SCORES were at a premium in this strongly contested local encounter as Eskra shaded matters to seal outright leadership of the league table.
Tempers flared at times during the evening and things boiled over at the finish but in terms of the play itself this was a tense but engrossing match-up between two committed teams. The first half in particular contained several passages of positive play and score taking before the action got more disjointed in the closing 30 minutes.
The two teams began play locked on 14 points apiece at the top and predictions of a potentially close contest certainly rung true. This was showcased via a first half that yielded five points for each side but the second segment was a somewhat different kettle of fish. The endeavour from both fronts was still there, yet just three points got registered but it was Eskra who emerged one-point victors.
Tidy build-up play resulted in Ryan Gartland firing Eskra ahead early on, although a Martin Rodgers free levelled the situation before Joe McCarroll lofted over a well-judged second score for Eskra.
A run and point finish on behalf of Martin Rodgers made it 0-2 each inside seven minutes but Ryan Gartland blasted over to restore Eskra’s narrow advantage. Oisin Donnelly sped through to land a Beragh equaliser but Gartland then tagged on a third point as he polished off a good team move.
Beragh enjoyed a decent spell as half-time drew closer, Martin Rodgers converting a free and Aaron Owens in open play pointing to put the Knights ahead for the first time on 0-5 to 0-4. Conor O’Hagan and Eskra claimed the final point of the half to send the sides in sharing parity on 0-5 apiece and all to play for.
Oisin Donnelly swung over a fine Beragh score in the early second half exchanges but this was to prove their last scoreboard contribution as the Knights could not break down the home rearguard.
It turned out to be one of those halves when both teams probed for scores but finishing proved problematic. Things were just too congested at times and neither side could get a firm foothold on proceedings.
Play got more condensed and bottled up plus space became narrowed in the process. The two defences tightened their tentacles and forwards had a task in trying to manufacture openings. When openings did appear, the shooting boots at either end generally didn’t do their job but Joe McCarroll brought Eskra level via a free approaching the midway mark of the half.
There were a few near misses from each camp plus some injury delays but eventually Joe McCarroll sent over what turned out to be the winning score for Eskra.
Eskra: Ryan Gartland 0-3, Joe McCarroll 0-3(2f), Conor O’Hagan 0-1
Beragh: Martin Rodgers 0-3(2f), Oisin Donnelly 0-2, Aaron Owens 0-1
Eskra: Daire McCarroll, Karl Gartland, Cathal McCaffrey, Johnny Hackett, Fergal Arkinson, Niall McGinn, Cormac Arkinson, Eoin McCaffrey, Martin McGinley, Conor McGirr, Aaron Kelly, Joe McCarroll, Cathal Meegan, Conor O’Hagan, Ryan Gartland. Sub: Mickey Woods.
Beragh: Ben McSorley, Ryan O’Keefe, Damian Meenagh, Callum Corrigan, Sean McMahon, Seamus Grant, Tiarnan McCrystal, Cathal Owens, Johnny Woods, Oisin Donnelly, Aaron Owens, Pete Meenagh, Jack Campbell, Chris Devlin, Martin Rodgers. Sub: Conor McNamee.
Referee: Seamus Gallagher, Aghyaran.
The Verdict: This local derby got lively on the field and too lively off the field but on the playing side both teams fluffed chances, especially in a low-scoring second half during which Eskra just managed to edge their noses back in front
Star Man: Ryan Gartland, Eskra: In such a tight affair, three points from play by corner-forward Ryan Gartland plus his link-up and support play in general proved an important asset for the Emmets
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