Byrne wins it for Rath­new

Bray People - - Sport - Peter KEOGH

Rath­new 2-8, Strat­ford 1-10: One of the best games of Ju­nior foot­ball wit­nessed in the cham­pi­onship this year was played un­der lights in An­nacurra on Satur­day night.

JCFC SEMI-FI­NAL In the end full-for­ward Robert Byrne kicked over a ‘45 on the stroke of the hour to give Rath­new victory over Strat­ford in the sec­ond semi-fi­nal of the NDC Ju­nior Foot­ball Cham­pi­onship.

The sides were level six times in a crack­ing sec­ond-half be­fore Strat­ford goalie Ul­tan Rooney was un­lucky to touch a ball that was go­ing wide in the last minute. The re­sul­tant ‘45 proved enough to give Rath­new victory and a place in the fi­nal against Kil­te­gan.

Der­mot Phe­lan gave Strat­ford an early lead but Danny Quinn lev­elled the game in the fifth minute. Strat­ford had the next three points, all scored by the lively Paddy Byrne to lead by 0-4 to 0-1 af­ter 15 min­utes. Af­ter miss­ing some easy kicks Robert Byrne pointed a free to keep Rath­new in touch.

In the 21st minute crafty vet­eran Ed Jame­son worked in along the end line to set up Brian Mur­phy for the first goal of the match and Rath­new were in front for the first time. Robert Byrne and Paddy Byrne ex­changed points – both frees to leave it 1-3 to 0-5 in favour of Rath­new at half-time.

An­thony Frahill lev­elled the game af­ter four min­utes of the sec­ond-half and when he hit the post with an­other shot two min­utes later Paddy Byrne was in to grab an op­por­tunist goal and Strat­ford were back in front.

In the eight minute Brian (Bomber) Mur­phy was in for his sec­ond goal, Ed Jame­son again sup­ply­ing the pass and the game was level for a third time.

Rath­new went ahead four more times as a great bat­tle raged but each time Strat­ford hauled them back. Danny Quinn, Robert Byrne, Ja­son Stafford and Nigel Dar­ragh all edged Rath­new in front with sub David Nolan lev­el­ling on one oc­ca­sion and the hard work­ing An­thony Frahill tieing the game three times.

Both sides had missed chances of go­ing ahead be­fore Rath­new at­tacked down the right but a shot for a point was go­ing out wide on the left. The goalie was polic­ing it over the line when he made con­tact. With a kicker like Byrne around that proved a fa­tal mis­take.

Rath­new: James Hollingsworth; Ian McDon­ald, John Jame­son, Eric Doyle; Ricky Doyle, Wil­lie Jame­son, John Hub­bard; Ja­son Stafford (0-1), Nigel Dar­ragh (0-1); Ed Doyle, Danny Quinn (0-2), Sea­mus Byrne; Brian Mur­phy (2-0), Robert Byrne (0-4), Ed Jame­son. Sub. - Tommy Doyle for Eric Doyle.

Strat­ford: Ul­tan Rooney; Paul Sleator, De­clan Bol­lard, Paddy Dunne; James Fan­ning, Alan Kealy, Nigel O’Neill; James Bar­rett, Mervyn O’Neill; Der­mot Phe­lan (0-1), An­thont Frahill (0-4), Paddy Twyfort; Ge­orge Man­ley, Shane O’Neill, Paddy Byrne (1-4). Subs. - Damien O’Neill for Twyfort, David Nolan (0-1) for Dunne; Michael Han­bidge for S. O’Neill.

Ref­eree: Ciarán Kenny (Ti­na­hely).

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