Bray Em­mets beaten by Erins Own in Le­in­ster de­cider



IT may have been de­feat for Bray Em­mets in this Le­in­ster League Di­vi­sion 2 fi­nal at Ab­bot­stown last Satur­day evening, but the big­gest losers of the whole af­fair could be their op­po­nents in the fast ap­proach­ing Wick­low Se­nior hurl­ing cham­pi­onship as John Hen­der­son’s men will now look to make swift amends for this sting­ing loss to a fully fired up Erins Own of Car­low.

This de­feat, and the man­ner of it, will not sit well with the Bray hurlers.

It could be seen in the clos­ing stages of this game and in the im­me­di­ate af­ter­math. This hurt. This needs to be rec­ti­fied.

On the whole, de­spite a few de­cent spells, Bray Em­mets were out hurled and out­fought and that hasn’t hap­pened to these hurlers for some time. And chances are it won’t hap­pen again for a long time. It won’t be al­lowed, cer­tainly not within their own county bor­ders at least.

Bray were with­out sev­eral big names such as Ar­ran Mur­phy, Daire Lo­han, and Paul Cun­ning­ham for this clash and their ab­sence, cer­tainly that of Mur­phy, was telling. His en­ergy and drive would have been most wel­comed by the Wick­low side in the fan­tas­tic cam­pus in Blan­chard­stown that needs to be seen to be be­lieved.

Their cause took a ma­jor blow in the open­ing stages of this game as Erins Own came out of the blocks in fly­ing form and were soon 1-02 to 0-01 up thanks to a Craig ‘Styler’ Doyle goal af­ter the cen­tre-half for­ward col­lected a pass from Daron Crooks. Doyle was im­mense for Erins Own, es­pe­cially from placed balls. He was a plea­sure to watch.

Doyle from a free and a point from play from Liam Gal­way de- spite the best ef­forts of Cathal O Dualachain made it 1-04 to 0-01 be­fore a long dis­tance ef­fort from Christy Moore­house and an Eoin McCor­mack ef­fort from play re­duced the deficit as Bray Em­mets set­tled some­what in key po­si­tions and looked to come to terms with the fe­roc­ity of the Erins Own play.

Craig Doyle from a free and an­other from play put Erins Own back in the driv­ing seat, but, de­spite set­tling some­what, Bray still strug­gled to get up to the pace of their op­po­nents and then they lost Luke Maloney to in­jury with Wil­lie Keane com­ing in and Daire Hen­der­son shift­ing back into the cor­ner.

The burly Eoin Minchin in­creased Erins Own’s lead to 1-08 to 0-03 be­fore a con­tained Diar­muid Master­son made it 1-08 to 0-04 and then Christy Moore­house ben­e­fited from hard work from the afore­men­tioned Master­son to bring Bray’s tally to 0-05 in front of a de­cent but vo­cal crowd.

Daire Hen­der­son was mak­ing life dif­fi­cult for the Erins Own at­tack­ers and he cleared well un­der pres­sure and at the other end Christy Moore­house started to break free of the shack­les and he made it 1-08 to 0-06 in what was a very good spell for John Hen­der­son’s men.

In fact, it could have been an even bet­ter spell had Wil­lie Keane fin­ished to the back of the Erins Own net shortly af­ter­wards when he took a pass from full-for­ward Liam Kenny but his shot was saved and the dan­ger cleared.

Marc Len­non sent over a beauty to re­duce the lead to four points and then Bray’s wide tally started to in­crease with misses from Len­non and Moore­house, from a free, just be­fore the break.

The Car­low side started the sec­ond half su­perbly. Minchin pointed im­me­di­ately but Eoin McCor­mack hit back af­ter he picked up a nice ball from Mikey Lee. Moore­house pointed a humdinger be­fore Craig Doyle sent over an­other free to make it 1-10 to 0-09 af­ter three min­utes while John Hen­der­son sent in Paddy Lee to the ac­tion.

