Annacurra have little bit extra
ANNACURRA captured the Keating Trophy when they outplayed Bray Emmets by 0-6 to 1-0 in the twenty minutes of extra time played when the two sides were deadlocked at 2-7 to 1-10 at the end of this enjoyable and honestly contested Keating Trophy final played in almost continuous rain at Pearse’s Park, Arklow on Saturday last.
Underfoot and handling conditions were difficult for the players and yet this contest was always interesting and evenly balanced throughout.
Scores were slow to come when the game got under way.
Bray full-forward Conor Flannery developed a great reputation as a free-taker over the years.
However, he was absent for a couple of years but displayed on Saturday last that he has lost none of his accuracy and was responsible for all his side’s total in the first half.
Conor put Bray Emmets ahead with a free after three minutes. Annacurra had plenty of possession early on but were slow to bring the accurate Gearoid Murphy and Frank Clune in the full-forward line into play.
An unfortunate leg injury to Liam Moules delayed the game for up to five minutes while the player received treatment and was removed by stretcher from the field of play.
Elliot Robinson replaced the unfortunate Moules and when the game resumed Frank Clune got the Derry men on the scoreboard when he got his fist to a Gearoid Murphy 45 to knock over their first point.
Five minutes later Frank added another from a free to push his side into the lead. Flannery equalised from a free but Annacurra were dominant in the period coming up to half-time with Alan Byrne, Michael O’Brien and Michael Healy keeping the pressure on.
Frank Clune from play and Gearoid Murphy from a free made it 0-4 to 0-2 in favour of Annacurra.
As half-time approached both goalkeepers were brought into play. First Bray goalkeeper Stephen Carton challenged Glen Austin as a goal seemed certain.
Both Stephen and Glen prayed as they watched the ball roll across goal towards an empty net. Stephen’s prayers were answered and the ball rolled outside the post.
One minute later, at the other end, Conor Flannery cleverly knocked down a ball into the path of Cathal McGee but Robert Fitzgerald came out quickly to narrow the angle and saved brilliantly.
Then came the Annacurra goal. Michael Healy gained possession in midfield, made some ground and launched a long ball in on full-forward Frank Clune.
The ball skidded past Clune into the path of Glen Austin. This time Austin’s prayer was answered and he slotted the ball past the goalkeeper to bring the score to 1-4 to 0-2. Just on the call of half time. Conor Flannery pointed another free.
The Bray men were a rejuvenated team at the start of the second half and Conor Flannery added three points in a row in the first seven minutes.
While Gearoid Murphy responded with a point for Annacurra centre-forward Marc Lennon put Bray firmly in the driving seat when he beat Fitzgerald for a goal after eight minutes.
Cathal McGee was now causing a lot of problems for the Annacurra defence.
He added a point to push the Bray men into a four point lead.
They must have felt they were in the driving seat at this stage. Flannery was moving outfield for possession and was spraying passes and keeping the pressure on the Annacurra defence.
There was still only two points in the game but Annacurra had scored only one point in the half.
Another inspirational save by Fitzgerald in goal when he prevented an almost certain goal by Cathal McGee, seemed to lift his team into action. In the space of four minutes Frank Clune, Gearoid Murphy and Murphy again with the fist had levelled the game and gone into a one point lead.
However, they were almost derailed with a sucker-punch when the Emmets were awarded a penalty with three minutes left. Robert Fitzgerald went correctly to his right but Flannery beat him with a great shot to put the Bray side back into a two-point lead.
However, Annacurra were not to be denied. Michael O’Brien pointed at the end of normal time and Martin O’Brien brought the game to extra-time when he landed the equaliser in the second minute of time added.
Bray faded in the two periods of extra time. Points from Frank Clune, Michael Healy and a Clune free had Annacurra three points up at the ten minute break.
Bray hopes were lifted when Marc Lennon finished off a rebound from another Fitzgerald save to level the game again.
However, this was short-lived and further points from Clune, Murphy and Clune again saw the Annacurra side run out deserving winners.
After the game County Chairman Martin Coleman introduced Liam Keating, a nephew of Mick Keating, who presented the Keating Trophy to the winning captain Alan Horan.
Scorers - Annacurra: Frank Clune 0-8, Gearoid Murphy 0-5, Glen Austin 1-0, Michael Healy 0-1, Martin O’Brien 0-1, and Michael O’Brien 0-1.
Bray Emmets: Conor Flannery 1-6, Marc Lennon 2-0, Cathal McGee 0-1. ANNACURRA: Robert Fitzgerald; James Keenan, Martin O’Brien, Liam Moules; Shane McAllister, Dean Barnes, Paul McDonald; Alan Byrne, Michael O’Brien; Michael Healy, Alan Horan, Glen Austin; Gearoid Murphy, Frank Clune, Shane O’Keeffe. Subs: Elliot Robinson for Liam Moules, Vincent Flaherty for Shane O’Keeffe.
BRAY EMMETS: Stephen Carton; Shane Lohan, Conn Benville, Luke Maloney; Tadgh Donovan, Ben McCormack, Eoin McCormack; Dylan Terry, Peter Walsh; Diarmuid Martin, Marc Lennon, Aaron Wall; Cathal McGee, Conor Flannery, Adam Dixon.
Keating Trophy winners, Annacurra.
Annacurra’s Frank Clune and Bray’s Luke Maloney compete for the ball.
Liam Keating and County Chairman Martin Coleman present the Keating Trophy to Annacurra captain Alan Horan.