Both Eslin and Drumkeerin went in to last Saturday evening’s GWP Intermediate clash knowing it was very much a case of last chance saloon as both sides had lost their opening two games and a win for either side would not necessarily secure a place in the quarter finals for either side.
Eslin 4-12Drumkeerin 2-11
Ultimately, Eslin’s remarkable victory was enough to see them advance to a play-off with Aughavas this weekend with the winners set to compete in the quarter finals.
Eslin’s win was thanks in no small part to an outstanding individual display from Conor Beirne who finished the game with a personal tally of 2-8.
When Eslin were reduced to 14 men in the 22nd minute after Brian Higgins lashed out at Richard McTiernan it appeared as though Drumkeerin were on course for victory but Drumkeerin were unable to make their numerical advantage count and at one stage in the second half the spare man was used to help Stephen Feeney in containing Conor Beirne.
Ultimately there was nothing Drumkeerin were able to do to contain the powerful forward although the fact that not enough pressure was put on the ball in midfield before it was delivered towards Beirne is something Drumkeerin will rue.
Drumkeerin began the game positively and Darragh Flynn’s fourth minute goal gave them a five point lead.
Eslin hit back with goals from Barry McLoughlin and Conor Beirne and despite Higgins’s red card, Eslin were very much in contention at the interval as they trailed by a solitary point - 1-8 to 2-4.
Drumkeerin would no doubt have been hoping the extra man would prove pivotal in the second half but in truth it appeared as though Eslin had the advantage when the second half got underway.
Six unanswered Eslin points, five of those from Conor Beirne, put Eslin in control and when Noel McNulty scored Eslin’s third goal Drumkeerin looked like a beaten team.
With five minutes of the game remaining Drumkeerin trailed by nine points and two fine points from Colm Clarke did little to raise the spirits of the Drumkeerin supporters.
In injury time Drumkeerin were awarded a penalty which was dispatched with real authority by Edward McTiernan, reducing Eslin’s lead to four points but any hope of an unlikely comeback was immediately quashed as Eslin went up the other end of the pitch and Conor Beirne capped an excellent individual display with his second and Eslin’s fourth goal.
Enda Turbitt, Ronan Reynolds, Barry Bohan, Padraic McNulty, Dermot Reynolds, Cormac Duignan, Tomas Beirne, John O’Flynn (0-1), Paul Kilcrann, Brian Higgins, Barry McLoughlin (1-1), Emmet Higgins, Shane Beirne, Conor Beirne (2-8), David Reynolds (0-1). Subs: Noel McNulty (2-1) for David Reynolds (27 mins).
Conor Woods, Colin McKenna, Stephen Feeney, James Hazlette, Jason Byrne (0-1), Felim McHugh, Keith Gallagher, Colm Clarke (0-3), Richard McTiernan, Patrick Byrne, Cathal McCauley (0-1), Edward McTiernan (1-3), Darragh Flynn (1-2), John Cullen, James Gallagher (0-1).