Ti­na­hely force re­play

Bray People - - Sport - Mark KENNEDY

An Tochar 0-10, Ti­na­hely 0-10: Ti­na­hely had a poor start to this Ju­nior B foot­ball cham­pi­onship semi-fi­nal at Ark­low on Satur­day but a great fin­ish as they came from be­hind twice in the clos­ing five min­utes to earn a draw with an An Tochar in a nail bit­ing fin­ish.

In­spired by a spark­ing per­for­mance by their top scorer and sharp­shooter Shay Cullen, the Round­wood men had led all the way and looked as if they were go­ing to hold out and book a place in the fi­nal when they were two points clear en­ter­ing the clos­ing min­utes.

How­ever Ti­na­hely kept their best wine un­til last with Damien Darcy, Damien Cullen with a brace and in­flu­en­tial cen­tre-for­ward Nicky Mur­phy all slot­ting over vi­tal points to put this match to a re­play.

But their open­ing was less se­cure, full of mis­takes and wides and their for­wards were all too eas­ily blocked when at­tempt­ing shots on goal.

An Tochar’s ev­er­green full-for­ward Fer­gal Mul­li­gan landed the open­ing point for the Round­wood side af­ter his marker failed to cut out a cross from the left, and three min­utes later Shay Cullen scored the first of his seven points for the north district side.

In­deed Cullen was to find the mark twice more in the open­ing quar­ter be­fore Nicky Mur­phy was to make the first de­posit for Ti­na­hely, con­vert­ing a cross-field pass from Sean Ma­her into a point. Mur­phy and Damien Darcy tacked on two more Ti­na­hely points be­fore half time, leav­ing them in ar­rears by 0-3 to 0-5 at the break.

Twice in the first minute of the sec­ond half, An Tochar’s Fer­gal Mul­li­gan had open­ings for goals but he blazed the first shot wide and the sec­ond time he shot was blocked af­ter he was put through by sub­sti­tute Conor Davis, who fig­ured promi­nently af­ter he was in­tro­duced.

The Round­wood men con­tin­ued to dom­i­nate the open­ing ten min­utes, how­ever, and Shay Cullen (free) and cor­ner-for­ward John Carr stretched their lead with points.

Slow re­spond­ing Ti­na­hely in­tro­duced fresh legs, bring­ing on Padraig Mur­phy and James Gil­bert, and they nar­rowed the gap slightly by the end of the third quar­ter (0-3 to 0-8), as Paul Cullen and Nicky Mur­phy found the tar­get.

Urged on by their men­tors to stage a last stand, Ti­na­hely stepped up the pres­sure on their op­po­nents, mak­ing for the best phase of the game as well as a nail-bit­ing fin­ish.

Damien Cullen and Damien Darcy nar­rowed the gap to one point by the 51st minute - 0-7 to 0-9.

An Tochar’s Shay Cullen re­mained the best for­ward on view and he put two be­tween the sides with seven min­utes re­main­ing on the clock.

Ti­na­hely con­tin­ued to lift their game and Damien Cullen and Sean Ma­her brought the sides level af­ter 58 min­utes - 0-9 each.

Mo­ments later it looked as if sub­sti­tute Bren­dan Kennedy had snatched the win­ner for An Tochar but Ti­na­hely tails were up and they struck back im­me­di­ately for a late de­served equaliser from Nicky Mur­phy.

Scor­ers for An Tochar were: Shay Cullen (0-7, four frees), Fer­gal Mul­li­gan (0-1), John Carr (0-1), and Bren­dan Kennedy (0-1).

Ti­na­hely scor­ers: Nicky Mur­phy (0-4), Damien Darcy (0-2), Damien Cullen (02), Paul Cullen (0-1), Sean Ma­her (0-1).

Ti­na­hely: John Far­rell, Dar­ren Dunne, An­thony Byrne, Ro­nan Hed­der­man, Tony Leacy, Ea­monn O’Byrne, Gavin Kenny, John Byrne, Mick Byrne, Sean Ma­her, Nicky Mur­phy, Conor Kenny, Damien Cullen, Damien Darcy, Paul Cullen. Subs: Padraig Mur­phy for J. Byrne, James Gil­bert for P. Cullen, Tom Red­mond for E. O’Byrne.

An Tochar: Liam Cullen, Nick Nolan, Gary McGilly­cuddy, Eoin Ryan, Os­car Long, James Dixon, Noel Power, Cor­mac Carthy, Paul Crow­ley, Noel Wolo­han, Ed­die Ka­vanagh, Shay Cullen, Joe Cole­man, Fer­gal Mul­li­gan, John Carr. Subs: Conor Davis for Paul Crow­ley, Ciaran Crow­ley for N. Wolo­han, Paul Brady for E. Ka­vanagh, Bren­dan Kennedy for J. Carr.

Ref­eree: Eu­gene O’Brien (Aughrim).

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