Heartbreak for Annacurra as Carnew win by a single point
Carnew 1-9, Annacurra 011: Annacurra’s players just could not hold back the heartbreaking tears at Arklow on Saturday after they had ended up as the bridesmaids of the intermediate football championship for the third time this decade.
In 2003, they lost out to Newtown in a marathon tussle of three games and two periods of extra time, the next year they were beaten in the final by Avondale, while last weekend they lost out to south district neighbours Carnew.
And their pain was made all the more acute by the fact that their dreams were shattered by a sucker goal deep in injury time after they had shaped up as the likely winners throughout a much improved second half display.
Just minutes before Annacurra had eased into a three points lead, 0-11 to 0-8, with just two minutes of normal time left and the odds were firmly on the side of this being third time lucky for them.
However, not for the first time and neither will it be the last, Carnew proved once again that you can never be sure you have them beaten until the final whistle sounds.
With a well earned reputation as great championship battlers, a team that never throws in the towel, Carnew came with a late, last desperate surge to pull the game out of the fire when many another team would have given up hope.
As the game slid into injury time, Carnew‘s Joe Murphy narrowed the gap to two points and then in the fourth minute of injury time he pumped the ball into the Annacurra goalmouth. A defender dropped the ball and John Kavanagh seized the opportunity to rifle a shot to the net from the edge of the square for the winning goal.
Annacurra will also be keenly aware that had their performance in the first half matched that of the second period they would more than likely have had this game wrapped up long before those fateful final minutes.
In a rather pedestrian opening half, Carnew were the dominant team throughout and, while the finishing by both teams could have been much better, they deservedly led by 0-5 to 0-3 at the break.
Inside two minutes Brian Osborne, while wearing the number 8 strip lined out at wing-forward, slipped his marked and careered down the right flank and won the free for Joe Murphy’s opening point.
Showing commendable accuracy from placed balls throughout this championship campaign, Joe Murphy tacked on another point from a free in the fifth minute while two minutes later Seanie Kinsella had the winners three points up when he converted from a good delivery from Dermot Doran, who replaced Mark Collins on the starting fifteen, taking up duties at midfield with Timmy Collins dropping back to the vacant wing-back spot.
At centre-forward, Don Hyland was the workhorse for the Carnew forwards, the conduit for a lot of their attacks and Seanie Kinsella was also impressive at fullforward.
At the other end of the field Annacurra’s hit men were being effectively closed out by the Carnew backs, who moved fast to close down every potential threat. With just ten minutes gone, Carnew were 0-4 to the good after Hyland got his game on the scoresheet.
Sixteen minutes were to elapse before Annacurra opened their account – fullforward Frank Clune landing the point from a move involving Mick O’Brien and Alan Horan.
A feature of the Annacurra game was that all eleven points were shared out amongst their three inside forwards.
Clive Horan had their second point after 20 minutes and then in injury time Patrick Moules added the third to leave them trailing by 0-3 to 0-5 after a less than inspiring first half display.
But Annacurra would probably have whatever advantage there was from the wind in the second half.
Whatever was said in the dressing room at half time put an even greater whirlwind under them as they certainly stepped up to the mark on the change over as the tempo of the exchanges also increased immeasurably.
Seanie Kinsella was set up for the opening point for Carnew by regular provider Don Hyland, but thereafter it was Annacurra who were calling most of the shots and who were dictating the trend of the play.
Corner-forward Patrick Moules had a huge game for Annacurra, as did Frank Clune at full-forward, and they marginally outshone Clive Horan on this occasion.
Moules struck for a point, Frank Clune drilled over a fine point from a narrow angle on the end line on the left, and Moules tacked on two more points to put Annacurra in front for the first time 0-7 to 0-6 after 41 minutes. Carnew introduced John Kavanagh for Thomas Kennedy before the end of the third quarter and, as things transpired, it was to prove to be the match winning move for the Wexford border team.
Still Annacurra remained in the driving seat and Patrick Moules popped over another point.
Minutes later Frank Clune missed a gilt edge chance of wrapping up the game with a goal. A great ball in from Mick O’Brien and Clune rounded on the Carnew keeper Ted Kennedy after slipping his marker. But he drilled his shot straight at the keeper and Kennedy had little difficulty making the crucial save.
A good clearance by Alan Byrne found Clune and he won the free and Clive Horan added the point. Annacurra in front by 0-9 to 0-6 after 48 minutes.
Carnew, who had been out of the limelight for the previous 20 minutes, got a glimmer of new hope when Joe Murphy fired over a terrific point off his left football, having been fed a great cross-field ball by Seanie Kinsella.
Clive Horan really flourished in the closing quarter when he landed three points. Carnew substitute John Kavanagh made first mark on 57 minutes with a point, but Horan had his third a minute later and Annacurra were looking good with two minutes of normal time left, leading by 0-11 to 0-8.
In the first minute of injury time Joe Murphy narrowed the gap to two, and still Carnew kept driving forward in hope.
Four minutes into injury time, Eoin Coleman fed the ball to Joe Murphy who pumped a shot into the Annacurra goalmouth. An Annacurra back dropped his catch and John Kavanagh pounced, riffling a volley shot to the net from the edge of the square.
Dramatically, Carnew were back in front by a point, 1-9 to 0-11.
Time was running out on shell-shocked Annacurra. Valiantly they sought to respond.
Frank Clune gained possession out on the left flank, he fed the ball inside to Patrick Moules. We thought we had the equaliser when the ball left his boot, but unfortunately for Annacurra the shot curled just wide of Ted Kennedy’s right hand post.
It was the start of wild victory celebrations for Carnew’s players and supporters; the desolation of heartbreaking defeat for Annacurra’s team.
The Carnew squad celebrate their victory in the final.
Carnew’s captain Vinnie Flaherty receives the cup from County Chairman Andy O’Brien.