St. Pat’s in control
GAELIC GAMES DOOLEY POYNTON SENIOR FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
St. Patrick’s 1-13, Bray Emmets 1-6: St. Patrick’s are back in their third final in five years after a good and welldeserved win over Bray Emmets in the second game at Aughrim.
The Wicklow town side were awesome in the early stages. They totally dominated the first-half and were not flattered to lead by 0-10 to 0-2 at half-time.
Guarding that sort of lead is never easy and St. Pat’s did drop their guard for a time in the second-half and did leave the door open for the Bray side to stage a comeback.
The Emmets kicked over a few points and then got a great chance to really get back in the game. A line ball from the accurate Jonathan Kinch was broken down in the square and Paddy Moynihan made a dramatic low dive to fist it to the net. That was in the 52nd minute and a few minutes later Thomas Walsh blasted a blockbuster off the crossbar. Had that shot gone in the sides would have been level and anything could have happened. But St. Pat’s were overall much the better team on the day and went on to win with plenty in hand.
This was another Paul Earls show! The whizzkid of the 2008 championship was testing and tormenting the Bray defence form the start. He scored the first four points, three frees, and was the perfect target man through out.
The first point came in the third minute when goalie John Walsh was rather harshly penalised for ‘ steps’ as he came out to clear; Earls kicked over another free a minute later and after the other free-taker Jonathan Kinch had opened the Bray account in the sixth minute the full-forward got his first point from play.
Another point from Earls after a foul on Ciarán Doyle in the 12th minute but Kinch struck again when he drove over a ‘ 45 in the 15th minute.
St. Pat’s took complete control in the second quarter; Mathew Byrne landed a great point; Earls pointed another free – this time after goalie Walsh was again penalised for handling the ball on the ground on the 13 metre line after a great, and very brave dive to break up a dan- gerous St. Pat’s attack.
Matthew Byrne again, midfielder Darragh McEvoy, John Slattery and Darragh O’Sullivan landed points to complete the first-half scoring - St. Pat’s 0-10, Bray Emmets 0-2.
Some of the urgency had gone out of the St. Pat’s play on the restart. The Bray side, with Liam McGraynor’s pep-talk ringing in their ears upped their game a little; Jonathan Kinch pionted frees in the seventh and tenth minutes before the hard-working John Slattery got St. Pat’s first point of the half in the 12th minute.
Dara O hAnnaidh, now operating at midfield tried to rally the Emmets with a good point in the 15th minute and Kinch added another from play in the 17th minute.
Earls had a point from play in the 20th minute to keep a safe looking six points between the sides.
A minute later Kinch sent in a line-ball that hung invitingly over the goalmouth and when it broke off a number of hands corner-forward Paddy Moynihan dived courageously into the square to box to the net.
Three minutes later the Bray men were in again and this time Thomas Walsh, now operating at full-forward, connected with a rebound but his shot cannoned of the crossbar and away to safety. It was Bray’s last chance.
St. Pat’s as good as sealed the issue when sub Andy Jameson scored their only goal in the 56th minute. Fittingly it was Earls that got the last score of the game when he pointed in the second minute of injury-time.
Casey O’Brien had every reason to be pleased with another fine display by his side.
He has a powerful defence built around two of the stars of the show Garry Jameson and Patrick McWalter. For the first time in many moons the Wicklow town side were on top at midfield where Garry Duffy had the game of his life with plenty of back-up from newcomer Darragh McEvoy;
While Earls simply had to get man of the match for his display at full-forward he had plenty of back up. John Slattery, had another great game while the other starting forwards also earned heir keep.
Was this the end of the road for one great Bray Emmets player? On Saturday I was looking at a photo of a Bray Emmets team that won the Minor football championship in 1984 and there was the same Mr. Walsh. Since that day 24 years ago his mother or his wife have washed a lot of soiled togs but ‘Walshie’ is still there doing his bit for the club.
The O hAnnaidh brothers, Niall Gaffney and two of the ne comers in the defence Paul Barry and Luke Benson did all they could to stem a tide that was flowing strongly against their team for most of the way. However, their star had to be Jonathan Kinch, surely the most improved footballer in Wicklow this year.
Referee Ciarán Kenny from Tinahely was in charge of his first really big game and like Eddie Craul in the first did very well.
Darragh O'Sullivan of St. Pat’s bursts past the challenge of Bray's Mikey Browne.
Gary Jameson of St. Pat’s shields the ball from Bray's Thomas Walsh.