Bat­tle on for Se­nior crown

Balt­in­glass take on Rath­new in pick of quar­ter-fi­nals

Bray People - - SPORT - MARK KENNEDY Sports Re­porter

AS MICK O’HA­GAN pushes ahead with his fix­tures pro­gramme, we are now down to the real meat of the se­nior foot­ball cham­pi­onship.

With the com­ple­tion of the group qual­i­fiers stage at the week­end, the draws were made on Mon­day night for the knock-out quar­ter-fi­nals.

The quar­ter-fi­nals are sched­uled for the week­end of Septem­ber 13 and will see Balt­in­glass pit­ted against Coolkenno; Rath­new v. Bless­ing­ton; Kil­te­gan v. Ti­na­hely; and New­town v. St. Pa­trick’s.

Top­ping the bill will be the clash of the most crowned cham­pi­ons Rath­new and Bless­ing­ton, with the west team hit­ting their best form in a long time on Sun­day to knock out Bray Em­mets with a con­tro­ver­sial in­jury time point.

Bless­ing­ton came from be­hind in the sec­ond half to draw level with their op­po­nents in the clos­ing stages and then left Bray gut­ted at the fi­nal whis­tle as cen­tre-back Wes­ley Cal­laghan fired over a dis­puted win­ner deep in in­jury time.

With opin­ions dif­fer­ing on whether Cal­laghan’s shot went in­side or out­side Paul O’Ke­effe’s left hand post, Bray Em­mets protested vig­or­ously to ref­eree De­clan Pep­pard that the ball went wide.

How­ever the point stood and Bray were out of the cham­pi­onship, their only con­so­la­tion be­ing that they had con­trib­uted hand­somely to what was the best game of cham­pi­onship foot­ball so far this year.

The ques­tion now is can Bless­ing­ton re­pro­duce last week­end’s form and pas­sion against Rath­new; if they do we are in for an­other cracker. Hope­fully too we will see much big­ger crowds at matches from here on in.

On pa­per Rath­new and Bless­ing­ton would ap­pear to be in the tougher end of the knock out draws with the win­ners to face ei­ther Balt­in­glass or Coolkenno in the semi-fi­nals.

That leaves the win­ners of Kil­te­gan v. Ti­na­hely to play ei­ther St. Pa­trick’s or New­town in the other semi­fi­nal. In the quar­ter-fi­nal Gail Dunne will be hop­ing to guide New­town to victory over his home club of St. Pa­trick’s, who are now man­aged by Casey O’Brien.

Draws for the Keat­ing Cup – a com­pe­ti­tion for the eight teams who failed to qual­ify from the group phase of the cham­pi­onship – were also made on Mon­day night and re­sulted: An Tochar v. AGB; Bray Em­mets v. Strat­ford; Hol­ly­wood v. Donard-Glen; Carnew v. Shil­le­lagh, with the lat­ter two be­ing lo­cal derby clashes.

All eight teams here will be de­ter­mined to avoid rel­e­ga­tion to in­ter­me­di­ate ranks, the du­bi­ous re­ward for not winning any of their matches.

The semi-fi­nal of the divi­sion four foot­ball leagues sees St. Pa­trick’s (win­ners of the NE sec­tion) v. Knockananna (win­ners of the SE sec­tion). In the fi­nal the win­ners of this match will take on the stan­dard bear­ers from the West District league.

(Pic­ture: Garry O'Neill)

New­town's Justin Owens tries to burst past Strat­ford's Paddy Walsh dur­ing the SFC game in Aughrim.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.