An­nacurra march on

IN­TER­ME­DI­ATE FOOT­BALL CHAM­PI­ONSHIP SEMI-FI­NAL

Bray People - - Sport - Mark KENNEDY

An­nacurra 1-13, Eire Og Grey­stones 0-11: An­nacurra foot­ballers, knock­ing on the door of Se­nior sta­tus twice al­ready this in­fant cen­tury, are back in the Darcy Sand In­ter­me­di­ate foot­ball cham­pi­onship fi­nal for the first time since 2004.

Back then they were beaten by Avon­dale but while in the pre­vi­ous year they lost out by a point to New­town af­ter a marathon three games and two pe­ri­ods of ex­tra-time.

Last Sun­day’s semi-fi­nal joust with Eire Og, whom they beat by five points at Aughrim, did not live up to the ex­cite­ment, drama and foot­ball qual­ity of five years ago but nev­er­the­less it was a much bet­ter con­test than the sec­ond semi-fi­nal that fol­lowed.

How­ever, one thing was on a par with 2003 and that was the sheer qual­ity of the foot­ball and phe­nom­e­nal ac­cu­racy of An­nacurra’s cor­ner-for­ward Clive Ho­ran who is back play­ing to his bril­liant best once more.

Ho­ran seems to have a radar sen­sory sys­tem that picks out op­po­nent’s goal­posts without even looking and he rarely misses the tar­get from play or frees. That was again the case on Sun­day as he banged over nine of their thir­teen points from an­other ex­hi­bi­tion of score-tak­ing.

Eire Og’s cor­ner-for­ward, ev­er­green Johnny Barry, was also on song for the Grey­stones men, ac­count­ing for over half of their eleven points to­tal, but cen­tre-for­ward Dar­ren Hay­den had a rather quite game for the seasiders by his high stan­dards, for once fail­ing to get on his team’s score-sheet.

How­ever, it was the Grey­stones lads who had the bet­ter of the ex­changes in the open­ing half and they were not flat­tered to lead by 0-7 to 0-5 at the break, with Johnny Barry lead­ing the charge and wing-for­ward De­clan O’Ma­hony scor­ing a mag­nif­i­cent point af­ter 17 min­utes, the ball flicked into his path by Anto Byrne.

In­deed Eire Og had a whirl­wind start and looked as if they were go­ing to blow their op­po­nents out of the wa­ter as they raced into a 0-3 lead in the first five min­utes, two scored by Barry and the third by Martin Peters, the other cor­ner-for­ward.

An­nacurra did not open their ac­count un­til the sixth minute, the point com­ing from Clive Ho­ran fol­low­ing a free by Alan Ho­ran for a foul on Frank Clune by Stephen Ch­ester Kelly, who did not have one of his bet­ter games for the Grey­stones, con­ced­ing quite a few frees to the op­po­si­tion.

Clive Ho­ran cut the gap be­tween the sides to one point when he pointed a free on ten min­utes and the play ebbed and flowed be­tween the sides all the way through with Eire Og shap­ing up marginally the bet­ter of the two teams.

The game took some­thing of a turn-around af­ter the restart with the pen­du­lum swing­ing in favour of An­nacurra on the change over.

Full-for­ward Frank Clune set the ball rolling with an ex­cel­lent point from the left wing and more and more An­nacurra kept surg­ing for­ward with Ciaran Shan­non and Johnny Thomp­son get­ting the up­per­hand at mid­field and Alan Byrne driv­ing ahead from the wing-back po­si­tion.

In­side three min­utes An­nacurra were level with their op­po­nents (0-7 each) as Pa­trick Moules, an­other in­flu­en­tial at­tacker, pointed and Clive Ho­ran gave them the lead for the first time of the match af­ter 35 min­utes; Frank Clune do­ing well to hook the ball across the face of the goal af­ter he had hit the deck on the left flank near the end line.

At the other end Anto Byrne, the Eire Og full-for­ward, drew the foul from his marker, thus teeing up the lev­el­ling point (08 each) for Johnny Barry from the free, but Clive Ho­ran pointed An­nacurra back in the lead af­ter Clune won an­other free off Ch­ester Kelly.

An­nacurra were on the as­cen­dancy, typ­i­fied by a mar­vel­lous dart­ing run down the right flank by Alan Byrne to make him­self avail­able for a line-ball from Mick O’Brien and win the free and point for Clive Ho­ran.

On 45 min­utes cor­ner-back Kenny Naughton fin­ished off a good move in­volv­ing Stephen Kelly, Anto Byrne and an im­prov­ing Dar­ren Hay­den with a splen­did point and the mar­gin was down to a min­i­mum once more -0-10 to 0-9.

Pa­trick Moules worked a onetwo with Clive Ho­ran but Ho­ran shot wide for a change; at the other end Dar­ren Hay­den was also off the mark with his at­tempt for a point. As the bat­tled reached a defin­ing fi­nal quar­ter, Eire Og in­tro­duced Paul Do­herty for mid­fielder Danny English.

Af­ter six min­utes of stale­mate Clive Ho­ran swung over three points in as many min­utes, one from a free and this gave his team a vi­tal four points cush­ion (0-13 to 0-9) en­ter­ing the last five min­utes.

Eoin Bam­brick pulled a point back Eire Og but then Billy Codd wrapped this game up for An­nacurra when he volleyed to the net from close range af­ter Alan Ho­ran’s ef­fort from a flicked pass from Clive Ho­ran re­bounded off the post.

It was cur­tains for Eire Og at that stage and An­nacurra were back in an­other in­ter­me­di­ate fi­nal.

Scor­ers for An­nacurra were: Clive Ho­ran (0-9), Billy Codd (10), Pa­trick Moules (0-3), and Frank Clune (0-1).

Eire Og Grey­stones scor­ers: Johnny Barry (0-6), Eoin Bam­brick (0-2), De­clan O’Ma­hony, Martin Peters and Kenny Naughton (0-1 each).

An­nacurra: Michael Doyle, Liam Moules, Ciaran Byrne, Shane McAl­lis­ter, Alan Byrne, Sean O’Neill, Paul McDon­ald, Ciaran Shan­non, Johnny Thomp­son, Mick O’Brien, Alan Ho­ran, Willy Codd, Clive Ho­ran, Frank Clune. Subs: Peter Clancy for C. Shan­non.

Eire Og Grey­stones: Billy Nor­man, Cian O’Sul­li­van, Stephen Ch­ester Kelly, Kenny Naughton, Craig Smullen, Alan Costello, Sean Ho­ran, James Leonard, Danny English, De­clan O’Ma­hony Dar­ren Hay­den, Eoin Bam­brick, Martin Peters, Anto Byrne, Johnny Barry. Subs: Paul Do­herty for D. English, Ro­nan Han­n­away for S. Ho­ran, James Kelly for D. O’Ma­hony

Ref­eree: Damien Byrne gan).

( Kilte-

Alan Ho­ran of An­nacurra out-jumps Kenny Naughton.

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