Tasty win for An­nacurra

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - SPORT - LIAM O’LOUGH­LIN at An­nacurra


IT looked for a long time that Strat­ford might fail to score at all in this Ju­nior ‘C’ football cham­pi­onship game played in An­nacurra on Thurs­day evening last.

That would not be a fair re­flec­tion of the amount of pos­ses­sion they en­joyed through­out the game.

In the first half they pos­si­bly shaded it in the level of play they en­joyed. Mark Lan­dan, James Whe­lan and Conor Humphries were prom­i­nent in en­sur­ing that the An­nacurra de­fence came un­der pres­sure as reg­u­larly as the home side at­tacked.

The prob­lem for the vis­i­tors was that they just failed to score. Frees were missed, many balls were dropped into Jack Byrne in the An­nacurra goal and the goalie and full-back Mark Doyle dealt ca­pa­bly with ev­ery­thing that came their way.

Cen­tre back Ciaran Byrne was solid and linked up well with Eoin Done­gan, Niall and Stephen Mur­phy. In con­trast to Strat­ford they were con­vert­ing some of their chances into points, de­spite hav­ing six wides in the en­tire half.

De­clan Lof­tus pointed af­ter three min­utes but did not record his and An­nacurra’s sec­ond point un­til the 16th minute. Stephen Mur­phy con­verted a free a minute later and mid­fielder Eoin Done­gan got their fourth and fi­nal point of the half three min­utes be­fore the break.

Strat­ford turned over to play the sec­ond pe­riod with the ad­van­tage of a slight breeze play­ing away from the dress­ing rooms end. Again they at­tacked from the start but their scor­ing draught con­tin­ued.

Stephen Mur­phy from a free, Colm Ma­her from play and Ma­her again from a free had tacked on three more points for the home side by eight min­utes.

They were now seven points up with their op­po­nents still to score. Conor Humphries broke the duck for Strat­ford when he pointed a free af­ter ten min­utes. Stephen Mur­phy replied with a pointed free for An­nacurra.

Strat­ford con­tin­ued to make an ef­fort to re­flect their ef­forts on the score board and James Whe­lan added an­other point.

How­ever, the vis­i­tors in press­ing for­ward were leav­ing a lot of open space at the back. An­nacurra be­gan to ex­ploit that space with long di­rect clear­ances from de­fence.

Mid­fielder Eoin Done­gan got on the end of two of those long kicks and car­ried the ball through the heart of the de­fence to score two fine points.

Colm Ma­her was com­ing out­field for pos­ses­sion and he added an­other point.

De­clan Lof­tus was also caus­ing prob­lems for the vis­i­tors and he too added a point, which could have been a goal.

Tom Sweeney came on as a sub­sti­tute for Strat­ford af­ter eigh­teen min­utes. Within a minute he got on the end of a ball de­liv­ered in from James Whe­lan and out-jumped de­fend­ers and goal keeper to punch to the net. How­ever, An­nacurra came back quickly to score a goal of their own. Niall Mur­phy fielded a Strat­ford kick-out and im­me­di­ately fed Colm Ma­her in­side with a long kick pass. The full for­ward beat De­clan Bal­lard from close in to bring the An­nacurra tally to an end at 1-12. In the fi­nal few min­utes Conor Humphries and Paul Sleator added two points from frees to bring the West­ern score to 1-4. An­nacurra ran out com­fort­able and more than de­serv­ing win­ners. Strat­ford were left to rue that forty minute score­less pe­riod.

Scor­ers - An­nacurra: Colm Ma­her 1-3, Eoin Done­gan 0-3, De­clan Lof­tus 0-3, Stephen Mur­phy 0-3.

Strat­ford-Grange­con: Tom Sweeney 1-0, Conor Humphries 0-2, James Whe­lan 0-1, Paul Sleator 0-1.

An­nacurra: Jack Byrne; Der­mot Mur­phy, Mark Doyle, Lee Ho­ran; Brian Shan­non, Ciaran Byrne, James Walsh; Eoin Done­gan, Niall Mur­phy; De­clan Lof­tus, Stephen Mur­phy, Ciaran Doyle; Niall Short, Colm Ma­her, John O’Neill. Subs: Adrian Shan­non, Sammy Walker.

Strat­ford: De­clan Bal­lard; Rhys Edge­hill, Matt Han­bridge, Owen Edge­hill; Conor Kin­sella, David Shorthall, Nigel O’Neill; Barry Whe­lan, Mark Lan­don; John Kelly, James Whe­lan, Conor Humphries; Jody Doyle, Paul Sleator, David Walsh. Subs: Tom Sweeney.

Ref­eree: Christy O’Rourke.

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