Clash of the ti­tans

PREVIEW PETER KEOGH LOOKS FOR­WARD TO THIS WEEK’S GAMES

Bray People - - Sport - Peter KEOGH

COUNTY CHAM­PI­ONS Glenealy put their ti­tle on the line when they take on old ri­vals Carnew in the fi­nal of the Doo­ley Poyn­ton SHC at Aughrim on Sun­day.

This show­piece of the hurl­ing year has all the in­gre­di­ents for a thriller.

Be­tween them this pair have dom­i­nated the Wick­low cham­pi­onship in this decade – di­vid­ing the ti­tles evenly be­tween them since Kil­te­gan won their last cham­pi­onship in 2001.

Play­ers from both clubs also dom­i­nate the county teams in all grades and all, or most of the big names in the county come from one or other club.

Jonathan O’Neill of Glenealy was John Mitchell’s top scorer this year, and in­deed he has been for a num­ber of years. Jonathan who won a Dublin SHC medal with Cula, has in fact also played for Dublin.

On the Carnew side you have Don Hy­land, the only Wick­low man to win Rail­way Cup medals. Don was also capped for Ire­land in the Hurl­ing/Shinty in­ter­na­tion­als last year.

So no mat­ter what the re­sult on Sun­day you are likely to find this pair high up on the score­sheet.

Fi­nals are sel­dom won by in­di­vid­u­als and this one will be no ex­cep­tion. Glenealy will be without an­other of their stars Leighton Glynn but they had no trou­ble in beat­ing Kil­te­gan in the semi-fi­nal without him.

They have other strong play­ers in the Driver broth­ers; Michael John and Michael An­thony O’Neill, Enan Glynn and the ever-im­prov­ing Hol­ly­wood man Phillip Dunne.

On the Carnew side look out for Joe Mur­phy, Timmy Collins, Liam Kennedy, the Do­ran broth­ers and up and com­ing play­ers like TJ Hen­nessy and Brian Os­borne

Of the eight cham­pi­onships played since the turn of the cen­tury Carnew have won four and Glenealy three.

In 2000 Carnew beat Glenealy – 2-9 to 0-9 to win their 15th and pass out Avon­dale at the top of the ta­ble. 2001 was Kil­te­gan’s year and they beat Glenealy in the fi­nal – 0-16 to 0-14. In ‘02 it was a St. Pa­trick’s who made it to the fi­nal against Carnew. The first match ended in a draw – Carnew 1-10; St. Pat’s 1-10; Carnew won the re­play – 2-12 to 1-5.

Glenealy were back in ‘03 to take on the cham­pi­ons - winning by 1-10 to 1-7. In ‘04 it was the turn of Carnew to bring home the O’Donoghue Cup beat­ing Glenealy again by 0-16 to 1-8. 2005 saw Glenealy turn the ta­bles again – winning by 1-11 to 0-6. Carnew were back again in ‘06 to stop Glenealy on a score of 2-8 to 0-11.

In ‘07 Carnew missed out the fi­nal for the first time in six years but Glenealy won their ninth ti­tle – beat­ing Kil­te­gan in the fi­nal – 4-16 to 3-14. So no fi­nal in this decade without one or other of the teams in it.

So far in this decade Carnew have won four ti­tles to three for Glenealy. Can the reds bal­ance the books this time?

This one will be very close, per­haps too close to call.

Glenealy will be slight favourites, but only be­cause they are the hold­ers. Since beat­ing Kil­te­gan in a high scor- ing fi­nal a year ago they have lost Wayne O’Gor­man, one of their top scor­ers and now with Leighton Glynn out they will not have the same scor­ing power. Last year it was Leighton’ s brother Enan who stepped in to the breach, scor­ing three goals that went a long way to­wards sink­ing Kil­te­gan. Can Enan do it again or will one of the young play­ers that Michael Neary has been tu­tor­ing step in to fill the void. Alan Driver had a great game against Kil­te­gan and could be the man for the big oc­ca­sion. Or could it be Thomas Doyle or that great vet­eran Michael An­thony: One thing is cer­tain Jonathan O’Neill will keep pop­ping over the points but have Glenealy a real goal-grab­ber up front? That could be the de­cid­ing fac­tor in this match.

If Michael Neary had Glenealy fly­ing than the same can be said for Robert Doyle.

The big dif­fer­ence is that Carnew missed out on a lot of hurl­ing train­ing be­cause of the need to stick at the foot­ball.

But Carnew who have al­ready won the IFC are on a high; they are go­ing for the dou­ble and will be very hard to stop. Don Hy­land, Joe Mur­phy and Timmy Collins will be hard to hold and they could have a new goal grab­ber in Seánie Kin­sella. Gra­ham Keogh has made a great re­cov­ery af­ter that bad ac­ci­dent at work – but will he be fully match fit? That is just one of the many ques­tions that makes this fi­nal hard to call.

It’s a very open fi­nal and could go ei­ther way.

I have a slight fancy for Robert Doyle’s team who are chas­ing he dou­ble.

THE CUR­TAIN­RAISER

Bray Em­mets must be fan­cied to win the Billy Byrne Cup for the first time in the cur­tain-raiser. A year ago they made the fi­nal only to be beaten by Kil­coole.

Ark­low Rocks will make them fight all the way. They too had a good year without find­ing much young tal­ent but they worked hard and would love to end the year on a winning note.

It should be a good bat­tle and pro­vide worth­while en­ter­tain­ment for the early com­ers.

The Ju­bilee Team

The team to be hon­oured with the Ark­low Bay/Brian Bren­nan tro­phies be­fore the big match will be the Avon­dale he­roes of 1983. They beat Kil­coole in the fi­nal that year to bring back the cup to Rath­drum for the 14th time.

KEAT­ING TRO­PHY FI­NAL

The week­end kicks off with an all west fi­nal of the Keat­ing Tro­phy at Balt­in­glass.

Ne igh­bours Donard/Glen and Hol­ly­wood will clash for the first time in years in a ma­jor fi­nal and are sure to bring a big crowd to Balt­in­glass.

On cham­pio­ship form Donard would have to fancy their chances but Hol­ly­wood have made vast im­prove­ments in re­cent League matches.

It will be close but the silken skills of Tony Hannon may just enough to tip the scale in Hol­ly­wood’s favour .

CLUB CHAM­PI­ONSHIP

New­cas­tle will be the first Wick­low team out in the club cham­pi­onship. They take on Killeshin of Laois in the Ju­nior grade at Crettyard on Sun­day.

John Keogh of Kil­te­gan tries to shake off Gary Byrne and Philip Dunne of Glenealy dur­ing the Se­nior hurl­ing cham­pi­onship semi-fi­nal.

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