An Tóchar go through

GAELIC GAMES KEAT­ING TRO­PHY FIRST ROUND

Bray People - - Sport -

An Tóchar 1-10; Ti­na­hely 19: Three of the he­roes of An Tochar’s his­tory mak­ing Se­nior foot­ball cham­pi­onship victory of 1995, Liam Cullen, Shay Nolan and Donal McGilly­cuddy were again the key play­ers when the Round­wood men had there most sig­nif­i­cant win in re­cent years.

They turned in one of their best dis­plays in a long time against the hold­ers Ti­na­hely and dumped them out of the Keat­ing Tro­phy in this first round match, played at Pearse Park Ark­low on Satur­day.

This is Wick­low’s sec­ond most im­por­tant Se­nior foot­ball com­pe­ti­tion and as well as a tro­phy at the end it also has a sting in the tail as the team fin­ish­ing on the bot­tom of the pile is rel­e­gated to In­ter­me­di­ate ranks.

It is a straight, old style knock­out com­pe­ti­tion all the way with no sec­ond chance sa­loon to soften the blow. It was that fear of rel­e­ga­tion that in­spired An Tochar, and in par­tic­u­lar the three proud war­riors of an­other era to lift their game and put on a su­per show. Donie Mac got 1- 7 out of their 1-10; Liam Cullen had a great game in goal and brought off two su­per saves while the Red Nolan was the key fig­ure in a good de­fence.

Ti­na­hely had no such mo­ti­vat­ing fac­tor and while they played well enough the same ‘hunger’ for victory was miss­ing.

The warn­ing signs were posted early on for the cham­pi­ons with An Tóchar get­ting the first three points of the match. For­mer Kerry star Mike Has­sett set up Donal McGilly­cuddy for a point that could have been a goal in the fourth minute, Enda Nolan and Donie Mac added more points as Ti­na­hely slum­bered on.

All that changed rapidly when Alan Nolan got Ti­na­hely’s first point in the 11th minute; county Mi­nor Brian Walsh was through with a real goal chance a minute later but vet­eran ‘keeper Liam Cullen, play­ing his first Se­nior game in a long time, brought off a bril­liant save at the ex­pense of a point.

Ti­na­hely were fly­ing at that stage and were not to be de­nied their goal. For­mer county player David Dil­lon pow­ered his way through the An Tóchar de­fence but Cullen made an­other su­per save. How­ever, Dil­lon fol­lowed up and volleyed the re­bound to the net.

Ti­na­hely were in front and by half-time had stretched the lead to 1-6 to 0-5.

If An Tóchar has started the first-half well they got the sec­ond-half off to an even bet­ter start. Donal McGilly­cuddy pow­ered through the Ti­na­hely de­fence for a great goal in­side a minute and then pointed a free to level the scores for the first time three min­utes later.

The hy­per-ac­tive Colm Kenny pointed to re­store the Ti­na­hely lead but Donie Mac lev­elled the game once more and than fired the Round­wood men two points in front.

Enda Ka­vanagh put three be­tween the sides by the 50th minute but that proved to be their last score.

Ti­na­hely staged a strong come­back in a bid to save the day, but a com­bi­na­tion of poor shoot­ing and good de­fend­ing slowed their progress. Alan Nolan pointed a free with two min­utes to go and Colm Kenny sent over an­other on 60 min­utes but An Tóchar held on through four min­utes of in­jury­time to qual­ify for the semi­fi­nals.

Man of the match Donal McGilly­cuddy who scored 1-7 (3 frees) has not been in such dev­as­tat­ing form since An Tóchar held the hold­ers Eire Og of Car­low to a draw in the Le­in­ster club fi­nal back in 1995.

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