Eire Og of Greystones are the new Leinster Intermediate Football champions after they beat Kildare’s Confey side 0-8 to 0-6 following a dramatic second half in Aughrim that saw Confey’s captain Joe Kehoe receive a red card.
Confey were the better team in the first half following a difficult opening 30 minutes when the poor weather conditions made the game a scrappy affair, and just one point separated the sides for the first 22 minutes.
Confey’s James Gately got his side off the mark in the 2nd minute and it took the Kildare side another 20 minutes to double their lead when they took advantage of some poor play by Eire Og which allowed Kehoe to put the ball over the bar from 35 yards out.
Karl Smith put Confey three points in the lead before Darren Hayden finally put Eire Og on the scoreboard with a point in the 25th minute.
Thomas McCann hit straight back for Confey and the Kildare side went into the break with a two point lead over Eire Og when Billy Cuddihy replied to McCann’s effort.
Confey went into the break on top and looked just to be the better side and the first score of the second half would prove to be an important point for either side.
Confey came close to scoring but Gately’s effort on goal was brilliantly blocked by the Eire Og defence in the 3rd minute of the second half.
It was the Greystones club who were the first team on the scoreboard in the second half when Gino Fusciardi took advantage of some sloppy defending by Confey to narrow their lead to just one point at 0-4 to 0-3.
Gately saved the blushes of Eoin Fitzpatrick with a point after the forward missed an easy chance to widen Confey’s lead but Eire Og hit straight back after some good interplay between Hayden and Daniel Webb allowed the latter to score his first point of the game.
Webb finally got the teams on level terms at 0-5 to 0-5 in the 45th minute but then disaster struck for Confey when their captain Joe Kehoe was shown a red card for a late tackle on Webb.
Eire Og immediately capitalised on their one-man advantage when Jack Tanner won a free kick which Webb put over the bar to put the Greystones team in the lead for the first time in the game.
Gately pulled Confey back to 6 points each in what proved to be their last point of the game after James Kelly gave away a free kick.
Two successive points within a minute of each other from Darren Hayden with just six minutes to go ended the game as a contest as Confey were pegged back to their own half.
Fusciardi hit the bar with the last kick of the game and James Leonard lifted the cup for Eire Og as they were crowned the champions of Leinster.
Eire Og battled back into the game but the turning point was certainly Kehoe’s sending off which Eire Og took full advantage of to win the game by two points.
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Eire Og 0-08 v 0-06 Confey
Full time Fusciardi hits the bar with the last effort of the game but the referee blows the whistle and Eire Og are the Leinster Intermediate Champions!
60min+3min Fusciardi misses his attempted point and Confey have a chance to score one more point.
60+1min Gately gets a free kick given against him and that looks like it will be it.
57min Webb puts his effort wide of the target but it looks like Eire Og will hold on for the win unless Confey can get a goal.
56min Hayden goes for a point with a kick but the Confey keeper does well to stop it going over the bar.
55min Confey win a free kick after a run from Stephen Gately. The free kick doesn’t reach the goals and Eire Og have possession.
54min Darren Hayden immediately adds to his free kick with another point.
53min Darren Hayden puts Eire Og back in front from a free kick.
51min James Kelly gives away a free kick and Confey have the chance to equalise which Gately does from the free.
48min Jack Tanner wins a free kick which Webb kicks over the bar for a point. Eire Og lead for the first time in the game, 0-6 to 0-5.
47min Kehoe is sent off for a late tackle on Webb. That decision is very harsh on Confey and their best player.
45min Eire Og level the scores through Webb from a free kick.
44min Daniel Webb scores a great point for Eire Og after Darren Hayden played him in.
43min James Gately scores from a point from a free kick after Jack Tanner is penalised for a foul.
41min Eoin Fitzpatrick makes a terrible miss.
39min Horan nearly puts Eire Og level with Confey but his shot goes wide.
36min Eire Og take advantage of Confey’s sloppy defending and score a point through Fusciardi.
35min James Gately shoots wide.
33min Confey have a chance to score a goal but Connolly intercepts and saves Eire Og from the goal.
32min Karl Monahan hits his shot straight at the Confey keeper.
31min Play is back underway at Aughrim and Eire Og have a lineball in Confey’s half.
30+2min The referee blows the whistle for half time.
30+1min Eire Og shoot wide this time.
30min McCann puts his effort wide.
30min Stephen Kelly gets booked for Eire Og.
27min Eire Og grab an important point to half Confey’s lead.
26min Thomas McCann hits straight back with a point for Confey.
25min Hayden scores Eire Og’s first point.
24min Smith scores Confey’s third point. 0-3 to 0-0 to Confey now.
22min Eire Og give the ball away cheaply and Joseph Kehoe is the scorer from around 35 yards out.
21min Eire Og are putting more pressure on Confey now but Eoin Fitzpatrick of Confey just puts his shot narrowly wide.
16min Eire Og shoot wide once again, this time it’s Sean Horan.
14min Karl Monahan puts his shot in the car park.
12min Gately misses a relatively easy kick to double their lead.
9min Robert McMahon kicks wide for Confey; their first wide of the match.
8min The conditions aren’t helping either team as one point still separates the sides.
5min Darren Hayden misses a kick for Eire Og.
2min James Gately kicks the first point of the game for Confey with a good kick from the left handside of the pitch.
1min We’re underway at Aughrim and the conditions are poor.
Eire Og and Confey will contest the Leinster Intermediate Football Championship final on Sunday at 2pm in Aughrim, with Confey hoping to make full use of home advantage.
The Wicklow champions go into the game on the back of their extra time semi-final win over Offaly champions St Brigid’s, with that match ending 2-11 to 0-12 to Eire Og in November.
Confey are well worth their place in the final after travelling to Parnell Park and beating Skerries Harps 2-8 to 0-9 with full forward James Gately grabbing a goal and three points in that game.
Eoin Fitzpatrick got the other goal against Skerries that sealed the Confey win and secured their place in the final; Fitzpatrick and Gately will be a threat to Eire Og and will be ones to watch for the Wicklow club’s defence.
The Kildare champions came back from a narrow first half deficit against the Dubliners and Confey allowed Skerries to score only three points in the second half to cement their place in the final.
Confey hit back straight away in the second half with Gately’s goal coming just five minutes after the restart after a well timed ball from Fitzpatrick as the two linked up well for Gately to finish from close range.
It took Skerries 12 minutes to score in the second half through Harry Dawson, who got the Dublin champions next two, but it was not enough as further points from Gately and Fitzpatrick’s goal ended the contest in favour of the Kildare men.
Eire Og showed great character in their semi-final win over St Brigid’s after their first half performance left them trailing 0-6 to 0-1 after 28 minutes and left a lot to be desired from the second half.
The Wicklow men battled back, after points from Damien Hayden and a goal from Karl Monahan pulled the home team back into the game, which ended in normal time with the scores at 0-10 to 1-7.
Eire Og limited St Brigid’s to just two points in extra time while they ran amok with their scoring, notching four points and a goal, Karl Monahan’s second of the game.
Sunday’s game will be a close one with both teams entering the final in good form and it may come down to the wire in Aughrim.