Martin Gibbons signalled intent from the whistle with an immediate charge down and block. The loose ball was received gratefully by Paddy Cantwell, who duly raised a white flag for The Continent’s opening score. Comer’s Eoin Meally (who would impress throughout the hour) sent an equalizing free thar an trasnan with three minutes on the clock. John Doyle moments later, proceeded on a slalom run through the heart of the Erin’s Own defence before firing between the uprights to restore the one point advantage.
Comer then wrestled that advantage away by scoring three unanswered points of their own. The crowd sensed instantly that this was going to be hard fought and hard won. Danny Lenihan struck a wonder score off his left from the Jenkinstown side of the pitch but yet again – Erin’s Own hit three on the trot, in what was a dominant period of the game for the boys in blue. The St John’s Parish Boys sensed the half was beginning to slip away from them but responded in fine style.
Alan O’Brien sounded the rallying cry from the heart of the defence. Despite being tied up, he averted imminent danger by kicking the ball away from trouble. The forwards seemed to take inspiration from this do or die defending. A combination move which saw Paddy Deegan find John Doyle; who in turn released Danny Lenihan - would reduce the deficit to a single point. Young Huw Lawlor could be seen scrapping for every ball in the middle of the field. An illegal full frontal charge which sent Huw momentarily into his own dugout could have signalled the end of his day’s hurling. But Huw was up and about almost immediately – giving every bit as good as he was getting for the cause.
Three consecutive OLG wides preceded a Paddy Cantwell white flag in the twenty-first minute to level matters yet again. One of the scores of the game was then to follow – Andy Cantwell struck deep from his own half – whatta way to take the lead! OLG then made this period of dominance tell on the scoreboard. James Lenihan found himself in space in front of goal and slid his shot neatly home to raise the green for the first goal of the game. Alan Geoghegan then pointed a free to bring matters to a close for the opening thirty.
H/T O’Loughlin Gaels: 1-09, Erin’s Own: 0-08
The second half saw the introduction of Daniel O’Connor and Danny Bolger. Alan O’Brien put in a superb block to thwart a Comer attack and concede a sixty-five, almost straight from the throw-in. But lightning was then to strike twice for the Erin’s Own defence, as that man James Lenihan yet again rattled the net in a decisive strike for home. The lead was now seven and the men from The Marble City were in the ascendancy. Sammy Johnston sent a laser beam of a puck out into the left hand of Alan Geoghegan. Geoghegan then fed Gibbons for one of the scores of the game – now the lead was eight. Two great catches were to follow by Paddys - Deegan & Cantwell (the latter converting his fetch into a lovely point from play). Martin Gibbons also got in on the act with another point of his own.
Incredibly though, it would be all of fifteen minutes before the Continent would score again. Erin’s Own took over completely and struck a goal and seven points without reply! The game was once again in the melting pot and cool heads were called for. Brian Murphy stood tall in the OLG defence and made a crucial intervention. He cleared his lines a la Brick Walsh by batting the ball away. The experienced Alan Geoghegan also showed his class in the closing minutes of this tight tussle by striking a wonder score. This was seen and raised by Paddy Cantwell in the last minute of the game, to give OLG a hard fought two point win.
F/T O’Loughlin Gaels 2-14, Erin’s Own 1-15
Sammy Johnston, Kevin O’Brien, Brian Murphy, Alan O’Brien, Andy Cantwell, Rick Leydon, Padraic Meaney, Paddy Deegan, Huw Lawlor, Paddy Cantwell (0-4), Martin Gibbons (0-1), A Geoghegan (0-5, 4f’s), John Doyle (0-2), James Lenihan (2-0), Danny Lenihan (0-2), Subs used: Daniel O’Connor & Danny Bolger