Super-sub Seán hits winner for Bray
GAELIC GAMES COISTE NA NÓG FINALS
Bray Emmets 0-11, Eire Og 1-7: Bray Emmets had to rely on a late point from substitute Seán Plunkett for their victory over Eire Og in the final of the U-16 A football championship at Arklow on Saturday after leading their opponents by eight points at half-time.
U-16 A FOOTBALL In recent years these two clubs have risen like cream to the top of juvenile football in the county and they did not disappoint in the quality of their performance in the decider which exploded into a nail biting second-half as Eire Og staged a magnificent recovery and rally.
A big reason for Bray’s dominance in the first-half and Eire Og’s comeback in the second was explained by the fact that their respective periods of ascendancy coincided with having the advantage of a strong wind.
Eire Og found themselves on the back foot throughout most of the first-half as Bray pressed home their advantage with a truly sparkling display by their brilliant corner-forward Chris Lyons who was the scorer of five of their eleven points.
He got best assistance from John Henderson, Michael Lee, midfielder Aaron Murphy and full-back Adam O’Connor.
Some 20 minutes were to elapse before Eire Og opened their account and then Gary Dunne had their only point of the first-half, leaving them trailing by what appeared like a disheartening 0-9 to 0-1 at the break.
However, this Eire Og Greystones outfit was made of sterner stuff and once they clicked into gear with a Niall Crosbie point after just three minutes of the second-half, they kept chipping away at their opponents lead.
Centre-back Daniel Woods and midfielders Seán Ryder and Gary Dunne were leading the charge, Ryder and Gary Elliott tacking on further points before Seán Ryder set the game alight when he got the final touch to a goalmouth scramble for the vital goal, which cut the deficit to just two points, 1-4 to 0-9, at the end of the third quarter.
Bray Emmets had the first of their two points of the second-half after 50 minutes, scored by midfielder Aaron Murphy, but it failed to lift the siege.
Back stormed Eire Og again, Simon Sweeney pointed a free but missed with other; substitutes Rory Doyle and James Smullen got their names on the scoresheet and the teams were level (1-7 to 0-10) with just over a minute of normal time left.
The odds now seemed to be favouring Eire Og Greystones, but Bray Emmets showed nerves of steel.
In desperation Bray launched into attack; good work by Chris Lyons brought the ball into a scoreable position.
His kick was blocked down but the ball spilled to substitute Seán Plunkett who fired over the winner.
Bray had survived; Eire Og were gutted.
After the game Pat Mitchell presented the trophy to Bray with the People Newspapers man of the match award going to talented Chris Lyons.
Scorers for Bray: Chris Lyons (05); Aaron Murphy (0-3); Dara Maloney (0-1); John Henderson (0-1); Seán Plunkett (0-1).
Eire Og Greystones scorers: Seán Ryder (1-1); Gary Dunne (0-1); Niall Crosbie (0-1); Gary Elliott (0-1); Simon Sweeney (0-1); James Smullen (0-1), Rory Doyle (0-1).
Bray Emmets, winners of Under-16 A football championship.
Bray captain, Aaron Murphy receives the cup from Michael Byrne.
Eddie Leonard presents the People Newspapers man of the match award to Chris Lyons.