Bravo Bless­ing­ton!

Michael Dwyers are beaten in an ab­so­lute thriller

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - SPORT - PAT DUNNE at Balt­in­glass


WOW!!! Is the only word to de­scribe the un­be­liev­able match and scenes we had, in what will be re­mem­bered as ‘The Bat­tle of Balt­in­glass’.

His­tory was made when Bless­ing­ton won the Ray Daniels Cup for their first time.

Cap­tain Ben Car­roll Daniels proudly raised his fa­ther’s cup aloft, high into the flood­lit sky af­ter one ti­tanic bat­tle.

We re­quired ex­tra-time in Balt­in­glass, with a real Late, Late Show on Fri­day night last to sep­a­rate these two giants of Un­der-11 Foot­ball.

Both Bless­ing­ton and Michael Dwyers served up a thrilling game be­fit­ting the fi­nal.

Bless­ing­ton looked to have one hand on the cup at the end of the first half, how­ever a mas­sive fight back by Michael Dwyers put them in con­trol go­ing deep into in­jury time in the sec­ond half, as the Cup looked south­bound, but Bless­ing­ton ral­lied very late with a goal to level mat­ters.

Ben Car­roll Daniels landed the open­ing score of the game in the third minute with a point from an acute an­gle af­ter good build up play by Luke Hig­gins for Bless­ing­ton.

A brace of points by Alex Wal­she in­creased the lead. Bless­ing­ton were start­ing to dom­i­nate pro­ceed­ings but could not get the bet­ter of goalie Eoin Kenna, who was in fine form sav­ing and clear­ing plenty of ball.

Conor O’Toole fi­nally raised a green flag for Bless­ing­ton in the 14th minute af­ter great work by Caomhan DeBrun, to close out the open­ing quar­ter.

Michael Dwyer’s Mark Kin­sella had a chance off a goal but Cil­lian Swan saved and cleared out for a 45.

Mark Kin­sella took the re­sul­tant 45, yet again Swan saved and cleared the dan­ger.

Dwyers thought they had surely won a penalty in the next at­tack, how­ever Jimmy Lalor waved play on, much to the an­noy­ance of the Dwyers en­tourage.

It was all out at­tack­ing foot­ball, end to end stuff, in very tough wet con­di­tions by both sides.

“Don’t bounce the ball” was echoed not once, but a thou­sand times by both man­age­ments to their troops.

Bless­ing­ton stead­ied the ship with a point from Pat Small in the clos­ing min­utes.

Eoin Kenna, sin­gle-hand­edly, was keep­ing his Dwyers side in the game, as he had some sen­sa­tional dou­ble saves, as Bless­ing­ton went for the jugu­lar.

Luke Hig­gins fi­nally landed an­other ma­jor for Bless­ing­ton as the half-time whis­tle sounded with the score read­ing 2-05 to no score in favour of Bless­ing­ton and it looked like there was no way back for Dwyers.

Well, what we wit­nessed in the next half beg­gars be­lief, one could not even con­tem­plate mak­ing this up.

Michael Dwyers came out and blitzed Bless­ing­ton in the open­ing five min­utes with 2-01 with­out re­ply.

Cal­lum McCrea with a goal in the first at­tack, fol­lowed im­me­di­ately with a point af­ter great work by Mark Kin­sella.

Kin­sella him­self then landed the sec­onnd goal to leave it a four-point deficit. Con­nell Har­man pulled an­other shot on goal just wide of the up­right as Bless­ing­ton were shell-shocked.

It was rain­ing hard, but it was rain­ing goals harder. Pat Small had a brace of chances for Bless­ing­ton, but just missed the tar­get with one and Kenna, yet again saved an­other.

In the next at­tack Con­nell Har­man shook the Bless­ing­ton net to leave the min­i­mum in it with only seven min­utes of the sec­ond half gone as the deci­bel lev­els in the stand rose ten­fold.

