Rathnew snatch late win in JBFC decider
Breen snatches late victory for Village over Enniskerry
THE Rathnew Junior B team has held up their side of the bargain, over now to the Senior team to complete the double.
Substitute Dean Breen was the hero of the hour with his point in the 60th minute that separated the teams. For Enniskerry it’s the second year in a row that they’ve lost the county final in the most heart-breaking fashion.
Indeed, as the teams gathered for the trophy presentation it was the Enniskerry players who were cheered by their loyal band of followers who rose from their seats in the stand to applaud their efforts. However to the victors go the spoils and Rathnew brought another trophy back to their bulging cabinet.
The game was by no means a classic. The first half was a low scoring affair with Rathnew going in a point ahead, four points to three. They led by four points to two in the 14th minute and neither team would score until just before half time, Gavin Barton making the most of a wayward Lee Kavanagh pass. The wide tally equalled the number of points.
The teams emerged a little freer in the second half and the scoring rate improved with the two goals coming late in the match to create an exciting finish.
Craig Williams had a wonderful game for Enniskerry and he opened the scoring in the third minute from 40 metres with one of his trademark barnstorming runs. He proved a real handful in full flight and trying to stop would be akin to stopping a runaway freight train.
Rathnew had Keith Doyle and James Hunter in the full forward line and Rathnew were looking for them all of the time. Mark Mullen did well on Doyle but Hunter caused trouble for Brendan Fitzgerald.
Hunter was fouled for the equaliser from the boot of Josh Graham and then kicked over a couple of points for himself. Doyle quickly added the fourth and Rathnew led by three in the tenth minute. They wouldn’t score for the rest of the half.
Barton would reduce the arrears with a couple of points in that twenty minute period, his first when he turned Alan Clarke beautifully and his second on the stroke of half time following Kavanagh’s poor pass. A point in it at half time, all to play for.
Nigel Darragh and Barton exchanged frees to begin the second half before Josh Graham converted a couple of frees to open up a three points cushion, seven points to four, in the 40th minute. Hunter was fouled for two of the three Rathnew frees as long balls caused consternation in the Enniskerry back line. On far too many occasions their defenders elected to punch a dropping ball rather than catch it and then lose the battle for the loose ball on the ground. They put themselves under all sorts of pressure.
Back they came however and Seamus O’Gorman made it a two point game before Alan King made it a one point game. Graham had kicked two wides before that and the momentum had swung towards Enniskerry. Keith Doyle’s goal was like a pin in the balloon to deflate their efforts.
Thomas Doyle played a delightful ball over the Enniskerry defence and Doyle tipped the ball up and over the on rushing Ian Kirwan and the ball trundled over the goal line. Rathnew led by 1-07 to 0-06 with ten minutes to go.
Enniskerry weren’t going to give up any time soon however. Williams tore off through the Rathnew defence, bursting through a tackle and leaving the whole team in his wake. As he approached the 21 he passed to Alan King who jinked back and Alan Clarke conceded a penalty with a clothes line. Robert Doyle was lucky his attempted ankle tap on Williams went unpunished.
Gavin Barton dispatched the penalty into the bottom corner and there was a point between the teams.
He quickly levelled the match. Williams won a throw ball with the whole of Rathnew hanging out of him and was fouled. Barton gained possession from the free and split the posts. That was in the 58th minute and two minutes of injury time was announced.
Every movement, every play was critical. As the clock approached 60 minutes Enniskerry full-back Brendan Fitzgerald was adjudged to have over carried the ball. It was a 50-50 decision, he gathered possession and was swallowed up by three Rathnew players. Liam Keenan Jnr gave the free against him, others would give the free to him. Just one of the things that went in Rathnew’s favour.
The free was outside the 45 and outside Josh Graham’s range. He went short and got the ball back. Good defending however forced him to miskick the ball up into the air, hanging for eternity. Rathnew won the breaking ball and Dean Breen got it with space to shoot, 25 metres from goal just to the right hand side.
Did he have the nerve to win it for his team? Never in doubt.
Rathnew are Junior B champions for 2017 and for John Sayer and Alan Clarke it’s almost 20 years since their first back in 1999.
Scorers – Rathnew: Keith Doyle 1-01; Josh Graham (3f) 0-03; James Hunter 0-02; Nigel Darragh (1f), Dean Breen 0-01 each.
Enniskerry: Gavin Barton (100 pen, 1f) 1-04; Craig Williams, Seamus O’Gorman, Alan King 0-01 each.
Rathnew: John Sayer; Christopher Murphy, Alan Clarke, Luke Corcoran; Thomas Doyle, Lee Kavanagh, James Kavanagh; Michael Nolan, Robert Byrne; Bryan Murphy, Josh Graham, Nigel Darragh; Keith Doyle, James Hunter, Dale Franey. Subs: Dean Breen for Dale Franey (38 mins); Gavin Byrne for Bryan Murphy (40 mins); Ivan Kelly for Nigel Darragh (45 mins); Michael Doyle for Keith Doyle (53 mins).
Enniskerry: Ian Kirwan; James Moloney, Brendan Fitzgerald, Mark Mullen; Jack Conroy, Dan Kelly, Stephen Cahill; Owen Corrigan, Craig Williams; Seamus O’Gorman, Gavin Barton, Colm Nolan; Alan Acres, Alan King, Eoin Byrne. Subs: Brendan Barton for Alan Acres (21 mins); Rhys Cope for Colm Nolan (41 mins); Luke Dalton for James Moloney (53 mins).
Referee: Liam Keenan Jnr
Rathnew, the Philip Doyle Junior B football champions for 2017.
Rathnew’s Josh Graham and Enniskerry’s Stephen Cahill compete for a high ball at Joule Park, Aughrim. s
Tori Doyle and Martin Coleman present the JBFC cup to Rathnew captain James Kavanagh.
Rathnew’s Lee Kavanagh is challenged by Enniskerry’s Eoin Byrne.