Bray People - - Sport -


On Wed­nes­day evening last Luke O’Tooles made the long jour­ney from Shil­le­lagh and its en­vi­rons to play Éire Óg in the Mi­nor cham­pi­onship in Grey­stones. A David and Go­liath sce­nario in the minds of many as Luke O’Tooles were last four con­tenders and Éire Óg were point­less go­ing into this, the last game in the group. In the ear­lier rounds Éire Óg were at the end of multi-score drub­bings and this had given rise to a scep­ti­cism about their hav­ing the re­solve to ful­fil their com­mit­ments in the com­pe­ti­tion - a per­spec­tive formed, how­ever, in the ig­no­rance of the be­lief the man­age­ment had in the un­der­ly­ing po­ten­tial of the group and the depth of their men­tors’ determination to re­alise it.

It re­quired hard, pa­tience-de­mand­ing work but a con­fi­dence in their abil­ity was grad­u­ally built up in the lads and each game saw an in­cre­men­tal im­prove­ment in the team’s play to the point that, in their later games, they were run­ning some of the bet­ter teams close for longer and longer pe­ri­ods. As yet, how­ever, they had not been able to ex­ert their su­pe­ri­or­ity over the 60 min­utes. Last Wed­nes­day pro­vided the break­through. The team’s re­fusal to be daunted by its many de­feats had its re­ward. They won an ex­cit­ing high qual­ity game 2-11 to 1-11. The game was fully de­serv­ing of the ep­i­thet ‘con­test’: 25 scores (to keep tally, an alacrity in arith­metic was re­quired - a qual­ity found to be sin­gu­larly lack­ing among the Éire Óg sup­port­ers who were in per­ma­nent dis­pute as to the state of play!) with min­i­mal ad­van­tage fluc­tu­at­ing with equal­ity through­out a game re­plete with ex­em­plary sports­man­ship and whole­hearted en­deav­our. For the sup­port­ers, ex­cite­ment-gen­er­ated ex­haus­tion was their lot; tinged un­der­stand­ably with a feel-good fac­tor for the lo­cals and with dis­ap­point­ment for Luke O’Tooles to whom we wish the best of luck against a strongly fan­cied Bless­ing­ton in the semi-fi­nal.

There were some fine in­di­vid­ual per­for­mances par­tic­u­larly from Leon Har­gan - his field­ing was spec­tac­u­lar - who held the up­per hand at cen­tre-field even though op­posed by county player Brian Walsh and from Conor Daly at cen­tre-for­ward who proved to be a hand­ful for an­other county star, Stephen Dil­lon.

Michael Walsh at cen­tre-back and Johnny Car­roll on his left were in­stru­men­tal in break­ing down many of the op­po­nents’ at­tacks. Conor O’Dono­van was a most re­li­able cor­ner back and Jonathan O’Brien brought a wel­come brand of steel to the full-for­ward line. Conor Madi­gan, while per­form­ing his cus­to­dial du­ties with élan, ini­ti­ated many an Éire Óg at­tack with the pin­point ac­cu­racy of his kick-outs. Dual play­ers Jack Tan­ner and Peter Keane(capt.) also made sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tions. Peter, who was cel­e­brat­ing his birth­day that Wed­nes­day, scored 2-1. A goal from a cross from Barry O’Don­nell which was the turn­ing point in the game was fol­lowed by a beau­ti­fully taken point, and then the winning goal from a fisted pass at the end of an ac­cu­rately timed run.


The ladies have once again reached the fi­nal of the Ju­nior Cham­pi­onship which is be­ing played as the opener to the se­nior fi­nal on next Sun­day in Aughrim. Throw-in in our game is at 12 noon. This avoids a clash with the hurl­ing fi­nal. Mar sin níl aon leaths­géal agat.

No doubt our ladies see some irony in the fact that their op­po­nents in last year’s fi­nal, the then re­cently re­graded An Tóchar, this year con­test the se­nior fi­nal.

Éire Óg de­feated St. Pat’s on the score 5-8 to 2-6 in the semi-fi­nal. The score im­plies a facile win but that was far from be­ing the case. The at­tri­tion of a closely con­tested and high tempo 1st half told in the 2nd pe­riod. Éire Óg were ex­tremely lucky in the choice of fresh legs af­forded them by a sub­sti­tute bench con­tain­ing an abun­dance of ex­pe­ri­enced and fit play­ers. Prob­a­bly the de­cid­ing fac­tor in the end.

The im­prove­ment in Éire Óg’s team play was ex­em­pli­fied in a well-taken goal from Les­lie-Ann Long at the end of an out­field pass­ing move­ment which had chan­nelled the ball through Caoil­fhionn Deeney and Lau­rie Ah­ern. How­ever some lapses in con­cen­tra­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion in the back divi­sion re­sulted in St.Pats goals at cru­cial times in the 1st half. Siob­hán O’Rior­dan her­alded her ar­rival af­ter the in­ter­val with a spirit- rais­ing point. An­other of her ef­forts fell short but Janet Nolan, with un­canny an­tic­i­pa­tion, had timed a 40m run to be on hand to dis­patch the drop­ping ball to the back of the net. Young So­phie Nolan, who im­proves with ev­ery game, topped off an ex­cel­lent per­for­mance at half-back with a vi­tal dis­pos­ses­sion in our own full-back line. A sat­is­fac­tory team dis­play but a step-up in per­for­mance will be re­quired if we are to over­come a strong Balt­in­glass team in the fi­nal.


The club ex­tends its sin­cer­est sym­pa­thies to De­clan Ho­gan, a mem­ber of the In­ter­me­di­ate team, to his fa­ther Jimmy and to the Ho­gan fam­ily on the death of De­clan’s grand­fa­ther, Jimmy. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.

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