IT is a decade since Edenderry last played in and savoured the experience of winning a county senior football championship final and remarkably, after staving off the dreaded spectre of relegation over the past three years, they are now within sixty minutes of capturing their tenth SFC crown.
On Sunday at windswept O’Connor Park, the ‘Reds’, with a cohesive performance, routed misfiring Gracefield in a bitterly disappointing semi-final. Edenderry led 0-4 to 0-2 at the interval and considering they’d to play into the breeze during the concluding half the outlook wasn’t all that rosy.
Gracefield, however, were the architects of their own downfall, with the opening six minutes of the second moiety highlighting the worst of their horror show. Peter Smart kicked two wides (bringing his tally to six) before full back Adrian Murphy registered their 8th wide. John Knight and Stephen Slattery also dropped shots short into the safe clutches of Edenderry ‘keeper Brian Quinlan – so five consecutive Gracefield scoring attempts came to nought!
When centre back Ruairi Allen eventually scored for Padraig Dunne’s side in the 36th minute after a laboured and exhaustive build up to make it 0-3 to 0-4 it seemed like we were in for a ding-dong tussle. That prediction proved ludicrous as stuttering Gracefield, struggling to recapture the form that saw them emerge as semi-finalists, failed to score again.
With Gracefield heads dropping, Edenderry grew in stature and they efficiently killed off the tie by kicking six further points. Fittingly, two of these scores came from subs Martin Keogh and Sean Doyle, while a third sub, the experienced Johnny Hurst, also contributed handsomely. Indeed, all three Reds subs had a positive influence, whereas the four subs sprung by Gracefield didn’t make nearly the same impact.
See this week’s Offaly Express for full report.
See next week’s Offaly Express for eight page preview of the SFC Final including interviews from both camps and a rundown of all the vital statistics for each team for the season