Late monster free helps Pat’s to precious scalp
INTERMEDIATE HURLING CHAMPIONSHIP
ST PATRICK’S BRAY EMMETS 1-16 1-14
WITH the last puck of the ball, John ‘Dee’ O’Brien hit a monster free from 80 metres straight over the black spot to secure victory for his side in the Intermediate championship on a wet and miserable Sunday morning.
It seemed like the most unlikely victory given events during the first half when Bray led by four points at one stage and dominated proceedings all over the field. A fortuitous enough goal in the twentieth minute brought it back to within a point but St Pat’s were well worth their victory with a fantastic second half performance, personified by James ‘Bonner’ O’Brien.
O’Brien was totally outplayed by Karl Lacey in the first half, letting the Bray centre back dictate the match. He was excellent in the second half though with four points from play as he either created chances by running straight at the Bray defence or by popping over a few long range beauties.
St Pat’s also did well to curb the influence of Bray’s centre forward Willie Keane who hit two first half points and a couple of wides. He was floating around picking up ball here and there in the opening period but he barely hit a ball in anger in the second half.
Having said all of that, the two point difference between the teams came down to two ‘Dee’ O’Brien frees. On three occasions Bray players committed the most innocuous technical foul, dropping their hurl to give a hand pass, and twice ‘Dee’ O’Brien punished them with converted frees, including his monster at the end.
It didn’t look like it would be so close at all however when Bray led by seven points to three in the twentieth minute. Willie Keane got the first score of the game only for Christy Moorehouse and Niall Hanlon to reply with a couple of great efforts.
Then Bray took control, winning the battle around the midfield area and scoring six of the next seven points. The pick of the bunch was Willie Robinson’s effort when Tom Cash played a wonderful cross field pass to him in space.
St Pat’s came back into the match with a goal through full forward George O’Brien. A line ball dropped under the bar and while Eoin Mason caught the sliotar he let it drop and O’Brien was on hand to hit the net.
The teams traded points towards the end of the half and were level at half time, 9 points to 1-06.
They also traded a few wides to begin the second half and took a while to find the target. ‘Dee’ O’Brien slotted over a free to give Pat’s the lead only for Tom Cash to hit four points in a row, one of which was a goal chance deflected over the bar by Michael O’Brien.
Back came Pat’s with four of their own, ‘Bonner’ O’Brien with three of them. He almost got a goal too but had to settle for a point.
That put Pat’s into the lead by a point, 1-11 to 13, with thirteen minutes to go and corner forward John O’Brien had a chance to extend the lead. Karl Lacey was in no mood for that to happen though and he wonderfully blocked his shot. With possession won again Bray’s Luke O’Reilly took a shot from distance for a point which didn’t have the desired length. Michael O’Brien should have easily taken it but he let it drop over his line and Bray were back in the lead. It was a poor mistake by O’Brien who made two good saves earlier in the half.
Pat’s responded with a couple of points to level before Tom Cash converted a free for Bray’s final point of the morning. That set up an exciting final few minutes and ‘Dee’ O’Brien hit over a free from the middle of the field to level. Substitute Jim O’Brien scored from play as time was almost up to give them the lead before Bray went in search of an equaliser. Darragh Maloney had possession in midfield and while hand passing to a teammate he dropped his hurl, conceding a free.
From about 80 metres, ‘Dee’ O’Brien split the posts and St Pat’s picked up their second win of the Intermediate championship. Both teams now have one match left to play in the group stages before they go into the quarter final.
Scorers – St Pat’s: John O’Brien (6f) 0-07; James O’Brien 0-04; George O’Brien 1-00; John O’Brien 0-02; Niall Hanlon, Christy Moorehouse, Jim O’Brien 0-01 each.
Bray Emmets: Tom Cash (3f, 1 65) 0-09; Luke O’Reilly 1-02; Willie Keane 0-02; Willie Robinson 0-01.
St Pat’s: Michael O’Brien; John O’Brien, Denis O’Brien, Thomas Kehoe; Dale Quinn, Shane Doyle, Andrew Conway; Niall Hanlon, George O’Brien; John “Dee” O’Brien, James O’Brien, Christy Moorehouse; Anto Murphy, George O’Brien, John O’Brien. Subs: Jim O’Brien for Anto Murphy (HT); Jim O’Brien for Jim O’Brien (55 mins).
Bray Emmets: Eoin Mason; Barry Cowan, Ronan O’Brien, Sean Maloney; Paddy Lee, Karl Lacey, Michael Walsh; Darragh Maloney, Ben McCormack; Luke O’Reilly, Willie Keane, Willie Robinson; Tom Cash, Liam Kenny, Brian Duggan. Subs: Ryan Tynan for Willie Robinson (35 mins); Shane Anders for Brian Duggan (57 mins).
Referee: Ciaran Manley