Éire Óg 0-9 Palatine 0-5

By Kieran Murphy

Champions Éire Óg retained their Carlow senior football crown when they won a battle against their old rivals, Palatine, at Netwatch Cullen Park on Sunday.

In the last eleven years the two sides have met on four occasion and while Palatine won two titles on the trot in 2015 and 2016 they have never beaten the Carlow kingpins in a decider.

The two sides played a similar kind of game with the challengers bringing the game to Éire Óg in the opening ten minutes.

Their build-up was slow and meticulous. The reigning champions just put men behind the ball and sucked Palatine ball carriers into their clutches as they turned over any amount of ball.

Points from Jamie Kenny and Shane O’Neill in the opening seven minutes was all Palatine had to show for their domination.

Then Éire Óg posted a point from play and with goal chances at a premium throughout it was a good old traditional effort high ball bombed into the Palatine square which nearly produced a three-pointer. Craig Kearney, the Palatine keeper, was glad to steer the ball out for a 45 which wasn’t converted.

When Eoghan Ruth levelled the signs were ominous for Palatine. Tomás Kenny and Kearney with a free shared points with rivals Sean Gannon and Simon Rea to level the game at 0-4 each at the interval.

Immediately after the break Evan Kelly moved forward for Éire Óg to shoot a simple point. Rea added another and as the Palatine defence started to creak their corner back, Stephen Reilly, was lucky not to receive a second yellow in the third quarter.

It was certainly not Palatine’s day when Niall Reid’s shot hit the outside of the right hand upright and fell wide. They shot four bad wides which on another day they would surely have found the posts.

The introduction of Niall Quinlan into the Éire Óg attack gave them options and by the end of the game the young man would end up with three points. In the context of the game that was massive.

Palatine only scored one more point and that was from a Kearney free. A bad day at the office for Palatine while the history books will record Éire Óg’s 28th title.

Éire Óg: R. Moore; F. O’Toole, M. Fitzgerald, B. Kavanagh; J. Lowry, E. Kelly (0-1), P. McElligott; M. Ware (0-1), K. Chatten; S. Gannon (0-1), S.Rea (0-2), E. Ruth (0-1); Ross Dunphy, D. O’Brien, D. Hayden. Subs: J. Morrissey for Hayden (h/t), N. Quinlan (0-3 2fs) for Rea (41 mins), C Blake for Dunphy (56 mins), R. Mahon for Kelly (63 mins), C. Mullins for O’Brien (63 mins).

Palatine: C. Kearney (0-2, 45, f); C. Lawlor, A. Murphy, S. Reilly; T. Kenny (0-1), Chris Crowley, D. Reid; N. Reid, J. Kane; M. Rennick, S. O’Neill, C. O’Doherty; J. Kenny (0-1), A. Kehoe, C. Crowley (0-1f). Subs: C. Reynolds for O’Neill (26 mins), J. Reid for O’Doherty (45 mins), J. Brennan for Kehoe (45 mins), C. Forkan for Reilly (51 mins), L. Gordon for Reynolds (58 mins).

Referee: J. Murphy (St Mullins)