Birr overcame Carrig & Riverstown in extra time
CARRIG & RIVERSTOWN 1-20
(AFTER EXTRA TIME)
Birr produced a strong second half performance in extra time to snatch a dramatic two point victory over parish neighbours Carrig & Riverstown in an exciting intermediate hurling semi-final played in Rath on Sunday morning.
In a game which ebbed and flowed throughout the 80 minutes, Birr’s stronger finish was just enough to get them over the line and send them through to the final against Shamrocks. It was a devastating defeat for Carrig & Riverstown, who topped their group with three impressive performances, and they didn’t concede a single goal throughout the championship, but they came up just short on this occasion.
Birr showed tremendous courage and determination to stay in the game when it looked like it might be slipping away from them on a couple of occasions. They were four points down with six minutes left in normal time but they dug in and scored the last four points of the game to send it to extra time.
They fell two points behind at half time in extra time as well but once again scored the last four points of the game to turn a two point deficit into a two point victory, much to the delight to their supporters.
It was a great contest, played in true championship spirit and there was very little to separate the teams at any stage. That four point lead in the final quarter of normal time was the only time that such a big gap separated the teams. They were level on 13 occasions throughout the game and the lead changed hands of a large number of occasions.
Carrig & Riverstown made the better start but Birr then enjoyed the better of the game up to the first water break and led 0-7 to 0-4 at that stage. Carrig & Riverstown hit back to level and at half time Birr held a slender lead, 0-11 to 0-10.
Birr edged two ahead early in the third quarter but Carrig & Riverstown got on top at that stage and 1-3 without reply left them four up after 52 minutes. They looked the likely winners at this stage as they were dominating around the half back line and midfield but somehow Birr stuck in there and got the last four points to level the game, 0-17 to 1-14.
It was tit for tat in the first half of extra time but Carrig & Riverstown finished it well to lead 1-19 to 0-20 at half time in extra time. An early exchange of points left the gap at two with six minutes left but Birr then got the last four points to snatch a famous win.
Defences on both sides impressed and goal chances were at a premium. Birr’s best chance came to Tomas Bolger in the first half but Shane O’Brien made a great save and in the follow up saved well again from the same player. Carrig & Riverstown took their one real chance when Lee Hogan finished a good move well after a quick break out of defence.
Campbell Boyd, Joe Boyd, Craig Pardy and Joe Ryan excelled in the Birr defence. Michael Mulrooney’s accuracy from frees kept Birr in touch throughout with Scott Feenane popping up with four fine points from play. Tomas Bolger and Cathal Kirwan kept the scoreboard ticking over while Eoin Hayes also worked hard in attack.
Thomas Hogan, Dylan Hogan, Aidan King and Joseph Hoctor worked tirelessly in the Carrig & Riverstown defence. Ross Connaughton was busy around the middle of the field and in attack Lee Hogan was in top form, ably assisted by Thomas Hough, Michael Kennedy and Patrick King.
Tomas Bolger opened the scoring for Birr but Ryan Hogan, Lee Hogan (free) and Patrick King replied for Carrig & Riverstown. Michael Mulrooney levelled with two frees and after Thomas Hough replied, Birr hit a run with three Mulrooney points (two frees) and another from Tomas Bolger to lead 0-7 to 0-4.
After the water break Joseph Hoctor (free) and two Lee Hogan frees levelled matters. Michael Mulrooney (free) and Eoin Hayes had Birr back in front but Lee Hogan levelled with two frees. Scott Feenane and Thomas Bolger points sandwiched a Joseph Hoctor ‘65’ to leave Birr 0-11 to 0-10 ahead at half time.
Lee Hogan levelled from a free but Michael Mulrooney (free) and Cathal Kirwan put Birr two up. Thomas Hough and Lee Hogan levelled and then when a Birr free landed in the Carrig & Riverstown goalmouth, the defence won the ball and it was quickly transferred downfield where Patrick King put Lee Hogan away and he fired to the net. When he added a free his side were four clear.