But it was the abil­ity of the Erins Own play­ers to hurl un­der pres­sure, and also their abil­ity to put pres­sure on the Bray play­ers, that was a crit­i­cal dif­fer­ence be­tween both teams with a fine ex­am­ple of that be­ing James Doyle’s point in the fourth minute when he had Diar­muid Master­son and Karl Lacey breath­ing down his neck. Im­me­di­ately prior to this, Bray had two chances of a score and were closed down. Small mar­gins.

An out­stand­ing Craig Doyle point from a free stretched that Erins Own lead again to 1-12 to 0-09. Bray went wide from a placed ball mo­ments later. Padraig Doyle was dis­patched to the edge of the square with Liam Kenny out to cen­tre-half for­ward and Padraig Doyle picked out Moore­house with a sweet pass but the Bray and Wick­low star fired wide with 10 min­utes on the sec­ond half clock.

Master­son at­tempted a free from dis­tance but could only watch as it missed its tar­get and a John Hen­der­son clear­ance to Padraig Doyle was smashed from Doyle’s grip in the air as Erins Own proved re­lent­less in de­fence.

Erins Own came hunt­ing but Peter Kiely showed real class at the back and the game was still there in many ways for the Bray men but they needed some­thing spe­cial and some­thing quick. Alas, that didn’t come. In fact, the op­po­site ar­rived. A long Craig Doyle ball reached cor­ner-for­ward James Clarke who got away from Daire Hen­der­son and he fed the full-for­ward Eoin Minchin who fairly ri­fled home past Peter O’Reilly to make it 2-12 to 0-09 af­ter 15 min­utes of the sec­ond half.

Bray sent in Sean Maloney for Padraig Doyle and the in­flu­en­tial Craig Doyle popped over a lovely point fol­lowed by an­other from Brian Doyle af­ter won­der­ful play from the Car­low men who were now in mer­ci­less mood all over the field and they made this tell on the score­board with fur­ther points, two from Minchin, who prof­ited from class de­fend­ing at the back by Mark Cum­mins for his first, and then sub­sti­tute Jamie Whe­lan made it 2-17 to 0-09 with 21 min­utes on the sec­ond half clock and the game was done and dusted.

Moore­house added two from frees and an­other from play but it was cur­tains way be­fore this and Erins Own were de­serv­ing win­ners by 2-18 to 0-12.

Plenty of food for thought for the Bray Em­mets play­ers and man­agers af­ter this game. How they re­act to the de­feat will have ma­jor con­se­quences to their push for an­other cham­pi­onship. Judg­ing by their de­meanour af­ter this game they will come out with all guns blaz­ing and woe be­tide any team who doesn’t do like­wise.

Bray Em­mets: Peter O’Reilly; Cathal O Dualachain, Peter Kiely, Luke Maloney; Daire Hen­der­son, John Hen­der­son, Karl Lacey; Phillip Collins, Eoin McCor­mack; Christy Moore­house, Padraig Doyle, Diar­muid Master­son; Mikey Lee, Liam Kenny, Marc Len­non. Subs: Wil­lie Keane, Gearoid Murchú, Paddy Lee, Sean Maloney.

Erins Own: James Car­roll; Martin Cum­mins, John Rogers, Thomas Ma­her; An­drew Casey, James Geoge­han, Alan Cor­co­ran; Brian Doyle, Mark McDon­ald; James Doyle, Craig Doyle, Daron Crooks; James Clarke, Eoin Minchin, Liam Gal­way. Subs: Jamie Whe­lan, David Gal­way.

Bray’s Liam Kenny has few op­tions as he’s crowded out by a wall of Erins Own de­fend­ers dur­ing the Le­in­ster league fi­nal. Pho­tos: Dave Bar­rett (www.davbar.com).

Marc Len­non runs into an ambush from John Rogers, Alan Cor­co­ran and Thomas Ma­her.

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