SENIORS FAIL AT SEMIFINAL STAGE
Bray Emmets 1-6 St. Pat’s 1-13: A large crowd from Bray travelled to Aughrim to support the Senior football team as they took on St. Patrick’s (Wicklow) in the semi-final of the Wicklow SFC.
Unfortunately Bray got off to a slow start and were quickly punished for some unforced errors by frees by county star Paul Earls. In wet and miserable conditions, Bray may have shown some nerves as hesitancy and handling errors allowed St. Pat’s to mop up the spillages and build attacks through their dangerous midfield and half-forward line into a fullforward line with lots of space to play with. Two frees by Johnny Kinch were the only reward from early forays into the Pat’s half. Bray were rocked by an early injury to stalwart Brian O’Keeffe who had to leave the field. The misery continued as St. Pat’s led by 0-10 to 0-02.
The second-half saw a different Bray team emerge. More competitive and defensively tighter Bray took the game to St. Pat’s. Tacking on a couple of points, Bray built a bit of momentum. Indeed if luck went their way, advantage would have been played as Thomas Walsh found himself clear through on goal. Instead the referee blew his whistle for an earlier St. Pat’s indiscretion leading to disgust (not for the first time) from the large Bray support. The intense pressure paid off however and Bray were rewarded with a goal scored by a brave diving fist from Paddy Moynihan. This brought the margin down to three points with ten minutes to go and a comeback looked to be on the cards. Again, Thomas Walsh found himself through on goal and only a fingertip save from Robert Hollingsworth saw the shot rebound from the crossbar. This proved to be a decisive save as almost immediately St. Pat’s scored an impressive goal to end the game as a contest and led to heartbreak for Bray.
Team: John Walsh, Paul Barry, Oisin O hAnnaidh, Alan Corr; Breandan O hAnnaidh, Dara O hAnnaidh, Luke Benson; Thomas Walsh, Stephen Fox; Ray Lambe, Niall Gaffney, Niall McGraynor; Paddy Moynihan, Brian O’Keeffe, Johnathan Kinch Subs: Mikey Browne, Tony Denver, Ronan O’Brien, John O’Keeffe, Paul Cunningham
BRAVE DISPLAY BY INTERMEDIATES
Bray 1-6 Annacurra 0-11: Bray travelled in hopes of an Intermediate football semi-final to Roundwood on Friday. Despite being without some of their star players (Des Kelly, Maurice Doyle and Adam Benson) Bray showed all the fighting spirit we have come to expect from this team as they had a chance to level the game in the second-half. Led by Seán O’Neill and with a typical display by Paul Cunningham, Bray scored a great goal through Gearoid O Murchu to scare the 2007 county finalists. However, one missed opportunity proved costly as Annacurra managed to pounce and score a final point that proved the insurance point. Great credit must go to the management team who have built a great team spirit in this team.
BRAY U-13 HURLERS PROVE COMPETITIVE HOSTS
While there were many Senior inter-county stars competing on the main kicking pitch, there was no shortage of underage stars competing in the Leinster U-13 hurling competition.
Bray Emmets U-13 hurlers certainly demonstrated heart, determination and no shortage of skill as they host- ed the Leinster Feile Hurling competition at Old Conna.
Run in parallel with the MBNA Kick Fada, a large crowd milled around expectantly wondering how Bray would cope in a group containing Mount Sion (Waterford), Drumcullen (Offaly) and Naas (Kildare).
First up was Naas who provided lively opposition. Bray overcame a slow start to lift the tempo and pull off a blistering second-half performance to win this game.
Mount Sion were next up and although tradition favoured the famous Waterford team, the local lads didn’t read the script and tore in to the visitors from the throw-in. A hugely competitive display saw Bray come narrowly on top. Drumcullen was the last test in this group. A test passed with flying colours. The Bray hurlers were enjoying the day as they had the opportunity to test their skills against new opposition. With three wins out of three, Bray qualified to play Portlaoise who were winners of the second group. This group was also played at Old Conna. This group comprised Naomh Eanna (Wexford), O’Donovan Rossa (Antrim), Port Laoise (Laois), Thomastown (Kilkenny).
