Kil­te­gan sink Rath­new


Bray People - - Sport - Peter KEOGH

Kil­te­gan 1-10, Rath­new 0-6: Kil­te­gan drew first blood on the day that the two semi-fi­nals of the Doo­ley Poyn­ton Se­nior foot­ball cham­pi­onship were played as a dou­ble-header in Aughrim.

The Car­low bor­der side were the pace-set­ters from the start, were lead­ing by 0-4 be­fore Tommy Gill had Rath­new’s first point in the 15th minute and stayed fairly much in con­trol up to the end.

It was 0-6 to 0-1 at half-time and ex­cept for one ten-minute spell late in the game Rath­new never looked like clos­ing the gap.

Af­ter slug­gish start by both sides in con­di­tions that were far from ideal for foot­ball Derek Daly kicked the first point of the game in the sixth minute and mid­fielder John O’Toole laid down a marker when he pow­ered through for an­other point two min­utes later.

Seánie Fur­long had a point from a free and an­other from play be­fore Tommy Gill snapped up a break­ing ball to get Rath­new’s first point in the 15th minute.

Seánie Fur­long ended a long score­less spell when he pointed a free and then sent over an­other from a ‘45 to leave the half-time score Kil­te­gan 0-6, Rath­new 0-1.

The scor­ing in the sec­ond-half was equally slow. John Keogh pointed a free for a foul on Daly; from an­other free he played a one-two with Daly be­fore point­ing. It was a match where ev­ery point counted and Kil­te­gan were con­tent to take the easy ones.

An­other one-two be­tween Seánie Fur­long and John Keogh saw Fur­long point from long range. Ken Doyle got what was only Rath­new’s sec­ond point in the 40th minute but then in a good spell the for­mer eight in a row cham­pi­ons landed four points in a row to leave just a goal separat­ing the sides.

Ed­ward Doyle started the run with a good point in the 18th minute; Tommy Gill landed one from a free, An­thony Mer­nagh, the sole sur­vivor from the team that started the great run back in 1996, and still the pick of the half-for­ward line, got the next point while Paul Mer­ri­gan, who had just been sprung from the subs bench got his name on the score­sheet.

When Kil­te­gan needed a point badly it was rov­ing mid­fielder Jacko Dal­ton who stepped in to do the need­ful, tak­ing a pass from his mid­field part­ner to send over.

When su­per sub Mikie Fo­ley scored the only goal of the match in the 56th minute it was all over and this time there was no come­back by Rath­new. Dal­ton again started the move that led to that goal; he played a long ball in to Seánie Fur­long who swung it across to the sub and while Rath­new ‘keeper Peter Duig­nam got a block on the first shot Fo­ley was not to be de­nied and made no mis­take from the re­bound.

Tac­tics played a big part in this victory. Man­ager Gavin Wynne and his back­room team went out with a match plan and were able to stick with it to the end – and that does not al­ways hap­pen. It also helped their cause that key Rath­new play­ers like Damien Power, James Stafford, Leighton Glynn and Tommy Gill were of­ten iso­lated and did not get the chance to im­pose them­selves on the game in the way they like to do.

Jacko Dal­ton is usu­ally the pow­er­house around mid­field and had an­other pow­er­ful game; Seánie Fur­long and Derek Daly com­bined very ef­fec­tively in the full-for­ward line while the whold Kil­te­gan de­fence did well.

How­ever, this time it was Dal­ton’s mid­fioeld part­ner John O’Toole who turned a man of the match dis­play but not far ahead of Rory Finn who, de­spite fail­ing to get on the score­sheet had a great sec­ond­half. His shoot­ing apart, Daly also had a verry ef­fec­tive game in the cor­ner.

I know we have said it be­fore but have we saw the last of a great Rath­new team? They have won nine ti­tles in the last 12 years, added one Le­in­ster Cham­pi­onship and have pro­vided the play­ers to back­bone the county team.

The top marks­man for club and county for many years Tommy Gill tried as hard a ever on Sun­day but he is now only a pale shadow of the player he once was.

An­thony and Barry Mer­nagh have also put up big mileage over the years while most of the oth­ers have de­parted the scene. Younger men like Power, Stafford and Glynn are now car­ry­ing the team.

Harry Mur­phy’s team is now in need of a mas­sive in­jec­tion of young blood. Of course they have made us eat words like that be­fore – and could do so again.

Kil­te­gan still have work to do but Gavin Wynne has them in a fi­nal in his first year in charge and he was the hap­pi­est man in Aughrim on Sun­day evening.

Rath­new's Nicky Mer­nagh tries to burst past the chal­lenge of Kil­te­gan's Adrian Fo­ley.

Kil­te­gan's Michael Fo­ley chips the ball past Rath­new ‘keeper Peter Dig­nam.

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