MANLEY’S THE MAN
Gutsy Glenealy edge out Bray Emmets by a point
GLENEALY BRAY EMMETS 1-20 2-16
WHEN Glenealy and Bray Emmets meet in any grade of hurling they both bring their sporting rivalry to the playing fields and it was very evident when the sides met in the Intermediate Hurling championship round 2 in Greystones on Friday evening last.
The game produced a dingdong battle between two evenly-matched sides and the end result saw a five-star performance from full-forward James Manley who scored five points from play and no doubt that his overall performance inspired his team mates to rise to the occasion to clinch victory by a single point in what was a sporting contest in a high scoring game, which saw the sides level on five occasions.
The game was also a historic occasion for veteran Jonathan O’Neill as he played alongside his son Jonathan junior with both forming a midfield partnership.
From the start both teams showed they were fired up for the occasion, and they showed the abundance of talent they have at their disposal with a nice blend of youth and experience.
Bray Emmets, playing with the aid of the breeze, opened the scoring with a point from midfielder Dara Maloney after two minutes, which brought a quick response from the red and whites with two points in row from Aaron Meade and impressive full-forward James Manley.
Tom Cash, who has made a welcome return to the Bray colours, replied with a point to bring the sides level at 0-2 each after six minutes.
After both sides missed scoring chances a Bray attack resulted in a free after Patrick Lee was fouled but on this occasion ace free-taker Tom Cash was off target from the puck out.
Wing-forward Willie Keane won possession as he slotted over a long-range point which inspired his team mates.
Tom Cash from a free and midfielder Ben McCormack added a point each to give the challengers a 0-5 to 0-2 lead.
Glenealy, renowned for their battling qualities, upped the tempo which resulted in Alan Conyard, James Manle and that man Jonathan O’Neill landing a point each in a row to bring the sides level at 0-5 each.
Bray Emmets continued to dominate in various sectors around field but were unable to break down a solid defence which left scores scarce.
Also Tom Cash was off target from a free, at this stage midfielder Ben McCormack showed what a fine hurler he is when he won possession and split the winners’ defence to score point from play
From the puck out he eluded the clutches of Jonathan O’Neill to score his third point, which gave the Bray side a two-point cushion, 0-7 to 0-5 after twenty minutes.
The hurling was honest and fair between two committed sides which saw no more that a puck between two evenly-matched sides and not for the first time in the game the winners responded with a points from James Manley and Jonathan O’Neill to bring the sides level once more at 0-7 each.
Bray Emmets continued to keep their noses in front and hit a golden spell which saw them record three points in row.
The first came from a 65 by Tom Cash while Luke O’Reilly and Dan Sweetland also got their name on the scoresheet to increase the lead once more, 0-10 to 0-7.
Bray Emmets were the better side before the interval which saw the add 1-2,
Full-forward Brian Duggan, who has proved to a be problem for many defences in the past with his goalscoring ability, cracked home the first of his two goals while Tom Cash added two points, one from play.
A typical Glenealy rally saw them reply with a point each from two players who caused havoc in the Bray defence in the opening half, Garry Hughes and James Manley, while a chip off the old block saw Jonathan O’Neill Junior get his name on the scoresheet to close the first half scoring, which saw Pat Lee’s side leading 1-12 to 0-10.
After the break centre forward Gary Hughes reduced the deficit with a point and following a Gle- nealy attack which resulted in Alan Conyard winning a free which would prove costly with Jonathan O’Neill in such form as he pointed.
The winners keep the pressure on, which saw Jonathan O’Neill add another point following a foul on James Manley.
Good work by a quick thinking O’Neill who found Tony Doyle with a perfect pass which saw a long delivery to Alan Conyard who scored his second point to reduce the deficit to a single point, 1-12 to 0-14.
Both sides recorded two wides each before hard-working midfielder Dara Maloney landed a point from play, while Jonathan O’Neill replied with a point.
With both teams focused on the task ahead that lay ahead the contest continued to be competitive.
Ace free-taker Tom Cash landed a point from a free which brought a quick response from the winners with a point from Alan Conyard.
Another attack from Glenealy resulted in Aaron Meade being fouled and it was only fitting that Jonathan O’Neill should bring the side level on a score of 1-14 to 0-17 with ten minutes went to play.
The next three minutes saw real drama with two goals being scored. In a move that was started in their own defence Aaron Meade scored the winners’ only goal to give them a three-point lead, which stunned the Bray men but in fairness they responded and after good work substitute Jim Doyle set up Brian Duggan to score his second goal.
Both teams exchanged a point each to bring the sides level once again on a score of 2-15 to 1-18 as time ticked away.
Not for the first time in the game Tom Cash and Jonathan O’Neill exchange a point each and at this stage the talk around the ground was that a draw was a possibility.
After both teams had given sterling performances the end result was in doubt right up to the final minutes.
One last effort from the winners resulted in a free being awarded and it was only fitting after giving a whole-hearted display that Jonathan O’Neill should close the scoring from a free to give his side victory.
Both teams deserve credit for providing such a classic with every player stepping up to the mark.
The contest saw brilliant chasing and blocking and hooking and dispossession of players combined with some great individual performances and some great scores being recorded which must have left respective managers Eamon Esmond and Pat Lee happy with their troops performances in a game that was a sporting contest and on this display interesting times lies ahead in the campaign. Judging by the display of both teams they have sent out a warning to all other championship contenders.
Footnote: Referee Jimmy Kelly deserves credit for his handling of the game as he used common sense and no doubt he contributed to a great occasion.
Glenealy scorers: Araon Meade (1-1), Jonathan O’Neill (0-9, eight frees), James Manley, (0-5), Alan Conyard (0-2), Gary Hughes (0-2), Jonathan O’Neill junior (0-1).
Bray Emmets scorers: Brian Duggan (2-0), Tom Cash (0-8, five frees, one 65), Ben McCormack (0-3), Dara Maloney (0-2), Luke O’Reilly (0-1), Dan Sweetland (0-1), Willie Keane (0-1).
OUTNUMBERED: Ben McCormack of Bray Emmets is chased by Tony Doyle, Alan Conyard, Stephen O’Brien and Jonathan O’Neill of Glenealy.
Matthew Traynor of Bray Emmets is tracked by Luke O’Reilly of Glenealy.