Emmets cling on for victory
BRAY EMMETS 3-07 AVONDALE PARNELLS 2-09
BRAY Emmets clung on by their fingernails, following a late fight back from a gusty Avondale/ Arklow Parnells side, to claim a one point win in the under 15 ‘B’ hurling final in Ballinakill recently.
It looked as if Bray would claim a comfortable victory as they led by 6-8 points for most of the second half.
But Parnell’s came storming back in the closing stages, as star player PJ’O Connor found the net from a long-range free to set up a frenetic closing few moments.
Unfortunately for Parnell’s time wasn’t on their side and despite a gallant effort the final whistle sounded and Bray were crowned champions.
Bray won the toss and opted to play with the strong wind in the first half. It was a call that certainly paid dividends as they registered three early points without reply, as Brian Nesbitt and Rory Mulcachy added to a Peter Ahearne opener from a free.
Parnell’s found it hard to get quality ball into their forwards early on as the Bray half-backs and midfield exerted their dominance on the game early on. Sam Kearney and Adam Bushe were especially effective through the middle and the pair would go on to have big influences on the remainder of the match.
O’Connor finally got Parnell’s off the mark, with a pointed free in the 14th minute. But Parnell’s reprieve didn’t last long as less than sixty seconds later Bray struck for their first goal.
Adam Bushe surged through the middle before delivering a pinpoint pass to Brian Nesbitt, to the right of the square. Nesbitt advanced and looked likely to shoot, but opted to flash the sliotar across goal where it was met by Zach Collins, who flicked to the net.
To Rock’s credit they didn’t let the goal rock them. They responded within two minutes, as following a great run Dylan Byrne flicked on. His persistence paid off as he beat the Bray defender to the ball before finishing low to the left corner from 15 yards.
O’Connor added a free soon after to leave just two between the sides after twenty minutes.
Bray soon had, what they thought was a legitimate goal, ruled out as Collins was deemed to have entered the square before the ball and finishing to the net.
He didn’t wait long to add to his tally as he pointed brilliantly on the turn after catching a long ball.
Bray took the ascendancy for the remainder of the half as they took a stranglehold at midfield. This dominance came to fruition as Collins and Sam Kennedy added goals in first half injury time to give Bray a nine-point lead and leave a completely different feel on things heading into the second half.
Arklow needed some inspiration upon the restart. They looked threatening when they ran at Bray or delivered quality passes to their inside forward line, but unfortunately for them these events were a rare occurrence in the first half.
They began the second half in decent fashion though as PJ O’Connor registered a pair of points to eat into the lead.
The centre forward was having an increasingly large influence on the game and was outstanding in the second half when the Parnell’s backs were to the wall.
Parnell’s began to get on top of the Bray backs and win more of a share of the ball around the middle with Liam Somers and Andy Traynor winning great balls and delivering inside.
To Bray’s credit though they stood up well to the barrage of pressure with Adam Bushe and Jack Treacy particularly outstanding in this regard. The pair hooked, blocked and cleared countless times in the second half, thwarting some promising Parnell’s attacks.
Bray kept ticking over with nippy corner-forward Oscar Harty pointing to bring the gap to eight with quarter of the game to play. Bray nearly went out of sight but Daniel Reilly saved brilliantly from a Sam Kearney pile driver.
At the other end O’Connor was still causing havoc and added another pair of points to leave six in it going into the final minutes. The centre forward almost goaled after a searing run through but was just wide with his effort, and it didn’t seem likely to be Parnell’s day entering injury time.
That man O’Connor scored another monstrous effort from a free on the right side, before opting for a point from a closer in free with two minutes to go as Bray began to retreat deeper and deeper.
Then, in the final minute, O Connor lofted a placed ball from the 65 all the way into the top corner to leave just the minimum between them with one final play to come.
Rocks won from the puck out and delivered inside, in one final throw of the dice. But alas it wasn’t to be as corner-back Treacy brilliantly intercepted and drove out with the ball as the final whistle blew and Bray were crowned champions.
Scorers - Bray Emmets: Zach Collins 2-2, Sam Kearney 1-1, Oscar Harty 0-2, Peter Ahearne 0-1 (F), Rory Mulcachy 0-1.
Avondale/Arklow Parnells: PJ O’Connor 1-9 (1-7 F), Dylan Byrne 1-0.
Bray Emmets, who edged out Avondale/Arklow Parnells to capture the Under-15 ‘B’ hurling crown in Ballinakill recently.