Portlaoise proved to be deserving winners as a firsthalf performance put intense pressure on the young Bray team. However, credit must go to the entire panel for the fighting spirit they displayed in the secondhalf.
Thanks to all who contributed in organising a very well run U-13 Feile Competition.
MBNA KICK FADA HURLING SKILLS COMPETITION
One of the attractions at the Kick Fada was the Hurling Skills Competition. This event was designed by Kilkenny legend John Henderson. It pitted the hurlers head to head on the skill board and then free -aking. How ironic that it came down a Kilkenny-Waterford final as Michael Donnelly from Thomastown in Kilkenny took on Mark Flannagan from Mount Sion in Waterford. History repeated itself as Kilkenny won through, with an impressive Michael Donnelly pointing all ten frees in the final. Michael received his medal from RTE Legend Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh.
ACADEMY MBNA KICK FADA
This event was a very exciting one for the children. The Under-7s coming down to a three way kick off. Well done to the finalists Rory Lambe, David Maloney and Gavin O’Shea. There will be a lot of practicing for next year. In the Under-8s we had a clear winner with Darragh Rochford retaining his title from last year.
This Saturday, September 20, normal practice resumes with training from 10 a.m. to 12 noon. We will continue enrolling for the next two weeks so for all new players come on down and give it a go. sage it conveys (viz.) a facile win for the Greystones girls. Ask any of the Éire Óg supporters who complained of dry mouths and palpitating hearts as they willed the hands of the referee’s watch to ignore the structures of Greenwich and speed up on their journey to the their full-time alignment. Further it should be pointed out that in ladies football score differences of this magnitude occur frequently in games and that they do not necessarily carry the same implications of foregone conclusions as they might in the men’s game. In ladies football the goal-point relationship is more akin to that in hurling and a big lead can be wiped out quickly. Baltinglass forwards were well capable of doing just that if their team was allowed to be in the ascendant for even a short period - the last ten minutes of the first-half attest to this.
As one searches for the appropriate words with which to depict the match - the joy it occasioned, the atmosphere of sporting bonne femmie and bon hommie (one cannot accuse these note of even a soupcon of political incorrectness) it engendered and the après match festivities - phrases from the lyrics ‘There is no business like show business’, kept obtruding into one’s consciousness e.g. ‘everything about it was appealing, where else would you have got that happy feeling?’ etc.
A ‘pet’ day, lá idir dhá shíon (a day between two weathers) the rare sight - during this season chronologically labelled summer - of bare-armed spectators soaking up the sun, the rich green of the manicured sward, the stirring music of the multi-national pipe band (an ideal setting for a spectacle of sporting endeavour). All credit to the girls of both teams for having provided same with flair and vigour.
A scene needing only for its completion a spectacle of sporting endeavour. All credit to the girls of both teams for having provided same with flair and vigour.
Baltinglass registered the opening score but thereafter for about 17 minutes the ball scarcely left their half of the field. Éire Óg built up a 1-5 to 0-1 lead and a facile win seemed in prospect. But as Shakespeare warned ‘they that are mighty have many blasts to shake them; when they fall they dash themselves to pieces’. And so it happened. A reinvigoration of the Baltinglass effort, a few handling errors on the part of Éire Óg and a sudden loss of confidence had our ladies floundering and a point in arrears at the half-time whistle. One does not know whether it was as the result of the words of their sports’ psychologist or the increase in the volume of vocal support from the lately arrived, practicematch delayed, intermediates which caused the turnaround but a different Éire Óg exited the dressing rooms after the respite. They took the game to Baltinglass from the off and soon had them reeling with goals from Leslie-Ann Long and Caoilfhionn Deeney. Yet victory was not assumed; Baltinglass were down but not out and only sterling work from the backs and some fine goal-keeping from Ruth McElroy prevented them from getting those spirit-raising scores. Victory was assured by two brilliant goals, a solo effort from player of the match Siobhán O’Riordan and a vital touchon by Leslie-Ann of a ‘redundant’ netwards-heading handpropelled ball from Caoilfhionn Deeney.
