Kiltegan edge out gallant neighbours
GAELIC GAMES DOOLEY POYNTON SENIOR FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
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).
Kiltegan's Derek Daly tries to get past Stratford's Pádraig O'Neill.