Glenealy lay down marker
Fourteen-man Bray Emmets are put to the sword
GLENEALY BRAY EMMETS 1-17 1-7
GLENEALY lay down an early marker and defeated the county champions of the last three years Bray Emmets in this SHC group game at Joule Park, Aughrim last Thursday evening.
The game was swung in favour of Glenealy when Bray’s Luke Maloney was shown a straight red in the second minute but to Glenealy’s credit they eventually wore down the Bray men as a strong finish saw them emerge comfortable winners in the end.
Bray fought valiantly and were up at half time but when Glenealy’s full forward Alan Driver struck to the net in the 39th minute it was always going to be a huge ask for them to overhaul the deficit with the man down.
All credit to Glenealy though and regardless of whether they were against 14 men or not the intensity they showed in the second half will have most Wicklow teams on the ropes.
If they can remain relatively injury free and bring a similar level of intensity to the rest of their matches and in the later stages of championship it will take a mighty good team to stop them on their march to glory.
Bray will be mightily disappointed and I’m sure would relish the chance to get revenge later on in the championship. It will be a bitter pill to swallow for the county champions but it is very early doors in this championship and I’m sure they’ll store the hurt in their locker and will be a formi- dable force and still the team to beat in the championship.
On a dull Thursday evening and in front of a very disappointing attendance (three men and a dog were the spectators to be exact) it was Glenealy who elected to play towards the town end in the first half. They started the sharpest and from their first attack forward Jamie Byrne split the posts from a difficult angle to give them the lead inside the opening 60 seconds.
A good start but Glenealy were to receive a huge lift in the second minute. A long ball came in and Luke Maloney swung hard and wildly across the legs of Tommy Doyle.
All eyes were now on referee John Keenan who made the correct call and reduced Bray to 14 men for the remaining 58 minutes of the match and you could sense from that moment on that Glenealy knew they had a huge chance.
Diarmuid Masterson slotted in at centre back for Bray, where he had a very solid game, but he was powerless to stop the early onslaught of scores as Glenealy raced into a four points to one lead after ten minutes.
Bray did enjoy a renaissance of sorts and had their best purple patch of the match for the middle third of the opening half. Cian O’Byrne and midfielder Marc Lennon knocked over a couple of points before their only goal of the match arrived as Diarmuid Masterson’s long searching ball found the stick of O’Byrne who flicked to the net amidst a crowded goalmouth to give the county champions a two point lead.
Glenealy had a massive chance to cancel out O’Byrne’s major as Jamie Byrne was sent through on goal after good work from Gary Hughes and Alan Driver but unfortunately for him and Glenealy he was blown for over carrying. Glenealy did get back what they lost from the goal though as John Manley, Bosco and a Hughes free swung the lead back in their favour, 7 points to 1-3.
Then came two of the best scores of the match as firstly Padraig Doyle hit a peach after being expertly picked out by Diarmuid Masterson before Glenealy responded in kind through full back Warren Kavanagh who wacked it over from midfield.
Bray added a further two points and looked to be in a great position as despite being a man down led by a point at the break.
Whatever was said in the Glenealy dressing room at half time worked as they seemed to up it two gears from the restart.
Bray were first on the board through a Cian O’Byrne free in the second minute of the half but incredibly they would not score again for the rest of the half as Glenealy completely took over from there until the end.
Glenealy’s Gary Hughes hit the point of the match as they reeled off a couple of scores in a row before the match defining goal arrived in the 39th minute.
Alan Driver collected the ball in the full forward position and from an acute angle he fired past Eoin Mason in the Bray goal to give Glenealy some breathing space.
To Bray’s credit they had worked tirelessly with the man down and held their own but you could sense that when the goal went in and a bit of a gap opened up that it was always going to be a long way back and that they had used up most of the reserves in the tank.
Glenealy added a flurry of points in the last 20 minutes through the likes of Gavin Weir and Tommy Doyle to run out comfortable 10 point winners in the end as Bray simply ran out of puff.
The sending off was definitely the undisputed turning point in the match but to Glenealy’s credit they didn’t panic when they were down at half time and played some brilliant stuff in the second half, with huge performances from the likes of Warren Kavanagh and John Manley, and will look to build on this victory for the rest of the year.
Bray will be a wounded animal which is a very dangerous proposition for any team they face but the day belonged to Glenealy.
Scorers: Glenealy: Gary Hughes 0-4 (0-3 frees), John Manley 0-3, Johnathan O’Neill 0-3 (0-2 frees), Alan Driver 1-0, Warren Kavanagh 0-1, Emmet Byrne 0-1, Tommy Doyle 0-1, Gavin Weir 0-1, Jamie Byrne 0-1, Enan Glynn 0-1, Joey Driver 0-1.
Bray: Cian O Byrne 1-3 (0-2 frees), Marc Lennon 0-3, Padraig Doyle 0-1.
Glenealy’s Alan Driver is dispossessed by Bray’s Sean Maloney during the SHC in Joule Park, Aughrim.