De­ter­mined Kil­te­gan edge past St. Pa­trick’s in re­play

Bray People - - Bray Sport - Mark KENNEDY

Kil­te­gan 0-9, St. Pa­trick’s 1-5: Kil­te­gan re­alised a long cher­ish dream at Aughrim on Sun­day when they took the Mi­ley Cup west of the hills by beat­ing ri­vals St. Pa­trick’s by the nar­row­est of mar­gins in a very com­pet­i­tive fi­nal re­play.

In winning Kil­te­gan were bridg­ing a 22 year gap to the last time they were crowned se­nior foot­ball cham­pi­ons in Wick­low in 1986.

And victory was made all the sweeter on Sun­day by the fact that they had to win it the hard way, be­ing pushed all the way down to the wire by a St. Pa­trick’s side that was set­ting the pace and rais­ing the bar through­out the sec­ond half.

A Paul Earls goal in the first ten min­utes of the sec­ond half, which gave St. Pa­trick’s the lead, was the type of blow to floor many an op­po­nent, but a driven Kil­te­gan fif­teen were in no mood to sur­ren­der on this oc­ca­sion.

In­deed they scrapped for ev­ery­thing through­out a highly com­pet­i­tive match. It was not a clas­sic by any means, and ev­ery time that St. Pa­trick’s got their nose in front - they struck back im­me­di­ately for a lev­eller.

Com­ing up to the cru­cial clos­ing stages of an­other ti­tanic strug­gle be­tween the sides, watched by close on 5,000 fans, the sides were dead­locked and it was all to play for.

One mo­ment it looked as if St. Pa­trick’s might pre­vail, the next minute Kil­te­gan were fight­ing back. With two min­utes to go, the ball was fed to Kil­te­gan’s cor­ner-for­ward James Doyle on the left flank and he showed a cool head and steady boot as he drilled his shoot be­tween the posts for the win­ner.

Against a St. Pa­trick’s side, who came back in the sec­ond half a week ear­lier to draw the match, it is never over un­til the fat lady sings. In in­jury they came surg­ing for­ward once more and ex­tra time seemed to be loom­ing on the hori­zon as they won a 45 me­tre free out wide near the side line.

It was a dif­fi­cult kick for Paul Earls, even though he had scored a cou­ple of beau­ties ear­lier in the half. A week ago he showed nerves of steel as he fired over the equaliser from a free; this time Homer nod­ded and he pulled his shot wide of the Kil­te­gan posts.

And then the fat lady sang as De­clan Greene sounded the fi­nal whis­tle and it un­leashed wild cel­e­bra­tions by Kil­te­gan play­ers and fans as they savoured a fa­mous victory that will go down in the an­nals of the small west Wick­low club.

The drama and ten­sion and nail bit­ing fin­ish that gripped us all in the sec­ond half was a world part from thee lack-lus­tre, free-rid­den open­ing 30 min­utes as both teams con­cen­trated on pos­ses­sion foot­ball, us­ing the short pass­ing game.

Both Kil­te­gan and St. Pa­trick’s re­jigged their teams for the re­play, bring­ing in some new play­ers as well as mak­ing nu­mer­ous po­si­tional switches as a ploy to con­fuse their op­po­nents, but per­haps in the end they con­fused them­selves as much as any­body else, with the scor­ing rate that height­ens spec­ta­tor in­ter­est be­ing a big ca­su­alty.

Af­ter 27 min­utes play, punc­tu­ated by over 20 frees, we only had four points on the score­board with St. Pa­trick’s cor­ner-for­ward Dara O’Sul­li­van can­celling out Seanie Fur­long’s two lead points for Kil­te­gan, the first and opener from a free af­ter two min­utes.

Kil­te­gan sought to up­set the plans of their op­po­nents by pre­tend­ing to play their num­ber-six Adrian Fo­ley at cor­ner-for­ward, but as soon as the ball was throw-in Fo­ley was back in his de­fen­sive role to cut off the sup­ply to Paul Earls.

