Sunday 1st July, 345pm, Darver Centre of Excellence, Louth
Eadestown win Feile All Ireland in searing heat at Darver
Having played a bruising semi-final versus Mayo’s Parke Keelogues Crimlin only a few hours before, Eadestown stepped onto pitch 3 at the Darver GAA Centre of Excellence to play the final game in their Feile 2018 campaign. The opposition was Beragh Red Knights from County Tyrone.
The toss was won and Eadestown captain Mal Harney chose to play into the wind and up the slight hill. Beragh started very strong with two back to back goals within the first five minutes scored by their strong midfielders Patrick McCann (14) and Cathal Donnelly (6). Eadestown quickly responded with an attack leading to a successful free kick from centre forward Dara McGettrick (11). However, the Eadestown supporters cheers were quickly muted by a Beragh point bringing the gap back to 2 goals again. The Kildare team rallied quickly however and started an attack which led to Dara McGettrick being pulled down as he advanced to the Beragh square. Team captain, Mal Harney converted the opportunity sending the ball into the bottom left corner. Beragh responded with a point. Ten minutes in and the ref called for the mandatory substitutions to go on. Eadestown took the opportunity to rest their two experienced corner forwards Daniel Dowling (13) and Tiarnan O’Rourke (16) both tired from the previous five matches.Corner forwards Charlie Carroll and Cian Dowling were brought on, both of whom had scored well in the previous matches. Two more points followed from Eadestown, one a free when the towns superb Cian Boran (8) was pulled down from a midfield run. Experienced goalkeeper Ben Loughlin kept Beragh at bay with a vital high catch. The first half ended with the Kildare team trailing 1-3 to 2-2.
During the half time period, Eadestown mentors Robbie Jameson and Tommie Dillon re-organised the team, the most significant being a decision to re-position the Eadestown midfielders for the kickouts to force the ball away from Beragh’s McCann and Donnelly. Beragh started well, winning the throw in and scoring a point, not the start that Eadestown wanted. Mal Harney answered with a point, still two points in it. The turning point for the town came when Dara McGettrick received a pass on the 21 yard line at speed and buried the ball in the top corner off the cross bar, the type of goal he had been determined to score all weekend. Eadestown were now ahead for the first time in the match with a one point lead. Beragh took back their lead with a point and goal from their excellent full forward Conor Owens (24). With five minutes to go, corner forward Cian Dowling (17) scored a vital point which steadied the team and kept Eadestown in the game. Full back Darragh Jameson (2) led the team from the back making multiple interceptions and starting wave after wave of Eadestown pressure, cheered on by mentors and supporters. Dara McGettrick converted a free and Cian Boran scored the equaliser with a minute to go. Sensing defeat, Beragh moved their players back to a defensive formation and held on to send the game into extra time.
Extra time was five minutes each half, a fresh start for both teams with all subs put on in the previous periods allowable back on. Benefiting from the fresh legs of subs corner back Oisin Dillon (21) and forward CJ Boran (20), Eadestown started well. Cian Boran and Mal Harney won the throw-in and ran together into the Beragh half back line, whereupon Harney took a point. A great start for the town , followed quickly by a well taken point from seasoned full forward Niall Grainger (14). Beragh launched an attack, won a free and converted it. Corner backs Aaron Curtin (2) and Ardin Magee (4) prevented any further attacks and the first half ended with one point in the balance, favouring Eadestown. Eadestown dominated the second half. Two massive runs from midfield from CJ Boran and wing forward Adam Delaney (10) both ended in near wides. A tired Delaney was replaced by pacey half forward Aidan Walsh (12). The cohesive half back line of Jason Brady (6), Mark Dockery (5) and Alvin Hayden (7) ensured Eadestown maintained possession with no let-up. The excitement from the sidelines started to build as people checked their watches. With seconds left, Dara McGettrick scored a long range point allowing the referee to close his book and draw the game to an end.
The game finished Eadestown 2-10 to Beragh Red Knights 3-5, a two point margin that was representative of a close contest. Eadestown scorers as follows: Dara McGettrick (1-5, 0-3 from frees), Mal Harney (1-2), Cian Dowling (0-1), Niall Grainger (0-1), Cian Boran (0-1). Beragh Red Knights players and mentors are to be commended for their excellent style of football. As the Tyrone teams lead mentor put it, this was a game played in the way that Gaelic football should be played.
Closer to home, Eadestown face Newtown Gaels in the semi final of the Kildare League Division 3 on either the 14th or 15th of July. With the chance of a treble for the town, their season isn’t over just quite yet.
1 Ben Loughlin
2 Aaron Curtin
3 Darragh Jameson
4 Ardin Magee
5 Mark Dockery
6 Jason Brady
7 Alvin Hayden
8 Malachi Harney
9 Cian Boran
10 Adam Delaney
11 Dara McGettrick
12 Aidan Walsh
13 Daniel Dowling
14 Niall Grainger
15 Charlie Carroll
16 Tiarnan O’Rourke
17 Cian Dowling
18 Patrick Hickey
19 Liam Brannelly
20 CJ Boran
21 Oisin Dillon
22 Paul Gavin
23 Kier Grainger
24 James Bedford
Recognition also to the following:
Mentors: Brendan McGettrick, Christy Dowling, James Grainger, Mick Delaney, Robbie Jameson, Tommie Dillon
Support Team: Elaine Dockery (Physio), Olive Grainger (Medic), Hilly Dowling (Nutritionist)
Organising Committee: Breda Carroll, Niamh Curtin, Olive Boran, Liza O’Rourke, Antoinette Bedford
By Brendan McGettrick
Many thanks to David Hickey for capturing amazing photographs of all the action.