Em­mets cling on for vic­tory

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - SPORT - CONOR HAT­TON at Bal­li­nakill


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.

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