O’Toole saves the day for Kil­te­gan

Bray People - - Sport -

Kil­te­gan 0-10, Bal­li­na­cor 0-10: Su­per sub Christy O’Toole, the hero of many great bat­tles on the foot­ball and hurl­ing fields of Wick­low, was back where he be­longs again on Sun­day, writes Peter Keogh. JAFC SEMI-FI­NAL It was his point deep in in­jury-time that saved the day for Kil­te­gan in the semi-fi­nals of the Ju­nior A foot­ball cham­pi­onship at Ark­low.

This match was bal­anced on a knife edge for most of the way. The scor­ers were level five times in all but the men from Glen­malure has started to pull away in the last quar­ter.

With just two min­utes left on the clock Bal­li­na­cor were three points up and looking all set for the fi­nal.

Kil­te­gan man­ager Ciarán O’Toole had in­tro­duced for­mer Se­nior star Christy O’Toole five min­utes from time and he was start­ing to make his pres­ence felt. With a minute to go he was in­stru­men­tal in winning a free which Keith Fur­long pointed. On the stroke of the hour Lorcan Byrne broke the Bal­ly­i­na­cor cover again to win an­other free and Fur­long again did the need­ful.

Kil­te­gan won one more free but not in scor­ing range. Adrian Keogh pumped it in to the goal mouth where Christy O’Toole fielded and swung it left footed over the bar.

It was a fit­ting enough end to a great bat­tle and every­one bar fix­tures boss Mick Ha­gan was happy with the re­sult.

Adrian Keogh had opened the scor­ing with a long-range point for Kil­te­gan but De­clan Green lev­elled a minute later and Ger Byrne gave Bal­li­na­cor the lead for the first time.

Kil­te­gan’s man of the match Keith Fur­long lev­elled the game for a sec­ond time with the first of his seven points in the sixth minute.

Kil­te­gan hit their best spell of the match in the next ten min­utes; Blaine Har­mon and James Whe­lan were winning a lot of ball in the mid­dle and Fur­long pointed a free for a foul on Stephen Far­rell and when the ref­eree moved a long-range free for­ward for de­scent Fur­long pointed again. Dar­ren Hob­son had the point of the match from out near the side line and Fur­long pointed an­other free. En­ter­ing the sec­ond quar­ter Kil­te­gan were lead­ing by dou­ble scores – 0-6 to 03 – Ro­nan Phe­lan get- ting the other Bal­li­na­cor point.

Kevin Byrne got his team revved up again and they dom­i­nated the last ten min­utes of the half. Conor Par­sons, Tony Byrne and Ger Byrne all landed points to level the game again – 0-6 each – at half-time.

From the start of the sec­ond-half Bal­li­na­cor were get­ting a firm grip on the ex­changes but were find­ing scores hard to come by against a strong Kil­te­gan de­fence where John Byrne, Jim Bob Dal­ton and Shaun Byrne were out­stand­ing.

Conor Par­sons edged them ahead with a point in the first minute but Keith Fur­long lev­elled the game once more.

Tony Byrne ended fif­teen score­less min­utes when he pointed a free and in­side two min­utes Ro­nan Phe­lan and Ger Byrne had landed lon­grange points and the men from Glen­malure were three points up and cruis­ing. How­ever, that Byrne point in the 18th minute was to prove their last score.

How­ever, Christy Mur­phy, Paddy Byrne and Michael Dowl­ing were star­ring in the Bal­li­na­cor half-back line and were cut­ting out ev­ery Kil­te­gan at­tack.

An­other ten min­utes passed without a score for ei­ther side. That all changed when man­ager Ciarán O’Toole sprung Christy O’Toole from the bench. The big fel­low started to win pos­ses­sion where Kil­te­gan had been weak­est; De­nis Hayes and Lorcan Byrne stormed into the game and Bal­li­na­cor were on the back foot – and not lik­ing it. Kil­te­gan got the draw and lived to fight an­other day.

The mid­field bat­tle be­tween Paul Cullen and Danny Dowl­ing on the one hand and Blaine Har­mon and James Whe­lan on the other was mostly in­con­clu­sive.

Kil­te­gan: Ned Doyle; Jim Bob Dal­ton, John Byrne, Nigel Nolan; Lorcan Byrne, De­nis Hayes, Ciarán Doyle; Blaine Har­mon, James Whe­lan; Dan Kear­ney, Adrain Keogh ( 0- 1), Shaun Byrne; Keith Fur­long (0-7), Dar­ren Hob­son (0-1), Stephen Far­rell. Subs. – Fer­gal Far­rell for Doyle; Christy O’Toole ( 0- 1) for Far­rell; Em­met Mur­phy for Whe­lan.

Bal­li­na­cor: James Byrne; Peter Byrne, Chris Kennedy, Ciarán O’Neill; Chris Mur­phy, Paddy Byrne, Michael Dowl­ing; Paul Cullen, Daniel Dowl­ing; Ro­nan Phe­lan ( 0- 2), Tony Byrne (0-2), De­clan Green (0-1); Conor Par­sons ( 0- 2), Colin Byrne, Ger Byrne (0-3).

Ref­eree: Liam (Hol­ly­wood).

Cullen

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