Heart­break for An­nacurra as Carnew win by a sin­gle point

Bray People - - Sport - Mark KENNEDY

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.

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