Bray Emmets knock out the champions
GAELIC GAMES DOOLEY POYNTON SENIOR FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
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.