Nire lay down firm marker

The Nire\'s David Ryan (holding posession) and Paul Prendergast and Saint Brendans Ray Hennessey.

The Nire's David Ryan (holding posession) and Paul Prendergast and Saint Brendans Ray Hennessey.

Nire . . . 1-14; St. Brendan’s . . . 1-5

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Former champions Nire served due notice at sun-scorched Lemybrien on Sunday afternoon that they really mean business as far as the destination of the 2008 County Senior Football championship title is concerned. In the end it was as comfortable as they would have wished for as they comprehensively accounted for St Brendan’s.

St Brendan’s, the only group side competing at this level and drawn from adjoining Intermediate clubs, Kill, Bonmahon and Newtown, found themselves having to take the field without two of their inter-county trio, Mick Ahearne and Dermot Casey. Their absence was severely felt in the opening half, when they should have made more of their possession.

The Nire’s won this game from a long wait out, even though they did concede the opening point and goal of this contest. In between their dominance was fully reflected between the third and 18th minutes when they rifled over half a dozen points without reply. While their interval lead curtailed with a well executed goal in the 29th minute, they was never a hint that St Brendan’s would come within a whisker of beating their opponents.

Playing well within themselves at all times, Nire did little above enough to justify their role as favourites and while the losers never stopped trying to the very end. They even prevailed upon the injured Mick Ahearne to come into the fray 10 minutes from the end after they had reduced the deficit to three points. Any lingering hopes of an upset left when Nire found the net in the 57th minute, to push their victory claims beyond recall.

Missed chances

A first half of honest endeavour was embraced with more missed chances than scores. the Eastern combination had the distinction of opening the scoring with a Mark Hennessy point, but it soon became abundantly obvious that Nire weren’t going to allow their opponents get a firm grip on the exchanges. The lead in fact was short-lived as an excellent four man move led to the equalising point from Michael O’Gorman, following which the winners’ scores came quite freely.

Brian Wall put Nire in front for the first time, while Connie Power and Liam Lawlor who was the most impressive forward on view, followed up with two more. Anthony Kiely missed a goal chance for St Brendan’s on the quarter hour mark. Liam Lawlor with a fisted effort and Ray Hennessy exchanged points, before the first mentioned chipped in with two more points after which there was an emerging inevitability about the outcome. Still St Brendan’s who had seven wides stacked against them, did finish with something of a flourish, and a well worked gaol by Anthony Kirwan helped substantially to place a more respectable look on the score board at the break.

Clinching goal

Hopes of a possible close second half soared after Brian Wall and Anthony Kiely traded early points, before a strangely subdued Shane Walsh came up with the first of two classical second half points in the 42nd minute. On the stroke of the three quarter hour mark, Connie Power put five points between the sides while Brendan’s were thrown something of a belated life line, after a brace of well worked points from Kill duo, Ray Hennessy and Peter Kirwan.

But this was as good as it got for the group side who failed to score during the concluding 12 minutes. The well drilled Nire outfit put the outcome beyond any conceivable doubt with another spectacular Shane Walsh point and a clinching Connie Power goal. Two late points in quick succession from substitutes Dermot Wall and Richard Fenton sealed this widely anticipated outcome .Ger Dunphy was sent off for Brendan’s after receiving a second yellow card six minutes from the end.

Played well

For the winning side, which can look forward to more stern tests ahead, Liam, Michael ,Thomas and Maurice O’Gorman, Brian Wall, John Moore, Shane Walsh and Justin Walsh left their mark on the exchanges. For the vanquished, who must seriously regroup before their next set of matches against Stradbally, Gaultier and John Mitchell’s, Patsy Casey, Ray and Niall Hennessy, Ger Hayes, Anthony Kiely, Andy Hubbard, Tommy and Michael Power impressed most.

Teams and scorers

Nire: Tom Flynn, Shane McGrath, Tomas O’Gorman, Justin Walsh, John Moore, David Ryan, Paul Prendergast, Maurice O’Gorman, Shane Walsh, Brian Wall, Connie Power, Seamus Lawlor, Michael Moore, Michael O’Gorman, Liam Lawlor. Subs: Dermot Wall for Lawlor, James McGrath for Prendergast, Richard Fenton for O’Gorman.

Scorers: Connie Power 1-2, Liam Lawlor 0-4, Brian Wall and Shane Walsh 0-2 each, Michael O’Gorman, Michael Moore, Dermot Wall and Richard Fenton 0-1 each.

St. Brendan’s: Tom Wall, Richard Kirwan, Ger Hayes, Fergie Whelan, Patsy Casey, Ger Dunphy, Niall Hennessy, Mark Hennessy, Tommy Power Anthony Power, Ray Hennessy, Michael Power, Peter Kirwan, Andy Hubbard, Anthony Kiely. Subs: Pat Dunphy for Power, Mick Ahearne for Dunphy.

St Brendan’s: Anthony Kiely 1-1, Ray Hennessy 0-2, Mark Hennessy and Peter Kirwan 0-1 each.

Referee: Tim O’Byrne (Erin’s Own).

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