Second-half goals give Gorey edge
Two second-half goals proved decisive as Naomh Eanna eventually emerged with a hard-earned five-point victory over Geraldine O'Hanrahans in this All-County Football League Division 3 semi-final at O'Kennedy Park, New Ross, on Sunday.
While it may have been a smooth win in the end, it still took early goals after the break from Gearóid Cullen and Dara McDonald to ease Naomh Eanna's concerns as, those scores apart, they struggled despite enjoying lengthy spells of dominance at different stages of the game.
The semi-final came at a wrong time for the Barrowsiders. Short of a number of players owing to a wedding, they also were forced to line-out minus their inter-county trio of Kieran Butler, Shane Roche and Robbie Vallejo, three players who would have made a huge difference given the pattern of the game as they would have been more than capable of wielding their influence on proceedings.
Still, we had some good spells of football from both sides after pointed frees from Mark Lee and William Cullen had opened the scoring. Naomh Eanna were enjoying most of the attacking football that yielded points from Dara McDonald and Seán Doyle (free) to lead by 0-3 to 0-1 at the end of the opening quarter.
The Barrowsiders' most dangerous forward, Mark Lee, kicked two fine points from play, while William Cullen pointed a free in between to leave his side ahead by 0-4 to 0-3 at the interval.
The game sprang to life on the resumption with Gearóid Cullen being on the receiving end of a fine attacking move, leaving him with the simple task of finding the net from close in two minutes into the second-half. When William Cullen followed with a pointed free, to go alongside a Dara McDonald 40th-minute goal, the eventual winners had burst into a 2-5 to 0-3 lead.
After Mark Lee (free) and Ross Murphy had exchanged points, the home side dominated the closing ten minutes, adding points through Barry Kelly, Eoin Kelly and Seán Culleton, but despite a frenetic finish to their game they were unable to create the goal that they needed so much.
Naomh Eanna: Seán Sheridan; Lee Kinsella, Brendan Travers, Tom Stafford; Peter Travers, Simon Doran, Joseph O'Connor; John O'Brien, Conor Hughes; Dara McDonald (1-1), Pádraig Doyle, Seán Doyle (0-1 free); Gearóid Cullen (1-0), Barry Kinsella, William Cullen (0-3 frees), Subs. - David O'Brien for B. Kinsella, John Stafford for O'Connor, John Doyle for W. Cullen, Ross Murphy (0-1) for Stafford, Shane Allen for G. Cullen.
Geraldine O'Hanrahans: David Coffey; Tony Murphy, Dylan Egan, Seán Crowdle; David Purcell, David Crowdle, Junior Somers; Jamie Cullen, Seán Culleton (0-1); Kevin Grangel, Eoin Kelly (0-1), Barry Kelly (0-1); Mark Lee (0-4, 2 frees), Brian Haberlin, Andy Mulready. Subs. - Donal O'Sullivan for Haberlin, David O'Sullivan for Grangel, Dylan Wickham for Mulready.
Referee: Pat Kehoe (Rathgarogue-Cushinstown).