Kil­te­gan edge out gal­lant neigh­bours


Bray People - - Sport - Mark KENNEDY

Kil­te­gan 2-10, Strat­ford 110: In an derby quar­ter-fi­nal match, Kil­te­gan are the only team from west of the hills to make it through to the semi­fi­nals of Wick­low’s Se­nior foot­ball cham­pi­onship fol­low­ing their nar­row victory over neigh­bours Strat­ford at Aughrim on Sun­day.

In pro­gress­ing to the last four Kil­te­gan did not reach the heady heights of 2006 when they qual­i­fied for the county fi­nal, never suc­ceed­ing in shak­ing off the de­ter­mined chal­lenge of Strat­ford who were con­test­ing the hon­ours right to the fi­nal whis­tle.

Twice in the first-half Strat­ford were hit by sucker goals by Kil­te­gan’s county stars Seánie Fur­long and Jacko Dal­ton, but they were not cowed into sub­mis­sion by those set-backs, in­stead they bat­tled back to make it a three-point game right to the end.

On a day when Paul Cronin only caught the eye in the sec­ond-half af­ter an in­vis­i­ble open­ing pe­riod, Strat­ford’s other cor­ner-for­ward Mark Capliss was the hero for the small-pop­u­lated club and he kept tak­ing the bat­tle to his op­po­nents as a chalked up 1-4 to his name or over half of his team’s to­tal score.

John Keogh, who was one of the bet­ter play­ers on the Kil­te­gan team, opened the scor­ing for the win­ners with a point from a free, won by the work of roam­ing full-for­ward James Doyle and his flanker Derek Daly.

Mark Caplis re­sponded in like man­ner for Strat­ford when he popped over an equal­is­ing point on seven min­utes

But then Kil­te­gan de­liv­ered the first sucker-punch to their op­po­nents on ten min­utes. Two Strat­ford de­fend­ers failed to cut out a de­liv­ery from Kil­te­gan’s Ge­of­frey Ber­ming­ham; al­low­ing the ball to hop over their heads to the lurk­ing Seánie Fur­long in­side.

In a one-on-one sit­u­a­tion with Strat­ford goalie, Pa­trick Cronin - he made a cou­ple of fine saves dur­ing the match - there was re­ally only go­ing to be one win­ner as county star Fur­long picked his spot and planked his shot in the back of the net from close range.

How­ever, Strat­ford showed de­fi­ance in­stead of the white flag of sur­ren­der. Mark Caplis led the charge with an ex­cel­lent point from the side­line and mid­fielder James Whe­lan left just one point be­tween the sides at the end of the first quar­ter 1-1 to 0-3.

Lack­ing a clearly de­fined strat- egy in this match, Kil­te­gan opted to land an­other knock­out blow to their op­po­nents. The Fur­long broth­ers Seánie and An­thony paved the way with points and then Jacko Dal­ton ri­fled home a sec­ond goal, the op­por­tu­nity gift wrapped by James Doyle.

But this was Strat­ford’s Olympics and they were de­ter­mined to shine on the big stage. Just three min­utes later they had the green flag wav­ing at the other end, Mark Caplis blast­ing to the net to the left of Kil­te­gan’s ‘keeper Alis­tair Ham­bidge.

James Bar­rett tacked on an­other Strat­ford point, goalie Pa­trick Cronin made a fine save from An­thony Fur­long’s blis­ter­ing shot, and the men in ma­roon were still very much in con­tention as they re­tired for the mid-term break just three points adrift - 2-4 to 1-4.

Paul Cronin started to show signs of step­ping up to the plate for Strat­ford on the change over as he landed the open­ing points af­ter just 30 sec­onds, nar­row­ing the mar­gin to just two.

John Keogh switched to mid­field for Kil­te­gan and got through a lot of work as did Alan Byrne at full-back. Keogh re­sponded with an an­swer­ing point on 32 min­utes.

Kil­te­gan’s goalie Alis­tair Ham­bidge was grate­ful to see his punched blocked on a Mark Caplis shot bounce back off the cross­bar, but Paddy Walsh har­vested a point for Strat­ford from a pass from Paul Cronin fol­low­ing a good run by mid­fielder Shane O’Neill. Once more it was a two point game af­ter 40 min­utes - 2-5 t0 1-6, and again at the end of the third quar­ter fol­low­ing an ex­change of points be­tween Seánie Fur­long and Caplis.

Strat­ford, with Eoin O’Neill - he plays hurl­ing with Kil­te­gan - do­ing well at full-back, were grow­ing in con­fi­dence as Paddy Walsh and Paul Cronin con­verted two more raids into en­emy ter­ri­tory to equal­is­ing points af­ter 48 min­utes - 2-6 to 1-9. It was all to play for.

Kil­te­gan hit an­other of their spo­radic bursts that marked their per­for­mance through­out this game. A brace of points by James Doyle and a third by Rory Finn from a punched ef­fort gave them some breath­ing space en­ter­ing the last five min­utes. Kil­te­gan brought on fresh legs to run down the clock. On 58 min­utes Seánie Fur­long grabbed the in­sur­ance point be­fore Mark Caplis had the last say with a point for brave Strat­ford. Kil­te­gan win­ners 2-10 to 110.

Scor­ers for Kil­te­gan were: Seánie Fur­long (1-3), Jacko Dal­ton (1-0), James Doyle (0-2), John Keogh (0-2), An­thony Fur­long, Derek Daly and Rory Finn (0-1 each).

Strat­ford scor­ers: Mark Caplis (1-4), Paddy Walsh (0-2), Paul Cronin (0-2), James Whe­lan and James Bar­rett ( 0- 1 each).

Kil­te­gan: Alis­tair Ham­bidge, John Far­rell, Alan Byrne, Ge­of­frey Ber­ming­ham, Pau­ric Keogh, Adrian Fo­ley, Paddy Finn, JP Dal­ton, John O’Toole, Rory Finn, An­thony Fur­long, Seánie Fur­long, John Keogh, James Doyle, Derek Daly. Subs. - Michael Fo­ley for A. Fur­long, Larry McGrath for N. O’Neill.

Strat­ford: Pa­trick Cronin, Joseph O’Neill, Eoin O’Neill, John Moore, Mark Ham­bidge, Ja­son Bol­ger, Pádraig O’Neill, Shane O’Neill, James Whe­lan, Ni­cholas O’Neill, Ciarán Byrne, James Bar­rett, Mark Caplis, Paddy Walsh, Paul Cronin. Subs. - Der­mot Cronin for J. Bar­rett, Chris Caplis for P. O’Neill.

Ref­eree: De­clan Greene coole).

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Kil­te­gan's Derek Daly tries to get past Strat­ford's Pádraig O'Neill.

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