Rathnew defeat Avoca
JUNIOR ‘C’ FOOTBALL Rathnew 3-10, Avoca 0-11: Rathnew have the look of championship contenders in the Junior ‘C’ grade after nailing down a semi-final meeting with Stratford as a result of their eight points win over battling Avoca at Arklow on Saturday.
Eddie Leonard coached Avoca were in contention right up to the final gong almost and with four minutes left to play they were still in with a serious shout, trailing by just four points (2-9 to 0-11) at that crucial stage.
However the men from the Thatched village finished with a bit of a flourish; an extra gloss being put on their winning margin with a goal and a point from their highly influential full-forward Robert Byrne, who capped a fine performance with a tally of 1-5, some of his scores from frees being from the top drawer.
With so much as stake from this match – a place in the semis – exchanges were tense and robust at times, resulting in five players receiving red cards from referee Damien Byrne, three of them from Avoca.
Rathnew’s full-forward Robert Byrne cracked a stinging shot against the woodwork and then Brian Murphy, racing in from the right flank, met the rebound with a terrific volley to send the ball to the back of the net to open the scoring
Avoca recovered from this early blow and points by James Murray (2) and Jason Porter between the fifth and eight minutes brought the sides level (1-0 to 0-3) and set the tone for a tough battle between the sides.
Robert Byrne pointed Rathnew back in front after 11 minutes and then we had the first sendings off before Brian Murphy boxed to the net from close range after another Robert Byrne effort came back off the crossbar.
At this stage Robert Byrne was ‘deadly’ from frees as he notched up three more points and Rathnew led by those two Brian Murphy goals after PJ Fluskey pulled back a point for Avoca on 30 minutes – 2-4 to 0-4.
Corner-forward James Murray was having a marvellous game for Avoca and he exchanged points with Danny Quinn to leave his team trailing by 2-5 to 0-5 aft the break.
Rathnew held firm to that two goal lead throughout the third quarter and then the second pair of players bit the dust – the teams were down to 13 aside.
It was the accuracy of James Murray from frees that was reaping rewards for Avoca he scored three points on the trot to cut the margin to a goal – 27 to 0-10.
Paddy Kinsella reduced the margin even further with an Avoca point and it was still all the play for with five minutes to go even though Brian Murphy and midfielder Jason Stafford had pushed the Rathnew lead to 2-9 to 011.
Now Avoca were down to 12 as another player took an early shower. Rathnew finished with a bit of razzledazzle and a goal and a point by fullforward Robert Byrne – the point a mighty effort from ‘45’ - left them clear winners by 3-10 to 0-11 at the end.