Bless­ing­ton power past St. Pat’s to seal semi-fi­nal spot

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - SPORT - At Joule Park, Aughrim

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

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