Éire Óg 0-5
A couple of days past the one year mark when they first hit the training field for the 2011 season, the Davitts bandwagon rolled all the way into Croke Park on Sunday afternoon in Tullamore. It really was a case of who wasn't there from either Irishtown or Ballindine rather than who was on Sunday, as the supporters in red and black took over the stand in O'Connor Park.
It's been a long time since Michael Davitt put the area on the map in 1879 when he organised a meeting in Irishtown to stop the evictions of some of the locals, in what was a precursor to the land league until now for this border area to come back into the nations conscience.
While this current insurrection from the south of the county may not have as lasting an effect nationally in the long run, come three weeks time, they won't be afraid of taking anyone be the intermediate or even senior.
It's been a long few months since, Davitts claimed the Connacht title and for a club that in the past didn't live up to it's potential, it could have been easy for the eye to be taken off the ball in the intervening weeks. But as early as 30 seconds into the game, all those who came along and dared to dream, had any doubts about them being up for it quashed. Micheal Conroy burst at speed from his corner, won the ball shaped for the posts and cracked and effort that came off the post. It wasn't the quick fire point that Davitts we're looking for, but it showed Conroy was up for it and was just testing out his range. A range that would see him finish with nine points over the 60 minutes and once again show why Pete Warren made him captain this year.
Davitts did get their first score after two minutes, when Conroy landed his first point from a free after he was dragged down by Jack Tanner. The chances of Tanner and Conroy meeting on a football field again are pretty slim and that is something the Éire Óg will be more than grateful for. As Conroy led him on a merry dance all afternoon and he along with a lot of other people will be scratching their heads at the end of the game wondering why nobody else was given the job of picking up the Davitts captain. By the six minute mark, Davitts had the lead extended to three points with Fergal McGrath chipping in with a point. McGrath was excellent in the full forward position winning a lot of ball that was pumped into him and making intelligent runs to create space for Conroy behind him. It was all Davitts all the time in the first half, Conroy added on two more points before ten minutes had elapsed with Éire Óg only able to reply with a point from midfielder Thomas Gbeloveia in the opening stages. But it wasn't enough to hold back the black and red wave.
Conroy kicked two more points before McGrath in a reality sealed the outcome of the game with a well taken goal five minutes before half time. The ball was swung out to Conroy on the right hand side, who lifted it into the path of McGrath who was breaking for goal. The full forward took two steps and on the third without breaking stride, drove it low to the bottom left hand corner past Lorcan Traynor in the Wicklow mens goal. The goal was followed up straight from the resulting kick out with Conroy's best point of the half, the ball broke out on the 50m line near the right touchline, Conroy picked it up and in between a mass of bodies with very little space let go a snap shot of sublime power and accuracy to drop it over the bar. The south Mayo men went in leading by 1-8 to 0-2 at the break, knowing the only ones who realistically could stop them making the final was themselves and they weren't going to let that happen.
The second half saw the Wicklow men put up a better fist of having a go at Davitts and even with the assistance of a mystery point being added to their total on the scoreboard which had plenty of heads being scratched, they just weren't at the same level as the south Mayo men. David McDonagh crashed home the second goal ten minutes into the second half to really kill off any ideas Éire Óg had of making a comeback. Ronan McNamara was rewarded for his efforts with a point, but Conroy was the real star of the show again and he left the best to last. His final point saw him angle the ball over the bar with his left boot out near the left hand touchline about 21 meters out, it was champagne stuff and by that stage the corks were well and truly being popped by the welcoming committee back home, who had stayed behind to mind the shop.
Davitts: M Diskin; C Roche, A Roche, K Gallagher; J Clarke, C Boyle, J Cummins; R McNamara, P Carey; K Prendergast, D McDonagh, P Coyne; A McTigue, F McGrath, M Conroy. Subs J Ronayne for J Clarke (45 ), C O'Gara for A McTigue (55 ), L Kearns for K Prendergast (57 ), K Glynn for D McDonagh (57 )
Éire Óg: L Tryanor; J Tanner, J Kelly, E McHugh; C Smullen, S Kelly, S Horan; Thomas Gbeloveia, J Leonard; D Woods, D Hayden, P Smith; G Fusiciardi, B Cuddihy, K Manahan. Subs: D Webb for C Smullen (43 ), D Keane for D Woods (47 ), P Keane for S Horan (49 mins )
Ref: C Lane (Cork )