Jason Quan was out of the blocks early, making an expert block to thwart a Rower attack. Anthony Forristal made two catches in quick succession and cleared his lines on both occasions. But it was Mark Bergin who would open the scoring from the middle of the field with a superb strike, with two minutes on the clock. The Rower responded well and were on level terms – moments later.
The industrious Paddy Deegan used his brain and his boot to propel the ball forward to John Doyle, who turned neatly and struck off his left to raise a welcome white flag. Mark Kelly showed county class by taking one from the clouds and making a surging run through the heart of the Inistioge defence. He was unlucky not to be rewarded for his efforts with a goal. The Rower turned defence into attack smartly however and Tom Murphy struck an instant three pointer for the first goal of the game.
Jack Nolan (like Kelly before him) also charged through the Inistioge defence. He too was unlucky to be denied but the St John’s Parish Boys were making inroads. With eight minutes on the clock, Paddy Deegan seemed to roll an errant pass down the length of his stick. He then struck off his left for one of the scores of the game. Now the deficit was just two points. Amazingly however, Inistioge responded almost immediately with their second goal – a strike by James Cashin. More good Mark Kelly work then released Sammy Johnston in the corner. Sammy pinned his ears back and headed for goal. He coolly slotted home to raise a green flag to give OLG some much needed momentum in what was an action packed period of the game.
The Rower would add only three more points in the first half but the midfield pairing of Deegan and Bergin chipped in with two points each before the opening thirty was up. Danny Loughnane and Martin Comerford also raised white flags – Comerford’s effort from the sideline –undoubtedly the score of the half.
H/T: O’Loughlin Gaels 1-10, Rower Inistioge 2-05
The second half saw the introduction of Conor Bergin, Paddy Butler and Davy Burke. A Michael Grace free for the Rower opened proceedings and brought the deficit down to the minimum. The Continent responded well though, with three points on the spin – two Mark Bergin frees and another Gorta special. Niall Bergin was coming into his own at this point and mopped up an amount of ball from his half-back berth. Eoghan Grant and Eddie Kearns also worked well together and combined, to clear their lines.
Moments later, Deegan struck the woodwork but Mark Kelly was on hand to convert the rebound for his first point (well deserved) of the game. The Rower tried desperately hard to stay in touch and played well to the final whistle. Conor Bergin’s introduction was timely though. CB made a great catch and struck a beauty to keep daylight between the teams. The final act of the game saw Brian Hogan’s long delivery being caught by Danny Loughnane. Danny was pulled down in the square and Mark Bergin wisely tapped over the resultant penalty for a deserved two point win.
F/T: O’Loughlin Gaels 1-18, Rower Inistioge 2-13
Captain Niall Bergin collected the trophy on behalf of the team and thanked the OLG management team of Aidan Fogarty, Colin Furlong, Nigel Skehan and Dinny Tyrrell. He wished Inistioge well for the remainder of the season and called for the traditional three cheers for the Rower boys.
Stephen Murphy, Anthony Forristal, Eoghan Grant, Eddie Kearns, Jason Quan, Brian Hogan, Niall Bergin, Paddy Deegan 0-3, Mark Bergin 0-9 (5f’s & 1p), Martin Comerford 0-2, Jack Nolan, Sammy Johnston 1-0, John Doyle 0-1, Mark Kelly 0-1, Danny Loughnane 0-1, Subs used: Conor Bergin 0-1, Paddy Butler, Davy Burke