In­deed Earls did not have an aus­pi­cious open­ing 30 min­utes, well po­liced by Alan Byrne, and he was way off tar­get with the few shots that he got. In the clos­ing min­utes of the half John Keogh pointed Kil­te­gan ahead for a third time from a free and An­thony Fur­long, who made the start­ing fif­teen for the re­play at wing-for­ward, gave the win­ners a 04 to 0-2 lead at the break, set up for his point by brother Seanie with a pass in­side.

The teams had been level five times over the hour - twice in the first half - with St. Pa­trick’s set­ting the pace for much of the sec­ond pe­riod af­ter Paul Earls op­por­tunist goal in the first ten min­utes of the half gave them the lead for the first time.

The Wick­low town side had a new mid­field pair­ing for the re­play, com­prised of last week’s full-back Gary Jame­son and star cen­tre back Paudge McWal­ter, who had an­other fine game for the losers.

How­ever, Kil­te­gan were hell bent on winning their first se­nior foot­ball ti­tle in Wick­low since 1986 and the Wick­low town side were just now al­lowed to build on that lead.

In­deed ev­ery time that St. Pa­trick’s got their nose in front- they led on three oc­ca­sions in the sec­ond half - a fo­cussed Kil­te­gan side just kept com­ing back at them un­til they found open­ing to de­liver the match-winning counter punch.

St. Pa­trick’s full-for­ward Paul Earls, who was closely po­liced in the first half, left his first foot print on the game af­ter 40 sec­onds of the sec­ond half when he pointed a free.

Min­utes later he was to show us some of his silken skills as he scored a great goal.

Cen­tre-for­ward John Slat­tery was way­ward with his at­tempt for a score from the right wing; the ball drifted across the face of the Kil­te­gan goal­mouth to where Paul Earls was lurk­ing men­ac­ingly on the edge of the square.

Earls fielded the high ball, swiv­elled around his marker and then cheek­ily chipped his shot into the far left cor­ner of Alis­ter Ham­bidge’s net.

St. Pa­trick’s were in front for the first time 13 to 0-5.

Jacko Dal­ton pulled out an­other bid mid­field per­for­mance for Kil­te­gan, par­tic­u­larly in the sec­ond half when the chips were down, and one of his high-field­ing catches was truly mem­o­rable. On 42 min­utes he brought the sides back to par­ity with a point ˆ 1-3 to 0-6.

On the other side Paudge McWal­ter was pro­duc­ing the goods for St. Pa­trick’s driv­ing at the op­pos­ing de­fence. Two min­utes later he had St. Pa­trick’s back in the lead when he pointed from a pass from John Slat­tery that opened up the Kil­te­gan de­fence.

Kil­te­gan’s de­fender and cap­tain Stephen Cor­ri­gan pushed for­ward into at­tack but blazed wide off his left foot, but John Keogh was ra­zor sharp with his free-tak­ing on 49 min­utes as he curled over a point from a dif­fi­cult an­gle near the cor­ner-flag.

It was all to play for and the sides were level once more at 1-4 to 0-7.

Still St. Pa­trick’s were set­ting the pace and Kil­te­gan play­ing catch-up. Paul Earls landed a smash­ing point from a 50 me­tre free on 52 min­utes but Jacko Dal­ton made it all square’ once more on 56 min­utes.

Kil­te­gan never al­lowed their op­po­nents build on their lead and then James Doyle popped up with the win­ner just two min­utes from the end of nor­mal time.

Paul Earls had one last chance of putting the fi­nal to ex­tra time in in­jury time, but he pulled a 45 me­tre free way out on the side line wide of the Kil­te­gan posts.

Kil­te­gan had re­alised their dream. A con­so­la­tion for St. Pa­trick’s that mid­fielder Pa­trick McWal­ter got the man of the match award.

Kil­te­gan’s Jef­frey Ber­ming­ham gets to grips with Gary Jame­son of St. Pat’s.

Ciaran Doyle of St. Pa­trick’s lays off the ball un­der pres­sure from Kil­te­gan’s John Ke­hoe.

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