton), P. Dwyer (Ballymartle), D. Dwyer (do.); R. Dwyer (do.), D. Hayes (Courcey Rovers); B. Dwyer (Ballymartle), N. Murphy (Courcey Rovers), R. Butler (Valley Rovers); S. O’Sullivan (Tracton), K. Canty (Valley Rovers), S. Hayes (Courcey Rovers).

Subs: J. Kingston (Tracton) for Murphy; G. White (Ballygarvan) for S. Hayes; W. O’Brien (Carrigaline) for D. Hayes.

Referee: D. Copps (Ballyhea).

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