*David Moran is tackled by Ikem Ugwueru. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill
ÉIRE ÓG boss Paul Madden was left ruing missed chances and conceded scores from frees as the Clare champions were knocked out of the Munster club senior football semi-finals.
Just one point separated Kerins O’Rahillys and Éire Óg when the final whistle sounded in Austin Stack Park, Tralee on Sunday afternoon.
Making the outcome more difficult was their seven wides during the contest, this compared with the one wide over the hour from Kerins O’Rahillys while plenty more missed chances were clocked up the Ennis side in the game. Though they dominated the second quarter, Éire Óg scored just a single point, that a free from captain Gavin Cooney while they spurned four missed chances in a row during this spell.
Undoubtedly downhearted with the result, the showings of Éinne O’Connor and Manus Doherty clearly demonstrated the talent within their ranks all over the field.
Speaking to The Clare Echo, Paul pointed to the “frees and missed chances” as they came up agonisingly short in the provincial semi-final. “I figured if we turned up and played anywhere to our performance levels that we were used to or were capable of doing that they would be in a game and to be fair they were. Their manager said it after that it was a battle but we came up short”. He said, “We had two chances at the end and you’ve got to be getting at least one point out of those chances, if we had we would be in extra time right now”.
“One point or ten points it doesn’t matter, if it’s ten you have no regrets but if it’s one you have a few. We genuinely felt we could win this game, we didn’t get a good start but outside of that we felt we could win it and right up until the end we were in it but we didn’t play at our best today to be honest, we got some good scores, some lads played really well but generally I don’t think we played at our best,” he added.
As ever, Madden highlighted his pride with the effort displayed but believed their second successive Munster semi-final loss underlined the level they need to go to if they are to fulfil ambitions of securing more silverware.
He outlined, “They are a decent side but three years ago if you said to me we would be coming down here in a Munster semi-final team against a Kerry team on their home patch and losing by a point and being absolutely dejected it shows how far we have come on but it shows the level we should be at, the hardest part at this level is getting out of your county every single year. I’d be very proud of the lads and the efforts they’ve put in, it wasn’t our day today and it’s hugely disappointing”.
Despite Kerry midfielder David Moran getting his marching orders with twenty one minutes on the clock, the presence of the extra man was not too visible in the tie. This was also visible for Ballyea’s hurlers when Conor Cahalane was dismissed for St Finbarr’s in their provincial semi-final a week earlier.
Making use of the numerical advantage is not always easy. “It’s difficult, you don’t know, it was hard to tell what the extra man was doing at times because they were moving around and changed. I’m not going to make any excuses, it was a game we could have won, I’m not saying should have won but it’s a game we could have won and we didn’t so it’s disappointing,” the owner and manager of The Temple Gate Hotel commented.