Late Byrne free wins it for Ark­low Rocks

Bray People - - Bray Sport - Peter KEOGH

Ark­low Rock Parnells 2-11, Bray Em­mets 1-13: While the O’Donoghue Cup is still in limbo, the Billy Byrne Cup has found a new home and will be win­ter­ing in the Ark­low Rock coun­try over­look­ing the lovely bay.

A pres­sure point from a 65 me­tre free into the wind by T.J. Byrne earned ARP their first tro­phy in Se­nior hurl­ing in twelve years. This cur­tain-raiser to the SHC fi­nal, played at Aughrim on Sun­day was an ex­cel­lent game and fin­ished in a wel­ter of ex­cite­ment.

Bray Em­mets, with the for­mer Laois and Le­in­ster star Bill Ma­her hav­ing a great game at full-for­ward, were set­ting the pace in the early stages.

Eoin Ma­son opened the scor­ing with a point from a free in the first minute and while Danny Cur­ran lev­elled the scores al­most from the puck­out the Bray side had more points from Bill Ma­her and John Ward to go two up.

Five more points by Ma­her, two from frees, had the seasiders lead­ing by two points – 0-8 to 0-6 at half-time, even af­ter play­ing against the wind. T.J. Byrne had scored four points for the ‘Rocks – one ‘65 and two frees with John Harper get­ting an­other.

‘Rocks fought back in the sec­ond-half and when sub Martin Reilly was fouled in the first minute T.J. Byrne pointed the free.

Bray won a free in mid­field but the ref­eree moved the ball for­ward for dis­sent and Owen Ma­son sent it over from a much more favourable po­si­tion. T.J. Byrne won and pointed a free but again Ma­son can­celled that one out.

Liam Kenny stretched the Bray lead to three points but mid­fielder John Harper brought that back to two again.

When Danny Cur­ran got in to block down an at­tempted clear­ance by the Bray ‘keeper and made the open­ing for a goal by Kevin Moorhouse that gave ARP the lead. Just when it looked that the Bray side had run out of ideas Eoin Ma­son blasted home a close in free to put them two points up and time run­ning out.

The fire that ‘Rocks had shown all through came to their res­cue again and vet­eran Danny Cur­ran showed all his great ex­pe­ri­ence to make space be­fore he blasted to the net at the other end.

The game was in in­jury-time when county player Eoin Ma­son lev­elled the scores again. Still the Rocks would not set­tle for a draw. In one last raid they won a free just out­side the 65 me­tre line. You could cut the ten­sion with a knife as T.J. Byrne placed the ball for this make or break puck. How­ever, he showed nerves of steel as he sent it be­tween the posts for the win­ner.

Byrne would have to get man of the match, if only for that pres­sure free that would have un­nerved many more ex­pe­ri­enced play­ers.

The cap­tain Brian Byrne. Tony Kin­sella, John Ma­her, Char­lie Mong­han in the sec­ond-half, sub Martin Reilly and the ever green Danny Cur­ran were oth­ers to stand out for the win­ners.

Bill Ma­her in the first-half and county player Eoin Ma­son in the sec­ond were the Em­mets stars. Peter Kiely, the cap­tain Ro­nan O’Brien, and Liam Kenny were oth­ers to shine.

County Chair­man Andy O’Brien pre­sented the cup to ‘Rocks cap­tain Brian Byrne and con­grat­u­lated both teams on a highly en­ter­tain­ing and sport­ing game.

Ark­low Rock Parnells who won the Billy Byrne Cup by beat­ing Bray Em­mets in Aughrm on Sun­day.

Ark­low cap­tain Brian Byrne re­ceives the Billy Byrne Cup from Liam McGraynor and Andy O'Brien.

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