Blessington power past St. Pat’s to seal semi-final spot
ST PATRICK’S 1-05
BLESSINGTON took on St Pat’s in the quarter-final of the Senior football championship in Joule Park on Sunday last.
One man was heard saying we are serious underdogs today with the bookies having Pats at 4-1 on, but it is a two-horse race he said.
From the throw-in, Pat’s won and powerhouse Dean Healy went thundering forward and drew a foul which Stephan Duffy converted.
There was a strong wind which aws going to be a major factor on the game Blessington had it in their backs for the first half didn,t waste time using it in their favour and sent in a few boomers to Curtis Gerathy but he could not avail of them with James Kavanagh, an unsung hero for Pat’s all year, winning the battle in the early stages.
Blessington got of the mark after five minutes on the clock with points from Anto Mcloughlin (free) and Kevin John Rogers with a super pint off the outside of his boot.
Pat’s tried to push on with one of their go-to men Paudge Mcwalter moving to center-forward.
The game looked dead and flat at times but with the wind in their faces, Pat’s were driving forward with that man Healy who was taking seious but fair hits for his team.
But Casey O’Brien’s men couldn’t break down the Blessington defence. Barry O’Donovan’s side had their homework done on their assigned markers with Eoin Keogh being particularly potent on Dean Healy.
Blessington won another free for over-carrying and this was converted by Anto Mcloughlin.
Back came Pat’s with Healy, who was fouled again by Keogh, Eoin Keogh in what was a real ding dong battle, but the free was dragged wide by Tommy Kelly.
Kelly had started to get into the game as did Barry Murphy who was that tight to him he was nearly in the jersey with Pat’s attacker.
Eoin Keogh decided to do what Healy was doing and went on run of his own and set up Kevin Hanlon for a sweet score after 22 minutes.
Colm Byrne took a quick kick out but the wind took it out over the line.
This was taken quickly and to Patrick O’Connor and Blessington had another score and all of a sudden Pat’s looked to be in trouble.
Colm Byrne looked out of ideas with his kick-outs as another one one went astray and the loose ball fell to Mick Mcloughlin for his first score of the game.
Pat’s looked rattled. Eoin Keogh sent in floated a pass to Gerathy and he jinked left then right and fired over point number eight for Blessington.
The Pat’s players were shouting instructions all over the field and with 30 minutes on the clock they needed a score and who to look for only none other than Paudge Mcwalter who ran from deep in his own half, played a one-two with Ffrench and lifted the roof of the net with a lace-bursting shot. Game on. Blessington won the kick-out through Paul Mcloughlin who took a massive blow from Ffrench but manged to flick to Anto McLoughlin who slotted over to make it 1-01 to 0-08 at half-time.
The second half started with no changes and it was now Pat’s turn with the wind but they clocked up three wides in the early stages.
It was also Stephan Kitt’s turn with the kick-outs and he had the same problem as Colm Byrne had with the wind in what was a frustrating day for a keeper.
Blessington decided to go short and work the hand pass route which was working well until the final quarter where Pat’s managed to turn it over on three occasions.
Pat’s got their first score of the half from a free as Mick McLoughlin was deemed to have over carried it.
Blessington went on a run up the line with Anto McLoughlin cutting towards goal but was swallowed up by three players but managed to get the ball to his brother Mick who blazed his shot over the bar; a goal chance a spurned.
Pat’s tried to cut the margin but they added another three wides to their tally.
From the kick-out, Shane Murley collided with Michael Nugent and was lucky to get away with a yellow card.
Pat’s decided to bring in Jordan Pettigrew for Johnny Delahunt and Eoin Keogh fouled Healy who had started the second half very quietly. He took it quickly into Kelly but over-cooked it and another harnless wide was chalked up for a frustrated Pat’s team.
Then came the game changer. With 15 minutes left, Mcwalter set off on another run but drilled his shot off the upright and the ball was cleared but was called back for a free as there was an advantage.
It just wasn’t Pat’s day it seemed.
With the game coming into the final moments the pace had lifted.
Pat’s had tagged on two fantastic scores from substitute Pettigrew and John Crowe and the Wicklow town men were on the rally.
Blessington brought in David Boothman and with his first touch played a one-two with O’Connor, passed a low ball into Gerathy who turned his marker and slotted calmly to the bottom corner of the Pat’s goal.
The kick-out was taked quickly to Crowe who went on a run and fed Kelly who split the defence but drilled his shot wide.
Pat’s won the next kick out also and worked the ball across the field to Healy who was bearing down on goal but a superb save from Kitt meant another vital goal chance thwarted.
There was a slight schemozzle near the end and the referee sent two mentors for an early shower.
Pat’s managed to get a late free but it was mearly a consolation and the victory went deservingly to the men from the west as the game finnished 1-10 to 1005 to Blessington.
Scorers - Blessington: Curtis Geraghty 1-01, Anto McLoughlin 0-04 (3f), Mick McLoughlin 0-02, Kevin John Rogers 0-01, Patrick O’Connor 0-01, Kevin Hanlon 0-01.
St Patrick’s: Paudge McWalter 1-00, Tommy Kelly 0-03, Stephen Duffy 0-01, John Crowe 0-01, Jordan Pettigrew 0-01, Eamon Wolfe 0-01.
Blessington: Stephen Kitt; Barry Murphy, Stephen Bohan, Declan Fennessy; Conor Kenny, Paul McLoughlin, Kevin John Rogers; Eoin Keogh, Bryan Carroll; Michael Nugent, Anto McLoughlin, Mick McLoughlin; Patrick O’Connor, Curtis Gerathy, Kevin Hanlon. Subs: David Boothman for Declan Fennessy; Barry Finan for Kevin John Rogers; Mikey O’Connor for Micheal Nugent; Gavin Murray for Brusan Carroll. St Patrick’s: Colm Byrne; Wayne Doyle, James Kavanagh, Padraig Higgins; Ciaran Doyle, Paudge McWalter, John Crowe; Dean Healy, Eamon Wolfe; Shane Murley, Conor Ffrench, Stephen Duffy; Brian Doyle, Johnny Delahunt, Tommy Kelly. Subs: Shane Doyle for Eamon Wolfe.
St Pat’s Eamonn Wolfe is challenged by Blessington’s Bryan Carroll during the SFC quarter-final in Joule Park, Aughrim. Picture: Garry O’Neill