Kiltegan have no answer to rampaging Rathnew men
RATHNEW rampaged their way into the semi-finals of the Renault Senior football championship with a 2-13 to 2-06 thumping of Kiltegan in Joule Park, Aughrim.
A bruising and at times reckless opening 30 minutes produced some of the Village’s most effective football this year as they stormed to a 0-08 to 0-01 lead at the break with Trevor Doyle’s men having absolutely no answer for the Rathnew play, their ferocity and their ruthlessness all over the field.
Kiltegan’s decision to play against the wind in the opening half turned out to be a monumental mistake as their starved inside line were made redundant by lack of supply and, when the ball did manage to escape up that far, by a superb performance from the Rathnew full-back line, most notably from Damien Power who is enjoying some of his finest defending over the last few weeks.
A staggering statistic of Kiltegan only scoring one point in 30 minutes of Senior football tells you the crushing truth about the first half with their first wide coming after 30 minutes.
Rathnew were simply ruthless and Kiltegan’s cause was not helped by a number of serious incidents which Kiltegan supporters felt were not dealt with sufficently or in some cases at all.
In general play there were a few transgressions but it was after the play and away from the action where niggly and late incidents occurred that seemed to shake Kiltegan to the core.
Petulance, a bit of a schemozzle and the unsavory incidents were factors in this game but there was only one team with the appetite for the struggle and that was Harry Murphy’s men as they powered to the semi-finals where they will face the winners of Éire Óg Greystones and Baltinglass and whoever wins that replay will want to be fully prepared for a ferocious battle as the Villagers are fully intent on bringing Miley back to where they feel he belongs.
That 0-08 to 0-01 half-time lead was testament to the dominance of the Rathnew men in all areas of the field. Leighton Glynn opened the scoring and his effort was followed up by a point from Jody Merrigan with the Rathnew corner-forward in absolutely excellent form all through this encounter.
A Seanie Furlong converted free got Kiltegan up and running after 10 minutes but they would fail to score again until Seanie slipped the ball past Peter Dignam for the game’s opening goal early in the second half.
Jody Merrigan (two, one 45), Nicky Mernagh, James Stafford (two), and Ross O’Brien pushed Rathnew out to their healthy halftime lead as Kiltegan headed to the dressing rooms in a stunned state after the 30 minutes of anarchy at Joule Park, Aughrim.
Seanie’s goal gave Trevor Doyle’s men a major boost but rather than push on and catch up on the Rathnew men, Kiltegan suffered the concession of a fine goal from Jody Merrigan that made it 1-09 to 1-02 and give Kiltegan a mountain to climb.
Derek Daly fired home for their second goal of the day and a Seanie Furlong free and a Jeffrey Bermingham point brought Kiltegan to within two points of their opponents.
Two pointed frees from Eddie Doyle stopped the rot for Rathnew and then Ross O’Brien set off on a marauding run up the field and he walloped a left footed shot low and hard at Fergal Harmon and the Kiltegan keeper could only get a half a hand to it and then watch helplessly as it billowed the net at the Rednagh Hill end.
An immediate Leighton Glynn point sickened Kiltegan and there was simply no way back after that.
This was a crushing defeat for Kiltegan who many fancied as dark horses. Rathnew march on. If they bring that wildness and drive to the semi-final they will be a force to be reckoned with, for opponents and officials alike.
Scorers – Rathnew: Jody Merrigan 1-04 (1 45, 1f), Ross O’Brien 1-01, Eddie Doyle 0-02 (2f), James Stafford 0-02, Nicky Mernagh 0-02, Leighton Glynn 0-02.
Kiltegan: Seanie Furlong 1-03 (2f), Derek Daly 1-00, Jeffrey Bermingham 0-01, Rory Finn 0-01, Padraig O’Toole 0-01.
Rathnew: Peter Dignam; Jamie Snell, Damien Power, Paul Merrigan; Warren Kavanagh, Ross O’Brien, Enan Glynn; James Stafford, Theo Smyth; Eddie Doyle, Leighton Glynn, Graham Merrigan; Nicky Mernagh, Mark Doyle, Jody Merrigan. Subs: Stephen Byrne for Mark Doyle, Chris Healy for E Glynn.
Kiltegan: Fergal Harmon; Jeffrey Bermingham, Blaine Harmon, Adam Wynne; Ronan Byrne, Stephen Farrell, Liam Keogh; Jacko Dalton, Rory Finn; Aaron Byrne, Bryan Cullen, Mikey Foley; Derek Daly, Seanie Furlong, Cathal Fitzgerald. Subs: John Farrell for R Byrne, Cathal Fitzgerald for M Foley.
Referee: Kieron Kenny (Tinahely)
Kiltegan’s Seanie Furlong looks to shake off Rathnew’s Paul Merrigan during the SFC quarter-final in Joule Park, Aughrim. Picture: Garry O’Neill
Rathnew’s James Stafford and Kiltegan’s Rory Finn race for posession during the SFC quarter-final.
Rathnew’s Warren Kavanagh feels this shoulder from Kiltegan’s Jeffrey Bermingham.