Bray Em­mets knock out the cham­pi­ons


Bray People - - Sport - Peter KEOGH

Bray Em­mets 0-10, Balt­in­glass 0-9: The shock of the year in the Se­nior foot­ball cham­pi­onship came in the sec­ond game at Aughrim on Satur­day when the cham­pi­ons Balt­in­glass were beaten by a fully fired-up Bray Em­mets side.

This was a re­sult that cer­tainly did not look on the cards in the first-half when Balt­in­glass were in con­trol, even if they were not mak­ing the best use of their scor­ing chances. Nor did any­thing change in the early stages of the sec­ond-half when Balto were still set­ting the pace.

The win in the end was fully de­served as the Bray men had to grind out victory the hard way, some of their prob­lems, such as poor shoot­ing were of their own mak­ing, but they stuck at it and per­sis­tence brings its own re­ward.

In fact the seasiders were ahead only once in this game and that was when Jonathan Kinch pointed a free in the sixth minute of added time.

There was no com­plaints in the end – nor could there be. For a full 15 min­utes the writ­ing was on the wall and the only ques­tion at that stage was not could Balt­in­glass win, but could hang on for the draw that may have saved them.

For a full 40 min­utes Balt­in­glass had looked the part of cham­pi­ons, even if they had not made full use of their scor­ing chances, but once it went wrong it went badly wrong.

Balt­in­glass went through the last 27 min­utes of the game without scor­ing and for much of that time they were only pay­ing the odd visit to the Bray half of the field.

Luck may not have been on their side a cou­ple of times but over­all this was not a big fac­tor. Over­all the Balt­in­glass wides to­tal was less than that of the Bray men – nine in all, three frees plus six; as against Brays 12 – three frees plus nine,

Once Thomas Walsh and Stephen Fox took con­trol at mid­field the bur­den on a good Balt­in­glass de­fence proved just too much. County cap­tain Dara O hAn­naidh, who had a quiet enough half stormed into the game while Niall Gaffney be­gan to re­ally test the metal of the Balt­in­glass de­fence.

John McGrath had opened the scor­ing with a mighty point from a ‘45 out on the touch line but Jonathan Kinch brought Bray level with an equally good point from the other line; Henry Sin­nott was lead­ing the Bray de­fence a merry dance and sent over two good points while McGrath added an­other from play and Balto led by 0-4 to 0-2 af­ter 15 min­utes.

The cham­pi­ons con­tin­ued to hold the edge and Ciarán Wal­she, Sin­nott and McGrath ( a ‘45) added more points to see them lead by 0-7 to 0-4 at half­time – and that lead should have been greater. Niall Gaffney and Kinch (free) get­ting the other Bray points.

Ciarán Wal­she stretched the lead with a fine point on the restart and Tommy Cullen added an­other in the tenth minute. As it turned out that was to be Balt­in­glass’ last score.

Kinch had pointed a free but Bray had still shown no signs of a re­vival. Then Thomas Walsh and Stephen Fox took over mid­field; Dara O hAn­naidh stormed into the game and Niall Gaffney , Kinch and Ray Lambe be­gan to as­sert them­selves.

Gaffney had a point in the 12th minute; Fox added an­other and when Kinch pointed a lon­grange free the Balt­in­glass lead had dwin­dled to a sin­gle point.

The equaliser came in the 20th minute when Nial McGraynor drove over a mighty point from 45 me­tres.

Six­teen full min­utes of stale­mate fol­lowed – fran­tic at­tack­ing, last ditch de­fend­ing, - but no scores. It did not help the Balt­in­glass cause that some of their half-for­wards were back help­ing out the be­lea­guered de­fence, thus in­sur­ing that when the ball was cleared up­field there was one, two or maybe three Bray men wait­ing to drive it back into the dan­ger zone again. Even full-back Oisin O hAn­naidh and Alan Corr were pop­ping up in the Balt­in­glass half of the field.

On the other hand Bray were giv­ing the cham­pi­ons a dig out by reck­less shoot­ing which saw then bring their sec­ond-half tally to nine (three scorable frees)

With one minute of the hour to go Liam McGraynor’s men got the break they needed when they won a free in a nice po­si­tion but then they be­came in­volved in a brawl and lost the free - a let-off for Balt­in­glass.

With four min­utes of in­jury­time gone Bray won a free in the same po­si­tion and while there was again more push­ing and shov­ing which took the ref two min­utes to sort, this time he let the free stand and Kinch sent it straight be­tween the posts and the Mi­ley Cup was looking for a new home.

Balt­in­glass chair­man Con Mur­phy and cap­tain Ciarán Fo­ley went to the Bray dress­in­groom af­ter the match and con­grat­u­lated them on their victory and wished them well in the semi-fi­nal.

Bray Em­mets: John Walsh; Paul Barry, Oisin O hAn­naidh, Alan Corr; Bre­andán O hAn­naidh, Dara O hAn­naidh, Luke Ben­son; Thomas Walsh, Stephen Fox (0-1); Ray Lambe, Niall Gaffney (0-2), Jonathan Kinch (0-6, all frees); Paddy Moyni­han, Brian O’Ke­effe, Niall McGraynor ( 0- 1). Subs. – Mikie Browne for O’Ke­effe; David Finn for Moyni­han.

Balt­in­glass: Ken Quirke; Brian Nolan, Alan Nolan, Brian Whe­lan; Paul Flem­ing, Ciarán Fo­ley, Rory Nolan;Tommy Mur­phy, Rory Nolan; John McGrath (0-3), Seán O’Brien, Joey Kelly; Henry Sin­nott (0-3), Ciarán Walsh (0-2), Tommy Cullen (0-1). Subs. – Peadar Burke for O’Brien; James Sheerin for A. Nolan.

Ref­eree: Pat Kelle­her (AGB).

Paul Flem­ing of Balt­in­glass is bot­tled up by Bray's Stephen Fox and Ray Lambe.

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