Edenderry midfielder David Moloney.
EDENDERRY got their title bid up and running with a crucial two point win over Shamrocks in Tullamore on Sunday afternoon. With both sides having drawn their first outing, this was a crunch game for them and it was favourites Edenderry who got the job done, but only after a mighty battle.
Tullamore Court Hotel Senior Football Championship round 2
Over the balance of the hour Edenderry deserved it but it wasn't exactly convincing and they were in danger of being caught at the end. Shamrocks were the better side by a distance in the first twenty minutes but it wasn't reflected on the scoreboard and once Edenderry settled, they looked like they would be able to edge this one.
The winners owed a debt of gratitude to their defence. While Nigel Dunne cut loose for Shamrocks, kicking eight of their ten points, six from play, every other Edenderry defender won their individual battle and that was the reason they won.
A highlight of the afternoon was the match up between two of Offaly's U-20 heroes, Lee Pearson and Jack Bryant. Pearson did what so few defenders seem capable of in the modern game, sticking to his opponent like glue, concentrating on depriving him of possession and chances and doing the job he was asked to do. A real speed merchant Pearson loves to attack and is at his happiest when travelling up the field but he sacrificed that part of his game here by marking Bryant and by keeping the ace Shamrocks forward scoreless, he really enhanced Edenderry's victory chances.
It was a compelling, entertaining game of football. Some of the football was scrappy, it was a bit mediocre at times but it was very competitive with plenty of good play thrown in.
Shamrocks were very good for the first twenty minutes and there were times in this period when it was difficult to envisage an Edenderry win. They controlled most sectors and had three points on the board before Cian Farrell opened the Edenderry account from a 15th minute “45”.
Both sides should have had goals in that opening quarter. Edenderry goalie Loughlin Walsh made an excellent 8th minute save from Alan Heffernan while Sean O'Toole did likewise to deny Mark Abbott – Cian Farrell and Paddy Dunican pointed both “45s”.
Shamrocks led by 0-5 to 0-2 after 21 minutes but Edenderry improved considerably after this. Jordan Hayes, Cian Farrell (free) and Alan Harte had them level by the 23rd minute. Nigel Dunne out Shamrocks back in front but Edenderry finished the half strongly and two points from Sean Doyle had them 0-7 to 0-6 in front at the break.
The winners were moving with ominous intent at that stage but Shamrocks battled very hard in the second half. There was still a point in it, 0-9 to 0-8 when a snap shot from Alan Heffernan went just wide of the target in the 40th minute. It was a decent chance while at the other end O'Toole saved from Mark Abbott, though the Edenderry forward perhaps should have taken the point.
There was something ponderous about Shamrocks' football as the half wore on and they just couldn't open up Edenderry. Credit for that has to go to the excellence of the Edenderry defence and they went for the jugular, scoring three to lead by 0-12 to 0-8 with three minutes left. Shamrocks fought hard to pull it out of the fire. Dunne got two points to reduce it to two but they couldn't manufacture a match saving goal.
It was a solid display by Edenderry but they still have plenty of room for improvement. David Hanlon and Adam Mahon also excelled in their defence while Rory Egan further tightened things up when he moved back during the second half. Richie Dalton and the hard working David Moloney eventually got on top in midfield while the Edenderry attack can play much better but also found themselves up against hard working, tight defenders. Cian Farrell also struggled to escape the shackles but did come into it in the second half. Jordan Hayes had a tremendous second half while Mark Abbott got through a lot of good work.
With a closing group game against Bracknagh, Shamrocks can still make the quarter-finals. Nigel Dunne was their outstanding performer here. He had a serious game while Kieran Dolan, Jack McNamara, Shane O'Toole-Greene, Andrew Delaney, Paddy Dunican and David O'Toole Greene, in those first 20 minutes, were best for them.
Edenderrt: Cian Farrell 0-4 (2f and 1 “45”), Sean Doyle and Mark Abbott 0-2 each, Adam Mahon, Richie Dalton, Alan Harte and Mark Abbott 0-1 each.
Shamrocks: Nigel Dunne 0-8 (2f), David O'Toole-Greene and Paddy Dunican (“45”) 0-1 each.
EDENDERRY: Loughlin Walsh; Eoin Dunne, David Hanlon, Adam Mahon; Lee Pearson, Sean Pender, Stephen Guing; Richie Dalton, David Moloney; Rory Egan, Alan Harte, Sean Doyle; Mark Abbott, Jordan Hayes, Cian Farrell. Subs – Ciaran Farrell for Guing (43m), Alex Kenny for Doyle (55m), Liam Farrell for Mahon (58m).
SHAMROCKS: Sean O'Toole; Conor Condron, Kieran Dolan, Jack McNamara; Adam Keyes, Shane O'Toole-Greene, Gary Hutchinson; Padraig Cantwell, Luke Molloy; David O'Toole-Greene, Nigel Dunne, Eoin Rosney; Alan Heffernan, Paddy Dunican, Jack Bryant. Subs – Andrew Delaney for Molloy (10m), Luke Molloy for Rosney (47m), Cathal O'Brien for Condron (57m), Dara Daly for Hutchinson (58m).
Referee – Ciaran Groome (Bracknagh).
MAN OF THE MATCH
Lee Pearson (Edenderry): Nigel Dunne was brilliant for Shamrocks and was the reason they were so close. Normally his performance would merit man of the match but Lee Pearson's display caught the attention here. He was given the task of keeping Jack Bryant quiet and did it almost to perfection. Bryant tried so hard and did everything he could to get free but every time he moved, Pearson was there and by the end of the hour, his frustration could be seen. A quality defensive display by Pearson.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
Alan Heffernan was just wide with a goal chance in the 40th minute. A goal at that stage would have put Shamrocks back in front and they really needed a three pointer to win this one.
A mixed bag by Ciaran Groome. He was fair and could definitely not be accused of favouring either side but there were a few debatable decisions. He didn't allow Edenderry a clear advantage in the first half while he also missed an excellent Jack Bryant mark – Bryant called for it but quickly off loaded to Nigel Dunne when it wasn't given and the former county player got the point anyway. There were a couple of frees not given but these balanced out.
The form of Edenderry. On paper, they certainly have a side capable of winning the championship but they haven't found top gear yet. They are, however, serious contenders.
O'Connor Park is a very busy venue at the moment but it was in excellent condition here while groundsman Jim Kelly mowed the grass afterwards to get it ready for the Cappincur and Rhode game later in the evening.
Shamrocks face Bracknagh and Edenderry have Tullamore.
Wides: Edenderry – 7 (5 in first half); Shamrocks – 6 (1 in first half).
Yellow cards: Edenderry – 4 (Eoin Dunne, Sean Pender, Stephen Guing and Cian Farrell); Shamrocks – 1 (Paddy Dunican).
Black cards: 0.
Red cards: 0.
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