The second period was an exemplar of the dictum ‘attack is the best form of defence’. Our forwards’ hunger for scores allowed the Balto defence few opportunities for those long pressure- relieving clearances. The central trio of Lorna and Becca Fusciardi and Niamh Kelly, even though vertically challenged in relation to their opposite numbers, through their intelligent reading of the game and a never-say-die persistence formed an almost impenetrable barrier to the transfer of ball between the Baltinglass backs and forwards. One of the Éire Óg backs summarised their championship odyssey thus: ‘The backs brought us to the final and the forwards delivered on the day’.
In this, their first year of existence, our Junior hurlers have qualified for the last four in the championship by virtue of a 3-11 to 0-9 victory over Aughrim in Greystones. Well done lads! Aughrim had some fine hurlers and seemed to be competing well with the locals throughout the first half. So one was more than surprised at the interval score - 2-8 to 0-2 in Éire Óg’s favour. But then, one was reckoning without the scoring economy of Paul Sutton: half a chance and a raised flag is the outcome. His languidly executed skills belie his lethalness in front of goals; his last goal in the accuracy of his timing and in the beauty of his delivery would be at home in the most vaunted of sporting arenas. Young Mark Doran was very effective and showed a skill and bravery way beyond his years. Micheal Walsh at centre-back, another minor, competed very well and enhanced his performance with 0-7 from frees. One was struck by the absence of some prominent names from the team-sheet and wondered was this reflective of an a la carte commitment or were there more substantial reasons. The team was resplendent in its new jerseys. A sincere ‘Go raibh maith agat’ to Donncha Ó Cróinín of Traslan who is the generous sponsor.
Congratulations to David O’Neill who will tie the knot with Stephanie Nix this weekend in Boston. David played with the club at underage and, they tell me, that he keeps himself au fait with club affairs through the website. A propos, because problems to the site, some of the club info appears on www.mylocalnews.ie (last week the ‘my’ was not included in the address). Saol fada sona ag David and Stephanie and beannacht Dé orthu. pitch that I know of that will stand the test of time and elements as well. And then there is that other natural resource, our members, who once again did a sterling job in showcasing the club. From car parking attendants to umpires there was no shortage of helping hands, while Ciaran Martin certainly deserves a special mention for the catering.
On the field, the ‘co-op’ showed that they can hurl as well as play football, multi-tasking if you will. That is of course our Under-13 hurlers who did a great job representing themselves, and the coaching that has been put into them over the last few years. Two wins out of four was a good return on a day when the general skill levels from the eight teams on show was of a very high standard. Dermot O’Brien, Shane Molloy, Eoin Keddy, Lee Dutton and Eoin O’Brien are all part of a rich vein of talent that spans around three age groups and needs to be nurtured for the future.
The club would like to extend its sympathies to the Foley family following the recent death of Dick Foley of the Main Street. Dick was a cornerforward on the 1954 Senior Championship winning team.
There wasn’t much action on the camogie fields this week - the only team out were the Under 12 Bs who played a most enjoyable game against visitors Ballinacor. Victory went to Ballinacor on this occasion.
The Under-16s have completed their programme of games for 2008 - League, Championship and Shield. Well done to them. They are already looking forward to the 2009 season when all this year’s players will be eligible for this grade again. Knockananna have conceded the League fixture to our Under-14s which leaves them with one remaining League fixture against Aughrim next Monday. Their Shield starts at the end of the month. The Under-12A and B teams have also completed their League and Championship schedules and their Shield will start towards the end of the month.
Sunday was the All-Ireland Final and we organised our Annual outing to Croke Park. In spite of the rain - where would we be without it? - over 50 members watched Cork regain the title and O’Duffy Cup in an exciting game v. Galway. Thanks to all the adults who travelled and made the opportunity available to the players. A great day was had by all as we witnessed another piece of history as Kilkenny added the Under-21 Hurling to their collection and become the first winners of all four All-Ireland Hurling titles in the same season.
Its back to school for everybody and coaching resumes in St Brigid’s GNS this week.
During our trip to Croke Park, we were delighted to meet some of the Under-14s from Monaghan and Cavan and their mentors with whom we spent last Week-end in Castleblaney as we continue to finalise their return visit to Kilcoole in the near future.