HURLERS HAND OUT A HID­ING

Bray People - - SPORT - PETER KEOGH At Bray

CASEY O'BRIEN'S good early run in the new hurl­ing sea­son con­tin­ued on Sun­day when his ex­per­i­men­tal side beat an­other col­lege team to make it through to the semi-fi­nal of this com­pe­ti­tion.

The wind was howl­ing in over the snow capped Su­gar­loaf as the stu­dents from DCU squared up to the hurlers of Wicklow in this sec­ond round match in the Ke­hoe Cup on the Astro Turf pitch in Bray on Sun­day.

The con­di­tions were the worst that play­ers, men­tors and spec­ta­tors had faced in a long time. The wind was gust­ing to near gale force at times and while it was blow­ing di­ag­o­nally from cor­ner to cor­ner it was def­i­nitely favour­ing the team play­ing into the town goal.

DCU got off to a fly­ing start with a goal in­side a minute; the score set up by crafty Kilkenny man JJ Len­non and fin­ished by full for­ward Donal Breath­nach.

It was the only time in the hour that the stu­dents were gifted such an open­ing by an oth­er­wise tight enough last line of de­fence.

They man­aged to hang on to the lead un­til wing back Ge­of­frey Ber­ming­ham sent a mighty drive into the wind in the 15th minute for Wicklow's third point.

Wicklow's first two points were scored by Andy O'Brien, one from a free. While the col­lege boys took the lead once more with a point in the 25th minute, scored by Sean McGrath, one of four Dubs on the team it was their last time to show in front.

O'Brien (free) and Christy Moor­house were the other Wicklow scor­ers and the sides were still level at 1-2 to 0-5 at half time.

To make their task even harder in the sec­ond half DCU had been re­duced to 14 men when right half back Ai­dan Mo­ran was hit with a straight red just be­fore the break.

The col­lege boys really had no chance when fac­ing the wind in the sec­ond half. We had a pe­riod of stale­mate at the start of that half as two reshuf­fled teams bat­tled to ad­just.

Then, in the ninth minute a goal by Andy O'Brien, a neat flick to a long range cen­tre by mid­fielder Keddy, giv­ing goalie Damien Gal­lagher no chance sent Wicklow on their way and it was really only a mat­ter of time be­fore the flood gates opened.

Andy had pointed an­other free while half time sub­sti­tute Gavin Ware put his stamp on the game with a point in the 13th minute.

DCU got their only score of the sec­ond half when the ac­cu­rate McGrath pointed a free in the 15th minute. The last quar­ter was all Wicklow.

More goals by Christy Moore­house and fly­ing mid­fielder Ro­nan Keddy put Wicklow into an unas­sail­able lead. An­other half time sub­sti­tute Gavin Byrne got his name on the score sheet; both mid­field­ers Ro­nan Keddy and Shane Byrne sent over long range points while Christy Moor­house who had been work­ing hard all through saw his shot find the net. Ro­nan Keddy put the seal on a great dis­play when he drove home the last goal of the match.

Casey con­tin­ued with his ex­per­i­ment­ing; He gave Eire Og lad Peter Keane his first start at cor­ner back; gave Seanie Kinsella and Paul Ga­han an­other run in the for­wards and of­fered Gle­nealy teenager Gavin Weir and a new­comer from West­ern Gaels, Niall Too­lis, a chance to show-case their skills.

In ad­di­tion he con­tin­ued with his bid to turn Jonathan O'Neill into a goal­keeper and Jim Con­nors into a leader of the at­tack.

'Bosco' had one su­per save in the first half but his big­gest con­tri­bu­tion was his clever plac­ing of puck outs and clear­ances.

Again it was hard to read a lot into this win or the team per­for­mance. First of all the wind fac­tor made it a dif­fi­cult game for ev­ery­one.

Se­condly Casey has key play­ers such as Ea­monn Kearns, Stephen Kelly, Gra­ham Keogh and Joe Murphy fight­ing their way back from in­jury. When the pres­sure was on against the wind in the first half five play­ers kept Wicklow in the game.

The half back line of Garry Byrne, Brian Os­borne and veteran Ge­of­frey Ber­ming­ham along with Ro­nan Keddy in mid­field and Andy O'Brien up front. Jim Con­nors stepped up his game on the 40; Christy Moor­house was al­ways tor­ment­ing the de­fence .

Af­ter that first slip up the full back line were very tight while Daniel Staunton be­lied his ten­der years with a work­man like dis­play fea­tur­ing some deft touched of class hurl­ing.

Of the other new­com­ers by far the most im­pres­sive was teenager Gavin Weir; his three long range points all had a def­i­nite stamp of sheer class and here’s hop­ing we see a lot more in the fu­ture.

The win gives Wicklow a place in the semi-fi­nal away to Meath but iron­i­cally had Ar­magh beaten Meath in the other quar­ter-fi­nal it would have given Wicklow their third home match in the com­pe­ti­tion .

Scor­ers - Wicklow - Andy O'Brien 1-7 (6f); Christy Moor­house 1-3; Ro­nan Keddy 1-1; Gavin Ware 03; Ge­of­frey Ber­ming­ham, Shane Byrne and Gavin Byrne 0-1 each.

DCU scor­ers - Donal Breath­nach 1-0; Sean McGrath 0-3 (F).

Wicklow’s Gavin Weir fires off a shot in the Ke­hoe Cup clash with DCU in Bray on Sun­day.

Andy O’Brien cuts a path through the DCU at­tack.

Seanie Kinsella lets one fly.

Ro­nan Keddy feels the full force of this Ai­dan Mo­ran chal­lenge in the Ke­hoe Cup clash.

Jackie Napier is dressed for the oc­ca­sion at a cold and windswept Old Conna in Bray.

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