With the man in the middle Mark McDonald taking control in a wet and drizzly Páirc na Bear, the game was going to be hard fought, full of individual battles, as both teams need points to avoid the drop.
As the game began Naomh Éanna clearly want to prove a point and thundered into the game, a quick stoppage for a head injury to Conor McSteen, the forwards had two wides in two minutes and direct running by Jack Arthurs was going to the prove a problem for the Sarsfield’s full back line, Arthurs won a free and from 20metres Philly Curran opened the scoring, (NÉ 0.01, SA 0.00).
Ruairí Donaghy was on fine form and opened his account with a fine catch from the Sarsfield puck out and returned with some to spare to the back of the net from 50metres, ( NÉ 1.01, SA 0.00).
Jack Arthurs took a fine point from play to make it (NÉ 1.02, SA 0.00), six minutes played, jinking and weaving Killian Jennings had a chance for a goal, as he beared down on goal another three pointer looked certain but in the wet conditions made sure it wasn’t to be, wides a piece kept the score at five to no score until the Sarsfield No.11 scored from play, (NÉ 1.02, SA 0.01) and quickly Dónall McKernan scored from a free (NÉ 1.02, SA 0.02), sixteen minutes played.
Sarsfield’s scored again (NÉ 1.02, SA 0.03) and McKernan added another free on twenty two minutes played, (NÉ 1.02, SA 0.04).
With the light drizzle making the sliotar slippy, it was two minutes later when the visitors won another free and Philly Curran added his second, to put two between the teams, (NÉ 1.03, SA 0.04).
As the break approached and two minutes plus injury time to be added, Dónall McKernan from play brought Sarsfield’s back to the bear minimum with a point from play, (NÉ 1.03, SA 0.05).
However the visitors had no intention of easing up as half time approached and tried to push on, wides and shorts could prove difficult in the final stages, but up stepped Ruairí Diamond to point from play to leave the score at half time, (NÉ 1.04, SA 0.05).
Half time at Páirc na Bear
Naomh Éanna opted to stay on the pitch for the break as the home side made use of newly opened changing rooms., changes in personnel on the visitors side, Daniel Lowry was an excellent replacement for Jack Arthurs who tormented the Sarsfield’s defence and Lowry would do the same as he was introduced, straight away Naomh Éanna went on the attack, a long range free from Cormac Ross, opened the difference to a goal, (NÉ 1.05, SA 0.05) and McKernan would add a reply from play (NÉ 1.05, SA 0.06) and playing at No. 15 scored number seven, (NÉ 1.05, SA 0.07), the introduction of Daniel Lowry continued to cause trouble for the home side and in taking over the free taking responsibility point from 45metres made it: (NÉ 1.06, SA 0.07).
Sarsfield’s would add another on thirty seven minutes played again bringing the difference again to one, (NÉ 1.06, SA 0.08), the introduction of Joe Maskey was a huge boost for the visiting side again straight on the attack they won a free and Cormac Ross from distance kept the scoreboard ticking over, (NÉ 1.07, SA 0.08).
The tit for tat, ding dong contest continued and any opportunity from a free McKernan was sure to score, that he did when on forty five minutes played, he made it: (NÉ 1.07, SA 0.09).
A close in free for Naomh Éanna and Daniel Lowry edged them forward again, (NÉ 1.08, SA 0.09) and with changes on the Naomh Éanna team, the introduction of Eoin Maguire on the half forward line bolstered the attack, wining a free allowed Cormac Ross to restore the goal advantage, (NÉ 1.09, SA 0.09), but despite Sarsfield’s looking tired where not yet finished, reducing to the difference to two on fifty three minutes, (NÉ 1.09, SA 0.10).
Then came the turning point in the game, eventually the pressure on the full back line was too much and a simple mistake allowed Daniel Lowry to bat the sliotar to the net, (NÉ 2.09, SA 0.10), further points from Ruairí Donaghy put six between the teams, with a clinical point from play, (NÉ 2.10, SA 0.10).
Na Sairseil would reply with another point (NÉ 2.10, SA 0.11), and another free from Philly Curran, (NÉ 2.11, SA 0.11), and another point for the home side would be their lot (NÉ 2.11, SA 0.12), however the visiting side where not finished and added two more to run out deserved winners on a score line of 2.13 to 0.12.
Full time at Páirc na Bear
Naomh Éanna CLG
- Darrach Cooper
- Micheál McGivern
- Matthew O’Hare
- Michael McNicholl
- Ruairí Diamond
- Manus Mullan
- Eddie O’Connor
- Aidan McGowan
- Cormac Ross
- Ruairí Donaghy
- Killian Jennings
- Conor McSteen
- Jack Arthurs
- Philly Curran
- Diarmuid Maguire
Daniel Lowry for Jack Arthurs
Joe Maskey for Diarmuid Maguire
Eoin Maguire for Conor McSteen
Matthew Muldoon for Aidan McGowan
Tiernan Curran for Killian Jennings