Dales drop to Keating battle
Bray Emmets safe after draw
THE first game on the two match programme at Joule Park, Aughrim on Saturday last September 8th was a relegation battle between Bray Emmets and Avondale.
The winners would be sure of their senior status. The losers would go into the relegation battle that is the Keating Cup competition. A draw would bring the number crunchers into play.
The first half was riven by mistakes from both sides with passes going astray and wrong options. Bray Emmets established on early dominance but Avondale kept plugging away and were never too far out of reach on the scoreboard.
Marc Lennon opened the scoring for Bray Emmets with a fisted point in the first minute.
Avondale’s Oisin McGraynor levelled when he pointed two minutes later, having received the pass from his brother Conor. Des Kelly from a free and Marc Lennon from play had the Emmets 0-3 to 0-1 ahead.
Avondale were not progressing, making too many mistakes and giving away possession easily. When Dara Rochford scored the Bray goal after eight minutes, a five-point gap had opened up. Diarmuid Masterson added a point but Avondale quickly responded and within two minutes were back to two points.
Oisin McGraynor pointed a free. Following the Bray kick out, Conor Byrne made an interception and put Ross Ward through on goal. The wing forward slid the ball past the advancing Paul O’Keeffe and we were back to a two-point game again.
Bray Emmets were the dominant team for the second quarter and two points from Des Kelly frees, another from a Niall McGraynor free and one from play by Cathal McGee had the Bray men back into a comfortable 1-8 to 1-2 lead as the game entered the time added period before half-time.
Then Avondale struck again for another goal. This time Ross Ward was the provider. He landed a ball from out on the left wing in on Conor McGraynor in the Bray Emmets goalmouth and the big man knocked it home to give his side the unexpected bonus of going to the break only three points down.
For Bray this was a big blow as they had seemed to be in a comfortable position.
Niall McGraynor got Bray Emmets first on the scoreboard in the second period with a pointed free after four minutes.
Avondale had placed Conor McGraynor at full forward at the beginning of the second half and it soon became obvious that they were now reverting to plan ‘B’ – better known as Route 1.
Barry Sheehan launched a mighty kick from almost 60 meters out which landed untouched outside the small square and bounced over the bar.
In the eighth minute Sheehan repeated the dose. This time McGraynor ended up in possession and floated a fisted pass across the goalmouth to the in-running Jack Manley who scored Avondale’s third goal.
Scores were now level at 1-9 to3-3. Bray Emmets steadied again and by 20 minutes they had added points from Dara Rochford, Cathal McGee and a pointed free from Des Kelly.
Avondale continued the aerial bombardment whenever the opportunity arose, but Bray were defending well and crowding the area to limit scoring chances.
Nonetheless they could never relax and there was always the potential for disaster every time one of the Dales long range efforts was launched.
Avondale battled hard in the final quarter to rein in the Emmets three-point lead. Sean McGraynor reduced the gap when he landed a long-range effort in on Paul O’Keeffe after 21 minutes.
The Bray goalie could only tip it over and two minutes later Oisin McGraynor landed another longrange effort. With six minutes left Sean McGraynor completed the comeback with another mighty long-range effort from a free.
Both sides battled for the winner over the next seven or eight minutes but there was no further score and the game ended in a 1-12 to 3-6 draw. It’s now up to the number crunchers.
Scorers - Avondale: Jack Manley 1-0, Conor McGraynor 1-0, Ross Ward 1-0, Oisin McGraynor 0-3, Sean McGraynor 0-2, Barry Sheehan 0-1. Bray Emmets: Des Kelly0-4, Marc Lennon 0-2, Dara Rochford 1-1, Cathal McGee 0-2, Niall McGraynor 0-2, Diarmuid Masterson 0-1.
Avondale: Brian Burke; Simon Cullen, Shane Byrne, Shane Beever; Adam Benson Byrne, Eoin Baker, Padraig Geoghegan; Barry Sheehan; Conor Byrne, Eugene Dunne, Ross Ward; Oisin McGraynor, Jack Manley, Conor McGraynor, Subs: Seoirse Kearon, Donal McGraynor Liam Kinsella.
Bray Emmets: Paul O’Keeffe; David Haughton, Dara Lohan, Ciaran McKay; Ben McCormack, Shane Lohan, Padraig Bell; Liam Benville, Des Kelly; Eoin McCormack, Marc Lennon, Diarmuid Masterson; Cathal McGee, Niall McGraynor, Darragh Rochford. Subs: Mark Lenihan, Andy Conway, Dylan Terry, Jonathon Kinch, Matt Thompson.
Referee: Eugene O’Brien (Aughrim).
Mark Lennon of Bray Emmets is chased by Avondale’s Barry Sheehan.