An­nacurra have lit­tle bit ex­tra

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - SPORT - At Pearse’s Park, Ark­low


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.

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.

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