Scott Feenane and Cathal Kirwan renewed Birr’s spirits and Michael Mulrooney pointed two frees to send the game to extra time.
Michael Kennedy put Carrig & Riverstown in front at the start of extra time but Scott Feenane and Michael Mulrooney (free) had Birr back in front. Lee Hogan levelled with a super point from the left wing and Michael Kennedy put them back in front only for Scott Feenane to level again. Two Lee Hogan frees had Carrig & Riverstown in front by two at the midway point of extra time.
Michael Mulrooney and Lee Hogan exchanged frees early in the second half but it was all Birr from there. Cathal Kirwan and Michael Mulrooney (free) levelled before Tomas Bolger put them ahead with two minutes left and Michael Mulrooney added a free to seal a dramatic win.
BIRR: Sean Thompson; Joe Boyd, Craig Pardy, Campbell Boyd; Kevin Tierney, Donal Ryan, Joe Ryan; Michael Mulrooney, Scott Feenane; Tomas Bolger, Craig Shortt, Cathal Kirwan; Eoin Hayes, Ronan Bergin, Dylan Murphy. Subs. T. J. Loonam (for Ronan Bergin, 42 mins), Jack Pardy (for Dylan Murphy, 50 mins), Sam Smith (for Donal Ryan, 53 mins), James Roddy (for Joe Boyd, 66 mins).
CARRIG & RIVERSTOWN: Shane O’Brien; Thomas Hogan, Michael Fitzgerald, Dylan Hogan; Keith McEvoy, Aidan King, Joseph Hoctor; Brendan Hoctor, Ross Connaughton; Thomas Hough, Patrick King, Ryan Hogan; Lee Hogan, Michael Kennedy, Mark O’Brien. Subs. Conor Hanamy (for Michael Keane, 67 mins).
REFEREE: Adam Kinahan.
MAN OF THE MATCH
There were a number of contenders on both sides. Lee Hogan excelled for Carrig & Riverstown but the vote goes to tigerish Birr wing back Joe Ryan. He epitomised the spirit of the Birr side, particularly as they fought back late in the game, and it was that spirit that carried them through.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
Lee Hogan scored a superb point eight minutes into the first half of extra time when he raced up the left wing, under pressure, and shot over from close to the sideline on the run to bring his side level. It was the first of four points late in the first period of extra time that gave them at two point advantage going into the last half, but they were unable to maintain that momentum in the second half of extra time.
Adam Kinahan did a good job in controlling the game. There were very few issues of contention but he was in command at all times and communicated well with players and team managements.
Like the two teams who topped their groups in the intermediate football championship who qualified direct for the semi-finals, Carrig & Riverstown suffered the same fate in losing their semi-final to a team which came through by winning a quarter final. Naturally they were devastated at the finish and what had promised to be a great year came to a shuddering halt.
Birr progress to the intermediate hurling final where they will meet Shamrocks who defeated them earlier in the group stages of the championship. For Carrig & Riverstown it is a disappointing end to the year and they must regroup and look forward to 2022.
The Rath venue was well prepared for this contest. There was good organisation of parking and plenty of stewards available. The pitch was a bit soft and cut up in places but overall they hosted the game well.
Wides; Birr 6 (none in first half, 2 in second half, 1 first half of extra time, 3 second half extra time). Carrig & Riverstown 12 (2 in first half, 6 in second half, 2 in first half extra time, 2 in second half extra time)
Yellow Cards: Birr 3 (Joe Boyd, Joe Ryan, Tomas Bolger) Carrig & Riverstown 3 (Patrick King, Thomas Hogan, Michael Keane)
Red Cards: None.
Birr; Michael Mulrooney (0-13, 0-12 frees), Tomas Bolger and Scott Feenane (0-4 each), Cathal Kirwan (0-3), Eoin Hayes (0-1).
Carrig & Riverstown; Lee Hogan (1-12, 0-10 frees), Thomas Hough and Michael Kennedy (0-2 each), Joseph Hoctor (0-2, 0-1 free, 0-1 ‘65’), Ryan Hogan and Patrick King (0-1 each).
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