How­ever, back came Bless­ing­ton im­me­di­ately and Caomhan DeBrun landed an­other ma­jor to stem the Dwyers stran­gle­hold in this in­tense bat­tle.

Cal­lum McCrea won the re­sul­tant kick-out and soloed the length of the field and rat­tled the back of the net.

Dwyers sen­sa­tion­ally took the lead for the first time on the night, in the next at­tack as Sean Walsh goaled to leave the score read­ing 3-05 to 5-01 with eight min­utes to play.

Back came Bless­ing­ton, but they could not get the bet­ter off Eoin Kenna again, the man in the hat, who was hav­ing the game of his life.

It was all Dwyers at this stage as Bless­ing­ton looked out on their feet. Dwyers went for the jugu­lar shoot­ing for goals but it was now goalie Cil­lian Swan’s turn to shine with three point-blank saves to keep his team in the game.

Back up the pitch again, Conor O Toole went in search of a win­ning goal but Kenna saved and cleared up the field where Mark Kin­sella pointed to make it a three-point game deep into in­jury time.

In the fi­nal mo­ments Dwyers won a 14-me­tre free, to make it a four-point dif­fer­ence, surely to see out the game.

Cru­elly, the ball tailed wide with the aid of the wind. Surely there was know way back for Bless­ing­ton.

The Michael Dwyer’s faith­ful were bay­ing for Jimmy Lalor’s full­time whis­tle, while the Bless­ing­ton faith­ful were pray­ing for one more play, as it was all down to the ref­eree’s watch now.

Bless­ing­ton won the re­sul­tant kick-out and went in search of an equal­is­ing goal.

Low and be­hold, a Luke Hig­gins shot was saved and par­ried by Kenna, but Con­nor O’Toole was first to re­act and vol­ley the ball to the net to level the match, in one off the best halves of pul­sat­ing foot­ball ever wit­nessed with the score read­ing, Bless­ing­ton 4-05 to 5-02 for Dwyers as the full-time whis­tle sounded.

This was “Mayo” like for Dwyers who were out on their feet at this stage and were also light on the subs front.

Into ex­tra-time we went where now the buoy­ant Bless­ing­ton fin­ished the stronger, where they scored 3-03 with­out re­ply against a Michael Dwyers side who left ev­ery­thing and more on the pitch.

For the Man of the Match award, we could have done with 30 plus awards, as ev­ery chap gave a 110% for the jersey.

Pat Dunne pre­sented the Ray Daniel’s Man of the Match Award to Eoin Kenna of Michael Dwyers, who was phe­nom­e­nal in goals, to a rous­ing ap­plause by both sets of sup­port­ers.

It just had to be Eoin, as Ray him­self was a renowned goal­keeper.

Pat Dunne thanked Balt­in­glass for host­ing the game, the ref­eree and con­grat­u­lated both teams on a smash­ing game of foot­ball.

The Ray Daniels Cup was pre­sented by Ray’s mother, Theresa, along with fam­ily mem­bers to her grand­son, Ben Car­roll Daniels, to spark off wild cel­e­bra­tions, as the team still some­how had the en­ergy to do a lap of hon­our with the cup aloft to bring an end to this dra­matic evening.

Scor­ers - Bless­ing­ton: Conor O’Toole 3-02, Pat Small 1-02, Luke Hig­gins 1-00, Caomhan DeBrun 1-00, James Phibbs 1-00, Alex Wal­she 0-02, Harry Wil­son 0-01, To­mas Walsh 0-01, Ben Car­roll Daniels 0-01.

Michael Dwyers: Cal­lum McCrea 2-01, Mark Kin­sella 1-01, Con­nell Har­man 1-00, Sean Walsh 1-00.

Ray Daniels Cup win­ners, Bless­ing­ton.

Bless­ing­ton cap­tain Ben Car­roll Daniels holds the cup sur­rounded by the Daniels fam­ily and Pat Dunne.

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