Five red cards after ugly brawl erupts in second half
RATHNEW ASHFORD 1-15 3-4
RATHNEW bounced back from the opening day defeat in the Darcy Sand Intermediate Football Championship with this five-point victory over Ashford in a game marred by a massive brawl midway through the second half that resulted in five players receiving their marching orders from referee Kieran O’Shea.
Ashford took a four-point lead into the half-time break but would only score once in the second half as they could find no answer to the improved Rathnew approach in the second half that saw Edward Doyle score six points (three frees) to cap a man of the match performance from the Village half-forward.
Ashford will wonder how it all went so very wrong after they found the Rathnew net three times in the opening half from the boots of Gavin Weir, Trevor Conyard and Jamie Byrne.
Worse still, they, along with Rathnew, will be pondering whether they have kissed any hope of progression in this competition goodbye after Thomas Kearns and Michael Traynor joined Rathnew’s Gary Byrne, Jonah Graham and Gavin Byrne in the lonely march to the line having received red cards from Kieran O’Shea as he dished out punishments following the ugly brawl that involved a large number of players and several individuals the sideline.
The game was officially recorded by the County Board and this evidence could come into play in the coming weeks as the inevitable appeals are lodged against the CCC decisions.
For now, the only fact that matters is that Rathnew powered to victory to hand Ashford their second defeat in this ultra-competitive championship.
Edward Doyle’s converted penalty late in the first half following a foot block by Adrain Marah gave the Rathnew side a huge boost heading into the break.
It was a wayward Marah ball that went over the sideline that gave Rathnew the platform to attack from which the penalty came.
Midfielder Ross Quinn was played in with a tasty ball and his shot was saved by Marah, but Kieran O’Shea consulted with his umpire and the penalty awarded.
Doyle’s penalty was a wicked and merciless strike despite Marah getting the slightest of touches and gave Rathnew hope.
Ashford would goal between then and the half-time whistle to make it 3-3 to 1-5, but you could tell that Rathnew were energised and were about to unleash their combative vigour on the second half.
Ashford just didn’t turn up in the second half. In the face of the Rathnew energy and abrasiveness they had no answer.
Edward Doyle, Gavin Byrne, Dean Franey swung over points before Doyle struck three frees on the trot with Brendan Manning offering Ashford’s only reply in the second half.
And then the brawl happened. An incident close to the Rathnew 45 resulted in a throw ball from which Rathnew’s Ciaran Coffey was fouled.
From here all hell broke loose with a mass of bodies forming a swarm of boxing and kicking limbs that slowly moved from one 45from yard ine to the other as the match officials looked on helplessly. In fairness, many of those caught up in the vicious melee were trying to stop it.
Eventually, calm was restored, and the five red cards were flashed. Shortly afterwards, totally unrelated to the brawl, Brendan Manning picked up a black card having been booked in the first half and he was sent off with no replacement allowed meaning that both teams had 12 players on the pitch.
The game was as good as over by then and Rathnew eased to victory with three more points, one from Philip Murphy and two from the hugely impressive Edward Doyle.
Scorers – Rathnew: Edward Doyle 1-8 (1p, 4f), Ronan Doyle 0-1, Johnny Byrne 0-1, Ross Quinn 0-1, Gavin Byrne 0-1, Dean Franey 0-1, Philip Murphy 0-1.
Ashford: Trevor Conyard 1-1, Gavin Weir 1-0, Jamie Byrne 1-0, Ross Quinn 0-2 (2f), Brendan Manning 0-1.
Rathnew: Michael Nolan; Lee Kavanagh, James Manley, Ronan Manley; Jack Healy, Gary Byrne, Luke Corcoran; Ross Quinn, Jonah Graham; Edward Doyle, Ronan Doyle, Ciaran Coffey; Dean Franey, Johnny Byrne, Philip Murphy. Subs: Gavin Byrne, Paul Ellis, Gary Hughes
Ashford: Adrian Marah; Robert Clarkson, Iarla O’Donnell, Michael Taylor; Thomas Kearns, Danny Kavanagh, Michael Traynor; Joseph Doyle, David Dowling; Ross Quinn, Brendan Manning, Trevor Conyard; Cal Connolly, Gavin Weir, Michael Dickenson. Subs: Michael Dickenson, Cormac Doyle, Jamie Byrne
Referee: Kieran O’Shea (Tinahely)
Rathnew’s Jack Healy and Ashford’s Gavin Weir clash during the Darcy Sand Intermediate Football Championship meeting between the sides in Joule Park Aughrim. Photo: Joe Byrne