Late Byrne free wins it for Arklow Rocks
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.