Bad Day at the Office for Realt Dearg
Hurling League Division 7 – Promotion Play-Off
With moustaches freshly shorn, the Realt Dearg men headed to Cloghran for the Division 7 League decider against Whitehall-Colmcille. The North-Siders were fresh from two strong victories over Naomh Barrog and St Brigids in the previous two weekends. While the Terenure men hadn’t fielded since their hard fought victory over St Patricks three weeks prior: a fact that would become very evident through the course of the game.
After the 11am throw-in Stephen Roche put Realt Dearg ahead after only two minutes with a point from 45 meters out. Unfortunately, this would be the only time Realt Dearg would be in front throughout the game. After five minutes Whitehall snatched the lead back with a goal. And followed it with another goal just a few minutes later when their centre-forward hit the back of the net with an excellent strike from just outside the 21. Heavy pressure from Whitehall continued for the rest of the half seeing them put five more points on the board before half time.
Realt Dearg battled hard throughout the first half. Liam Breen and Stephen Roche posing real threats for Whitehalls backs. The Stars had their chances: four frees were missed and Roche was very unfortunate not to score with an over the shoulder shot. In the fifteenth minute Liam Breen was brought down after a darting run and Roche easily tipped it over the bar.
The score at the break was 2-05 to 0-02 in Whitehall’s favour. Whitehall seemed to have the measure of our boys and undoubtedly had benefited from matches on the two weekends previous. They were out in front for every ball and were passing accurately from all corners of the pitch. In contrast, Realt Dearg lacked first touch and made errors with and without the ball. Realt Dearg were lucky not to concede another goal when a lobbing ball dropped in and was blocked by Mulkere, then hitting the post to find the Whitehall forwards pouncing in. The backs and goalie kept their cool and were rewarded with a free out.
The second half saw Realt Dearg make a change; Mike Butler replaced Stephen Roche in full-forward and would now be the target man. Whitehall began the second half as they had ended the first; scoring five points in the first 15 minutes.
Cathal Mulkere was called into action when Whitehall’s full-forward popped up unmarked on the 21 yard line with ball in hand. The shot was saved by Mulkere and cleared only to be quickly sent back over the bar for a Whitehall score.
Realt Dearg scored three points in the second half; Dennis and Tarpey scoring from play and Tarpey scoring again from a free. The Stars needed goals and made every attempt to get them. With big Mike Butler in full-forward, high balls were dropped in hoping to find a safe pair of hands and hopefully some much needed goals. On two occasions Butler managed to pluck balls from the air but couldn’t quite get the shot off. Realt Dearg were awarded a penalty at 25 minutes and were assured a score when Tarpey stepped up to drive it home. However, the powerfully struck shot found the helmet of the beaten goalie and was saved.
Whitehall’s forwards attacked from all side with the half forward line and full-forward proving particularly troublesome, scoring eight points between them in the second half. Whitehall finished the game delivering one last blow to Realt Dearg when a Whitehall substitute sent a lucky shot between the goalkeeper legs.
The full time score finished 3-15 to 0-5. Well done to Whitehall on a polished display. An unfortunate end to a year for Réalt Dearg's first string, dotted with some great performances and some time at last to rest and plan for 2014. Well done to Whitehall on a polished display.