First blood to Pat’s

Dress re­hearsal for cham­pi­onship goes O’Brien’s way

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - SPORT - LIAM O’LOUGH­LIN at Joule Park, Aughrim

ST PA­TRICK’S 1-13 BLESS­ING­TON 2-8

THE 2018 Cham­pi­onships may have been launched in Aughrim al­most two weeks ago but in many ways the beaten Se­nior foot­ball fi­nal­ists over the past two years, St Pa­tricks and Bless­ing­ton, played the first real game of cham­pi­onship in­ten­sity this year when they bat­tled out the 2018 Dunne Cup Fi­nal played at Aughrim on Wed­nes­day evening.

A stronger sec­ond half dis­play from the cap­i­tal town en­sured that they came out on top by two points in a keenly con­tested de­cider.

St Pa­tricks lined out with­out Paudge McWal­ter who was oth­er­wise en­gaged. Like­wise the West­ern­ers were short a cou­ple of play­ers who were called out on fire ser­vice du­ties.

Pats be­gan strongly and dom­i­nated play over the first ten min­utes.

Tommy Kelly put them ahead from a free after four min­utes but de­spite their mo­nop­oly of pos­ses­sion in th­ese early stages, they were not to score again un­til ten min­utes later, again from a Tommy Kelly free.

Slowly Bless­ing­ton came into the game with cen­tre back Paul McLough­lin and mid­fielder Gavin Mur­ray driv­ing their side for­ward. Cen­tre for­ward An­thony McLough­lin picked up his first pass on the 13 me­tre line, turned and beat Ian Mur­phy with a ground shot to his right.

This was Bless­ing­ton’s first score after nine min­utes. McLough­lin fol­lowed up with a great point from the side­line, while Tommy Kelly re­sponded with an­other pointed free.

The Bless­ing­ton cen­tre for­ward came back again with a point- ed free to leave the Westerner side ahead by 1-2 to 0-2 after 18 min­utes.

Bless­ing­ton were find­ing their feet now and were awarded a penalty after 20 min­utes.

This time Ian Mur­phy in the St Pats goal came out on top when he chose the right way and saved An­thony McLough­lin’s shot at the post. He fol­lowed up by sav­ing McLough­lin’s fol­low up shot from the re­bound. The cen­tre for­ward pointed an­other free but Tommy Kelly re­sponded with a point from play.

At this stage, Kelly and McLough­lin were the only play­ers to score for their re­spec­tive sides.

Bless­ing­ton’s Mikey O’Con­nor and St Pats Paul O’Brien ex­changed points to leave Bless­ing­ton ahead by 1-4 to 0-4 at the break.

St Pats restarted in a de­ter­mined fash­ion and had scores level by five min­utes with points from Stephen Duffy (2) and Ciaran McGet­ti­gan.

Duffy had moved out­field from full-for­ward and had a huge in­flu­ence on the sec­ond half with his distri­bu­tion and use of the early ball into Tommy Kelly. When cen­tre back Conor Ffrench burst through the cen­tre of the Bless­ing­ton de­fence and scored a great solo goal after nine min­utes he put Pats back ahead and it was now ‘game on’.

Mikey O’Con­nor pointed for Bless­ing­ton but Duffy and Kelly added to Pats to­tal.

McLough­lin pointed an­other free but Duffy came back again with a pointed free of his own. Kelly added an­other and at this stage Pats led by 1-11 to 1-7.

An­thony McLough­lin, who scored a to­tal of 2-5 for his side and made a huge con­tri­bu­tion to the Bless­ing­ton cause, then put the cat among the pi­geons when he fisted home his side’s sec­ond goal to leave the min­i­mum be­tween the sides.

The last ten min­utes were very keenly con­tested as both sides bat­tled for vic­tory.

Tommy Kelly again pointed but Mikey O’Con­nor pointed a free to leave the bare min­i­mum be­tween the sides with two min­utes left on the clock, Paul O’Brien se­cured the in­sur­ance point for the Wick­low Town side in the sec­ond minute of added time.

After the game, the Dunne Cup was pre­sented by County Chair­man Martin Fitzger­ald to the cap­tain of the vic­to­ri­ous St Pa­tricks team, Dean Healy.

Scor­ers – St Pa­tricks: Tommy Kelly 0-6, Stephen Duffy 0-4, Conor Ffrench 1-0, Paul O’Brien 0-2, Ciaran McGet­ti­gan 0-1.

Bless­ing­ton: An­thony McLaugh­lin 2-5, Mikey O’Con­nor 0-3.

St Pa­tricks: Ian Mur­phy; Padraig Higgins, Shane Mor­ley, Wayne Doyle; Si­mon Bouch­ier, Conor Ffrench, John Crowe; Dean Healy, Shane Doyle; Ciaran Doyle, Paul O’Brien, Johnny De­lahunt; Jor­dan Pet­ti­grew, Stephen Duffy, Tommy Kelly. Subs: Ciaran McGet­ti­gan, Rory Mar­ron, Ro­nan Mur­ray.

Bless­ing­ton: Peter Man­ning; Barry Mur­phy, Wayne Cal­laghan, Stephen Bo­han; Aaron Curran, Paul McLough­lin, Jack Gil­li­gan; Gavin Mur­ray, Kevin John Rodgers; Jack Cotter, An­thony McLough­lin, Kevin Hanlon; Dean Siney, Cur­tis Ger­aghty, Mikey O’Con­nor. Subs: Pa­trick O’Con­nor, Martin Shana­han, Owen Keogh, Caolin McGor­man.

Ref­eree: Ciaran Flem­ing (Balt­in­glass).

The St Pa­trick’s Se­nior foot­ballers who de­feated Bless­ing­ton to claim the Dunne Cup crown in Joule Park, Aughrim last week. Pho­tos: Joe Byrne

County Chair­man Martin Fitzger­ald presents the Dunne Cup to St Pa­trick’s cap­tain Dean Healy.

John Crowe es­capes the at­ten­tions of Bless­ing­ton’s Jack Cotter.

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